Our Region, Our People: Meet Norman Gibson Daniel


Norman Gibson Daniel, affectionately known as Uncle Gibson, is a 59-year-old returned serviceman, who speaks three languages, and is a proud Butchulla and Eastern Torres Straight Islands man.

He has practised Pilates for more than 20 years, has three cats, and lives independently next to his cousin brother on Thursday Island.

Uncle Gibson also faces daily challenges including severe anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and early onset dementia, and for the past two years has been unable to leave his house except to attend scheduled appointments.

That was before he started his healing journey with Wakai Waian Healing (WWH), which delivers the Commonwealth Psychosocial Support Program (CPSP), and he only has gratitude for the team and those who have helped him on his mental health journey to date.

“It started off slowly with a psychologist. Now I’m working with other case workers, and they have all been very good to me and helped me a lot,” Uncle Gibson said.

“I do suffer from PTSD, depression, and anxiety, but I’m getting a lot of assistance from the team. I’d like to thank them very much for helping me because I’m a much better person now than I was when I first went to see them. Esso.” 

WWH CPSP Program Team Leader Tracey Alexander said Uncle Gibson had created health goals that included reconnecting with family and within the community. A key achievement for Uncle Gibson was being able to leave his home.

“He also wanted to increase his physical and mental wellbeing, build coping strategies for social interaction, declutter his home, register for part-time work, and access NDIS,” Ms Alexander said.

“Uncle Gibson has come a long way from being isolated and struggling to cope around a lot of people.

“Early in his healing journey, he found the courage to visit Makai Bakery to buy his first home-baked sausage roll.

“The whole team is very proud of him and the progress he has made.”

With daily support from the WWH team, Uncle Gibson began to reconnect to his community, and achieve his goals.

“Through WWH CPSP support, Uncle Gibson found the motivation to get his health check and register for part-time work,” Ms Alexander said.

“He also started collecting empty boxes to begin his house cleanup and decluttering in preparation for his granddaughter’s transition from Child Safety.

“WWH was able to support Uncle Gibson with Child Safety business so he could fly to Mackay from Thursday Island for a period to transition his granddaughter.

“When it came time to travel, Uncle Gibson travelled independently and managed his conditions with daily welfare checks from the WWH team.”

The daily welfare checks also helped Uncle Gibson feel confident and comfortable in attending WWH’s first Wellness Barbecue with more than 50 people.

It was his first time attending a community event in more than two years. 

“The program has really changed his life. Uncle Gibson has also been able to reconnect with his uncle, his mother’s 92-year-old brother, after several long years, and he plans to visit his uncle on a regular basis,” Ms Alexander said.

Since he began reuniting with friends and his community, the returned serviceman was invited to be part of the 80th Torres Straight Light Infantry Battalion last year, and acknowledged for his many years of service in the military.

Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) funds WWH to deliver the CPSP, which helps people with severe mental illness access extra support with their day-to-day living, connecting them to community services, and strengthening their social, educational and vocational skills.

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