How to opt out of My Health Record

If you don’t want a record created for you the deadline to opt out is fast approaching.

After midnight tonight, a My Health Record will be created for every Australian.

To complete the online opt-out process for either yourself or your dependents under 18 (listed on your Medicare card) as a minimum, you will need your Medicare card and driver licence (or other identification).

If you need to opt-out of a My Health Record for someone over 18 who is dependent on you, additional documentation is required and you may need to contact the My Health Record Helpline on 1800 723 471.

The following video steps through the process;

Once you have completed the opt-out process, you cannot cancel your request however if you change your mind down the track, and would like to create a My Health Record you can re-register any time.

For more information visit the My Health Record website or phone the 24/7 helpline on 1800 723 471.


Here’s to presence rather than presents

While most people appear to be whizzing around trying to make a dent in their Christmas shopping list, I’ve been reading about the psychology of Christmas.

Start digging and you’ll find lots of studies showing that lower emotional wellbeing is common at Christmas.

When did society declare that Christmas should become so stressful?

Considering it’s meant to be ‘the most wonderful time of the year’, it certainly has its trying moments, doesn’t it?

Perhaps this is a good time to remember that presence is more important than presents. By that I mean, choosing to spend time with those you cherish and really being mindful to be in the room.
Not thinking about how much you have to do, or which presents you haven’t bought yet but really enjoying moments of quality time.

This is so much more important than dragging yourself to every single social outing just because you feel you should or spending far too much on gifts you can’t really afford.

If you switch on the TV, ads will pretend that everyone else is playing happy families and filling the fridge with enough food to feed 5000. It’s all so over the top and unrealistic.

In reality, it’s a tough time of year for many.

It’s a time when feelings of nostalgia and isolation can be overwhelming. Many feel lonely at Christmas and it’s important to remember that not everyone will spend it surrounded by family they love. There are alienated parents right across the country (and the world) that will be carrying a heavy sense of loss at this time of year especially.

So, this is a really important time of year for self-care.

Setting boundaries is crucial and saying ‘no’ is essential.

It is perfectly wise to make time for yourself rather than cramming your diary full just for the sake of it.

Take time to do things you genuinely enjoy and make the time to feel grateful for what you do have.

Also, you don’t have to completely abandon your health because it’s Christmas, it’s perfectly acceptable to take care of yourself. Eating well and getting plenty of sleep will ensure you come out into the New Year without feeling like a shadow of your former self.

Importantly, don’t fall for the hype and don’t get overwhelmed – keep this Christmas in perspective!

International Day of People with Disability

International Day of People with Disability 2018 – Empowering Inclusive Workplaces

Today, Monday 3 December 2018 we celebrate International Day of People with Disability and the theme for this year is empowering and ensuring inclusiveness and equality. This is a timely reminder as the likelihood of living with disability increases with age and we will see increasing levels of disability on the Gold Coast in the future.

Disability in the workplace is more common than people think, with 1 in 5 Queenslanders having a disability of some sort, including mental, intellectual and physical disability.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 27,500 Gold Coast residents have a profound or severe disability, needing assistance in one or more of the three core activity areas of self-care, mobility and communication. To support this need, over 44,800 residents provided unpaid assistance to a person with a disability in 2016.

The employment statistics are equally concerning, with 2.1 million Australian of work age having a disability (15-64 years old) – just over 1 million of these workers are employed and approximately 115,000 are looking for work. Graduates with a disability face a greater challenge as they take 56 per cent longer to gain fulltime employment than other graduates.

According to the National Disability Strategy, work is a key factor in an individual gaining economic security and achieving social inclusion. Employers in our community play an integral part in empowering disabled workers and can provide an inclusive workplace by being aware of the law and following some simple tips:

  • Check if your workplace complies with the Disability (Access to Premises-Buildings) Standard 2010 building code to ensure easy access to your building.
  • Employers have a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments to enable an employee with a disability to perform their duties, including providing flexible working hours, regular breaks and modifications to workstations and work instructions.
  • Familiarise yourself with your responsibilities and obligations under the Fair Work Act to ensure employees are provided with a safe and inclusive work environment.
  • Avoid discriminating against prospective employees when advertising for a position. For example, does the position description truly reflect the essential requirements of the role, or is there some flexibility for workers with a disability?
  • An employee with a disability has the right to ask their employer for modifications to their workplace or situation. If these adjustments are considered ‘reasonable’, the employer is obligated to implement them.
  • Anti-discrimination laws apply regardless of whether or not an employee’s disability was the result of a work-related injury. Employers need to be aware of this if they receive a request for an adjustment.

For example, to provide for an employee with a disability, an employer might allow:

  • a change to duties or tasks
  • flexible working hours
  • regular breaks
  • workstation adjustments
  • modifications to work instructions or reference manuals
  • installation of ramps or other equipment.

Today, let’s celebrate the outstanding achievements of those living with a disability and focus as a community on accelerating the eradication of barriers to employment and inclusion.

