Omar Haniffa completed a Bachelor of Health Sciences/Masters in Occupational Therapy at LaTrobe University and is currently an Outreach Youth AOD Clinician at Monash Health. Working in mental health, Omar believes Islam has a strong framework conducive to positive mental health – but that doesn’t mean the Muslim community is immune to it.
- You are a Muslim working with drug and alcohol patients – can you tell us a bit about your role?
I initially studied Occupational Therapy at LaTrobe University and have had a few roles since. I am currently working as a youth drug and alcohol outreach worker in the heart of Dandenong. I provide case management, counselling, psychoeducation and care coordination for young people who are looking at working through their substance use issues.
- What attracted you most about working in mental health?
I find meaning in connecting with people. Since high school I knew I didn’t want to be working making money for big corporations and I knew I didn’t want to be stuck indoors (which is why I only worked for 6 months inside a hospital). I enjoy being out there on the street, visiting people at their homes and forming real human connections through my work.
- What’s the best career advice you were given?
Success is not measured by the amount of money in your bank.
Success is measured by the amount of meaningful smiles on the people you encounter.So when trying to decide a career path look at three things:
- What you’re good at
- What you “enjoy”
- How you can use that to impact the world
- If you could go back in time, would you do anything differently?
If I went back in time or returned to study I might take up wildlife conservation. I am very passionate about this.
- What advice can you give to those who are interested in becoming an Outreach Clinician?
With any type of service type work keep in mind you cannot pour from an empty cup. Developing and looking after who you are is paramount to being able to reach out and serve.