Katrina Semple of Shambhala. Photo: John Gass / Tweed Daily News
Katrina Semple of Shambhala. Photo: John Gass / Tweed Daily News John Gass

Mentally ill have a healing network

THE launch of a multi-disciplinary support network is offering fresh hope to people with a mental illness on the Tweed.

The Shambhala United Network (SUN) has been a 30-year dream of Bilambil Heights woman Katrina Semple, who had witnessed the destructive power of substance abuse and bipolar disorder in her family.

Shambhala is a Sanskrit word meaning a mystical place of peace and happiness and SUN takes a holistic approach to mental illness by providing free therapies and techniques to help quieten the mind, relax the body and soothe the soul, Ms Semple said.

The aim of the not-for-profit network is to give people the tools to find a way through the challenges that life presents.

SUN is made up of qualified practitioners from a range of therapies, including yoga, meditation, chiropractic services, massage, hypnotherapy, naturopathy, fitness and nutrition, reiki and feng shui.

The therapists have their own practices but are donating their time and skills voluntarily to the network.

"We have a good team at the moment and numbers are growing," Ms Semple said.

Clients will be referred by doctors or other health professionals and the therapists will work within a recommended mental health treatment program.

"We hope that by helping people find the tools that give them a more positive outlook, and with regular practice, it will lead to less stress and anxiety," Ms Semple said.

This will in turn help to reduce "ripple effects" such as depression, substance abuse and hospital admissions.

Ms Semple's vision is for a Shambhala halfway house in the hinterland as a follow-up for people leaving hospital or rehab.

"My aim is to see the patients leave the shelter enlightened and empowered with the confidence to manage their daily lives and the self-esteem needed to get back into the community."

For more information go to www.sun.org.au.



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