Fremantle volunteer recognised for mental health advocacy

Two women and a man stand in front of a banner that reads South Metropolitan Health Service Awards. One woman holds a certificate and an award trophy.
Congratulations to Elaine Ashurst (centre), Volunteer of the Year, who was presented her award by Paywise Employee Benefits Consultant Judi Gardner and SMHS Chief Executive Paul Forden.
May 6, 2019

Three years ago Fremantle Hospital (FH) volunteer Elaine Ashurst was “struggling with major depression” and “couldn't cope with life.”

Now, she has just been recognised for her dedication to changing the lives of mental health patients at the inaugural South Metropolitan Health Service (SMHS) Excellence Awards.

Taking home the Volunteer of the Year Award, Elaine was acknowledged for her voluntary work at Fremantle Hospital Mental Health service at Alma Street which sees her spend weekends hosting recovery groups for mental health inpatients and being an active member of the Consumer Advisory Group.

Elaine said she was humbled to be announced as the winner and that her work was motivated by her previous experience as a mental health inpatient.

“When I was discharged from outpatients I was worried about losing my connection with the hospital,” Elaine said.

“This award gives me a platform to speak about mental health and the services provided at Fremantle Hospital. Mental health issues are never going to go away, but the more we talk about it the less people will suffer in silence.”

SMHS Chief Executive Paul Forden said the health service was privileged to have such a hardworking community of volunteers that drive change across each hospital. 

“Elaine’s work has drastically improved the experiences of mental health patients who need additional support and guidance in their recovery,” Mr Forden said.

“The generosity and support of our hardworking volunteers ensures that patients, their families and visitors have a positive experience at our hospitals.”

The SMHS Excellence Awards (external site) recognise staff working across Fiona Stanley, Fremantle, Rockingham General and Murray District hospitals and community services for their commitment to excellent clinical care, great patient experience, engaging the workforce and strong community partnerships and innovation.

The Volunteer of the Year Award was generously sponsored by Paywise (external site).

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