Mid North Coast Local Health District
Family and Community Services (FACS) and other “non-health” service providers often struggle to effectively engage people with a mental illness to provide community support services, including assistance with housing. The MNCLHD Mental Health Service and FACS under the Kempsey Place Plan embraced an innovative approach by employing a Peer Worker with “lived experience” of mental health working across both Health and FACS as a 12-month pilot.
The aims were to ensure effective referral pathways were in place for mental health clients, and FACS staff were provided with the skills and knowledge to comfortably engage with people with mental illness.
Earlier intervention and referral to community services by the Peer Worker has resulted in reduced lengths of stay and readmissions, and decline in FACS tenancy issues for families at risk of homelessness. FACS staff are now more effectively engaging, identifying, referring and supporting people with mental illness.