Authors: Robert Lewis, VIC
Event: 2006 TheMHS Conference
Subject: ASSERTIVE OUTREACH, HOMELESSNESS, FLEXIBILITY
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: The Assertive Mental Health Outreach Program (AMHO) of the Inner South Community Health Service (ISCHS) breaches service gaps in the mental health and homelessness service systems in Inner Melbourne. This paper will outline how AMHO successfully seeks out and engages with some of the most marginalized members of our community and links them in with a range of psychiatric, health, welfare and housing services. A defining feature of AMHO is that we don’t just wait for referrals but seek out new clients in the community and engage with them, for however long it takes and in their environment, be it the street, park, a squat or wherever homeless people gather or sleep. Our assertive outreach philosophy and unique mix of cross-program outreach and case-management is discussed. This paper argues a case for an expansion of flexible, and assertive outreach programs to work with this marginalized client group.