Apr 7, 2010

New mental health services for humanitarian entrants

New mental health services for humanitarian entrants

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

April 7 2010

Humanitarian entrants with severe mental illness living in Sydney’s inner west and the Bankstown area will be given individual support from personal helpers to help them manage everyday activities and connect with community life.

With more than $792,000 in additional funding from the Australian Government, the existing Aftercare Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs) service based in Marrickville will employ additional workers to specifically work with humanitarian entrants and Indigenous Australians.

The Member for Grayndler, Anthony Albanese said the funding announcement by the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, meant existing support services would be expanded.

“This support will now be available to help people who have come from overseas under Australia’s humanitarian program and who are suffering from a severe mental illness, to better manage their illness and live more independent and satisfying lives,” Mr Albanese said.

"Personal mentors offer very practical support, making home visits and providing help with day to day activities. In one case, a personal mentor helped a client overcome a fear of public transport by travelling with him a little further each day on the train.

“Personal mentors also help people strengthen their relationships with family and connect them with important medical and social services, including housing services and health professionals.”

Minister Macklin said the additional funding for the service located in Marrickville and delivered by the organisation New Horizons Enterprises was part of a national funding package of $5.4 million for new services and workers under the PHaMS program.

“New Horizons Enterprises will receive $792,840 in additional funding to expand their current programs and provide more targeted help for humanitarian entrants in Sydney’s inner west and Bankstown areas, bringing their total funding to $1.7 million until 30 June 2012,” Ms Macklin said.

"The one-on-one support provided by personal helpers and mentors is important for humanitarian entrants, who often have limited family and social support networks, and really need this extra support to connect with their new community."