Giving rural Aussies the support they need

9 Dec 2016

Helping rural Australians through tough times was prime motivation for Jim Campion when he chose to return to full-time study in his early fifties.

Four years after graduation from The University of Queensland Master of Counsellingcourse, his outreach work with Lifeline now extends across a vast portion of the state’s south west.

“I was certainly unsure about the expectations, my capacity and the challenges I would face with full-time study,” Mr Campion said.

“In reflection, it was great preparation and I’ve been working as a family counsellor with Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Queensland since 2013.

“My role involves working with both referred and self-referred individuals, couples and families for counselling support and therapeutic interventions.

“I’m based in Charleville, but the role also involves face-to-face outreach work and telephone consultations in towns such as Mitchell, Quilpie, Thargomindah, Tambo and Cunnamulla.”

Inspired to pursue a career in counselling after volunteering at Wesley Mission’s Wheller Gardens at Chermside in 2009, Mr Campion began studying full-time at UQ in 2011.

He credits UQ educator Associate Professor Judith Murray for fanning the flames of his interest with her own commitment and passion for counselling.

Another who inspired Mr Campion was Grace Harwood who managed Ipswich bereavement agency Hilda’s House, where he underwent placement.

Among the more interesting projects Mr Campion has been involved with was the response to Cyclone Oswald, which displaced thousands of residents in the Wide Bay-Burnett region in 2013 and caused billions of dollars of damage.

“I was asked at that time by the Australian Counselling Association to lead a team of six counsellors on a crisis support community initiative,” Mr Campion said.

“Cyclone Oswald devastated and flooded not only Bundaberg, but also the interior towns like Gayndah, Mundubbera, Eidsvold and Monto.

“Being entrusted with a position where I could coordinate the assistance offered to those people was both humbling and a privilege.”

Looking to the future, Mr Campion says he would like to continue his practice with individual and couple’s counselling, and have specific focus on assisting men with mental and emotional wellbeing.

Further information is available about gaining Master of Counselling accreditation on the UQ School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work website.

Media: Robert Burgin, UQ Communications, 7 3346 3035, +61 448 410 364.