A NEW mental health initiative that aims to better meet the needs of vulnerable people has been launched on the Gold Coast today.
The Partners in Recovery Project (PIR), funded through the Australian Government Department of Health, aims to improve links across different sectors and services which will improve the level of support for people with severe and persistent mental health issues.
The Gold Coast Partners in Recovery Consortia, including Gold Coast Medicare Local, Mental Illness Fellowship Queensland, Mental Health Association, Aftercare, FSG and Ozcare, have formed to bring together greater care coordination across a range of areas.
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This includes providers working with drugs and alcohol abuse, housing, homelessness, employment, education, emergency services and hospital emergency departments, to provide more comprehensive and co-ordinated care.
Gold Coast Medicare Local CEO Matt Carrodus said the project aims to address some of the mental health issues highlighted in the Gold Coast’s first Health and Wellbeing Plan.
“The Gold Coast has specific mental health issues, particularly through drug and alcohol use and a transient population,” Mr Carrodus said.
“There is evidence to suggest that people living with long-term and severe mental health issues are ten times more likely to be homeless, 50 per cent less likely to have completed school, more likely to be living on income support, and have a life expectancy that lags the national average by up to 30 years.
“Almost one in three people in the community experience mental illness and yet there is still a low level of understanding of this illness and a high level of stigma.
“We know that people can recover from mental illness, however service systems and community perceptions need to improve considerably to continue to support people to achieve this. This is what the Partners in Recovery initiative is all about.
“The Gold Coast PIR consortium will be working with key leaders and community members across our region to build on existing mechanisms to establish optimal environments that support people and their families to achieve a sense of wellbeing and recovery on the Gold Coast,” Mr Carrodus said.
National Operations Manager at Aftercare, Ivan Frkovic, said the Partners in Recovery initiative will create better pathways and improved partnerships that will change people’s lives.
“Partners in Recovery will ensure that people with severe mental illness and complex needs do not continue to fall through services gaps and will make sure that the silos in the service delivery system are removed,” Mr Frkovic said.
“Partners in Recovery will strengthen existing partnerships among mental health, employment and housing agencies but more so it will engage a range of other community agencies which have historically not seen themselves as having a role in the lives of people with mental illness.”
Facilitators have been appointed who will work alongside people with mental health concerns where there have been difficulties in getting the support they need.
Each facilitator can assist them to get support such as housing and health care by helping to identify services that are available and the best ways to access these.
This will help individuals take control of their own recovery journey. To access the program, contact 1300 130 339. For further information about the initiative, visit www.pirgoldcoast.com.au