Adult Step Up, Step Down: Celebrating 15 Years of transformative mental health support in the ACT.

Wellways, ACT Health, and Justice Health & Alcohol & Drug Services proudly celebrate 15 years of the Adult Step Up, Step Down program, a groundbreaking initiative, has provided critical support to over 600 participants in its years of service. This milestone marks a significant achievement in mental health care, underscoring the power of community partnerships in fostering recovery and wellbeing.

The Adult Step Up, Step Down program, a recovery-focused residential initiative, aims to prevent relapse and assist individuals recovering from acute mental distress episodes. The program offers a 'step up' from community settings into a highly supportive environment, preventing possible hospital admissions, and a 'step down' transition from hospital back into the community. Participants stay for up to three months, receiving a unique blend of clinical and psychosocial support, which continues through outreach services after their stay.

Lachlan Ateyo, a participant and Laura Collister cutting the cake.

ACT Minister for Mental Health, Emma Davidson, emphasised the program's holistic focus: "This service has provided a space where people are supported to feel comfortable and access recovery-focused care. The more support we deliver in the community rather than in hospital, the better we can support people to stay healthy and connected."

Wellways CEO, Laura Collister reflected on the growth of the program: "Fifteen years ago, we began this program with Wellways to deliver prevention and recovery-focused care to individuals experiencing mental health challenges. It was the first of its kind in the ACT,” Ms. Collister said. “The passion and dedication our founding team brought to the program have remained constant. Every day, they create a comfortable and welcoming space where individuals can heal and rebuild their confidence and connection to family and community."

Yenn, a previous Adult Step Up, Step Down participant shared their positive experiences, highlighting the program's impact. "I still use some of the strategies and analogies I developed while in the program which I found helpful in managing my mental health."

Yenn speaking to guests about their experience with the program.

Bruno Aloisi, Acting Commissioner of ACT Corrective Services Justice and Community Safety Directorate was there at the very beginning, and he still praises the partnership spirit of the program: "One of my proudest achievements was being involved in the establishment of the first adult residential Step Up, Step Down mental health facility in the ACT. The partnership was highly collaborative, consistently promoting the best outcomes for participants."

The Adult Step Up, Step Down program's workforce combines professional and lived experience expertise, fostering a safe and supportive environment. Team members' personal experiences with mental health challenges ensure that individuals feel genuinely heard and valued.

As Wellways, ACT Health, and Justice Health & Alcohol & Drug Services look forward to the next 15 years, they remain committed to providing inclusive and transformative mental health services through community-based partnerships.

Learn more

To learn more about the Adult Step Up, Step Down program and how it can support a person's mental health recovery.