Mental Health Community Boost

SA Gov

Construction is now underway in Adelaide’s inner north for new long-term housing for NDIS patients that will help more people leave hospital quicker, return to the community and ease pressure on the health system.

The new 16-independent unit site in Clearview will be the first type of long-term mental health accommodation of its kind in South Australia, providing 24/7 support for people living with a psychosocial disability who no longer need acute care but require additional, ongoing out-of-hospital care.

The Malinauskas Labor Government has invested $5 million towards the build of the new site, which will be managed and operated by community provider The Haven Foundation / Mind Australia.

Residents will receive personalised care in line with NDIS goals, enabling them to live independently in a community-based setting, and freeing up hospital beds for those who need acute hospital care.

Each one-bedroom unit includes a built-in wardrobe, kitchen and dining room, bathroom, outdoor courtyard or balcony, and communal areas for residents. Staff include peer practitioners who use their own lived experience of mental ill-health to connect with clients and inspire their recovery journey. Construction of the site is due to be completed by the second half of 2025.

As a first major step to bridging the gap of mental health unmet needs for South Australians, the State Government is also boosting funding to non-government organisation (NGO) services through revised contracts as well as injecting an additional $8 million over four years in mental health funding announced as part of the Mid-Year Budget Review.

This extra funding, plus a redesign of service programs, will allow more than a thousand extra South Australians a year to receive psychosocial community mental health support through NGOs.

A key focus of the extra funding will be psychosocial services for young people which was highlighted in the unmet needs report last year.

This funding is additional to newly contracted services in this financial year that will provide psychosocial mental health supports to more 2,000 South Australians each year. The newly contracted service providers are:

  • UnitingSA
  • Centacare and Kornar Yunti Aboriginal Corporation
  • Flourish Australia (RichmondPRA)
  • Life Without Barriers
  • Mind Australia
  • Skylight Mental Health

These services will provide Intensive Crisis and Non-Acute Psychosocial supports and enhance clients’ mental health and wellbeing, improve their level of functioning, and establish longer term and sustainable community connections for them.

This additional funding will enable a stronger focus on supporting people who require psychosocial mental health support that present to hospital EDs, helping alleviate current pressures within hospital EDs.

As an example, new service funding for UnitingSA means they can deliver more than 75,000 hours of support across the state each year and will have much greater capacity to assist people in regional SA.

UnitingSA will also be piloting a program with the Royal Adelaide Hospital’s ED. The program is designed to assist people who present in psychosocial distress. This could be someone struggling to cope due to an overwhelming life issue and who would benefit from support outside of the emergency setting.

A portion of this funding will go to services that provide support to young people aged 18 and under connected with Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. Supporting younger South Australians with mental health needs was a key focus of the independent unmet needs report released last year.

The South Australian independent mental health unmet needs report revealed the estimated level of shortfall in non-government sector contracted psychosocial services at both federal and state government levels. This investment reflects the State Government’s proactive stance to bolster existing resources and develop innovative solutions to bridge the gaps in psychosocial mental health care services.

This will complement National Cabinet’s announcement to design additional Foundational Supports to be jointly commissioned by the Commonwealth and the States.

The delivery of Foundational Supports outside of the NDIS will provide additional psychosocial supports through existing government service settings where appropriate and phased in over time.

In addition, more than $3 million is boosting community mental health teams across regional South Australia with dedicated older persons specialist mental health professionals being introduced at all six regional Local Health Networks (LHNs).

As part of its election commitment, the State Government funding is supporting the distribution of eight full-time equivalent (FTE) roles over four years.

The Older Persons Mental Health Specialist Service (OPMHSS) delivers specialist mental health services across regional South Australia to support older people to maximise their mental health.

The establishment of full-time OPMHS positions will significantly enhance local access to these services, placing dedicated specialist mental health professionals at the forefront of older persons mental health care. Previously, of the 13 regional community mental health teams, only six had a part-time OPMHS team member with a clinical focus on older persons mental health.

The first four new FTE positions have already been recruited, currently working in Barossa Hills Fleurieu Local Health Network (BHFLHN), Limestone Coast Local Health Network (LCLHN), Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network (RMCLHN) and Yorke and Northern Local Health Network (YNLHN).

These regional LHNs were earmarked as a priority as they have the highest proportion of older people and highest projected growth and those with the most residential aged care facilities.

A further four FTE roles will begin recruitment this month, with positions at Eyre and Far North Local Health Network (EFNLHN) and Flinders and Upper North Local Health Network (FUNLHN), and another each at BHFLHN and YNLHN.

Recruitment is also currently underway to staff an additional 20 community mental health beds, with 10 to be established at the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network and 10 at the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network.

Artist impressions of the 16-independent unit site in Clearview can be found here.

As put by Chris Picton

We are making a generational investment into mental health services to deliver 130 extra mental health beds across the State.

If people receive the right care that they need and are linked with longer-term supports, it will help them avoid stressful emergency department visits, which is not only better for them but also the health system.

We know it has been a challenge for South Australians to access mental health services when they need them, particularly speciality care that best suits their needs, and this is why we are committing this extra funding to make services more accessible.

As put by Mind Australia Chief Executive Officer, Gill Callister

The Haven Foundation residences have been shown to reduce hospitalisations and homelessness for people with mental health challenges, providing stability and security and recovery focused support.

Our sites established interstate enable people with long-term manageable mental health challenges to lead successful and fulfilling lives in the community.

Mind Australia and The Haven Foundation commend Health Minister Picton and the Government of South Australia for investing in this model of support and recovery for people with mental ill-health.

As put by UnitingSA Chief Executive Officer, Jenny Hall

UnitingSA is proud to be continuing its work in providing psychosocial support to South Australians experiencing mental health challenges.

The new service will also operate during extended hours, including evenings and weekends.

Our staff will provide valuable support that enables people to attend critical appointments, connect with their community and manage issues related to their housing, employment, relationships, and independence.

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