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Murraylands residents dealing with severe mental health conditions can now seek supported employment through a new placement program launched in Murray Bridge last week.
Thanks to a partnership between Country Health SA and Community Bridging Services, the first 60 people will be supported into the workforce during the 12-month trial of the pilot program.
The program, Individual Placement and Support (IPS), will be trialed across the Murraylands, Riverland and Port Pirie until October this year.
IPS Coordinator from Murray Bridge CBS, Tim Wiseman said the pilot program was the first evidence-supported South Australian program designed to help people with significant mental illness obtain employment.
“We have always covered employment for mental health consumers but we felt this would be a more effective way of doing things.”
He said employment offers a sense of purpose, opportunity and structure for a person with severe mental illness.
“Employment can be a key part of recovery and gives people with a disability of any sort the same opportunities as everyone else.”
He said the inclusive program helped de-stigmatise mental health.
“Getting a job proves to mental health patients that they can be a part of society and their illness does not define them,” he said.
“We’re already seeing changes in people coming through the program and it’s incredible.”
“Everyone has their own issues and society is very good at putting people in boxes but we think everyone should be in the same box.”
IPS Employment Specialist, Olivia Doecke develops relationships with employers to discuss a consumers strengths in an effort to secure their employment.
“One individual said to me, I don’t want to be known as a mental health client . . . why can’t I associate with people who don’t have a mental illness,” she said.
She said there was demand for the program.
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Amelia Rix Award
I became involved in supporting Amelia through community recreation and other life experiences in around 1992, when she was about 14 years old. Her positive attitude and love of life and people was a reflection of her parents (the late Barbara Rix OAM and Ted Rix). Over this time other staff worked closely with Amelia. Out of the sad and hurtful experience of Amelia’s passing, Barb found a way to make good, by establishing this Award dedicated to Amelia’s memory, to help other people to be happier by recognising their strengths and successes. Freddie Brincat OAM