Supporting Mature-Age Job Seekers in the Jewish Community

By Simon Jedwab

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In recent times, Jewish Care’s Employment and Education Centre (EEC) has seen an influx of mature-age job seekers requesting support in finding employment. 34%, or 130, of the job seekers the EEC currently supports are aged over 50 years old.

Throughout the next decade, the proportion of the population engaged in employment compared to that supported by the welfare system is set to reduce remarkably. Economically, job seekers aged 50 years and over represent a particularly concerning demographic. Due to economic and demographic trends, it is becoming increasingly important that older Australians remain in the workforce for as long as they are willing and able, as people aged over 50 are increasingly without the financial security to retire. Due to this, people are often forced to retire later in life. In 2014, 71% of people interviewed in a study conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics intended to retire at 65, up from 48% ten years before, whilst 23% intended to retire at or above age 70, compared to only eight percent in 2004.

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Let’s Stamp Out Stigma

By Cassandra Barrett, Mental Health Promotion and Resource Officer.

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Mental Health Week is something that should matter to all of us.

45% – nearly 1 in 2 Australians – will experience mental illness at some point in their lifetime. It’s a virtual certainty that every one of us will have a loved one – a partner, child, friend, colleague – who is affected by mental illness, whether we’re aware of it or not. And every one of us can play a role, no matter how small, in helping to create a society that’s more open and inclusive.

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Mental Health and the Jewish Community

By Marilyn Kraner

The text below is from a presentation given by Marilyn Kraner, Individual & Family Support Manager, at a recent forum hosted by the Jewish Community Council of Victoria. The forum was on mental health and social inclusion for the LGBTI community.

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A question we often hear at Jewish Care is “What is different about mental health and the Jewish community?” The answer is both simple and complex.

The short answer is that in terms of prevalence, there is no reason to think that the Jewish community is any different to the mainstream population. We know that in any given year, 1 in 5 Australians will experience mental illness, and almost 1 in 2 will be affected at some point in their lifetime. A significant body of research shows that the prevalence of mental illness in minority groups or culturally and linguistically diverse communities mirrors that of the broader population; we can therefore assume that there is nothing particularly different or unusual about the rate of mental illness in the Jewish community.

The longer answer is that in terms of impact, there is a significant difference. While we know that stigma around mental ill health remains a problem in the broader Australian community, its impact in a close-knit community like ours is particularly challenging, for a number of different reasons.

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The Two of Us

By Cassie Barrett and Marilyn Kraner

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On R U OK? Day we talk a lot about the importance of checking in with our loved ones, including our colleagues. But what actually happens if you say you’re not okay?

Cassie
Mental Health Promotion Resource Officer

I first met Marilyn when I interviewed for this role. I was upfront about my mental health from the start – I mentioned it at the interview. I think being a mental health role made it a bit easier – you kind of assume there will be at least some level of understanding around mental health in this sector – but it was really her approachability that made it easy to talk about. Marilyn’s response at the time was something like “Do you have an idea of what style of management is most helpful for you?” – just really practical, sensible and open. Continue reading

Being Present in the Moment to Care

By Bill Appleby, Chief Executive Officer, Jewish Care Victoria

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We must care – it’s in our name and integral to our mission. We need to make sure we are always present in the moment to care. At the end of the day – it’s what we do!

At Jewish Care we are blessed with 870 committed staff and 500 volunteers who positively impact people’s lives. Our commitment to the community we serve is to purposefully live the values of family, kindness, charity and respect in all that we do.

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Young Boardroom Professionals – Yesod: A Pioneering Program

By Eyal Genende

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We live in a rapidly changing world. As the digital revolution continues to unleash disruptive waves across the economy, a younger generation of digitally native professionals has valuable insight and perspective to offer at a board level. But how do we ensure these capable young professionals are prepared for the rigor and responsibility of board life?

Jewish Care Victoria examined this question through its inaugural next-gen board training program, aptly named ‘Yesod’, meaning ‘foundation’ in Hebrew. Together with nine other young professionals, I was given the chance to consider this and other governance issues. In the process we gained greater insight into the board management of Jewish Care, a not-for-profit organisation which supports more than 5,000 people annually in the Victorian Jewish community primarily through the provision of disability, aged care and other social services.

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Lack of Affordable Housing in the Jewish Community

By Hugh Cattermole & Melinda Kidgell  

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Addressed in Pro Bono Australia’s article on 18 January, ‘NFPs Warn Moving On the Homeless Does Not Make Them Disappear’, the open letter signed by 36 funded Victorian homelessness, housing and social services organisations is a powerful commentary on the root causes and stigma surrounding homelessness.

Jewish Care is an unfunded provider of housing services to our community. Jewish Care addresses the root causes of homelessness, and provides transitional housing support to those experiencing homelessness, or those at risk of homelessness.

Each issue raised in the letter parallels the experience of being on the front line of the current affordable housing crisis in the Victorian Jewish community. We also urgently need more housing – the numbers just don’t add up. There have always been long waiting times for public and community housing, however what we have seen escalate in the previous 12 months is the numbers of people in the Victorian Jewish community being squeezed out of the private rental market. This has had a significant impact on the poor and those on a fixed or low income.

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It’s Our Duty to Tackle Family Violence

By Bill Appleby, CEO Jewish Care

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Aged care is one of Australia’s largest service industries, employing over 350,000 staff who deliver services to over one million people.

As an industry, not only are we well positioned but we have a social responsibility to take a lead role in tackling the hidden scourge of family violence in Australian society to create a better society for future generations.

We, as employers, should challenge ourselves to take a broader perspective regarding the role our organisations play in the communities that we support.

At the end of the day, our organisations are not just workplaces; they are communities of people – staff, volunteers, residents, clients and families who derive a sense of purpose and belonging from their involvement.

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Not Violent. Not Silent.

dsc_2237exThe below excerpt is part of a presentation by Hugh Cattermole, Chief Operating Officer of Jewish Care Victoria, in support of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25).


My name is Hugh and I am the Chief Operating Officer here at Jewish Care. I am also a member of Jewish Care’s recently-formed men’s committee: a group of men who have come together to act as “gender champions” of the organisation, in order to help create awareness of family violence and promote gender equity. I’m also father to two young children.

I’m here today to talk about violence against women, and in particular, men’s responsibility.

Violence against women occurs with frightening frequency, both in Australia and around the world.

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Dov’s Story – Living with Bipolar Disorder

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The below excerpt is part of a presentation by Dr Dov Degen at the launch of Jewish Care’s Reach Out, Speak Out campaign.

My name is Dov and I am a medical doctor. Outside the hospital, I enjoy socialising, exercising, travelling and spending time with my fiancé and our pet dog. I also happen to have bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression.

When I first tell people about my diagnosis, they are generally surprised because I am so high functioning. I have lived with bipolar disorder for nearly 15 years and although I have been affected by episodes of both soaring heights and soul-destroying lows, I have, for the most part, led a productive and relatively balanced life.

I was first hospitalised during medical school but despite this setback, I successfully completed my medical degree with honours and am currently completing my specialist training. When I am well, I am a high functioning and successful individual. I acknowledge my illness, but it is not who I am. Bipolar disorder does not define me anymore than an individual diagnosed with high blood pressure or diabetes.

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