Personal Helpers and Mentors Program Demonstration Teams - round one - New South Wales

Demonstration site: Campbelltown
Organisation: Macarthur Disability Services

Macarthur Disability Services (MDS) has now been operating in the Macarthur Region for 28 years since 1982.  Originally developed in response to the 1981 'Year of the Disabled' MDS has a history of identifying and responding to the needs of people with disabilities, mental health and their families and carers.

MDS has become a dynamic team of workers able to quickly respond to changing circumstances. This allows a flexibility of service delivery responsive to changing needs.

The Strategic Management Team meets fortnightly and represents all aspects of MDS management and planning. Team Leaders in turn meet with teams of workers and consumers. The importance of teamwork and communicating ideas at every level of MDS is of great importance.

The importance of planning has increased as MDS has grown. Clear directions have been set to ensure that MDS remains true to the organisation's visions and continues to operate within stated organisational values. These are:

  • Defying Boundaries.
  • To increase choices and opportunities for people with a disability, mental illness, people who are aging, carers and families
    • MDS will act with honesty, openness and fairness
    • MDS will promote the rights and responsibilities of full citizenship
    • MDS values input from the people who use and provide our services
    • MDS responds to individual need in the provision of services
    • MDS fosters (individual) growth, development and aspirations
    • MDS promotes continuous improvement and innovation in service delivery
  • MDS organisational culture and facilities support service participants, staff and the services they provide.
  • MDS will increase positive awareness of MDS and people with a disability, mental illness, people who are aging, carers and families.
  • MDS develops partnerships and collaborative ventures to ensure innovation in service growth and service response.
  • MDS will manage funding and policy direction to maximise service participant outcomes.

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Demonstration site: Central Coast
Organisation: New Horizons

New Horizons:

  • Has 25 years experience in the disability and mental health sectors and proven experience in delivering mental health services.
  • Provides support to approximately 720 clients with a mental illness or psychiatric disability in services located from the Queensland border to Liverpool in south-west Sydney.
  • Provides three main types of services to its mental health clients:
    1. accommodation support (e.g. the Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative)
    2. outreach support, and
    3. vocational/pre-vocational services.
  • Services are recovery-focused, client-driven, strengths-based and underpinned by a holistic approach to service delivery. An Individual Recovery Plan (IRP), developed with each client, is the platform for service delivery.
  • Delivers or purchases a mix of services and support according to the needs identified in each individual IRP. For example, a New Horizons client on the Central Coast may live in New Horizons accommodation, receive clinical care from the Central Coast Mental Health Service and employment services from Progressive Employment Personnel, and interact with Samaritans for day programs and outings.
  • Provides in-house services covering assessments, referrals to clinicians, preparation and monitoring of IRPs, care coordination, referral to outreach services and encouraging family connections. Other services that may be performed either in-house or externally include advocacy, peer support, personal development and mediation. External services include clinical services, allied health and drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
  • Has a strong working partnership and Service User Agreement with Central Coast Mental Health Service and Ryde Mental Health Service, both part of Northern Sydney Central Coast Area Health Service. It also collaborates with around 40 government and community-based local service providers for recreational, vocational, personal, accommodation, advocacy, rehabilitation and other support services to its clients

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Demonstration site: Newcastle
Organisation: Mission Australia

Mission Australia is a non-denominational Christian community service organisation that operates more than 320 services in all states and territories across Australia.

These services include more than 91 Personal Support Programmes (PSPs) with a combined caseload of 7 000 clients Australia-wide. Around 76 per cent of these clients reported they had a mental illness in a recent survey.

Despite its wide range of service models, many of Mission Australia's programs have a strengths-based, recovery-focused, case management approach to service provision. These include its PSPs and its Job Placement Employment and Training (JPET) program.

Mission Australia also has significant experience in providing psychosocial rehabilitation support services to people with a mental illness, gained through its Housing Accommodation and Support Initiative (HASI) programs in New South Wales. HASI provides psychosocial rehabilitation support services to assist people with a mental illness to maintain their tenancies and participate in their communities. The program is consumer-driven, recovery-focussed, strengths-based and employs flexible service delivery to facilitate sustainable outcomes for clients.

Mission Australia works extensively in rural areas and with remote communities. It also has experience in delivering programs for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD) and for Indigenous communities.

