Mental health support helps Zora overcome barriers

Afghan woman Zora


Zora is a single mother of four children who arrived from Afghanistan in Australia three years ago on a refugee visa. She had complex physical and mental health issues, a history of self-harm and suicidal ideation and depression. She also experienced low English language skills and digital literacy, and a lack of understanding of available support service systems.

Client situation

With small children to care for on her own in an unfamiliar and modern society, Zora’s mental health started to deteriorate further. Combined with multiple barriers in accessing support and making decisions in regards to raising and caring safely for her children, Zora was struggling immensely upon and had no strong community support or friends to rely on. With the rising cost of living and increased medical and rental costs, she was also finding it difficult to make ends meet on her limited social security payment.

South East Community Links (SECL) supported Zora as part of its Settlement Engagement and Transition Support program and referred her to other support services including specialist mental health practitioners. Zora’s Settlement Case Manager provided her with necessary support, and advocacy using varied client-centred, strength and empowering approaches and trauma-informed practice.


Improved mental health

SECL’s Settlement Case Manager coordinated referrals and intensive follow-ups with a mental health specialist, a General Practitioner and Monash Health. Zora was also provided with counselling services and mentoring on self-care. As a result, her physical and mental health have significantly improved since engaging with the Settlement Engagement and Transition Support program.

Access to public housing
Zora’s Case Manager provided intensive support to help Zora apply for priority housing with supporting documents and medical reports.
Access to education and training

Zora was referred to English-language classes and mentored to improve
her English with regular attendance. She was also referred to a driver
education program to obtain her driver’s licence and a financial
counsellor to improve her financial literacy and management skills.

Improved family relationships

Zora’s Case Manager helped her to connect with a women’s friendship café and facilitated participation in community activities, workshops and events. These social connections have fostered self-confidence, motivation and enhanced Zora’s ability to make her own decisions and plan for future.

The Settlement Engagement and Transition Support program is funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs.