What our clients say – a snapshot.

Hear what our young people have to say

During the pandemic we undertook a client survey to find out how the young people in our care are doing – what is going well and what is going not so well – in our continuous strive to better meet their needs.

Data for the client survey was collected over a period of 3 months via an online survey platform. The survey team comprised of volunteers Amy, Bec and Caitlin, headed by Burdekin employee and Volunteer Manager Jill.

The opportunity to participate in the survey was offered to all clients in Burdekin’s housing programs, Out of Home Care and Youth Housing, and in both the Inner West and Northern Beaches regions.

The survey was conducted primarily during the difficult period of Sydney’s lengthy COVID-19 lockdown. This presented the opportunity to undertake a “pulse check” on the state of service delivery during this challenging time on top of the purpose of the survey to gather vital client feedback to inform future decision-making and get a clear understanding of how well we are doing as a service provider.

This is the survey – Shoutback, we asked, they answered.

October is Mental Health Month

There are strong links between mental illness and homelessness

Mental Health and Resilience go Hand in Hand

We compiled a list of tips for managing physical and mental health for times when we may need to restrict our movements or self-isolate. Tips like staying connected, keeping a routine, moving and exercising body and mind – whatever it takes to get through it.

Check out some of these tips:

Check out our multiple support programs and seek help before crisis hits.

In an emergency call: 000. Lifeline – 13 11 14. Kids Help Line (5–25 years) – 1800 55 1800.


One of the main contributors to mental illness is stress. It’s a good idea to know what triggers stress, what it does to us and how we can help prevent it:


Gabor Mate, Hungarian-Canadian physician and author defines trauma as follows:

Trauma is the invisible force that shapes our lives. It shapes the way we live, the way we love and the way we make sense of the world. It is the root of our deepest wounds.

Gabor Mate

Our Programs

At Burdekin we offer therapeutic, holistic, evidence-based, trauma-informed care to our young people. We offer physical and emotional safety – above all – to our young people and our staff. We support young people so they can trust us. Our staff are fully trained to recognise the signs and symptoms of trauma and offer care that is sensitive to our young people’s racial, ethnic, and cultural background, and gender identity.


Bessel van der Kolk, in his book  The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, explores “the extreme disconnection from the body that so many people with histories of trauma and neglect experience” and the most fertile paths to recovery by drawing on his own work and a wealth of other research in three main areas of study: neuroscience, which deals with how mental processes function within the brain; developmental psychopathology, concerned with how painful experiences impact the development of mind and brain; and interpersonal neurobiology, which examines how our own behaviour affects the psychoemotional and neurobiological states of those close to us…. read more.

World Mental Health Day falls on October 10th, not so coincidentally World Homelessness Day falls on the same day.

At the National Youth Homelessness Conference in 2021, Prof. Brian Burdekin AO says:

The Covid 19 pandemic followed closely on the heels of widespread bush fires and floods. The latest evidence is
that these events have been extremely stressful – including for many young Australians – particularly our most
disadvantaged young people.

Prof. Brian Burdekin AO

He also quotes a recent interview with Prof. Pat McGorry:

At least one million young Australians a year are affected by serious mental illness” we know that many
thousands of those have schizophrenia – (expert evidence indicates approximately 10% of those young
people will take their own lives if they don’t get adequate care.)

Prof Pat McGorry

Read more here. And in the National Homelessness Conference 2019:

In the Mental Illness Report we concluded there were very strong links between homelessness and
its tendency to exacerbate difficulties suffered by mentally ill people –and between mental illness
and its tendency to increase the risk of homelessness. Clearly there was an inter-relationship there
which had to be addressed and in many ways which was not being addressed.

Prof. Brian Burdekin AO

Read more here.

