Diving into Albury community events

Wellways staff in Albury have been busy promoting their services in the community, including last month’s Albury Wodonga Big Splash! for mental health, an annual fundraising event held at the local pool where staff participated in events and there was also a Wellways information stall.

Albury staff also partnered with the Australian Football League and former player Wayne Schwass as part of his “Puka Up” cycling ride to raise awareness on mental health and suicide prevention.

“We had over 200 people attend, including footy clubs and we did some work around self-care and how to ask for help when your mental health is not doing so well,” said Regional Manager Zoe Evans.  

Staff also attended Aboriginal Sister’s Day out in Albury to raise awareness about health and self-care. “Some great stories came from this event, including one woman who had never had a professional haircut, but was able to on the day. The woman had an in depth conversation with (our staff) about how she felt different and would continue to look after herself better and take pride in who she was,” Ms Evans said.  

 

Minister drops into Wellways Canberra

Australian Capital Territory’s Mental Health Minister Shane Rattenbury - from the newly-formed Office for Mental Health - dropped by to take a look at the Wellways-operated adult and youth Step Up Step Down (SUSD) mental health programs.

Wellways delivers both services on behalf of the ACT Government and Mr Rattenbury was impressed by what he saw, said ACT regional manager Lachlan Atyeo. “He was particularly interested in the holistic approach to supporting people with a large range of everyday challenges in their lives. He saw how when people are well-supported it helps to reduce the impact of serious mental illness.

“The minister said that the (SUSD) houses feel like a place of safety and recovery. He noted as well that we have good data to back up our work and that we really do make positive changes in people’s lives. Overall a very positive experience and outcome,” Lachlan said.

 

Wellways to Health at Risdon Prison in Tasmania

Wellways to Health, a “low intensity” mental health program aimed at helping people to achieve optimal health, is now being delivered to inmates at Risdon Prison in Tasmania.

The program, which is funded through Primary Health Tasmania is being delivered across Tasmania to people who are feeling stressed, anxious or low. Throughout March and April Wellways to Health program facilitators have been going into the prison’s Mersey unit and working with inmates to complete the eight-week course.

Wellways to Health has eight modules related to improving a person’s physical, psychological and social wellbeing. The course has been tailored for the prison group with the hopes that it will help the inmates to better manage feelings of stress, identify and build on their strengths and values, and help them to achieve a higher level of overall health.

 

Doorway presentation in US

The Wellways Doorway team recently delivered a well-received workshop at the Housing First Partners Conference in Denver, Colorado ion the US. The Victorian-based program has been achieving outstanding results in housing homeless people with mental health issues within the private rental market. It operates in Melbourne and Gippsland.

Doorway is an innovative and evidence-based housing and recovery program that supports people experiencing mental health issues who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, in securing and sustaining a home within the private rental market.

The Victorian State Government has funded Wellways to deliver the Doorway program to 100 people between 2014 and 2018. Doorway is being delivered in partnership with the Alfred Hospital, Latrobe Regional Hospital, Peninsula Health and St Vincent’s Hospital, and is supported by the Real Estate Institute of Victoria.

 

Amazing tropical growth in Mackay

The growth of Wellways in Queensland means both Mackay and Townsville offices now offer a diverse range of services from mental health, disability, and child safety through to the National Disability Insurance. 

Although small, the dedicated Lived-experience team in Mackay has been busy delivering a range of peer-facilitated activities, forming new connections and raising the profile of peer work in the area.

In March the team delivered the Wellways “Well Together” workshop and a “Well Said” presentation to both students studying Certificate III in Individual Support, Skilling Queensland for Work and Community Solutions, Mackay. The impact of the lived-experience presentation of Well Together had a particularly strong effect on participants. Feedback included: The “workshop was the best training we have ever received”.

The team also delivered a presentation to The Mackay Regional Suicide Prevention Network, providing information how Wellways can support organisations. Lindy Bishop, Wellways Peer and Community Educator and Wellways NDIS Engagement Officer in Mackay said: “We received such a great response from the Network, which has generated further interest in Wellways services and further bookings for our Well Said presentations.”

Lindy has also started delivering Wellways’ first My Recovery Program in Mackay to 11 participants. “It’s really exciting to be delivering this award-winning peer education program in Mackay, which can make such a significant difference to people’s lives,” Lindy said.

To learn more about Wellways services in North Queensland you can contact the offices in Mackay, 131 Victoria Street, on 07 4953 0253, or Townsville, 2/137 Ingham Road, on 07 4863 4111.

 

You’re welcome in Wagga

The Wellways Wagga Wagga office has been accepted as a “Welcome Here” space for the LGBTIQ+ community. In recognition of dedication to celebrating diversity, inclusion and care of the community and after a lengthy application process ACON has recognised Wellways for providing a safe place for LGBTQI+ people and their families.

“Welcome Here” (Previously known as Safe Place) started in 1998 in response to high levels of street based violence directed at Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ+) people. Local businesses signed up to become a 'Safe Pace' by putting a sticker in their shop front to let LGBTIQ community members know they could seek refuge if they were under the threat of violence.

“As a LGBTQI+ person I am so proud of the efforts put in by the Murrumbidgee team to show inclusiveness and the value we hold to diversity. A huge thank you to those that have put in efforts at diversity events such as Transgender Round (Soccer) and Haaaaaay Mardi Gras on the ground and behind the scenes, it’s because of efforts such as these that we can see positive, lasting, impactful change within our communities,” said support coordinator Jay Morris.

 

Wellways gets a big tick

Wellways has passed a rigorous quality assessment that touched many areas of the organisation from Tasmania to New South Wales and involved numerous staff. The two-week process involved file audits, policy review and interviews with participants, staff, stakeholders and management. The assessment team said Wellways should be congratulated for passing in all areas, as “this was a great achievement in the context of significant growth and external change”.

They reported positive comments from participants and stakeholders: “Wellways maintains person-centred recovery programs despite significant change,” and “Wellways lives its values”. Assessors were also impressed by the professionalism, dedication and optimism of staff.

This means we meet Victorian Human Services Standards, National Standards for Mental Health Services and Quality Improvement Council Health and Community Standards.  “On behalf of the Quality and Service Development Team and Quality committee, I would like to pass on my thanks to all managers and staff who worked so hard to prepare for this assessment,” said Quality manager Rob Bellchambers.

CEO Liz Crowther said it was milestone achievement for Wellways. “Thanks must go to Rob, his team and the quality committee for their hard work”.