If you have experienced childhood trauma, you can speak with a Blue Knot Helpline trauma counsellor including for support and applications around national redress

1300 657 380
Monday - Sunday
between 9am - 5pm AEDT
or via email helpline@blueknot.org.au

 

Do you live with disability?  Have you experienced abuse, neglect, violence or exploitation? 

For support for Disability Royal Commission or general support contact our National Counselling & Referral Service

1800 421 468
9am - 6pm AEST Mon- Fri
9am - 5pm AEST Sat, Sun & public holidays


August 2020Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via eMail Share on LinkedIn

From the Editor

As the effects of lockdown and the Coronavirus continue to unfold, it is becoming increasingly evident that the issues are not restricted to the virus itself.  The flow-on effects on our mental health and wellbeing, the complex issue of mask wearing, compounded with social distancing and for some physical isolation are being recognised by the wider community.  We are all having to navigate the peaks and troughs of our own anxiety and our response to the world around us. If we have experienced trauma, this can bring additional challenges. 


We have developed some facts sheets that help outline how our brain and body responds to stress as well as to trauma, and our lead article gives some wonderful tips on how the use of anchors can help bring us back to a state of calm.

We are all going through this together, and we will all have moments where we feel we are not coping as well as we normally do.  Reach out and speak to someone you trust and with whom you feel safe, or call the Blue Knot Helpline between 9-5 Monday-Sunday AEST to speak to a trauma counsellor.

"In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.  In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile. In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, and invincible calm.  I realized, through it all, that in the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, and invincible summer.  And that makes me happy.  For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there's something stronger - something better, pushing right back." - Albert Camus


Take care

From the team at Blue Knot

If you have any comments about what you have read in this issue, contributions for the My Story section, or suggestions for future issues, please contact the editor at newsletter@blueknot.org.au


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New Fact Sheet -

Stress Response

We all feel threatened or experience stress at different times.  Our brain detects the threat and sends signals to the rest of our body to react and go into survival mode. This fact sheet outlines the different types of stress responses that can occur automatically when we feel threatened.

 

Download the fact sheet here

Download the PLAIN ENGLISH fact sheet here


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New Fact Sheet - 

Trauma Response

 

Trauma is extreme stress which can overwhelm a person’s capacity to cope.  As a result a stress response may be activated, and particularly with complex trauma, this stress response can remain switched on.  This fact sheet outlines how people who have experienced trauma or complex trauma may respond to different types of triggers.

 



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Restoring Hope are looking for men to share their story

Blue Knot Helpline makes a difference

The following is from a caller to the Blue Knot Helpline who has graciously allowed us to share her feedback with you.


"I'd just like to say I've spoken to multiple different people at Blue Knot over the last year, about various things and in various states of distress and every single person on every occasion has just made me feel heard, accepted and like I'm not going crazy. The Blue Knot counsellors have always made me feel like that as tough a time as I've been having that there is hope that things will improve and that I do have skills and resources, and it's ok to be struggling. Anyway even though sometimes it might be hard to get in touch with you guys but I feel like it is an amazing safety net to be able to call." - Anonymous


Our trained counsellors are here to listen and they can be contacted on 1300 657 380, Monday to Sunday, between 9am - 5pm AEST.


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I See it Differently

 

For years I've always felt weird... And set apart from other people. It used to frustrate me because I seemed to struggle with things more than other people.. And I just couldn't cope with things that a lot of people around me could cope with. 


People often tell me that I have a lot of wisdom and insight and that I'm unique.. And I've always known that I think about myself, and the world around me differently. I stim-which is something people with autism do to regulate themselves, or when they are anxious.. Sometimes people think I'm weird because of that.... But I've learnt to love my quirks and sensory processing disorder and all the good and bad that comes along with that.. 

Now I think that the way I see the world is magical. It's mine, it's unique to me... And I'm proud of it.  

 

- Hannah



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IN THE NEWS

Dear “Psychology Today”: Believe Incest Survivors

Incest survivors are the neglected heroes of the #MeToo movement. In the last few years, survivor activists have bravely shown the world that adult sexual assault and harassment are far more commonplace than many had formerly realized or wanted to acknowledge. The same is true of incest: sexual abuse by a family member, usually when the victim is a child. Yet, while terms like catcalling, campus sexual assault, workplace harassment and date rape have by now become everyday phrases, the word incest remains taboo.

 


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Government coronavirus plan did not include people living with disability, royal commission told


The Federal Government's emergency response plan to COVID-19 made no mention of people living with a disability, a royal commission has heard.


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New guide to help build a trauma informed disability sector


The Morrison government will fund Blue Knot Foundation to guide organisations and practitioners on how to better understand complex trauma and deliver trauma-informed care to the disability community.


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Racism, coronavirus and collective trauma

Dr Cathy Kezelman AM looks at how the events around the world over the past few months, abuses of power, inequality and injustice are driving our individual and collective trauma.


Read more


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Disability Royal Commission releases second progress report

The Second Progress Report summarises the work carried out by the Royal Commission during the period 1 January 2020 and 30 June 2020.

