Louise Starr
NDIS Support Co-ordinator/Psychosocial Recovery Coach/Mental Health Trainer

Hi there and welcome to Homegrown Recovery.

I am the owner and founder of Homegrown Recovery, as well as being an NDIS participant myself. I established Homegrown Recovery to create a community of peers who can share how they stay well and support others to do the same. By role modelling our own recovery we are shaping a positive culture that embraces the contributions and self-mastery of people living with a psychosocial disability.

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I place a high value on the lived experience, learned skills and knowledge my team and I have developed. Our recovery skills have grown over years of working on our own wellbeing to reclaim a life worth living after experiencing times when our mental health has set us back. We have honed our recovery skills through trial and error and as peers connecting through mutual story-telling, by sharing strategies and providing emotional support to help us stay well.

Peers helping each other to overcome the stigma and challenges of navigating the mental health sector is a movement gaining momentum across mental health services world-wide. If you want to learn to climb a mountain, you find a mountain climber to teach you. In mental health, we call this ‘peer support’.

As lived experience peer workers, we help by sharing parts of our own journey that show how we benefit from seeking mental health support. We know the value of early intervention, natural supports, holistic services and people treating you with dignity who really listen to you, who get to know where you are and where you want help to make the changes that you are ready to make.

I chose ‘Homegrown’ because home is the heart and soul of our lives, it’s the hub where plans are made and dreams are nurtured into ‘being’. It’s the little steps you take at home that can be the most rewarding but also can be the most challenging. Making changes to when you eat and sleep, carrying out your daily chores and maintaining your self-care; sustainable recovery must start at home.

I’ve had a career in the community sector for 15 years now, working across three public hospital services, Mental Health, Family, Child & Youth services, Aged Care, Foster Care, Youth Work, Dual Diagnosis, Residential Disability Group Homes and Lived Experience Co-design Work. I also volunteered with Lifeline Telephone Crisis Line, several family and carer psycho-education programs and various family and carer support groups. I found my calling in the human services sector and hope to create a legacy for my daughter and demonstrate how much people with mental health challenges can contribute to shaping the future of services for our children and our children’s children.

My studies include a Diploma in Community Recovery (Indigenous Counselling and Inter-generational Trauma) as well as a dual Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work and Mental Health (consumer and carer stream) and a Cert IV in Training and Assessment. I’m also qualified as a Core Positive Behaviour Practitioner and a Personal Medicine Coach.

Homegrown Recovery is honoured to provide Gold Coast TAFE students’ with vocational placement opportunities. We endeavour to support our emerging ‘peer’ workforce by giving them opportunities in the NDIS sector and helping their future careers to flourish.

Charmaine
Peer Support Worker

Hi I’m Charmaine.

I am passionate about helping others navigate their own path of recovery. I chose to study and work in Mental Health Peer Work because the main thing that helped me get well was talking to a peer who was further down the road of recovery than me. Talking to someone who had walked the walk proved to me that I too could live a good life despite my diagnosis. I am also a carer to a family member who has a mental illness, so I have a passion for helping families support their loved ones.

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I am a good listener, allowing others to tell their story in their own way and in their own time. I accept different points of view and appreciate that although our stories may be similar in many ways, we are also very different. I have a practical, down-to-earth approach to wellness but my strength is letting you lead the way in your own recovery.

My recovery has led me to a place where I can get out of bed, parent my two boys, thrive in my work, hold down a relationship and manage my finances. To stay well I keep a diary where I monitor my sleep, mood and daily habits. By staying self-aware I can look out for those little warning signs that signal I need to get my mental health back on track. I also try to exercise a little each day and practice mindfulness using the Calm App. Most importantly I surround myself with supportive people who help me see the brighter side of life.

Andrew
Peer Support Worker

Hi I’m Andrew

I have 20+ years lived experience navigating services and 12 years of recovery. I am excited to meet you and engage in supporting you with your goals. In my own recovery, I enjoy bike riding early every morning, going to regular meetings and support groups where I have built a network of peers and friendships and am able to work on my own personal growth to stay well. Family are important to me and I am a proud father and partner. We eat healthy and spend quality time together as a family and support each other through the good times and tough times too. I am passionate about working in roles that allow me to demonstrate that my own recovery can inspire others and focus on the strengths a person has and building on self autonomy and wellbeing approaches that are person-led. I look forward to getting to know what works well for you and areas you wish to improve in your life. Recovery is a process and I personally relate to how challenging it can be and that it is something we work on every day. I believe the power dynamics in recovery can be removed when we share from a perspective of being in the same boat together and collaborating around good decisions and choices to achieve a sense of worth and taking baby steps in the beginning while our confidence grows. In hope and recovery, Andrew