Speech by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Expansion of Personal Helpers and Mentors Program through Ruah Community Services, Maddington WA

Location: Maddington, Western Australia

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  • Francis Lynch, CEO, Ruah Community Services
  • Sheryl Carmody, Executive Manager, Ruah Community Services (may be attending)
  • Sharryn Jackson, Member for Hasluck

I would like to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land where we are meeting, and pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present.

It’s great to be here today to meet to see the great work you are doing – all 170 of you.

Ruah has been helping people in Perth for over 50 years.

I’m told the word ‘ruah’ in Hebrew means ‘wind’, ‘breath’, and ‘spirit of life’.

I think this very apt; it reflects the spirit of the work you do.

Reaching out to the most vulnerable people and helping them connect with their community.

The Australian Government recognises and values the tremendous work of Ruah Community Services.

Today I’m happy to announce an additional $396,420 (to 2012) to help you expand your services under the Personal Helpers and Mentors Program (otherwise known as PHaMs) in Armadale.

This brings the total financial support for six PHaMs services being delivered across the Perth and the wider Western Australian community by Ruah of more than $2.7 million per year (total amount for all services).

The expansion of the PHaMs initiative will mean Indigenous people living with mental illness, grief and trauma will be able to continue to access much needed support.

Providing Indigenous people in Armadale, as well as Maddington, with tailored outreach services including respite services, peer support and family relationship counselling.

Working one-on-one with participants personal helpers and mentors offer important practical help with setting and achieving personal goals, such as finding suitable housing, using public transport or improving relationships with family and friends.

The extra funding for the PHaMs Armadale initiative will employ extra staff to join the existing team, which includes a team leader, peer support and case workers who provide personalised support.

This funding will mean that more people can seek assistance through PHaMs.

We know mental illness can have a devastating effect on people’s lives leaving them feeling isolated, vulnerable, and at risk of drug and alcohol abuse.

Indigenous people experience higher rates of mental illness and this why the Government is taking the initiative and investing more funding so that they can access the support and services.

With the help of this tremendous organisation, Indigenous people, and indeed the rest of the community, will be able to build their confidence and increase their connection to the community.

PHaMs help people overcome social isolation so that they can fully participate in all aspects of community life.

Most importantly, families and carers of people with a mental illness, who often feel overwhelmed and have little time, or no time for themselves, will be fully supported through this invaluable service.

There has already been much success in Armadale.

The PHaMs initiative has already helped more than 29 people in Armadale since 1 July 2009 (for the period ending December 2009) helping them to get their lives back on track.

I want to thank Ruah Community Service for their contribution over the last 50 years.

And wish you well for the next 50.