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Capacity Building & Community Mental Health

Louise Briggs worked in the mental health and child protection space before she joined the Feros Care Local Area Coordination team. 

She has first-hand experience seeing the negative fallout from persons with psychosocial disability being unable to access the services they need. Her strong passion for the sector is what drew her to join the Feros Care Local Area Coordination team in a Community Mental Health role in the Townsville region.

As a Partner in the community with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), the Local Area Coordination service provides access and planning support for people with disability who are eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). We also offer information, linkages and capacity building (ILC) for all people with disability. 
Louise and the LAC team, through their work with a wide range of community stakeholders, noticed similar themes arising when discussing challenges and gaps. The main frustration they heard was the difficulty in knowing how to best support people with Psychosocial disability to access the NDIS, LAC services, and broader systems of support. They identified an opportunity for a capacity building project to fully explore how they could best assist people with Psychosocial disability to access the supports they need. 

Rather than relying on anecdotal information, and in the spirit of collaboration, over 20 stakeholders across a range of sectors were identified as key stakeholders to help the team gather data and better understand the big picture. Stakeholders included representatives from health services, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse community services as well as NDIS registered and non-registered service providers. 
The team generated twelve targeted questions, and it was exciting to see stakeholders’ willingness to be involved and help understand and ultimately improve access within the psychosocial space. They were enthusiastic and open to sharing their thoughts and valuable insights around the frustrations and opportunities they see for a more inclusive community.  From the answers and subsequent discussions, it is evident that access to NDIS and connecting with a broader system of support is a community-wide challenge both for people with Psychosocial disability and for the support services themselves.
Once the interviews and surveys are finalised, stakeholders will come together in a forum where the data will be presented coupled with identified opportunities for a community-wide working group to form. The aim is to collaboratively assist persons with mental health illness to link with the NDIS, mainstream, and community-based supports. 
The consultation, interview and data collation stages of the project is set to be completed by mid-May, culminating in a stakeholder forum at the end of May at the Feros Care Townsville office.

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