John “Will” Lambeth was referred to Open Minds from Centrelink due to his partial hearing loss and mental health barriers.
To download a PDF version of the Autumn Edition of the Better Days, click here.
The Wattle League Foundation continues to go from strength to strength, with so much progress and collaboration taking place on the Foundation’s first project – Wattle House.
Once established, Wattle House will provide access to a comprehensive therapeutic and peer support program for ADF service men and women (current and veterans) that includes both group activities and individual support. Case Management will facilitate linkages to specific in- house and external programs that include, but are not limited to:
National Review of the services available to veterans and members of the ADF
On 11 August 2016, the Prime Minister announced a review of the services available to veterans and members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in relation to the prevention of self-harm and suicide. This Review was undertaken by the National Mental Health Commission and the final report was presented to the Prime Minister on 28 March this year.
The Wattle League Foundation, Open Minds’ philanthropic arm, provided a significant and considered submission to the Review. Our submission was developed in partnership with leading clinicians and practitioners in their fields, all integral in the scoping work relating to Wattle House, and its step up, step down supports for ADF veterans experiencing mental ill health due to their service to country.
The Government is considering the Review recommendations and determining future actions to strengthen efforts to prevent suicide and self-harm amongst current and former serving members of the ADF.
A response to the Review will be released by 30 June 2017.
Wattle House Model of Service Workshop
The 9th of February 2017 saw an impressive group come together at Open Minds Head Office with a shared goal to develop a model of service that will be provided to ADF veterans during their stay at Wattle House.
We were joined by veterans Sean Mulqueen and Tom Williams, physicians, clinicians and individuals from Ex-Service Organisations working with veterans on a daily basis.
Sean and Tom provided invaluable advice gained through their extensive work supporting their mates in the former ADF network through the difficulties they experience post-service.
It is clear the program will require a personalised recovery service model, with clear goals set for each veteran during their stay at Wattle House. This will not be ‘just another place to stay’ - its focus will be recovery.
Some services and therapies will be accessed on-site, with others off-site. Each veteran’s needs are unique, so the program of services in which they participate and access will vary.
Some may be focussed on employment and need to work on job readiness with our Employment Services team, some may even undertake work experience whilst residing at Wattle House. Others may need access to family and individual counselling and therapy, or help with budgeting and setting financial goals.
The peer support amongst the residing cohort will be an invaluable element unique to Wattle House – veterans helping veterans achieve their chosen goals on a road to long-term recovery.
Workplace Giving Program Launched
In April 2017, Open Minds launched its Workplace Giving program, providing our staff with an opportunity to donate to the Wattle League Foundation, directly from their pre-tax pay.
By signing up to the Workplace Giving program, our staff donations will assist the Foundation to deliver programs to people in need of supports to recover from mental illness. The first of these programs will be Wattle House, supporting Australian veterans experiencing mental ill health as a direct result of their service to country.
It doesn't take much to make a difference. Our staff know that forgoing a cup of coffee once a week and instead contributing to the Wattle League Foundation DOES make a difference!
If your organisation would like to support the Wattle League Foundation through your staff Workplace Giving program, contact email@example.com for more information, or visit www.wattleleaguefoundation.org.au
Giving starts with us
“I didn’t hesitate to sign up to the staff Workplace Giving program to support our Wattle League Foundation. I’m honoured to have a chance to give back to our ADF veterans and I am proud of Open Minds for their work in this space. Our legacy and history lives on in our Foundation and its first program to support our ex-service men and women.
With so many ADF personnel experiencing mental ill heath as a consequence of their service for our country, the establishment of Wattle House is very timely indeed, and sorely needed.
Donating through the Workplace Giving program means I know 100% of my donation goes directly towards the Wattle League Foundation. Giving pre-tax via this method also maximises my donation – another great win.”
General Manager Business Development
Open Minds staff member
Proud to serve our country
“We all have stories to tell about the difficulties we experienced upon our return. Some of us were hospitalised, some of us struggled through on our own. We were all asked what a non-acute facility should provide – we all agreed it should look and feel nothing like a hospital. We all stressed long term ‘recovery’ as the focus for Wattle House. We don’t want to go anywhere that doesn’t fix us – we need to set goals and recovery targets. Most of us are young and have our lives ahead of us. When we are well we have a lot to give back to our country, our community and our loved ones. We are proud to serve our country - if we had our time over again we would do it all the same.”
Sapper, Australian Defence Force (retired)
A family’s experience
“My husband was hospitalised on a number of occasions both in Victoria and Queensland – psychiatric wards are not places for family and especially not places for children.