Resources – things to do in self-isolation

Keep busy with these resources during lockdown

This resources list, is part of our stay healthy and well during Covid-19 series. You can view the other posts in the series here:

Sleep – Our Best Kept Health Secret

Covid-19 Health, Safety and Well-being Resources

Tips for Staying Healthy and Well

In an emergency call: 000

Lifeline – 13 11 14

Kids Help Line (5–25 years) – 1800 55 1800

Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467

Beyond Blue – 1800 512 348

MensLine Australia – 1300 789 978

SANE Australia – 1800 18 7263

Out tips to stay healthy and well during self-isolation

Keeping physically and mentally active is key.

Here are some of our tips:

TED Talks – who doesn’t love a good TED Talk for motivation and inspiration?!

Headspace is a mindfulness app and your guide to a healthy, happy mind in just a few minutes each day.

Audible – no time to read a book? Instead listen to one as you workout, organise or relax – avail of their 30 day trial.

My Life – is a website to help you build emotional strength.

Patatap – try out this a portable animation and sound kit.

Coursera – take a free course in something that interests you.

Blifaloo – learn to tell when someone is lying (or telling the truth) with this body language resource.

Duolingo – says you can learn a new language in just a few minutes each day.

Documentary Heaven – a free documentary library.

Good Tricks – learn some magic tricks and impress friends!

Virtual Stage Tour – take a tour of some of the most impressive world stages.

Words With Friends – is an app to play word games with friends.

Draw Something – draw things that others have to guess.

Virtual Tour of The British Museum – the world’s largest indoor space on google street view – visit over 60 galleries.

Virtual Tour of The Louvre – fan of the Mona Lisa? Take a 360 degree tour of the galleries in The Louvre.

Zoo Atlanta Panda Cam – who doesn’t love cute pandas?

Workouts at home

keep your body moving
Stay active during lockdown
Staying active during isolation
Looking after your physical and mental health during isolation

Sleep – our best kept health secret

Keeping up routines and creating better habits during Covid

This article about sleep, is part of our stay healthy and well during Covid-19 series. You can view the other posts in the series here:

Covid-19 Health, Safety and Well-being Resources

Tips for Staying Healthy and Well

Resources – Things to do in Isolation

This article has been reproduced and was originally published by:

In Why We Sleep, neuroscientist Matthew Walker (2018) suggests that if science announced a treatment that improved our memory, boosted our creativity, lowered food cravings, offered protection from cancer and dementia, and reduced the risk of heart disease, we would all be rushing to the doctor.

And yet, many of us are ignorant of the fact that good sleep offers us such benefits, for free.

Indeed, “not only does sleep disruption play a role in the declining mental abilities that typify Alzheimer’s disease, but getting enough sleep is one of the most important factors determining whether you will develop the condition in the future” (Walker, 2017).

It is important to note that, as with other conditions, sleep disruption is only one of several risk factors involved in Alzheimer’s disease; however, prioritizing sleep is one way to lower your risk.

What is Sleep Hygiene?

Poor habits and unsuitable environments can make it tough to fall asleep and stay asleep.

According to the UK’s Sleep Council (2020), “you have no control over what happens when you sleep, but you can control what you do throughout the day to prepare for a better night’s sleep.”

So, can we learn to sleep better? According to research, yes.

Charles Czeisler from the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard University says there are three points you need to consider: “how much you sleep, how well, and when,” impacted by the following factors (O’Callaghan, 2016):


When we sleep in unfamiliar places, one hemisphere of our brain remains active. This night watch has developed to keep us safe in uncertain environments.


Even if we are sleeping at home, noises can force us out of our deep sleep (a dog barking or a distant house alarm).


Our body temperature can significantly affect the quality and quantity of our sleep. Surprisingly, special sleep suits that slightly warm the skin (or taking a hot bath before bed) help the body release heat, reduce the number of nighttime awakenings, and increase restorative slow-wave sleep.


Your circadian rhythm (tied to your mammalian biological clock) affects the amount of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep you get. Getting up too early means you miss out on later, longer REM sleep cycles.

