The ‘Strengths’ model of case management in a community mental health service.

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By April 17, 2015 No Comments

Authors: St Vincent’s Mental Health, Melbourne

Year: 2011

Event: 2011 TheMHS Awards


Type of resource: TheMHS Awards

Award state: VIC

Award level: Finalist

Award category: Specialist Service or Part of a Larger Service

Abstract: Mental health policies emphasise the importance of services providing opportunities for consumers to recover from mental illness and associated disability. Since 2004, St. Vincent’s Mental Health (SVMH) in Melbourne has been developing a new way of thinking about how best to support recovery for consumers. Using the ‘Strengths’ model of case management, as implemented in Timaru, New Zealand, the approach to case managers’ clinical work is being transformed. There has been an enthusiastic uptake of the model by staff and consumers. The approach focuses on strengths rather than weaknesses. The consumer is in charge and growth and change is always possible, goals are set by the consumer and the community is seen as an oasis of resources. Consumer comments include: ‘By looking at the Strengths approach I can work out more things I would like help with’ ‘It’s where we lead our own way, we sort of take control’ Description of Facility/Organisation: SVMH Melbourne is a comprehensive area based mental health service, providing public specialist mental health services to the inner urban east area of metropolitan Melbourne. St Vincent’s is a tertiary teaching hospital with academic links to the University of Melbourne. Funded by the Victorian Government the service has a budget of $31m and 287.6 FTE staff. There are approximately 800 mental health consumers receiving treatment at SVMH at any one time. Services include 24 hour Triage, Crisis Assessment and Treatment Service, Mental Health clinicians in the Emergency Department, Acute Inpatient Service, Residential Rehabilitation unit, two Community Mental Health Services providing Mobile Support and Treatment Services, Continuing Care Services, a Homeless Outreach Team and a Primary Mental Health Service. SVMH also provides regional and state wide specialist mental health services. ‘Strengths’ has been implemented in the community rehabilitation and continuing care part of SVMH.

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