The Australian Government is providing $5.4 million for new services and workers to give humanitarian entrants with a mental illness access to one-on-one support through the Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs) program.
Two new services will be established in communities with significant humanitarian entrant populations in Liverpool in New South Wales and Enfield in South Australia to help people with a mental illness who are humanitarian entrants, such as refugees and other people displaced from their homelands.
In addition, ten new workers will be shared among five existing PHaMs sites in New South Wales and South Australia, to work specifically with humanitarian entrants.
In total, 20 additional personal mentors will be on the ground by mid 2010 to provide intensive assistance to humanitarian entrants with a severe mental illness.
The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, and the Member for Bennelong, Maxine McKew, today visited New Horizons in North Ryde, a local organisation that delivers PHaMs in 10 sites in New South Wales.
New Horizons will receive $1.2 million in additional funding to expand their current programs and provide more targeted help for humanitarian entrants in Northern and Western Sydney. This is on top of their existing ongoing funding of $1.7 million until 30 June 2012 in this area.
PHaMs is designed to help people with a severe mental illness reconnect with the wider community and live more independent and satisfying lives.
Personal mentors work one-on-one with participants with practical help to achieve their personal goals – for example, improving relationships with family and friends.
These new personal mentors will also connect participants with essential clinical and social services, including housing services and health professionals.
“The one-on-one support provided by personal helpers and mentors is so important for humanitarian migrants, who really need extra support to connect with their new community,” said Ms McKew.
“New Horizons provides the help that counts most for those who need it, and ensures that they start their journey in Australia on the best possible footing.”