Authors: Christine Ball and Neil Ballardie, NSW
Event: 2006 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Supported Accommodation, ACCOMMODATION / HOUSING
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: The following Narratives show evidence of the value of this model as a choice of accommodation for many people who benefit from a level of medium and low support. The therapeutic environment offered in a group home setting is identified as a safe place that contributes to maintaining a sense of well being, and an opportunity to gain strength from the companionship of others. Over the past few years there has been a shift in support away from group homes to single unit accommodation for mental health service users with medium support needs. The group home model remains the reserve for mental health service users with high/complex support needs. Although there is a clear need for single unit accommodation, this should not mean an abandonment of the group home model for service users with medium support needs. This paper looks at the evidence for this shift in support away from the group home model for mental health service users with medium needs, despite an overwhelming evidence of support for them from stakeholders and vested interest groups. It argues that despite their relatively low level of current funding, group homes, when run well, offer significant opportunity for rehabilitation, growth and the development of social and living skills needed for community participation and integration for large sections of mental health service users. It draws on discussion papers, research articles and interviews with 8 mental health service users with medium support needs currently living or having lived in group homes housing three or four persons.