Organisation Submission – Aftercare

I am a service provider delivering carer services


* This submission is coming from a Mental Health perspective.

* There seems to be no specific mental health engagement and perspectives gathered in the Draft Service Concept.
*Positive that the strategy has one entry point for carers however this will be a barrier for family and friends who are providing care and support to others and more specifically for carers (eg. hidden carers) of people who are in the early stages of addressing their with mental health issues.
* Support under the existing MH Carer Programs (includes Young Carers and MH Carer Respite Support) will be transitioned into the NDIS. Issues associated with this that those people with MH issues who are eligible for NDIS support may not have the needs of their carer included in the package of support.
Secondly what happens for carers when their loved one is not eligible for the NDIS and was previously receiving support through an existing state or federally funded MH program.
Finally, for those people who’s loved ones have emerging MH issues will not be identified through NDIS. Family and carer support information will need to be attached to services like Headspace. Aftercare currently co-locates it MH Respite: Carer Support program with Headspace Woolloongabba.

* Agreeing with the Draft Service Concept that the clinical sector needs to increase their awareness of Carer Support and Respite programs.
* Raising awareness of Carers early in their carer journey would entail a community awareness comprehensive campaign similarly to the work of Beyond Blue and Mates in Construction etc.
Young Carers could be engaged via through GP medical centres and the education systems.
*Carers need to be educated on what to look for in the health system to assist them to navigate and use the system well for themselves and their loved ones.
* Programs such as Triple P, Group Teen,Wellways: Building a Future have received exceptionally good carer feedback at our service.

* How can the future integrated care support service help carers. How?
– Online
– PHNs providing long term assertive MH literacy and awareness raising.
Evidenced by information being available in GP medical centre sand hospitals.
– Touch Screen Information Booths – similar to those available in libraries and shopping centers.

How to encourage cares to participate and remain engage?
Aftercare and Kyabra provided WellWays 12 week course and we back it up with monthly catch-ups for 12mths afterwards to set the foundation for ongoing engagement and learning.

* Needs Identification and Planning – Goal based Planning. Our experience is that Goal Based planning is driven by the carer not the service. It is an organic carer process.
* Consumer Directed Care – from a mental health perspective this does not necessarily alleviate stressors for the carer in fact it may increase them due to the challenges of their loved one who may have a significant mh issues managing their own supports.

*Coaching Programs – in our experience in the mh space are most effective when Carers are willing and able.
*Carer mentoring ought to be driven by the carer and responsive and flexible to their needs not a prescribed service driven concept.

* Unintended effects of funding carers directly? Negative – some people may remain isolated and uninformed. Positively – On the other hand , they may be able to take other family members of friends away with them for respite/holiday breaks.
Respite support can look like a 3dy retreat – benefits include
planned time away/respite and provision of education including local clinician presenting on navigating the MH system, plus wellbeing and social activities. Aftercare have done this in partnership with ARAFMI and 60 people registered.

*Counselling – There needs to be more opportunity for small group as well as individual session; Art therapy, Music Therapy and Dialectal Behavior.

* Counselling: Continue education around the benefits of counselling. As Aftercare has found a significant stigma from Carers associated with accessing counselling – people often see they they have lost the battle to support their loved one. Our experience when delivering Youth MH First Aid Course facilitators promote the benefits of one to one counselling and people more readily take it up after hearing of others positive experiences from within the group.

Comments by
Carol Owens – MH Respite : Carer Support
Craig Stanley-Jones – Regional Manager