These providers are supporting people with severe mental illness to thrive in the community

Monday, 25 November 2019

Pictured: Psychosocial Support Services team at Ermha

Pictured: Psychosocial Support Services team at Ermha

There are many people across south eastern Melbourne who are experiencing the challenges of severe mental illnesses, impacting various parts of their day-to-day life.

SEMPHN has commissioned Ermha, in partnership with Launch Housing to support those who are not eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Below, they share with us how they do it.

In a nutshell, what does you organisation do?

Ermha: We ensure people experiencing mental illness and cognitive disability, and their carers, can thrive and become part of the community.

We work with people experiencing mental illness and cognitive disability, who are considered at risk, and support them to live safely and meaningfully in the community. We do this by developing individual tailored support plans to focus on their recovery, independence and social inclusion. 

Services are designed to give clients more and better opportunities to build their resilience and independence they can use to realise their ambitions.

Launch Housing: We are a Melbourne-based community agency whose mission is to end homelessness. We provide high quality housing, support, education and employment services to thousands of people across 14 sites in metropolitan Melbourne. 

Launch Housing also drives social policy change, advocacy, research and innovation. We help people get and keep a home, stabilise any other issues with wrap-around services and get to know their community.

What have Ermha and Launch Housing been commissioned to do? 

Ermha, in partnership with Launch Housing, has been commissioned by SEMPHN to deliver Psychosocial Support Services (PSS)

Ermha and Launch Housing offer psychosocial support services as two programs across south eastern Melbourne:

  1. National Psychosocial Support (NPS): a short-term service that aims to build the capacity and connectedness of the participant when it is most needed. 

  2. The Continuity of Support (COS): a service that provides ongoing support for consumers who accessed services under Partners in Recovery (PIR), Support for Day to Day Living in the community (D2DL) and Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs).

These services are provided to people who are not eligible for the NDIS and are living with severe or episodic mental illness which impacts on their psychological and social functioning.

What does ‘psychosocial support’ mean?

Psychosocial support can assist people with mental illness to participate in their community, manage daily tasks, secure stable employment and housing, and connect with family and friends. Psychosocial supports are specific to the person and the times they need them. They may include one-to-one or group support.

Why is working in this space important to your team?

Ermha: Our team was drawn to this type of work due to lived experience. We have the passion to work with people from all different backgrounds, and support people to achieve goals. We like being a part of a team environment and sharing knowledge to assist people with finding a purpose in their community. 

Launch Housing: We see every day how mental illness contributes to and is worsened by the stress and trauma of homelessness. Clients often cycle through acute mental healthcare and exit to homelessness, only to return repeatedly to hospital-based care. Meanwhile, there is a lack of available pathways through the mental health sector for those hard to reach clients groups. 

What has been a highlight?

Ermha: A highlight for us involves assisting people experiencing severe mental health to increase their individual functional capacity, develop and strengthen connectedness with their, family, friends and other social networks, and thrive in their community. 

Launch Housing: It has been incredibly powerful to witness consumers with mental health issues settle and take up opportunities like housing and employment and become active in their own communities.

What is it like to work with SEMPHN?

Ermha: It is an utmost privilege to be working with SEMPHN as they commission services that provide the community with the right care, in the right place, at the right time. The positive collaboration with SEMPHN provides us the best opportunity to deliver our services to people in need across south eastern Melbourne, allowing us to fill the gaps in the health care system. SEMPHN’s guidance, regular supervision and uncomplicated and reliable systems make our work and tasks more productive and efficient in delivering the right services.

Launch Housing: This work confirms the correlation between and interdependence of mental health and homelessness. Our collaborative work ensures our core client group have access to supports and the care they need to establish a pathway to wellness and out of homelessness. It also provides our organisation a credible voice into the clinical health sector, which enables us to listen, learn, act and also share our professional insights and experiences with health professionals to help the community.


 Learn more about Ermha or Launch Housing.

Learn more about Psychosocial Support Services

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