CFS Newsletter May 2021

StreetWork ‘Youth Week Finale’ Ultimate Frisbee Games on Fri 23/4/21


Flower of the Month by Dr Bibiana Chan

Chrysanthemum – this plant comes into its prime when other summer annuals and perennials are fading in late summer into Autumn. Its nicked name is ‘Mums’. It has a variety of colours: yellow, white, pink, red and orange. Chrysanthemum cultivars come in a variety of flower types, including anemone, pompon, decorative, spider, spoon, quill, single and standard. Garden mums are perennial with spreading underground runners (stolons), while florist mums (typically found at the grocery store in the fall) are annual, unable to develop enough runners to overwinter. Plant size ranges from 45 to 90 cm tall and as wide.When growing in home garden, it can be used in edging or as a specimen plant and in containers and use in a mixed perennial border or as cut flowers. Mums prefers a rich, moist, well-drained site. Provide mums with plenty of water throughout the summer; flowering is affected by lack of water. Does not tolerate wet soils, especially in winter. Plant in full sun. Benefits by regular fertilization. Plant size ranges from 45 to 90 cm tall and as wide. When growing at backyard, it can be used in edging or as a specimen plant and in containers and use in a mixed perennial border or as cut flowers. Mums prefers a rich, moist, well-drained site. Provide mums with plenty of water throughout the summer; flowering is affected by lack of water. Does not tolerate wet soils, especially in winter. Plant in full sun. Benefits by regular fertilize

To find out more about the association of ‘Mums’ with Australia Mother’s Day, check out this link:

Grab a ‘Mums’ pot – at the CFS Pop-up Stall this month. Special discount for CFS members

Acrylic Pouring Workshopby Jasmine

Date: Sat 22/5 Time: 1230 – 1430 Venue: Chatswood Youth Centre, 64 Albert St, Chatswood (less than 5 min walk from Chatswood Station)

Free for anyone between 11 yr to 25 yr. CFS members are welcome. Non-members over 25 yrs old pay $20 to cover costs of materials. Discount for young people experiencing mental health challenges. Send Bibi an email to enquire.

AUTISM MONTH – Wear something BLUE

Eve of Mother’s Day Pop-up Stall Date: Sat 8/5 from 0900 – 1500 Outside Little Giant Roaster Café (525 Willoughby Rd, Willoughby.

Plant of the month by Dr Bibiana Chan

Aloe Vera

The botanical name is Aloe barbadensis miller. It belongs to Asphodelaceae (Liliaceae) family, and is a shrubby, perennial, xerophytic, succulent, pea- green color plant. It grows mainly in the dry regions of Africa, Asia, Europe and America.

Aloe Vera Plant Care Tips:

  • Water once every two weeks,
  • Aloe Vera can survive through drought – very hardy,
  • Only water when soil is completely dry,
  • Aloe Vera consists of almost 100% water so they don’t need,
  • Aloe Vera needs LOTS of sunlight – experimenting is ok (100% exposure is best for indoors),
  • Outdoor Aloe Vera plants often thrive when they are not 100% exposed to direct sunlight, so putting them under a bigger tree that blocks about 60% of the direct sunlight is ok,
  • Indoor Plants often thrive the best when placed in front of a window that faces the East or West,
  • If leaves of the Aloe Vera plant turn brown or orange with spots, this is an indicator that the plant isn’t thriving well in direct sunlight. In this case, try putting the plant in the shade for a few days with lots of water so it can replenish itself.

Aloe Vera Plant Care:

  • Always use drainage pots
  • Terracota drainage pots are ideal because they allow for additional drainage,
  • The pot doesn’t have to be deep because Aloe Vera plants roots spread outward not downward,
  • Use a pot that is wider than it is deep,
  • Want soil to have perlite, pumice and sand – this can be found at any nursery,

BOOK REVIEW- by Kim Wilkins

For the term of his Natural Life – BY Marcus Clarke

During a recent holiday in Tasmania I purchased and read this Australian classic novel about a wealthy and good hearted young Englishman who is wrongly convicted of a crime and is transported as a convict to Tasmania, serving  time at Sarah Island in Macquarie Harbour and later Port Arthur.

The book was published in 1874, not long after convict transportation to most of Australia was stopped, and the locations, particularly Port Arthur, were well researched by the author.  Marcus Clarke migrated from England to Victoria where he was a journalist and writer.

We trace the convict life of Rufus Dawes, a fictional character, the dehumanising brutality inflicted on him and how it affected his personality. The publishing of the book  itself was an important historical event, as for the first time it brought to life the awful inhumanity of the convict system.

 Indeed it still has much to say today about the dehumanising nature of harsh imprisonment and how it actually produces the opposite result to the intention to reform and rehabilitate criminals.

The novel was surprisingly easy to read considering it is 150 years old. Its 470 pages follow a riveting storyline about mutiny, treachery, hatred, escape, brutality and love. We learn much about the history what was then called Van  Diemen’s Land. Most of all, the author brings to life the day to day torment of convict life.

essive chapters moving from one character to the other.  At first I found this a bit disjointed but you soon adjust to it and after about 100 pages, you get drawn into the storyline.

The author is careful to make the plot as apolitical as possible, although he does

orange Olive Oil Cake by BBC Good Food


For the rosemary drizzle


  • STEP 1

Bring a pan of water to the boil. Lower the orange in and cover with a lid, leaving a gap so that a little steam can still escape. Boil gently for 30 mins, then remove from the water and allow to cool slightly. Quarter the orange and remove any pips, then transfer to a blender or food processor, add the lemon juice and zest and blitz to a smooth purée.

  • STEP 2

Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas 4. Oil the sides of a 23cm round cake tin and line the bottom of the tin with baking parchment.

