Carol Bernhard - Senior Mental Health Worker

Team Leader Carol Bernhard brings true community to Flourish Australia by reaching out beyond those people the organisation supports directly, to lend a helping hand to their extended families and broader community providers; wherever she sees a need.

Reaching out to bring true community

Team Leader Carol Bernhard brings true community to Flourish Australia by reaching out beyond those people the organisation supports directly, to lend a helping hand to their extended families and broader community providers; wherever she sees a need.   Contrary to what she once believed, Carol has discovered, through her work, that she is a people person. The impartial love and respect that she invests in others is an authentic representation of Flourish Australia’s core values of equality and inclusion. By making a point of including all workers in important tasks, she motivates them to reach their full potential and in turn, progresses the organisation as a whole.

Carol experienced hardship in her youth which she was able to survive and overcome by reaching out for help. Now in a position to help others discover and learn the tools to build healthy relationships, she thrives on finding ways to help people feel connected in the world and build supportive communities of trusted relationships around them as they go after their dreams.

When she joined Flourish Australia five years ago, Carol brought many years of experience as a Case Manager in the youth and community sector to the table. Exposure to the lived experiences of at risk youth has given her practical insights to the complexities of mental health issues that people live with and co-existing factors.  It brought a level of understanding that has enabled her to develop highly effective and non-confrontational ways of communicating in supporting others to get back on their feet and into secure housing.

Carol’s unique insight led to a role in 24 hour supported accommodation services at Leichhardt’s Inner West High & Complex Support Homes where her considerable capabilities were quickly recognised and she was soon asked to take on extra responsibility as House Administrator.  Carol has since been promoted to Team Leader of Leichardt Cluster Homes; a career progression which has proven to be a positive and rewarding step forward both personally and professionally.

Experience has taught Carol that helping individuals to find their place in the world entails actively supporting their families and loved ones as well.  She shines for her selfless and compassionate approach to encouraging everyone around her and her colleagues are motivated by her hard work and dedication. Carol values the flexibility her new role gives her, to provide one-on-one advice and develop ideas with the people she supports in the group homes. 

Life moments that stand out for Carol start with succeeding in getting her driver’s license at the age of 26 and finding the courage to source musicians to join her in an all-female band in Canberra.  20 years on from her first fearful public appearance at a small church in New Zealand, singing has become an intrinsic part of who Carol is and it brings her alive. Performing on stage has been an absolute passion since her teenage years and the skills she acquired over the course of her career have enabled her to take it to a whole new level, supporting international acts in Sydney, Melbourne and Newcastle in recent years.

Rising to the role of Team Leader for Flourish Australia’s Inner West Group has been a high point for her professionally, which she views as an opportunity to stretch herself even further out of her comfort zone.  Leading others means allowing them to progress at their own pace, which helps her to fully appreciate their resilience and develop her own patience with the process of her personal journey.

Carol has found that the path to happiness lies in always moving forward, however slowly, in the direction of what you want and being open to learning from one another along the way – particularly the people you most admire in your desired field.

“Do what makes you most afraid.”  she says. “Write it down; break it down into the steps you need to take to make it happen and with each step in the direction of what you fear, you’ll feel it lose its power and begin to feel true happiness.” 

Carol is honoured to be recognised by her colleagues to participate in the International Women’s Day 2018, Women Advancing Flourish Australia campaign.

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