Interning at the WA Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies (WANADA) opened Cassandra Murphy’s eyes to the tyranny of distance and reduced availability of medical services experienced by regional WA communities.
The University of WA student said her Research and Policy Intern role was focused on community members in regional WA who use alcohol and/or other drugs and access services.
“Throughout my work with WANADA, I discovered several social issues that this community experiences,” she said.
“For example, in some regions of WA there is a lack of mental health services. This presents challenges for individuals experiencing co-occurring mental health and alcohol and/or other drugs issues, who might not be able to access certain services due to availability or accessibility factors."
Ms Murphy (22) said the internship taught her that advocacy was a pillar that stood together with research and practice, and all three are needed to promote changes in the WA community.
“My experience within the human services sector at WANADA has clarified to me that after university I would like to work within a similar sector, so that I can contribute to improving the lives of WA community members,” she said.
Ms Murphy said a McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship was an “invaluable opportunity” to gain insight into practical working life and build professional skills.
“A noteworthy lesson that I learnt throughout my internship experience is that even though the task you are completing may be seemingly small to you, there are always wider social impacts and implications for the work you are carrying out for your organisation,” she said.