If there was a facility during our time of need that could have included family we all would have understood his condition and treatment needs better. I fully support the establishment of Wattle House”
Partner of ADF Veteran, Queensland
Open Minds recently introduced a new employment program to provide supported School Based Traineeships for Year 10, 11 & 12 students with a verified disability. Our Schools Division support students to help them get their first job whilst completing high school and provide the tools for them to commence a career pathway.
Transitioning from school to employment can be difficult for students. We partner with the school, parents and employers to ensure students are well supported and advocated for throughout this journey. Our goal is to transition each and every student in our program into sustainable employment post-high school.
What is a Supported School Based Traineeship?
A supported School Based Traineeship is a collaboration of partners where the key objective is for the student to gain and complete a school based traineeship, followed by sustainable ongoing employment post-high school. This leads to empowerment, increased self-esteem, becoming self- sufficient and provides an unrivalled opportunity to become a contributing adult in the community.
In addition, students will gain a nationally recognised qualification, paid employment, relevant workplace experience, mentoring and support throughout their journey. Students participating in a school based traineeship will work for 8 paid hours, per week, which is paid by our Principal Employer Organisation (PEO). Work hours and days will be coordinated in collaboration with each student’s school. Students will receive face-to-face training and mentoring in the workplace and at school.
Could you be a host employer?
Supportive host employers make a real difference to the outcomes of young people with a disability in their community. As a Host Employer, your role will be to:
Benefits for a Host Employer
What is the outcome?
It is our goal that all students finish their traineeship with ongoing employment. We do not stop working with our students once they are qualified; we are here for students at the conclusion of their traineeship to ensure they have sustainable ongoing employment.
Bailey and Billy
The Open Minds Employment Services team assisted Bailey to begin a School Based Traineeship (SBT) in Retail with Cash Converters. Bailey was so keen to give a good impression on his first day that he arrived 30 minutes early and was waiting for the store to open! The recent rain wasn’t a good enough excuse for Bailey to not go to work – he chose to brave the weather conditions. His employer is really impressed with his work ethic.
Billy has also commenced a SBT in Retail with Cash Converters. Billy has already shown terrific initiative by not waiting for instructions from his supervisor and taking on tasks himself – impressing his employer by showing he is a real self starter.
Both Bailey and Billy go to the same school and both they and their families are so happy for the support given by Open Minds, which included buying work-ready clothes to wear on their first day. A comment from the School after their first day at work was, “both of the boys really enjoyed working at Cash Converters and this is a great fit for both of them, thank you so much”. The Manager at Cash Converters is delighted that both of them are doing so well.
Our Employment Services Schools Division have supported Aleisha to commence a School Based Traineeship in Hospitality with Red Rooster.
Aleisha comes from a big family of seven children, loves cooking and is very keen to learn as much as she can about hospitality. Her dream is to pursue a career in this area once she completes high school.
Aleisha will be the first person in her family to complete high school and her parents are hoping that she will be the role model for her younger siblings. Her family were so grateful to Open Minds for assisting Aleisha by supplying her with work-ready clothes - Aleisha will certainly look the part in her workplace!
Both the Franchise Owner and the Store Manager are very supportive of the program and of Aleisha.
The International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL) is a unique international collaborative that focuses on improving mental health and addiction services. IIMHL organises systems for international innovation sharing, networking and problem solving across countries and agencies. The overall aim is to provide better outcomes for people who use mental health and addiction services and their families.
This year, the conference was held in Australia. The forum draws around 450 international delegates together, every 18 months to exchange knowledge and new ideas in mental health leadership. The theme for the 2017 Exchange was, ‘Contributing lives, thriving communities'.
On Sunday 26 February, Open Minds, at the request of the Queensland Mental Health Commission, hosted an impressive group of international delegates, stakeholders and guests at the ‘Welcome to Queensland’ event for delegates attending IIMHL.
A delegation from Timor Leste attended the event in Brisbane to attend the Australian Aid Fellowship Program facilitated by QUT. This program works to support leaders from the Timor Leste mental health sector who have identified practical issues in relation to delivering care to mental health service users. Open Minds supported this Program by presenting the range of mental health supports we offer in Australia, in the hope our experience and leadership in this field will assist these professionals to improve health care delivery in their nation.
IMMHL Delegates were attending the first, of a two-phase experience with Open Minds hosting delegates at a leadership exchange workshop in Brisbane on 27 & 28 February 2017. The workshop program was designed around a topic, ‘Physical Health Outcomes – A Different Perspective’ and was delivered by Positive Social Solutions.
