01 Aug Dr Shashika Jayakody | Timboon is home now
When Dr Shashika Jayakody arrived at the Timboon Clinic in early February last year, she admitted to being quite uncertain how long she would be able to stay.
A little over a year later ‘Dr Shashi’ can’t believe how much Timboon feels like home and how the community has wrapped its arms around her and her family.
The 36-year-old has even found time to complete additional study to help fill a service gap in the community.
Dr Shashi is now taking counselling appointments after completing her GP-focused psychological strategies training under the national Better Access Initiative – Supporting Mental Health Care.
“I would say my husband and our two-year-old son are very settled here now. When we came I wasn’t sure if it would be sustainable…now it feels just like my actual home town in Sri Lanka,” she said.
“The support here, for us, has been amazing. Before my husband was able to move down as well it was a struggle to balance my son and my work here at the clinic, but people here watched him for me and helped me. The support has been amazing.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to the community – the response to me arriving has been very special and really nice. This is home now.”
Dr Shashi said she had always been interested in behavioral therapy and she was pleased and proud to now be trained to deliver initial psychological strategy consults.
“When I arrived, we didn’t have a counsellor here and it was clear very quickly we were struggling to get timely counselling appointments for our patients,” she said.
“Sometimes, patients were waiting 4-6 weeks and when people are in need, we can’t ask or expect them to wait that long to get help.
“The course I did is six months full time, but it took me nine months at my own pace with work and my little one. It has been a very busy time.”
Dr Shashi said her new qualification meant she could assist people in need with anxiety disorders, depression, relationship counselling and issues facing school-age community members such as poor focus, memory and concentration.
“This has always been an interest of mine and I can also support elderly people in our community who may be struggling with loneliness, grief or other mental health issues,” she said.
For further information or to make an appointment please call the Timboon Clinic on 5558 6088.