Authors: Lisette Kaleveld, Bill Gye, Julie Millard, Grant Everett
Event: 2022 TheMHS Conference
Subject: services, evaluation,
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: LEAD PRESENTATION: Mental health support starts with a conversation – insights about mental health from door knocking
Lisette Kaleveld, Bill Gye
ACDC (Assisting Communities through Direct Connection) is a program where people go door-to-door in communities across Australia to facilitate conversations about mental health. People Connectors who do the doorknocking are recruited for their people skills, community connections and experiences working with people with mental health issues. They were provided with comprehensive training, as well as an iPad-based survey, to capture critical data, such as social needs factors, mental health measures like the WHO-5, and service and support needs. ACDC collected data across 22 communities throughout Australia.
This presentation will highlight a few interesting key findings from the survey, the evaluation and implementation learnings. We will present evidence and reflect on findings to discuss the following:
- that community-level factors (not just individual-level factors) contribute to high levels of mental health distress and low wellbeing;
- the power of visiting someone in their home, to understand their need for support;
- why ‘social determinants of mental health’ cannot be ignored in any a conversation about mental health;
- the value of this method for connecting with diverse people and overcoming access barriers (i.e., low socio-economic and culturally diverse communities, and people living rurally);
- how support options vary considerably across communities.
PANEL PRESENTATION: Navigating Complexity - People Connectors of the ACDC Project
Julie Millard, Bill Gye
The Assisting Communities through Direct Connection (ACDC) Project is a 3-year Commonwealth funded project conducted in 22 sites across Australia. Proactive outreach is an innovative approach that is a highly effective method of connecting and engaging with householders who have mental health and wellbeing needs but who may not access services. The project engages a network of community managed organisations (CMOs) who employ local People Connectors for 13 weeks, with lived or living experience or culturally significant backgrounds, where possible. People Connectors have discussions with householders at the door on their mental health and other support needs, navigating the complexity of services to assist and providing information products on local, telephone and online services. A week of online and face to face training on safe and effective door knocking, and ongoing support through regular Community of Practice meetings and Aboriginal Workers Circle with other People Connectors are provided. Over 35,000 homes have been visited. People Connectors have identified their unique skills and their capacity building, with their experiences, qualities, and relationships within their community of benefit to the project.
PANEL PRESENTATION: The Power of Hope: Growing Up In The Forensic System
After suffering poor mental health as a child, I had a psychotic episode at 18, and became a Forensic Patient at 19. I have been navigating the frustrating complexity of the prison system and mental health system ever since. However, at the age of 38, I’ve finally built a life I never thought I’d be capable of creating.
Recidivism is high among Forensic Patients, with many going round on the carousel of prison and hospital, usually due to failing drug tests, escape attempts, or if our mental health deteriorates. This could mean a fortnight in a ward, or years in a maximum security unit. Knowing your life can be snatched away at any moment will fuel despair, like we’re only living on borrowed time.
This isn’t good for our wellbeing, and greatly costs the taxpayer.
We need to integrate success stories from Forensic Patients to prove that rebuilding happens more often than we may think, and providing this hope could help us resist the temptations of substance abuse and other harmful behaviours, offering a better chance of becoming contributing members of society. This could be as simple as creating a mentor program for Forensic Patients prior to release.