Media Release by Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens

More mentors to help include people with mental illness

The Australian Government is providing the Richmond Fellowship nearly $4 million to establish three Personal Helpers and Mentors services across Queanbeyan/Yass, Southern Highlands/Crookwell/Goulburn and Belconnen/Gungahlin.

Senator Ursula Stephens, today launched the services at the Richmond Fellowship in Goulburn.

Dr Stephens said the funding will provide five full-time equivalent personal helpers and mentors for each site to work one-on-one with people with a severe mental illness.

“These services will provide support to help people who, because of severe mental illness, cannot manage their daily activities or live independently,” Senator Stephens said.

“Personal helpers and mentors also work on improving their relationships with family and friends, and help people with a mental illness to become more engaged in community life and overcome social isolation.

“People can refer themselves to the program, their families and carers can encourage them to join or they can be referred to the program by a local health or community organisation.”

Senator Stephens congratulated The Richmond Fellowship for its social inclusion approach that works with people in their environment, bringing the support and assistance to them in the place where they live.

“The Australian Government’s commitment to social inclusion is about developing policy and programs that wrap the services around the person in need and draw them back into full engagement in our community.

“That’s why we’ve contributed $285 million to the Council of Australian Governments’ National Action Plan on Mental Health, which will help fund 900 Personal Helpers and Mentors to assist people with a severe mental illness to manage their daily activities, reconnect with the wider community and support their recovery process,” said Senator Stephens.