Who is Sarah?

Welcome, I’m Dr. Sarah Wayland, a Social Worker and researcher with an interest in grief and emotional health. I am passionate about helping people feel safe and supported when faced with life’s challenges.

I am the recipient of a Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship – funded to travel internationally to research the experience of loss when someone is missing, the author of ‘Acknowledging the empty space’ and ‘A Glimmer of hope– stories of courage for families of missing people’ and most recently the recipient of an Australian Postgraduate Award to complete my Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) to research the complexity of hope when someone is missing, with the University of New England. My thesis ‘I still hope, but what I hope for now has changed: a narrative inquiry study exploring hope and ambiguous loss’ was awarded the Chancellors medal for Doctoral research in 2015.

I have a continuing position as an academic at the University of Sydney and teach in the disability space, with a research interest in missing persons, mental health and disability.

This site provides you with an overview of my work and expertise I offer.

You will also find a link to my personal web blog. A blog that has won many awards since it began in 2011 (including the BUPA blog award for social good and as a finalist in the 2014 Best Australian Blogs via the Australian Writers Centre). The goal of my blog has always been to intersperse stories that people tell me about the spaces they exist in. The spaces we don’t talk about so much when we are waiting in the school playground, having after work drinks or just generally sharing what gets us out of bed and brings us to our knees. I have my own lived experience of the personal and professional challenges of significant life events and workplaces where I have felt depleted and exhausted in the provision of services to others. What I discovered is that rather than finding that people react in the same way when life is stressful, no one follows a clearly worn path. I believe that everyone is an expert on their own experience.

We need to honour this expertise.