A program that supports people with enduring and serious mental health issues who have been in hospital for more than 12 months to move back to the community has been profiled in a new report from the NSW Mental Health Commission.
Paving the Way Home was launched by the NSW Minister for Mental Health, the Hon. Tanya Davies MP, on Wednesday 24 October. The report highlights the strategies and achievements to date of the Pathways to Community Living Initiative (PCLI), a NSW Government program led by the NSW Ministry of Health.
Started in 2014, the PCLI aims to find alternative accommodation and community-based support for around 380 people in NSW who have been in a mental health inpatient facility for 12 months or more.
NSW Mental Health Commissioner Catherine Lourey said the PCLI was a direct response to the call in Living Well: A Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014-2024 to increase the availability of community mental health services and supports in NSW, and provide community-based alternatives to long-stay hospital care.
“A hospital is not a home. We all know, from our own stays in hospital or from visiting loved ones, that even the best inpatient care does not rival the comfort and safety we feel when we are in a space of our own, with the people, animals and belongings we love,” said Ms Lourey.
“The NSW Government has recognised the vital role that home plays in recovery and healing from mental health issues and acted on this by investing in the Pathways to Community Living Initiative.
“The Commission hopes by profiling the approaches and early success of the Initiative in the Paving the Way Home report, we can support others in NSW, Australia and beyond to learn from this major mental health reform.”
The new report charts the strategies that have been used in the PCLI to help people move ‘home’. These include new partnerships with residential aged care providers, culture change, distributive leadership, clear communication strategies and Open Dialogue methods.
“The Initiative advocates that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to helping people move back into the community. Rather, there must be a unique journey and plan for each individual,” Ms Lourey said.
The Commission prepared the report in strong partnership with the NSW Ministry of Health and will continue monitor the PCLI’s progress as it moves into its next phase.
“I look forward to the Initiative’s comprehensive approach to supporting people’s needs, strengths and wishes becoming business-as-usual across mental health services in NSW,” Ms Lourey said.