Authors: Richmond Fellowship Victoria
Event: 2007 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: VIC
Award level: Finalist
Award category: Specialist Service or Part of a Larger Service
Abstract: McPherson Community in western Melbourne is one of only two facilities in Victoria, providing accommodation and support for people with both an intellectual disability and a mental illness. Before moving into this residence, clients, generally aged 40-60, faced enormous challenges finding a full range of services to meet their many and complex needs. This was because services for those with intellectual disability are separate from those with mental illness. McPherson Community differs, making the service fit the person, rather than making the person fit the system. Resident works with a Key Worker to develop an Individual Program Plan identifying individual needs and the services to be put in place to meet them via a strengths-based recovery approach. Success is indicated by positive feedback from questionnaires completed by residents, and others involved in their care and support, who report stabilisation of psychiatric conditions and significant reductions in challenging behaviours. This service has resulted in people having developed sufficient confidence and living skills to move to alternate stable accommodation, such as mainstream community residential units. Description of Facility/Organisation: Richmond Fellowship Victoria (RFV) is a not-for-profit organisation providing innovative, responsive and accessible services to people who experience a psychiatric disability that impacts seriously on their life and health. It was established in 1957 in Richmond, England by Elly Jansen who believed that people with psychiatric disabilities benefit from living in supportive communities rather than institutions. Over 3,150 people with serious psychiatric or emotional disabilities, dual disability or homelessness, and their carers, receive service from RFV each year. Clients typically have low prevalence mental illnesses with primary diagnoses including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression/anxiety and personality disorder. RFV operates across metropolitan and regional Victoria and South Australia. It is the largest Psychiatric Disability Rehabilitation and Support Service (PDRSS) in Victoria, providing >40 programs and employing >400 staff. The organisation is funded (98%) by ongoing recurrent State Government grants and has a current operating budget of approximately $AUD22 million.