  • STEP 3

Sieve the almonds, polenta, baking powder and ½ tsp salt into a large bowl and mix together thoroughly. Whisk the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until really pale and fluffy, about 4 mins. With the mixer still whisking, slowly pour in the olive oil in a steady stream so that the mixture doesn’t split. Once incorporated, scrape in the orange purée and whisk to combine, then add the dry ingredients, combining until you have a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 55 mins to 1 hr 5 mins until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

  • STEP 4

Cool in the tin on a wire rack while you make the syrup. Combine the sugar, orange juice, lemon juice, cardamom and 30ml water in a pan. Bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then add the rosemary. Turn off the heat and infuse for at least 30 mins.

  • STEP 5

Use a skewer to poke holes in the top of the cake, then pour over the syrup. Allow to settle for 5 mins or so, then slice and serve with some natural yogurt or crème fraîche

Riding on top of the waves – breaking down barriers to accessing mental health services.

The first Harmony Day was launched in 1999 by the then NSW MP Dr. Peter Wong. This was an initiative in respond to Pauline Hanson’s 1996 maiden speech at Parliament describing how Australia being ‘swamped’ by Asians.  According to the 2016 Census, nearly half (49 per cent) of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was. Mandarin came first as the most spoken language other than English.  Eighty-five per cent of Australians agree multiculturalism has been good for Australia (check out the Australian Bureau of Statistics website for more details).

From the Desk of Bibi

Facilitating a ‘Webinar‘ for the first time.

I wear several hats today. I have lived experience of Clinical Depression, I’m also a mental health researcher since 2000. I am now a mental health service provider through a Not-for -profit Social Enterprise – Community Flower Studio.

I chose these gigantic waves as the imagery for barriers for accessing mental health services for 3 reasons –

  1. They are huge and powerful, and created the fear in you to not even try to access services.
  2. Waves come one after another – when you think you have jumped through a barrier, another one is waiting for you.
  3. In order to overcome the fear and not get tired by the frequent occurrence, the best way is to RIDE ON TOP OF THE WAVES! Take on the challenges and turn the experience into part of the recovery journey!  

I will share with you some of the common barriers faced by CALD communities when accessing mental health services in the next slide. I’m sure you all know too well or experienced them when trying to access mental health services. Before I do that, I want to illustrate with some concrete examples the not so obvious ‘systemic barriers’.  

I mentioned right at the beginning of my own clinical depression, it was officially diagnosed in 1998. I was a very good patient, take all my meds and do the right thing. When I got back on my feet, I attended the CALD support group at the Transcultural Mental Health Centre. This was the first step of my journey to Recovery. I was hungry for cultural knowledge about why I didn’t seek professional help earlier, why I was so ashamed of my mental illness. I published a Master thesis entitled ‘Cross-cultural Issues in Clinical Depression’. My conclusion is “Hey, psychiatrists, you have to SHARE your power with the patients and LISTEN to their voices. They are the most qualified people to describe what happened to them and how their emotional state affected their daily lives. This was my first declaration of ‘CONSUMER EMPOWERMENT’ in 2002! Let’s ride on top of the wave to break down barriers. In 2007, I handed in my PhD thesis, this time I wrote about ‘Depression through the Chinese Eyes – a window into Multicultural Mental Health Services.” I was very enthusiastic, quit my research job to jump into a newly funded Federal project ‘Multicultural Mental Health Australia (MMHA)’. I hope to work with grassroot organisations to empower fellow consumers. That same year, I organized a presentation by a Professor visiting from USA, and leant about a new ‘RECOVERY’ Model. I was fascinated by this new concept.  However, the bureaucratic red tapes of MMHA suffocated me. Each day, I dealt with office politics, hospital politics, State politics and Federal Politics. I estimated 80% of my time was wasted on dealing these unnecessary red tapes. I returned to work in research and published a few more journal articles. Well, 3 more of my MMHA colleagues left within 12 months. These are barriers at a different level. Those who were passionate to make a difference to the mental health service for people from CALD background were disheartened and replaced. However, I did not give up breaking down barriers, I was waiting patiently for the next wave to ride! J In 2010, I was honoured to be awarded a Churchill Fellowship to learn about ‘Peer-led Recovery Oriented Program in North America’. I almost didn’t make it due to a bad relapse. Fast forward a decade later, I now run a Not-for-Profit Social Enterprise ‘Community Flower Studio’. I’ve been telling my former work colleagues who are puzzled why I made such a dramatic career change to become a florist – this is a mental health program in disguise! There is NO STIGMA attached to arranging flowers and creating terrariums

We are here to overcome the barriers to accessing services through community, support and creativity. We help each other find resources and foster a GROWTH Mindset. This is what I meant by riding on top of the waves and make it part of our RECOVERY!

Give Each Other Complements by Carol Sudul

Like most people I go to work and try my best .  Every now and then someone will stop me and say “thank you for helping me”  It may seem like nothing much but it makes me smile and it makes the rest of my day brighter. 

By giving a compliment not only do you brighten someone’s day but it also adds joy to your day as well. You can never underestimate that POWER when you show someone else kindness.

Community Flower Studio Logo Explained

Community: CFS is a community to support young people facing mental health challenges.

Creative: CFS hosts events to unleash young people s creative talents.

Resource: CFS provides members with resources to enhance their wellbeing.  

Support: CFS  offers support to members to develop their potential.

Growth: CFS fosters a growth mindset which is helpful in dealing with challenges.

Recovery: CFS sees recovery as achievable and a journey to cherish.



Website: Mobile: 0412 613 073

Like us on Facebook:Community Flower Studio Inc. Instagram: communityflowerstudio

Address: 10-12 Clanwilliam St., Willoughby, 2068, NSW, Australia.