FINDING A WAY: Jo Pengelly of Commonwealth mental health support group Partners in Recovery with child abuse survivor and Gympie workshop convenor John Deller.
FINDING A WAY: Jo Pengelly of Commonwealth mental health support group Partners in Recovery with child abuse survivor and Gympie workshop convenor John Deller. Patrick Woods

Victims of abuse and forced adoption share their stories

THE Gympie region's forgotten Australians, including many victims of forced adoption and institutionalised abuse, will have a chance to tell their stories.

Gympie man John Deller yesterday convened a meeting of victims and support organisation representatives.

Many people's lives seemed to be a succession of falling dominoes, as one trauma, perhaps in institutionalised care as a child, leads to others, like family breakdown and difficulties maintaining friendships.

He said the meeting in Yah'Ning Place in Mary St (old Post Office building) would also help people share their stories, understand their experiences and find out what help was available.

Mr Deller said he had been misdiagnosed and spent 20 years in the mental health system, because doctors in his day did not understand the effects of post traumatic stress disorder.

With the help of people like Mick Devlin, of the advocacy and justice group Lotus Place, he has found that he is not alone. And that is a realisation he wants to share with others.

Mr Devlin is a community advocacy and justice counsellor.

His group is helping some clients prepare to give evidence to the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse.

"People abused as kids often have rotten adult lives, living on the street or in institutions. They suffer multiple trauma - trauma after trauma after trauma."

Mr Deller said he wants to help victims get help and to become aware of what help is available.

So does Jo Pengelly, from Partners in Recovery, a Commonwealth mental health support group which helps guide people through an often complex and confusing system, to find the help they need. She said Partners in Recovery in this region could be contacted on 1300 747 724 and clients could plan their own recovery.

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