Providing mental health support

Lauren Brunt joined the CRS team in May 2019 as a Mental Health Social Worker to support people affected by the 15 March Mosque attacks. This role is funded until July 2020.

Lauren became a Registered Social Worker in 2007, having completed her studies at the University of Canterbury in 2005. As part of her degree she did two work placements, one in the mental health sector and one at Refugee Resettlement Services (as CRS was then called). Once qualified, Lauren continued to pursue her interest in mental health, working at the Hillmorton Hospital Inpatient Unit from 2007 until 2014, and then in the Hillmorton Hospital Crisis Team from 2014 until 2019.

In my heart, following 15 March, I really wanted to help.

Following the 15 March 2019 Mosque attacks, Lauren was seconded through the CDHB to CRS as a Mental Health Social Worker supporting people affected by the attacks. She saw the role as fulfilling her need to help, and it also enabled her to fuse her skills and knowledge in the mental health field with another great Social Work career goal of working with refugee- and migrant-background clients. Lauren notes that she is really enjoying the different style of work; while in her previous role she was working with people in high-level and immediate risk, she is now working in a way which enables her to get to know her clients and their families and to help them “see some changes they want in their lives.”

Lauren’s passion for helping people of refugee and migrant backgrounds started when she was living in Sydney. Then a professional photographer, she began photographing the protests against the Australian Refugee Detention Centres. This engagement fuelled her awareness of refugee issues and made her realise she was interested in working in the field.