PwC supported our program by providing a wonderful venue for the workshop in their Brisbane CBD office. The topic focussed on how participating countries are addressing the critical issue of improving physical health outcomes for people with severe and enduring mental illness. Our workshop facilitators encouraged interactive and creative thinking to explore the question, “How might we better enable people living with severe mental illness to monitor their own physical health care indicators as a means for improving personal health/wellbeing outcomes?”
Over the two days, 31 participants engaged in an accelerated design thinking workshop underpinned by a structured five-step innovation process. Key presentations delivered by Open Minds Australia and Equally Well New Zealand provided evidence of the staggering physical health gap between people who experience mental health and/or addiction issues, and those who don’t, in both Australia and New Zealand.
The match provided a ‘hands-on’ leadership development experience for our participants, focusing on three core future leadership competencies:
Participants were coached along a simulated learning journey that enabled each individual to demonstrate and further develop their knowledge, skills and confidence in these three core competencies. The high-level objective of this approach was to develop transferable skill sets in these leaders and equip them with the tangible toolkits required to lead collaborative change efforts at the intersection between mental and physical health outcomes.
Sustaining communications to ensure innovative concepts are further developed and ensuring participant commitments are actioned is of utmost importance to the Match. A LinkedIn private group was established to connect all of the participants going forward.
Open Minds was impressed with the outcomes achieved by the Equally Well initiative, working together to improve physical health for people experiencing mental health and/or addiction issues. Open Minds have since endorsed their efforts and become a member organisation. For further information on the initiative, please visit:
The second phase of the IIMHL Conference was held in Sydney and provided an opportunity for delegates to hear from expert speakers and engage with their peers about trends, innovative practices, policy and reform. Topics included: ‘Wide brown land: Australia’s mental health and disability landscape’; ‘Leaders by experience - a call to action’; ‘Creating the perfect storm: Leadership and the journey of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Australia’; ‘Self directed support in psychosocial disability and mental health’; and ‘Zero suicide in healthcare: from international declaration to local action’.
Open Minds is delighted to be a part of such an outcome- driven initiative, working together with our Australian and International peers toward shared goals and outcomes.
The devastation of the April 2017 floods impacted communities right throughout Queensland, the Gold Coast, Tweed region and south of the border through to Lismore and surrounds.
Throughout the flood period, Open Minds staff and customers in the Lismore region remained safe. Whilst our office was closed, phone contact continued to ensure our customers and team remained safe and well in the community. Five Open Minds cars were lost in the floods but with support from Wellways Australia (who generously loaned cars to our team), other organisations, and some tight scheduling and hard work from staff, the team were able to maintain service to our customers.
In Lismore, the emergency siren was activated on Friday, 31 March at 4:00am - warning residents to evacuate immediately as the levy constructed in 2005 was cracking and in danger of being breeched.
In the dark and early hours of that morning, floodwaters continued rising in the northern and southern districts and rushed into Lismore CBD and surrounding neighbourhoods, inundating over 3,000 households and businesses. Many residents had to be rescued as the levy was breached, with the amount of water topping the levy catching many people by surprise.
In the following days, as the water receded, the scale of devastation was revealed. Heartbreakingly, street after street of rubbish piles grew, as it became obvious of the loss of personal items and possessions. Many business owners lost all their stock and were left with damaged and often uninsured businesses.
Amongst all the despair and devastation, people took action to support each other and help out their friends, family and neighbours. Businesses supported each other while community organisations and volunteer networks small and large went to work. The rural fire brigades from all over the region poured into town to assist with the clean-up.
Donation food banks, high school kids helping out a record store, relief centres, and a magic bus transporting people and goods were all part of the clean-up efforts.
Black Sombrero’s owner, Julie Dixon, hung a heart flag from her restaurant symbolising the heart of Lismore and resistance to the heartbreaking circumstances. The flag popped up all over the place - a visual sign of shared community support.
Whilst the emotional and financial impact of the floods continue, the bond at both personal and organisational levels provides hope and inspiration for a shared and resilient community in Lismore now and into the future.
Come along to the NDIS Ipswich Expo!
Open Minds will be there to answer any of your NDIS questions and help you with your NDIS journey.
To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0459 889 877.
Can't attend? Open Minds are hosting a free NDIS readiness workshop at the new Ipswich hub on Thursday 29 June 2017 at 1:30pm. If you're interested in attending, please email email@example.com or contact Open Minds on 1300 673 664.