A new multi-million dollar service and after hours community space has been opened in Mermaid Beach to help those living with severe mental illnesses in the region.
For the next three years, $3 million will be spent for the new Plus Social program to help increase the capacity of the primary care sector to effectively manage people living with severe mental illness.
CEO of Gold Coast Primary Health Network (GCPHN), Matt Carrodus, said the new service is what the Gold Coast has been needing for some time.
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“After two years of comprehensive consultation and service design with the community and service providers, we are finally able to offer a service that addresses key priority areas in the Gold Coast region,” said Mr Carrodus.
“Plus Social will be accessible for residents across the Gold Coast and will ensure that GPs referring to the service remain included in the care that they receive.”
The program, which is being delivered by Primary and Community Care Services (PCCS), has been running since 1 July and is now officially available for all eligible participants to access via referral from their GP or private psychiatrist.
Plus Social client, Anita Tandridge, was referred into the service in July by her GP and says the program has already helped her feel a little less lost.
“Having Plus Social support and understand me has been so amazing. The support I have received to date has really helped my self-esteem because I feel validated for who I am.
“I’ve had some very traumatic times in my life the last few years, so to have my self-esteem lifted and to feel empowered has been such a great healing tool for me.”
CEO of PCCS, Dr James Baker, said Plus Social supports people like Anita via a structured program and also provides them with a place they can go for assistance outside of normal business hours.
“The after hours drop-in hub is now available as a safe space for people wanting to connect when most services are closed. When a person’s GP is closed it can facilitate access to community supports,” Dr Baker said.
The after hours drop-in service in Mermaid Beach, known as The Hub, is now open 6pm-10pm weekdays and 11am-10pm on weekends for existing and new clients of the Plus Social service.