Programs for drug, alcohol, mental health patients

Some of the service providers. Front: Sonja Vidic (Aftercare), Kate Snars (Aftercare), Sarah Connor (Black Dog), Julie Dubuc (Tedd Noffs), Lizz Reay (NBMPHN), Bronwyn Nuttall (NCNS), Cassandra (ACRC). Back: Phillip Nichols (WHOS), Michael van Dyk (Black Dog Institute), Paul Hutchinson (180tc), Phillip Brember (Noffs), Nicola Lewis (NBMPHN), Claudia Grab (NBMPHN), Olga Christine (NBMPHN).
Some of the service providers. Front: Sonja Vidic (Aftercare), Kate Snars (Aftercare), Sarah Connor (Black Dog), Julie Dubuc (Tedd Noffs), Lizz Reay (NBMPHN), Bronwyn Nuttall (NCNS), Cassandra (ACRC). Back: Phillip Nichols (WHOS), Michael van Dyk (Black Dog Institute), Paul Hutchinson (180tc), Phillip Brember (Noffs), Nicola Lewis (NBMPHN), Claudia Grab (NBMPHN), Olga Christine (NBMPHN).

A number of new programs are being rolled out to address drug, alcohol and mental health issues across the Blue Mountains, Lithgow, Hawkesbury and Penrith.

Commissioned by Wentworth Healthcare, provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network (NBMPHN) - through funding from the Federal Government - local organisations have been funded to work with their own communities.

In response to the National Ice Taskforce Final Report and the National Mental Health Commission’s Review of Mental Health Program and Services, the Federal Government announced that primary health networks would be funded to commission services that meet the needs of the community rather than a ‘one size fits all’ service rolled out nationally.

Some services are focussed on working with healthcare providers, others deliver early intervention, aftercare or relapse services. Some also work with the Aboriginal community to enable them to work directly within their communities while others are aimed at women, young people or people exiting the justice system.

Lizz Reay, CEO of Wentworth Healthcare, said: “While they will all be working on their own distinct areas, service providers recognise that they are part of the bigger picture which is increasing the quality of life for people affected by drugs and alcohol or mental health issues.

“We are thrilled that we have been able to commission such innovative programs by some award-winning providers. We are particularly pleased that we have been able to go some way towards addressing the often neglected areas of ongoing follow-up care after treatment and support for people with both mental health and drug and alcohol issues who are often excluded from siloed treatment programs as well as culturally appropriate services for the Aboriginal community.”

The commissioned programs are the result of an extensive process that involved researching the health needs and priorities in the region and identifying local service gaps.

This consultation not only uncovered health needs but guided the selection of the service providers.

“Consultation and collaboration is the bedrock of our work and we will continue to work closely with stakeholders who hold the local knowledge about what works best in our area,” said Ms Reay.

The commissioned organisations are:

Blue Mountains Aboriginal Culture and Resource Centre has been commissioned to provide an early intervention program for young Aboriginal people focusing on connection to culture, which will address the rising prevalence of ice and the increasing risk of suicide and mental illness.

Black Dog Institute has been commissioned to deliver education and training for GPs, practice nurses and general practice staff to enhance and increase capacity in the primary care sector in supporting people at risk of suicide. They have also been commissioned to deliver professional development on low intensity early intervention options for mental health services.

The Lyndon Community with Dianella Cottage is delivering a number of programs: 1. Professional development on alcohol and other drugs for GPs and allied health; 2. One of three alcohol and other drugs aftercare and relapse prevention programs focused on the Blue Mountains and Lithgow; 3. Staying Strong Program - Dianella Cottage providing dual diagnosis for women outreach into Lithgow based from their established non-residential rehabilitation program for women at Katoomba.

We Help Ourselves (WHOs) will deliver the second of three Alcohol and Other Drugs Aftercare and Relapse Prevention program focusing on the Penrith region. From WHOs, Nepean Detox and residential treatment place Nepean Community and Neighbourhood Services will deliver a care coordination service for Aboriginal people with a dual diagnosis of alcohol and other drugs addiction and mental illness in the Blue Mountains, Lithgow, Hawkesbury and Penrith.

Ted Noffs Foundation will deliver targeted early intervention for alcohol and other drug use in young people with a particular focus on ice use.

One80TC will provide the third alcohol and other drugs aftercare and relapse prevention with a particular focus on people leaving prison and the areas of Hawkesbury and Penrith.

Headspace will deliver an early intervention service for young people, and their families, who are affected by psychosis. The Headspace Youth Early Psychosis Program (hYEPP) is one of only six such programs throughout Australia. It provides a holistic approach to the care and support of young people in every aspect of their lives, such as education, employment and relationships.

Wesley Community Services will deliver suicide prevention education and training for specific identified groups of people who may have a gatekeeper role in the community, and a suicide prevention train the trainer program for specific community organisations.

Aftercare have been commissioned to provide a slightly different service to the others in that it is specifically for clients in the Partners in Recovery (PIR) program which is focussed on those with serious and complex mental illness.

The Poche Centre (University of Sydney) will develop a skilled Aboriginal workforce as an important precursor to culturally secure services. There will be four paid Aboriginal scholars who will work and study for two years with host organisations and 24 paid training scholarships for Aboriginal people to gain mental health and drug and alcohol qualifications with support and mentoring.