Blue light

The light emitted from our phones and tablets when we use them late at night shifts our circadian rhythms. REM cycles start later, and we are less likely to reach extended REM sleep cycles.

According to Walker (2018), almost 10 million Americans per month take something to help them sleep. And yet, sleeping pills do not provide natural sleep, and they “can damage health, and increase the risk of life-threatening diseases” (Walker, 2018).

Sleeping pills work by knocking out higher regions of the brain’s cortex, resulting in a lack of the largest and deepest brainwaves. The result is a catalog of possible side effects during the day, including forgetfulness, daytime grogginess, and slowed reactions.

Where possible, therapists and mental health practitioners should promote good practices that result in a more natural night’s sleep (Walker, 2018).

There are several relatively straightforward habits and techniques, known as sleep hygiene practices, that promote a better night’s sleep (Walker, 2018; National Institute on Aging, 2020):

Maintain a regular sleep schedule.

Aim for consistency when you go to bed and get up, even during the weekend.

Avoid napping in the late afternoon.

While it may be necessary for those with prolonged sleep deficits, for others, it can disrupt sleep.

Create a bedtime routine.

A soak in the bath, relaxing music, or a book before bedtime can set the scene for sleep.

Avoid phones, tablets, and TV immediately before bed.

The light from digital sources can damage your sleep and overstimulate your brain.

Find the right temperature.

Your bedroom should be neither too hot nor too cold, and where possible, quiet.

Lower the light.

Reduce the lighting as you prepare for bed.

Avoid late-night exercise.

Do not exercise in the three hours before going to sleep.

Avoid big meals late in the evening.

Eat earlier in the evening.

Time your caffeine.

Caffeine (found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and soda) can make it more difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep.

Reduce alcohol consumption.

Contrary to what many of us think, alcohol negatively affects our sleep quality.

According to Walker (2018), if you only adopt one of the above good habits, make it “going to bed and waking up at the same time of day” no matter what.

Tips for staying healthy and well

Tips for staying happy and healthy during Covid

We know there is light approaching at the end of the tunnel, however it is important to keep positive throughout the weeks ahead until the end. Also, we don’t know what life after lockdown will look like, self-isolation will most likely remain in place for people who are infectious with COVID-19. We want you to stay happy and healthy and, to assist with health and well-being and maintaining a positive mindset, have collated the tips below! Do you have tips you want to share? Get in touch with us!!!

This article is part of our stay healthy and well during Covid-19 series. You can view the other posts in the series here:

Covid-19 Health, Safety and Well-being Resources

Sleep – Our Best Kept Health Secret

Resources – Things to do in Isolation

Burdekin style tips for managing mental health in isolation

Selfisolation is when you do not leave your home because you have or might have coronavirus and are waiting for a test result. Remind yourself that this is temporary.

The power of routines

Coping with isolation in the COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly a challenge. But there are steps you can take to manage your well-being. Here are some.

End of the light with lockdown

Taking care of your mind – as well as your body – can help to limit loss of purpose and increase your motivation.

Practical tips on looking after your mental health

It might be tempting not to bother with a routine, e.g. to skip getting dressed, BUT a routine helps to reduce stress and to manage anxiety. It will also give you a sense of purpose.

Personal responsibility in a pandemic

The only thing you can control is your own behaviour and how you react to a situation. With that in mind, exercise self-care, kindness and compassion.

Journaling is a positive tool to enhance wellbeing

Writing things down can help us to process feelings. Putting things into perspective make us more self-aware and improves negative mindsets.

Your physical and mental health is important to us

Make a list of things you could or would like to do, lists help with productivity and motivation. Celebrate completing your small (or big) projects and achievements!


In an emergency call: 000

Lifeline – 13 11 14

Kids Help Line (5–25 years) – 1800 55 1800

Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467

Beyond Blue – 1800 512 348

MensLine Australia – 1300 789 978

SANE Australia – 1800 18 7263