News / Business / 1st July 2021
NEW BIZ: feels good to be heard
One year ago, Claire Brown only ever dreamed of having her own counselling clinic in Coonabarabran, but through her passion for accessible mental health services and a good dose of determination, she has recently been able to launch her own business - Claire Brown Counselling. The Coonabarabran Times chatted with Claire to find out more about her new business and why looking after your mental health and wellbeing should be a priority for everyone...
Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I’m a local girl, having completed my education at the primary and high schools in town. I’ve spent the past six years balancing university studies and raising a family, and have been working in the local community services sector for four of those years. I’m really passionate about supporting others to identify and achieve goals that will enhance their quality of life. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with family, playing lawn bowls and reading.
Where did the idea to open your own counselling clinic spring from?
The idea of providing counselling has been on my mind for a while. I noticed the gaps in our local sector, with people often having to face long waiting periods or travel out of town to access counselling supports. I wanted to provide a service where I could help locals access affordable counselling, and given my industry background, education and interest in mental health, opening a counselling practice made sense to me.
Where will you be seeing clients in Coonabarabran and how regularly?
I have a dedicated office space in Coonabarabran where I can see clients face-to-face. I also provide in-home services to selected clients to help improve accessibility. I am already outreaching to Baradine, with opportunity to extend this to other communities in the Warrumbungle Shire. Clients can access the service as often as required, but I see most clients on a weekly or fortnightly basis.
I also provide online consultations, which allow people to receive counselling in their own home, anywhere in the country where they have access to the internet. Again, it’s about improving accessibility to important services for our community members.
What services are you offering?
Being trained in generalist counselling, I’m really lucky to have a wide knowledge base and be able to offer services to a number of presenting needs. I offer individual counselling for a range of issues including anxiety, depression, stress, grief and trauma as well as communication, social skills and behaviour management.
I also offer couples and family counselling, I am trained to facilitate mindfulness programs and am an NDIS provider for counselling and other therapies.
Why is mental health so important?
Mental health is really important for our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It affects how we cope with stress, interact with others and can impact our decision-making ability. Being mentally healthy can help us have good relationships, be productive, cope with life stressors as well as support our physical health. There is a clear link seen now between mental and physical health, with research showing mental health disorders raising risk for physical disease such as stroke and cardiovascular disease. Mental health really does affect all aspects of our life, and so reducing the stigma around seeking support for mental health difficulties is really important to ensure people can continue to lead quality lives.
Any future plans for the business?
I have lots of ideas for the future of the business. Something currently in the works is planning regular workshops for kids and families to learn about mindfulness, something which is really important for social and emotional wellbeing. I’m also hoping to expand the NDIS supports I can offer, and be able to create more local jobs in this sector.
Why do you think it is important for regional communities to have access to specialised healthcare services such as counselling?
On average, people living in rural and remote communities have poorer access to health services and so being able to access specialised services like counselling is important in raising the health outcomes for our communities. Currently there are long waiting lists for services like counselling, and many providers offer only brief contact, when sometimes people may require longer-term interventions to address their presenting needs. Being able to provide this service to our community I hope will improve access and outcomes for our locals.