S24: Brisbane North Safe Space Network

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By September 4, 2019 No Comments

Authors: Shele Liddle, Caitlin Chapman, Claire Jorgensen, Tania Schmakeit, Juliet Middleton

Year: 2019

Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Brisbane North Safe Space Network

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers



Shele Liddle, Wesley Mission Queensland

Shele is an Occupational Therapist with 15 years of experience in the mental health sector, working across a broad range of advanced clinical and senior management roles in Australia and the UK. She is currently working as the Mental Health Services and Practice Manager for Wesley Mission QLD.

Caitlin is a grateful person, forging a path with purpose and passion. She has a lived experience of mental health challenges, substance abuse and is a survivor of suicide. In her previous career she held various senior positions in fashion retail while battling mental health and addiction challenges. In recovery and exploring a new vocation, Caitlin has focused on opportunities in the Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs space, including being actively involved with the Safe Space pilot. She currently works for an NGO as a Senior Recovery Support Worker. Caitlin is driven by a commitment to ending the stigma of addiction and mental health issues, and influencing systems change. She is passionate about the power of peer work and is actively involved with the Peer Participation in Mental Health Services network and developing a framework for the Lived Experience Workforce.

The Safe Space Initiative in North Brisbane has been a process of utilising community collateral to create an integrated system of locations - both public and private, traditional and innovative - that allow people who are experiencing psychological distress to identify and choose alternatives to emergency department presentations.

Safe Space is a community development and collaborative ownership movement rather than a Service Delivery Response. It is based on the premise that people in distress should not have to navigate complex service systems –they need choice, immediate, accessible and quality individualised responses ranging the full clinical and non-clinical spectrum in their local communities.

The strategy allows existing spaces to offer a graded level of response to someone in distress: Tier 1 – a place to sit safely, Tier 2 – a place to talk to someone and access service/referral information, Tier 3 – a place to receive some intervention – safety planning, sensory modulation, referrals.

This paper will provide an overview of the tiered Safe Space strategy, an exploration of the roll out of 2 x Tier 3 safe space sites and discussion on collaborative community responses to demonstrate how the model has been designed to be scaled and replicated, allowing for local communities to find local solutions and presenting it’s potential to become a national approach.

Learning Objectives

Learning Objective 1: The Safe Space Panel presentation will demonstrate how a collaborative and innovative community solution aimed at providing safe and welcoming clinical and non-clinical responses for people experiencing psychological distress and suicidality can be achieved. Understanding the process of co-design and implementation can help build healthier communities through relevant and consumer focused responses.

Learning Objective 2: Participants will receive an understanding of the safe space model and collaborative regional strategy that has evolved into a new way of approaching the issue of crisis response options. We will reveal our learnings from the journey we have travelled as a community over the past 3 years, partnerships developed, funding avenues and where to from here.

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