Catherine was referred to our social work service due to her high levels of emotional distress and suicidal ideation.

Catherine owed $1,000 rent and it was evident that she was in poor mental and physical health. She had been in a contact two months earlier but had not responded to follow up calls or a letter encouraging her to claim Newstart Allowance. She finally called for assistance as she was concerned about eviction. Having no income, Catherine had been living off her savings.

Catherine disclosed to our social worker that she had not lodged a claim because she was ashamed about having been “dobbed in” for something some months previously and thought this was why her payment had been cut off. With her permission, we liaised with Centrelink and discovered that her payment had been stopped because she failed to lodge a fortnightly form; BRQ assured her that she was still entitled to a payment and encouraged her to lodge a fresh claim for Newstart Allowance as well as for the Disability Support Pension (DSP).

The social worker also counselled her about the grief and loss that she was experiencing as a result of her loss of identity; Catherine had previously been a confident, extroverted and sought-after employee but this status had been lost with an abrupt change to her physical and mental health following an operation.

Catherine was linked in with a housing service that assisted her with her rental arrears. Our social worker monitored the progress of her Newstart Allowance and Disability Support Pension claims to ensure that there were no unnecessary delays and provided regular supportive counselling to Catherine who gradually started to show signs of gaining more control over her circumstances.

Catherine was ultimately granted DSP and has started making plans for the future. This story is an example of BRQ’s holistic services: Catherine’s presentation at BRQ with a Centrelink issue proved to be a platform for her to receive crisis counselling and ongoing emotional support as well as referral for assistance with her housing.