Read more


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Dr Cathy Kezelman interview with Studio 10 - Face Masks and Trauma


This interview is based on face masks and trauma fact sheets – challenges for people with trauma histories in wearing masks and strategies which may help.

Watch the interview here

Download the Fact Sheets here


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Using Anchors


For many of us the current Coronavirus pandemic is bringing additional stress and anxiety.  Especially now, we need to do what we can to help ourselves feel and be calm. This includes managing the triggers around us as best we can. This is particularly important when we have experienced trauma, as a child or over time. That’s because people who were traumatised as a child or in an ongoing way often find it difficult to regulate their levels of arousal, and their emotions.

We call the place where we feel okay the Window of Tolerance. This is the arousal zone in which we can tolerate our feelings without ‘flipping our lid’. When we 'flip our lids' we move above or below our Window of Tolerance. Doing so is a biological response and it is to be expected, especially when we have trauma experiences. When it is a fight or flight response, our level of arousal goes above our Window of Tolerance (hyper-arousal) or it goes below our Window into a freeze response (hypo-arousal). Both of these are to be expected with complex trauma. But we can learn to recognise when we start to go outside of our Window of Tolerance and we can use anchors to help us stay calm.

Trauma survivors often have a small Window of Tolerance. This is because our brain has become used to threat. It is prepared for danger and we can feel easily overwhelmed and triggered. Little things can set us off. At the moment, because there is a greater level of anxiety around us, this can happen more easily still. While sometimes we can’t stop this happening because it’s a biological reaction, we can learn to recognise it and start to manage it so we can return to our Window of Tolerance. 

“Painful feelings can be like a tidal wave; they rise up and bowl us over and carry us away often before we are aware of it...Developing a mental state of expansion, by stepping back and looking at the waves with curiosity, we can become like the sky, vast open spacious. And then we have created room for the waves no matter how turbulent they are. We can do this by keeping ourselves anchored.” p.92 The Reality Slap; Russ Harris

Using anchors

A place

One way of doing this is through using anchors. Just as an anchor of a boat stops the boat being washed away with the currents – we can practise ways to “anchor” our thoughts and feelings. We can do this by thinking about places to which we have been, or places to which we would like to go.  This doesn’t have to be anywhere fancy or exotic - just a place which helps you to feel calm and safe. It can be a part of your home, a park, the beach, a friend’s house or even a support service which has helped you. If you can’t remember a place to help you feel calm and safe maybe you can try to imagine a place that you have seen in a magazine, paper, book, online or in a movie.  As you imagine or remember this place, use your senses.

Imagine:
What it looks like, things you'd see there 
Any sounds you'd hear there 
Any textures, things you'd touch there
Any smells
Any tastes 
How does it feel being there? 
What do you really like about it?

Notice how your body feels as you think about this place. You can think of this place when you feel you are leaving your Window of Tolerance to help you feel calm again.

Other anchors

Your anchor does not have to be a place it may be a person, (grandmother, partner, teacher) or an animal/pet, an object (boat, tree, stone) or even an activity. A suitable anchor gives you a feeling of relief (in your body and feelings) and well-being.

Support systems are an important way to help anchor you as well. For many survivors it can be hard to reach out for help or see who might be there to assist. During this time, it can be especially challenging because some of the usual services on which you may have depended might not be as available or able to see you face-to-face.  Think about how you might be able to reach out to get the help you need. Who might be there? Is there a way you can communicate your needs to get the help you need? What are some of the ways you can nurture and foster your support system? 


If you need help you can call the Blue Knot Helpline on 1300 657 380 between 9am 5pm Monday to Sunday. If you are living with disability and need emotional support, please call the National Counselling and Referral Service on 1800 427 468 between 9am and 6pm Monday to Friday and between 9am and 5pm Saturday and Sunday.

 

What anchors you? What can help you feel calm and safe?  You might like to draw or write out your anchors. Think about new anchors and try them out. We are all different and different anchors work for different people. And remember – be gentle with yourself. If this is something new for you be patient with yourself, as you try and learn a new skill.


Your body as an anchor

You can also use your body as an anchor. Here’s how:

Push your feet hard into the floor and straighten your spine. As you do this, take a slow, deep breath. Do one or more of these 5 things…

1. Look around and notice five things you can see.
2. Listen carefully and notice four things you can hear.
3. Touching - can you feel three things?
4. Becoming aware, can you smell two things?
5. And what one thing can you taste?

Notice where you are and what you are doing.

When we use anchors consistently in our day-to-day lives, we usually feel more grounded and less overwhelmed. And gradually over time, our Window of Tolerance grows and we feel more calm, safe and better able to manage our triggers.



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Media Release -

People with disability have the right to be safe

People with disability who have experienced violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation can now access free and independent counselling and advocacy support.

Around 4.4 million Australians have disability, and research shows they are more likely to experience violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation than people without disability.

The National Counselling and Referral Service provides free and independent counselling and advocacy support for people with disability who have experienced violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation, or are engaging with the Disability Royal Commission, as well as their families, carers and support workers. 

Trauma specialists Blue Knot Foundation have been funded by the Australian Government to manage the National Counselling and Referral Service.

