This summer, Australians have had a focus very much on disaster and suffering. From raging bushfires and severe flooding to a major virus outbreak, our sense of safety and security has been shaken. Many of us are feeling unusually vulnerable.
This sense of vulnerability, however, can be a daily occurrence for many who are suffering with chronic illness, disability, frailty due to age or mental wellbeing. These people face daily challenges navigating Australia’s complex systems of support to find help.
CatholicCare Sydney’s CCareline service is at the forefront of supporting vulnerable people to access the help they need. CCareline was created more than two years ago as a response to the growing number of enquiries CatholicCare Sydney was receiving from people who were struggling to cope but had no idea how to access social services that could help. The number of people calling the service continues to grow. Since January 1st this year, over 3000 calls have been received by the CCareline team.
With more government services moving to consumer-directed care including the National Disability Insurance Scheme and My Aged Care, there is a need for services that could explain the application process and help people understand what services they might expect to receive. People also need to access help in a crisis that they never expected to face and often don’t know who to turn to.
“CCareline’s role as a phone triage service is to listen and to understand a person’s situation,” explains CCareline’s manager Angela Clayton. Once we have a good understanding of their situation, we help them navigate the complex social services landscape to find the support which will best suit them and their families.”
“Sometimes people can’t even say exactly what they need,” says CCareline’s Senior Consultant Cynamon. “They may be distressed, they may cry and often they find it hard to organise their thoughts. Our CCareline counsellor can talk to them and help contain their feelings so that they can feel calmer.”
“I was particularly impressed by the professional, pastoral care provided by CCareline.” Fr. Anthony Bernard
Once CCareline’s team has established the client’s concerns, appropriate sources of help can be offered. This may be a referral to a different service that provides counselling, at-home support, mental health treatment or financial support. CatholicCare Sydney also provides a range of services and CCareline’s consultants can link people to these services without the need for the client to repeat their story over and over again.
CCareline also provides an important link for parishes to refer families who are isolated, needing help. Father Anthony Bernard, Parish Priest of St. Joseph Camperdown, used CCareline recently to support a family from Vietnam. “When I called CCareline they were able to arrange an interpreter. The interpreter clarified the (family’s) situation and CCareline was able to link the family with services. I was particularly impressed by the professional, pastoral care provided by CCareline and their ability to find the appropriate services and resources.”