TheMHS 2014 S085: Community Living

By August 29, 2014 No Comments

The abstract for this session can be found here.

KidzSpace – The effectiveness of an inter-disciplinary community based paediatric service specialising in child health, safety, development and wellbeing

Presented by Sue McConnachie, Gail Clarke, Andy Lovett, Katherine Hyde, Andie West

Kidz Space is part of Bendigo Health Services and is a community health model that is broad in its focus. Its aim is to provide a more linked, comprehensive, and streamlined service model for children and their families. Basing itself on sound evidence, it provides a multi-disciplinary service that collaborates with a wide variety of specific areas to provide a community space and an environment that enables a stronger connection between families and the community.

Kidz Space focuses on client accessibility and timely care, as well as maintains a no-exclusion criterion so as to provide an ideal space for “neck down assistance”. Clients and their families are central to Kidz Space. The ongoing plan is to develop a shared vision centred on providing help within multi-disciplinary lenses.

Kidz Space has seen positive outcomes such as increased client engagement, better access for clients, increased service partnership, and overall progress with referrals and consultation.

Partners In Recovery – Together we will assist the homeless

Presented by Judith Hopwood

The Partners in Recovery (PIR) was conceived in 2011/2012 following the allocation of 549 million to mental health issues in the annual Budget. The PIR program stemmed from research that found that more than half of homeless Australians suffer from some form of mental illness.

Homelessness is more than just an absence of dwelling, and most homeless individuals express feelings of being marginalised into one homogenous group. This often causes them to lose their sense of identity and self.

As a majority of mental illness sufferers fall through the gaps, PIR aimed to create a pathway to better communication between clinical services with a care co-ordination approach, as opposed to a case management focus. PIR hoped to turn the situation around with its new system that focussed on two-way communication and constant updates. The PIR program is a three-month-long partnership with clients, following which the client engages with a general practitioner.

Potential clients of PIR should fulfil these requirements:

  • Aged between 25 and 65 years
  • Be in a Medicare Local catchment area
  • Be receiving no assistance at present
  • Provision of a referral letter
  • Completion of a consent form and an action plan


Promising practice: The outcomes achieved for participants in the first three years of the Doorway Housing First Private Rental Project for homeless people with mental illness

Presented by Tracey Swadling, Laura Collister

The Doorway Project is a three-year private housing project that engages real estate agents to provide rental accommodation to individuals who are homeless, in inadequate housing, or who suffer from serious mental health issues. The Doorway Project acts as the point of contact for property managers, and pays the gap for the lease agreement after the consumer has paid the initial third.

Positive outcomes of this project included an increase in individuals’ independence, self-respect, and self-sufficiency, as well as a marked decrease in hospital bed admissions from 20 days to 7 days over a similar period. The project also saw a decreased use of mental health services, marked reductions in contact with the justice system and a rise in the level of positivity in personal relationships.

As a result of the decreased use of mental health services, the project also saw reductions in cost of approximately $11,000 per person. Thanks to its steady funding, project continues to provide ongoing leases and positive housing arrangements for its clients. 


An overview of the One Life Suicide Prevention Strategy: a partnership between government and communities in regional and metropolitan areas of Western Australia.

Presented by Clive Elliott, Sandra Burns

The One Life Suicide Prevention Strategy was launched between 2009 and 2013, with $13 million allocated during this period. The program specifically focussed on engaging at-risk groups including:

  • Men
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and those questioning their sexual orientation
  • Mental health service users
  • Those bereaved through suicide
  • Those of Aboriginal or Torres Straits Islander descent
  • Those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • Migrants 

The One Life Suicide Prevention Strategy holds its suicide prevention and awareness programs in workplaces in the hopes of reducing suicide-related stigma.

The One Life Suicide Prevention Strategy also provides educational sessions and informational guides such as their Pledge Partner Resource Sheet and wallet cards listed with emergency and support phone numbers. Staff are responsible for training employees and facilitating workers asking for assistance with anxiety or suicidal ideation. Overall outcomes have been very positive, with the engagement largely stemming from medium-sized, private organisations.