People in Private: Joy Schaffner

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In this Mental Health Week 2017 special edition, the spotlight is on mental health – the elephant in the room.

The Wyndham Clinic Private Hospital Intake Clinician, Joy Schaffner is exactly as her name suggests; joyful, fun-loving and loves to immerse herself in a good book. When she is not spending time with her family she is studying towards her Masters in Advanced Nursing Practice in Mental Health.

What do you love about your job and why?
What I love most about my job is having the opportunity to work closely with families and carers in providing access to services for their loved ones during their most vulnerable times.

It also gives me great pleasure to be a part of every individual’s unique recovery journey even before their hospital admission.

I also love working collaboratively with my colleagues across all disciplines in supporting the transition of patients from the community to the inpatient setting as well as their transition back to their home environment.

Do you have a favourite quote or phrase?
“Tomorrow is another day.”

What is something about you, your colleagues don’t know?
Growing up I always wanted to be a flight attendant, but unfortunately I didn’t grow tall enough to be able to reach the overhead lockers.

How do your friends describe you?
My friends would describe me as fun-loving, outgoing and a sociable person. They would also describe me as someone who is approachable and who they find easy to talk to.

What do you do in your spare time?
My spare time is spent with my family. We love being outdoors, riding our bikes and exploring new places. I also like to immerse myself in a good novel or movie.

What is something you want to achieve this year?
Over the past 5 years I have dedicate myself to furthering my career, so in 2012 I decided to return to study. I completed my Bachelor of Nursing in Mental Health in 2014 and continued on to do my Masters degree in Advanced Nursing Practice in Mental Health. So this year I hope to be a step closer to completing the course.

I would also like to adopt another puppy. We have a shar-pei puppy named Thelma and we are hoping to find her a friend soon.

Why do you think it’s important to raise mental health awareness?
For many people who live with mental illness, stigma is a significant contributor to a host of consequences, such as hopelessness, reduced self-esteem, delayed help-seeking, diminished quality of life, and poorer clinical outcomes.

Raising mental health awareness helps breakdown the stigma that is unfortunately associated with mental illness. Starting a conversation about mental health is crucial in the process of raising mental health awareness in order to create improvements in the lives of people with mental illness.

What is one tip to get people to start talking about mental health?
Providing accurate information to the general public about mental illness through education, media campaigns and public service announcements will improve how members of the general public think, feel, and behave towards mental illness and hopefully lead to attitudinal changes.

Is there anything else you want to share about raising mental health awareness?
Helping families know how to talk about mental health is a great place to start for both parents and children, but the problem is parents might not know how to talk to their children about mental illness, whether it be their own mental health or to check on their child’s mental health.

So I think starting the conversation within a family network and giving the parents the right information and guides on how to start a conversation with children is a great place to start breaking down the stigma.

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