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Demonstration site: Orange
Organisation: Mission Australia

Mission Australia is a non-denominational Christian community service organisation that operates more than 320 services in all states and territories across Australia.

These services include more than 91 Personal Support Programs (PSPs) with a combined caseload of 7000 clients Australia-wide. In a survey, around 76 per cent of these clients reported they had a mental illness.

Despite its wide range of service models, many of Mission Australia's programs have a strengths-based, recovery-focused, case management approach to service provision. These include its PSPs and its Job Placement Employment and Training (JPET) program.

Mission Australia also has significant experience in providing psychosocial rehabilitation support services to people with a mental illness, gained through its Housing Accommodation and Support Initiative (HASI) programs in New South Wales. HASI provides psychosocial rehabilitation support services to assist people with a mental illness to maintain their tenancies and participate in their communities. The program is consumer-driven, recovery-focussed, strengths-based and employs flexible service delivery to facilitate sustainable outcomes for clients.

Mission Australia works extensively in rural areas and with remote communities. It also has experience in delivering programs for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and for Indigenous communities.

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Demonstration site: Parramatta
Organisation: UnitingCare Mental Health

UnitingCare Mental Health (UCMH) is a specialist division of Parramatta Mission, part of the Uniting Church in Australia. UCMH provides a diverse range of community-based mental health services covering the Auburn, Parramatta, Baulkham Hills Shire, Holroyd and Blacktown local government areas of Western Sydney.

UCMH services operating in the Parramatta area include:

  • the Care For Carers Program providing therapeutic groups and individual counselling to carers
  • Housing and Support Initiative (HASI), providing outreach support to people in public and community housing who may be at risk of homelessness
  • UCMH Supported Accommodation Service
  • Lifeline Western Sydney, and
  • Family and Carers Mental Health Program, providing education, training and support to families and carers to enhance their coping skills and resilience.

UCMH's mental health services are recovery-focused, strengths-based, client-driven and flexible in their delivery. They are underpinned by Individual Recovery Plans (IRP) made with each client, which provide the platform for service delivery and outreach referral by UCMH.

UCMH also takes a holistic approach to providing mental health care, supporting clients' physical, vocational, leisure, social interaction and other needs as well as their mental health treatment. It either directly provides these support services (eg Parramatta Mental Health Leisure Club) or coordinates referrals to other providers of appropriate services as part of an integrated support package for its clients.

UCMH has an extensive partnership with Sydney West Area Health Service, developed over 20 years, with Service Level Agreements covering most of its programs. It also works closely with the New South Wales Government Department of Housing, Cumberland Hospital, Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association and the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service and has partnerships with a range of mental health services, consumer and carer networks, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) organisations, other non-government organisations and the Parramatta Council.

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Demonstration site: Ryde
Organisation: New Horizons

New Horizons:

  • Has 25 years experience in the disability and mental health sectors and proven experience in delivering mental health services.
  • Provides support to approximately 720 clients with a mental illness or psychiatric disability in services located from the Queensland border to Liverpool in south-west Sydney.
  • Provides three main types of services to its mental health clients:
    1. accommodation support (e.g. the Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative)
    2. outreach support, and
    3. vocational/pre-vocational services.
  • Services are recovery-focused, client-driven, strengths-based and underpinned by a holistic approach to service delivery. An Individual Recovery Plan (IRP), developed with each client, is the platform for service delivery.
  • Delivers or purchases a mix of services and support according to the needs identified in each individual IRP. For example, a New Horizons client on the Central Coast may live in New Horizons accommodation, receive clinical care from the Central Coast Mental Health Service and employment services from Progressive Employment Personnel, and interact with Samaritans for day programs and outings.
  • Provides in-house services covering assessments, referrals to clinicians, preparation and monitoring of IRPs, care coordination, referral to outreach services and encouraging family connections. Other services that may be performed either in-house or externally include advocacy, peer support, personal development and mediation. External services include clinical services, allied health and drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
  • Has a strong working partnership and Service User Agreement with Central Coast Mental Health Service and Ryde Mental Health Service, both part of Northern Sydney Central Coast Area Health Service. It also collaborates with around 40 government and community-based local service providers for recreational, vocational, personal, accommodation, advocacy, rehabilitation and other support services to its clients

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Demonstration site: Sydney - Inner City
Organisation: Centacare on behalf of VinCenta Consortium

VinCenta consortium comprises Centacare Catholic Community Services Sydney (the official welfare arm of the Catholic Church) and Matthew Talbot Homeless Services (a special work of the St Vincent de Paul Society of New South Wales).