For more information about the International Day of People with Disability visit: –



Has alcohol become a problem for you?

There will be people reading this whose response to this question is, “No – I enjoy drinking and I know it’s not a problem in my life.” To you I say, congratulations, go forth and enjoy a drink or two for me!

But there will be others reading this who have niggling doubts lurking in the back of their mind saying, “Yes, my drinking is worrying me”. And you are the people this piece really hopes to help.

It’s three years since I drank any alcohol and for a very long time before I called it quits I knew it was slipping away from me. I felt guilt, shame and absolutely crippled with fear and anxiety.

Every time I write about quitting booze I get a flurry of messages from people who are worried about their own drinking, concerned about their partner or a friend.

Honestly, you would be amazed at how common this is. So, most importantly, don’t panic:

  • You are not alone.
  • You are not the only person who feels shudders of dread/guilt.
  • The fact that you’re even putting thought into this is a good sign.
  • You are not the only person who feels that they’re hiding their drinking from those close to them.
  • You are not the worst person in the world.
  • You are not the only person who is drinking alone.
  • You are not the only person whose relationships are being affected by your drinking.
  • You don’t have to struggle alone.

Now I have a little clarity I would say that the most important factor I did not understand was why I was drinking. I had no tools to deal with stress, I was lonely, unhappy and all of this mounting pressure cooker contributed.

Time after time I would start the week with good intentions about cutting right back but there was always an excuse. And that is the truth: there will always be an excuse to drink if you don’t draw a line.

I remember looking at my diary and thinking, “Well, I can’t do it this week because I’ve got two events, dinner with a friend and a birthday, so maybe I’ll think about it next week.”

Next week turns into next month before you know it it’s Christmas and you don’t stand a chance.

If you clicked on this article and didn’t answer “Nope” straight away, you have absolutely nothing to lose by talking to someone about your drinking.

Speak to your GP who will be able to point you in the direction of experts in your local area. Or if that feels too daunting, send me a message and we’ll see if we can shine a little light and reassurance your way. Most importantly, let’s plant a seed of hope today because you don’t have to battle alone.’s website has some good material to read and it says, “Facing up to the fact that you might have a problem takes courage. Deciding to get some help is a really brave move, but it can be one of the best things you’ll ever do.”

Those are wise words. So, ask yourself the title question again and make today the day you draw a line, take a deep breath and start finding some peace of mind.


How quitting alcohol has improved my mental health

Someone asked me over the weekend why I don’t drink anymore. It feels like a different lifetime when I was a hard-partying social butterfly.

Now I can honestly say that I don’t drink anymore because every area of my life has improved without it. I’m happier, healthier and have earned my own trust back.

Finally, I quite like me.

It’s been three years since I drank any alcohol. I never imagined I’d be able to say that. I don’t drink it, eat it in food, cook with it or even eat it in chocolates. There is no alcohol in my home and there never will be.

Drinking stopped being fun for me a long time before I called last orders at the bar.

I started drinking when I was 17 and it was fun for many years. But it turned into an unhealthy coping mechanism and in the end I lost control of it.

It was destroying me. No, actually, I was knowingly destroying me and alcohol was the substance I used to enable that. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that clarity at the time. That is why I saw no future.

When I crossed that line it was incredibly hard to stop. I had known that my drinking had become a problem for a very long time but I drowned that out in denial.

Honestly, I didn’t know where to begin with changing my life. This is why I will always talk about how awful life became for me; I know others are still stuck living that nightmare and that makes me feel physically sick. The amount of empathy and compassion I have for those still struggling is immense.

Those dark times changed me as a person and I’ll never forget that.

I would wake up with tears rolling down my cheeks in the night.

I would lay on the cold tiles of my bathroom to try to calm down panic attacks.

Part of me wanted to tackle it but it had gone so far that I’d forgotten how to live without it. Getting home from work, opening the fridge and pouring a large glass of wine was as much part of my everyday as brushing my teeth.

I’d forgotten how to unwind without it. I had no tools to deal with stress without alcohol and I had no idea who I was as a person behind a hard-working, hard-drinking, hard-partying persona.

The problem was that stressful days drifted into unhappy years so I numbed my unhappiness rather than begin to unravel any of that. I lost sight of my own truth.

Even thinking about it now makes me sad for who I was then and how nearly I didn’t make it.

I was years into an incredibly demanding career that wasn’t making me happy. Unfortunately, I didn’t realise that at the time either.

It’s taken me years of sobriety and a daily focus of working on myself to begin to find some answers.

I had never addressed childhood trauma. I did not understand the contributing factors that triggered major depression and anxiety.

There are so many years of awful, heartbreaking trauma for me to unpack.

And that is why I don’t drink anymore: I’m done with making my life harder.

I want to enjoy putting myself to bed early, waking up early and feeling glad to be alive. I’ve found a new way of living and I’m so relieved those dark times are in the past.