Shaping the ethos and culture of Outback Futures

  • Wendy Ferguson, Outback Futures counsellor.
  • Wendy Ferguson, Outback Futures counsellor.

Wendy Ferguson, Outback Futures counsellor.

The mission of Outback Futures is to ‘Renew hope, build resilience and strengthen community’. We recognise that working to support and empower an individual’s mental health and wellbeing journey is profoundly important, but deep and lasting change occurs when the networks and community around that individual simultaneously facilitate safety, confidence and capacity.

Counsellor Wendy Ferguson has been a core part of the Outback Futures team since its inception and has been a key player in shaping our ethos and culture; she embodies everything we are seeing is making an impact in the remote Queensland communities we work alongside.

‘Wendy sits with me when I am afraid and she helps me see the way forward when I don’t think I can move. She believes in me when I don’t know how to. It’s taken me longer than I would like to admit, to realise that you need people in your corner, and I honestly don’t know where I would be if Wendy hadn’t been in mine. She has helped me fundamentally change my life.’ – Young adult from western Queensland

Despite being refreshingly open about her experience of the digital world as a challenging space, she has mastered the capacity to offer clients in our remote communities both consistency and reliability through our telehealth platform. Wendy always works hard to offer best practice in her work, with high integrity and clinical governance.

Wendy has provided therapy in a tent in 40-degree heat. She has stood beside clients at a dusty campdraft and delivered toolbox talks in council workshops. She has been on the road for long hours and days with flies and locusts and everything that life in the bush can throw at you – doing it all with passion and humour.

The neat parameters and boundaries that so often make up a clean city practice fall by the way when you commit to serving the people of the land. Their ever-changing and demanding lifestyle combined with a culture that still finds help-seeking hard, so often means that attending appointments or making time for mental health and wellbeing is not even on people’s radar. In line with the heart and essence of the Outback Futures model, Wendy has developed a flexibility and openness to what her practice will look like, with no hesitation and huge determination to be part of seeing these things change.

‘Wendy is one of the most loving and caring people I have ever met in my life. She is doing her job because she really cares and wants to help. I am so lucky to have met Wendy and to have her ongoing support.’ – West Queensland council worker

Wendy leads a team of counsellors and operates as a senior clinician for Outback Futures in two of our remote western Queensland regions. She is deeply respected by her colleagues and manages to keep the often emotional and heartrending work being done in those teams in perspective, with her roguish sense of humour and her heart-warming camaraderie.

‘Wendy is someone who truly values each and every person, without judgement. She connects and journeys with them to really make a difference in their life. All people around her feel heard and understood. Her authentic and wise counsel resonates.’ – Colleague

There is no question that working in our rural and remote communities is a privilege that Wendy appreciates, feels called to and is deeply passionate about. Her legacy is undoubtedly embedded in individuals, families and whole communities for the long term.

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