Demonstration site: Canberra City
Organisation: Mental Health Foundation (ACT) Inc
The Mental Health Foundation (ACT) Inc (MHF):
- was established in 1984
- is a not-for-profit professional organisation delivering services for people with a mental illness
- works in partnership with government, the community sector, other mental health organisations and professionals, consumers and carers alike.
Services delivered by MHF cover recovery and rehabilitation; consumer support and housing; information and community education. They are open to all people in the ACT with a mental illness and their families.
Its services include:
- The Rainbow - Canberra's only psychosocial rehabilitation centre
- Friendship House - long-term supported accommodation
- planned respite
- Outreach to consumers
- Skills for Life - support/therapy groups that focus on recovery, and
- Information and Referral - Canberra's only community based telephone helpline.
MHF's services are strengths-based, client-driven, recovery-focused and provide whole-of-life support to clients. Clients develop Individual Recovery Plans (IRPs) setting out their strengths, goals and their support needs. These IRPs provide the platform for delivery of support services by MHF to each client. MHF works collaboratively with other service providers to deliver the full range of supports needed by its clients.
MHF has close links with other community-based mental health services including the Mental Illness Fellowship, Mental Health Community Coalition, Woden Community Services, Carers ACT, as well as the Psychiatric Services Unit at Canberra Hospital and Ward 2N at Calvary Hospital.
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Woden Community Service (WCS) has been delivering community-based services to the Woden Valley in Canberra for over 35 years. These services include child care, school age care, youth programs, disability services, individual and family support, community development, multicultural support, housing support, Home and Community Care (HACC), community transport, volunteer coordination, social support groups and The Big Issue.
While WCS is not a mental health service provider per se, many of its programs support people with a mental illness, often with high and complex needs due to co-morbidity, dual diagnosis and substance abuse and attendant physical health complaints. For example, WCS has worked for many years with the residents of public housing complexes in the Woden Valley. These complexes accommodate many mental health consumers.
WCS already collaborates with a number of mental health service providers in the ACT through its programs, which work with young people who are incarcerated in the youth detention centre and people who are homeless and have a mental illness. These services include Directions ACT, Phillip Mental Health Service, Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Community Coalition, Alcohol and Drug Foundation ACT, Grow in the ACT and Queanbeyan, and the Mental Health Teams in Woden and Tuggeranong. These organisations variously provide clinical assistance, peer support, social group engagement and support with drug and alcohol issues to program participants.
WCS has consulted with the Psychiatric Services Unit at Canberra Hospital and with ACT Mental Health on the needs of mental health consumers. Consultation with these services demonstrated the need to establish partnerships with these mental health providers to plan and implement the Phoenix Project a new community-based mental health support initiative to support mental health consumers' sense of gradual recovery.
WCS' programs are strengths-based, recovery-focused and client-driven with clients identifying and setting their own goals, which are recorded in a 'recovery plan'. These plans form the basis of WCS' service delivery to support the attainment of the clients' goals.
WCS delivers an integrated holistic mix of support services to clients and has well-established referral networks across a range of program areas such as housing support, community development, youth programs and HACC.