Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Community mental health boost

Joint Media Release with:

  • Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

  • Julie Collins MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Community Services

Seventy-nine community mental health services across Australia will share in more than $106 million to continue helping people with mental illness, their families and carers over the next three years.

These services deliver the popular Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs) program to help improve the lives of people with mental illness across Australia.

This funding extension will enable the personal helpers and mentors employed in these services to continue providing one-on-one support to help people with mental illness live more independent lives and reconnect with the wider community..

There are currently more than 1,000 current full-time equivalent workers providing practical support to people with severe mental illness under the PHaMs program.

Personal helpers and mentors assist people with severe and debilitating mental illness, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorders, to set and achieve personal goals, such as finding employment, and improving relationships with family and friends.

By building their confidence and increasing their connections within the community, personal helpers and mentors help participants overcome the social isolation that can be so crippling for someone with a mental illness.

A recent evaluation of Government community mental health initiatives such as Personal Helpers and Mentors found these services are making real improvements to the lives of people with mental illness across regional and metropolitan Australia.

People using these services experienced improved health and wellbeing, better coping skills, and more confidence. Many also experienced reduced social isolation and improved relationships with family and friends.