New Funding for Mental Health Services That Take a Psychosocial Approach to Providing Care

Healthy North Coast has announced an investment of $1 million for a new mental health service through their North Coast PHN funding, part of the Australian Government’s PHN program.

The new service, Footprints2Wellbeing, provides free psychosocial support to people with moderate to severe and/or episodic mental illness.

What is Psychosocial Support?

Psychosocial support aims to address both the psychological and social needs of individuals, families and communities. Some of the ways the Footprints2Wellbeing service will help people living on the Mid North Coast and Northern NSW include supporting community members to:

  • Recover from mental health challenges through group and individual sessions.
  • Develop their capacity to live productive and meaningful lives.
  • Access education and supports relevant to the management of alcohol and other drug issues.
  • Live a healthier lifestyle by providing information and training relating to healthy eating and regular exercise.
  • Develop daily living skills such as budgeting, cooking and shopping.
  • Access and navigate housing, employment and education services.
  • Develop the skills for maintaining positive relationships with other people.
  • Apply to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) if desired.

Healthy North Coast CEO Julie Sturgess explained that anyone aged 12 and over, who is not registered for the NDIS and who has intermittent moderate to severe mental illness and reduced psychosocial functioning, can access the new service.

“Signs of reduced psychosocial functioning can include experiencing difficulty maintaining personal or family relationships, housing, employment or other daily tasks, as a result of poor mental health,” said Ms Sturgess.

The Footprints2Wellbeing service is being delivered by a group of local partner organisations led by The Buttery and includes Wellways, Rekindling the Spirit and Werin Aboriginal Medical Service. These organisations will collectively service the Mid North Coast and Northern NSW from Tweed Heads to Port Macquarie.

Footprints2Wellbeing staff are based in Lismore, Grafton, Ballina, Kempsey, Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour, and also support people in surrounding areas and in smaller local towns via outreach visits.

Around 500 people are expected to benefit from these activities which will be available to community members who do not already have access to similar supports.

Many people experiencing significant challenges with their mental health have difficulty achieving their goals within the community. NCPHN’s 2018 Needs Assessment identified that people within the region with severe mental illness had a number of unmet needs. These include loneliness (68%), daytime activities (67%), psychological distress (57%), employment/volunteering (52%), relationships (36%), budgeting (36%), looking after the home (32%) and transport (31%).

Stuart Nunan, Manager Footprints2Wellbeing, said that not only would people with significant mental health challenges be able to access both individual and group capacity building activities, they would also be able to access NDIS application support.

“This program will go a long way towards helping people struggling with day-to-day activities. So many things that we take for granted, people with severe mental illness find very difficult.

“It’s very normal that people could benefit from coaching to enhance their everyday functioning and social capacity. We would like to reduce the stigma that can sometimes prevent people from reaching out for help.”

Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said, “Psychosocial support can include mental health counselling, education, spiritual support, group support, and many other such services.

“The services are a critical component of our mental health care system. They will make a dramatic difference to many people who are currently struggling to get through each day,” Mr Hogan said.

The government has made a strong commitment to the mental health of all Australians, and is ensuring people from all walks of life have affordable access to the services and support they need now, and in the future.

If you or someone you know would like to find out more about Footprints2Wellbeing, you can self-refer or simply get in touch for more information. Phone The Buttery on (02) 6687 1111 during weekday business hours.

Contact for more Information

Samara Finlayson

Phone: 0418 615 929

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