Dr Cathy Kezelman AM, President of Blue Knot Foundation, says Blue Knot is a safe and confidential first point of contact for people who may need emotional support.

“Blue Knot provides short-term, trauma-informed phone counselling for people with disability, families, carers, advocates, service providers and sector workers,” Dr Kezelman says.

“Blue Knot also refers people to longer-term counselling as well as advocacy, legal, financial and other supports.”

Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA) is the national representative body for advocacy organisations throughout Australia. 

Mary Mallett, DANA’s CEO, says advocates are supporting an increasing number of people with disability since the Disability Royal Commission kicked off in 2019.

“Advocates can help people to tell their story to the Disability Royal Commission, arrange accessible supports such as interpreters, and connect people to services such as legal, financial and other supports.”

“Advocates are also available to support people with disability to make decisions about engaging with the Disability Royal Commission.”

Contact the National Counselling and Referral Service on 1800 421 468 9am to 6pm (AEST) weekdays and 9am to 5pm (AEST) weekends and national public holidays for counselling support, information and referral, or ask to be connected to a counsellor or advocate near you.

People who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment can contact the National Counselling and Referral Service through the National Relay Service on 133 677.

Counsellors and advocates can arrange free translations and interpreting for people who need help in another language.


Culturally appropriate support is available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability and their families.

Visit the Blue Knot Foundation website or www.dana.org.au for more information.

Visit the Department of Social Services’ website for captioned videos, Easy Read and Auslan resources, and a full list of organisations providing counselling, advocacy, legal and financial supports for the Disability Royal Commission.

If you are currently experiencing any form of violence or abuse, or you are concerned for your or someone else’s safety, call 000 immediately.

Download the full media release here
 


 

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Child Wise develops resources for the National Redress Scheme

 

 

Child Wise has developed a number of resources, including videos and fact sheets, to help young people learn about the National Redress Scheme (the Scheme), as they may be eligible to apply when they turn 18. Resources have also been designed to assist parents, caregivers and professionals in supporting young people who may have experienced institutional child sexual abuse to access the Scheme.
 
Under the Scheme, they may be eligible for:
 
- counselling and psychological services,
- a direct personal response from the institution(s) responsible for the abuse, such as an apology, via letter, phone or video, or where possible in person,
- a redress payment.
 

For more information on the National Redress Scheme and to download the resources, please go here



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National Counselling and Referral Service (Disability)

The National Counselling and Referral Service is now not only supporting people affected by the Disability Royal Commission. It is a key trauma-informed support for people with disability, family members, carers, advocates and workers who have experienced or witnessed abuse, neglect, violence and exploitation during these difficult times. Anyone who wishes to access this support does not need to make a submission or have any prior involvement with the Disability Royal Commission.

Who can call?

If you are living with disability (or are a family member of or caring for a person with disability) and 

- have experienced abuse, neglect, violence or exploitation 
- are currently experiencing abuse, neglect, violence or exploitation
- are distressed or anxious about coronavirus
- are affected by the Disability Royal Commission

If you are a family member of or caring for a person with a disability

If you are a support worker, advocate or provide a legal or financial service

You can call the National Counselling and Referral Service on 1800 421 468.   

This service operates from: 

• 9am-6pm AEST/AEDT Mon-Fri and 
• 9am-5pm AEST/AEDT Sat, Sun and public holidays.

The service provides:

- short-term trauma-informed phone counselling and support 
- education around trauma and distress
- a gateway to frontline services
- supported transfers with the Disability Royal Commission
- supported transfers to advocacy and legal services
- information and referrals to other services


What happens when you call?

- Our counsellors are here to listen and support you
- Everyone’s experience of trauma is different, and everyone has different needs
- Counsellors will provide support in your call based on your needs


Ways you can contact us

Telephone:  You can call 1800 421 468 or 02 6146 1468 to speak with a counsellor

Video Conference (VC):   You can use videoconference if you can not or find it hard to use the phone.  Please  first email us at ncrscounsellors@blueknot.org.au  or call 1800 421 468 with a support person 

Webchat (WC): 
Webchat is for people who need support, information or referrals.  It is found at the bottom of our webpage. It is not a counselling service. 

SMS: SMS is for people we have connected with by phone or webchat. We use it to  provide information or referrals. For SMS contact 0451 266 601. It is not a counselling service. 

If in crisis, in need of immediate support or concerned for your safety:
Call Lifeline on 13 11 14. If you are currently experiencing any form of violence or abuse, or are concerned for your safety, call 000.


Accessibility

If you find it difficult to hear or speak you can contact us through the National Relay Service (NRS). Please phone 133 677.

If you need support in another language you can use the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) for free by:

- Calling the National Counselling and Referral Service on 1800 421 468 and asking for an interpreter, OR

- Calling TIS on 131 450 and asking to be connected to National Counselling and Referral Service on 1800 421 468



 

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Disclaimer - Blue Knot Foundation makes every effort to provide readers of its website and newsletters with information which is accurate and helpful. It is not however a substitute for counselling or professional advice. While all attempts have been made to verify all information provided, Blue Knot Foundation cannot guarantee and does not assume any responsibility for currency, errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the information provided.