Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Supporting people with mental illness in Bendigo

People with severe mental illness in Bendigo and the Goldfields region will have greater access to support services and other practical assistance close to home thanks to a $1.5 million investment in St Luke’s Anglicare.

Minister for Disability Reform Jenny Macklin said the new local funding and support was part of an $85.6 million boost to the Gillard Government’s Personal Helpers and Mentors program (PHaMs).

“The Gillard Government is investing more than $1.5 million over three years in St Luke’s Anglicare for a new PHaMs service that will deliver much needed mental health support for people in Bendigo and the Goldfields region,” Ms Macklin said.

“Five new PHaMs employment workers will work one-on-one with people with mental illness to help build their capacity to find and keep a job and stay connected with their local community.”

The new Bendigo service will have an employment focus, with specialist PHaMs employment workers who will help people with mental illness to achieve their employment goals.

“The Gillard Government knows that finding and keeping a job is one of the best ways for people to stay connected,” Ms Macklin said.

“The new Bendigo service is one of 38 new PHaMs services and 20 expanded services across the country.

“This additional investment will deliver more than 230 extra personal helpers and mentors who will work one-on-one with people with mental illness across Australia.

“This means an additional 2,500 people with severe mental illness will receive the personal help and mentoring they need to reconnect to health care, the workforce and their communities.”

One hundred and fifty two of the new personal helpers and mentors will be engaged by PHaMs employment services, working with people with mental illness on the Disability Support Pension and other payments, to help them become ready to enter the workforce. PHaMs will work closely with government employment providers to ensure people have all the support they need.”

Today’s announcement builds on the range of investments already delivered by the Gillard Government through our historic $2.2 billion national investment in mental health reform, including the 175 PHaMs services currently operating across the country.