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Kevin - The simplest act of kindness can bridge any distance

The simplest acts of kindness, shared within my family, shown by my community, and experienced in the way I’m supported, create a safe space for me and ease my anxiety, which is so beneficial for managing the symptoms of schizophrenia.

I’m a firm believer in the value of education and loved teaching at a Christian college, until my mental health issues progressed to where I struggled to remember the kids’ names or syllabus. 

The symptoms I experience can create a lot of confusion and distress, so having a point of connection I can depend on is very important to me. My wife and I moved from Sydney to Narellan after I became unwell, to be near my sister. Then, when my local community mental health support centre in Armidale closed down, I was referred to Flourish Australia where I’ve found a lot of kindness and understanding. 

On Thursdays, I look forward to one-to-one support. It helps me to maintain a positive frame of mind just to head out for a cup of coffee together. Other times, they’ll give me a hand with the shopping, or whatever is going to be the most practical way of showing a little extra care on that particular day. 

They’re kind enough to drive 24km to where I live and pick me up to join in the group activities they offer on a Tuesday, where I’ve made quite a few new friends. Without that connection, I’d be living very isolated here in this small town. There’s a lot of farmland here and we all live quite a distance from one another, but the community is kind and compassionate which keeps us all close-knit. 

It's funny you know, when I completed my intake form, I was asked what my life goals where and I said I hoped to continue my coin collection together with my grandkids. Though they’re far away in Dubbo, it’s something that connects us over video call. The kindness my grandmother and grandfather invested in me during the time we shared collecting rare stamps and coins, since I was 8 years old, has stayed with me all my life. I want those wonderful memories to continue down the family line. 

However you show kindness, whether it’s showing up for someone when they need it most, or simply enjoying time together, it can only lead to peace and understanding. 

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