Both agencies work in the inner-city area of Sydney. This area has double the average New South Wales rate of hospital admissions for mental health disorders with associated high levels of homelessness, unstable housing and isolation. Around 75 per cent of people in local crisis accommodation have a mental illness.

Centacare Sydney, the lead agency in the consortium, has extensive experience in the delivery of programs for disadvantaged people, although it has a particular focus on people with a disability. Its services include Personal Support Program (PSP), delivered across south-western and inner-city Sydney, which has a client group comprising 80-90 per cent of people with a mental illness.

St Vincent de Paul Society, Centacare Sydney's partner agency, runs a number of programs and services supporting disadvantaged people, including people with a mental illness. These include Matthew Talbot Homeless Service, Community Support Team (supporting men in community and public housing), Charles O'Neil House (medium-term residential facility) and Vincentian Village (crisis accommodation for single women, families with teenage boys and single fathers with children).

Centacare services are strengths-based, client-driven and wellness-focussed. Each client undergoes an initial assessment that assesses their strengths, aspirations and needs. From this, an individual Action Plan is produced. Centacare then provides outreach, counselling, advocacy and case management services as well as referrals to specialised services and agencies as necessary to support each client. Referrals may cover mental health, physical health, drug and alcohol, family relationships, accommodation, homelessness, training, financial, material assistance, legal, employment, rehabilitation and many other issues.

Clients are also referred to other Centacare programs and services via internal referral pathways. These services include Disability Employment Network; PSP, Holyoake (addictive behaviours group programs); ageing and disability support; family, relationship, early intervention, anger management, pregnancy, child sexual assault and HIV/AIDS counselling and support; mediation and welfare services, accommodation, and education or training options. In addition, Matthew Talbot Homeless Services supplies living skills and computer skills training; personal development; and drug, alcohol and gambling counselling and support.

Centacare Sydney and Matthew Talbot Homeless Services both have close working relationships with many agencies across a wide range of service fields and will continue to pursue relationships with relevant and suitable agencies to ensure that their clients receive the best possible service and support.


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Demonstration site: Wollongong
Organisation: Neami Limited

Neami has operated community-based psychosocial rehabilitation support services for people with a mental illness for 19 years. It manages approximately $17 million in government funding.

Based in Melbourne, Neami initially established supported housing to assist in the relocation of long-term, high-needs psychiatric patients into the community when the North East Metropolitan Psychiatric Services hospitals were closed in 1995-96.

Neami has operated in New South Wales since 1992. It currently supports around 230 New South Wales mental health consumers from nine service locations spread from Nowra to Newcastle. It provides housing and support services, including high level support for those with a severe mental illness and a high level of disability or other dual diagnosis.

Neami has significant expertise in several service types:

  • supported accommodation
  • home-based outreach support, providing in-home support and rehabilitation for people who have difficulty accessing community services
  • group rehabilitation and participation programs, delivering community-based group programs that strengthen social and living skills, and
  • art-based practice, which promotes health, well-being, choice and participation through studio-based arts activities.

Naemi is eager to pursue the establishment of further group rehabilitation programs and to expand the use of the art-based practice model.

Neami services are recovery focused, consumer-driven, take a holistic view of a person's mental health, and provide pathways to participation in community life for consumers. Its services are delivered collaboratively and in partnership with consumers, families/carers, area mental health services, local community services and government agencies.

Neami has formal and informal partnership arrangements with both government agencies and community organisations. The South East Sydney and Illawarra Area Health Service is Neami's primary partner in the Illawarra region and this relationship is supported by a Service Level Agreement. Neami also works closely with the Wollongong Hospital Mental Health Unit, Shellharbour Hospital's three mental health units: Fernhill Place, Kalparrin, Illawarra Community Mental Health and with a wide range of other local providers of clinical, housing, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, counselling, parole, ageing, disability, youth, migrant, Indigenous and other services.

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Content Updated: 28 May 2012