4 August 2019

Woden Community Service on front line of $3.3m mental health boost for Canberra

| Ian Bushnell
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Woden Community Service CEO Jenny Kitchin and federal Health Minister Greg Hunt at the NPSM launch. Photo: Region Media.

Woden Community Service will help deliver a new $3.3 million mental health program to Canberrans in need.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt launched the National Psychosocial Support Measure (NPSM) at the Capital Health Network in Deakin on Friday (2 August), a program that will provide individualised support to assist people in their recovery.

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt said the NPSM supported people with severe mental illness to increase their ability to do everyday activities by providing a range of non-clinical community-based services.

“The proficiency and human kindness the NPSM displays in helping those experiencing mental illnesses is remarkable,” he said.

The total cost of the program is $24 million this year, and $80 million over four years to 2021, nationwide.

Capital Health Network, through the ACT Primary Health Network Program and in partnership with ACT Health, has engaged WCS through its New Path Program and Flourish Australia Bloom Healthy Living Program to deliver the service.

Woden Community Service CEO Jenny Kitchin said the organisation had a long history of providing community-based mental health services.

New Path is an early intervention service for people who have been seriously affected by mental health issues for the first time,” she said. “We will support people in their recovery towards greater self-reliance, independence and participation which helps to reduce the need for more intense and acute health services.”

The program helps younger people aged 18 to 34 and has been running for three months. It is working with about 20 people but more are seeking help every week.

WCS expects to assist 40 to 50 people at one time, from three to six months but no longer than 12 months.

New Path‘s person-centred and flexible approach helps the client better manage their symptoms, get their relationships back on track, and engage with education, employment or volunteering.

It also helps tackle any addiction issues and confidence and resilience.

The goal is to help people to reconnect and re-establish their lives and prevent the need for acute care such as being admitted to hospital.

People with significant mental health challenges living, working or studying in the ACT (aged 18-64 years) who are not eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme can access the programs.

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