Case study: Stepped Care model

Case study: Stepped Care model

20 December, 2023

Mary*, who is 51, was recently diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Dissociative Identity Disorder. With a long-running inability to hold down a job, Mary has been reliant on Jobseeker payments; supplemented with a few hours of part-time work. The constant financial stress, especially considering rental costs, was further exacerbated by the shame and overwhelm of her diagnosis.

Given the complexity of Mary’s mental health, her GP referred her to the Stepped Care LIFT program. Delivered by Banyule Community Health, the program aims to ensure that every person seeking help with a mental health concern receives the right care at the right time from the right clinician.

When Mary first entered the program, her mental health clinician found her struggling with a range of complex mental health and wellbeing concerns, including low mood, anxiety, social withdrawal, lethargy and poor appetite. Her overall mental and physical condition left her unable to maintain her house or cook for herself.

With help from the multi-disciplinary team, Mary accessed timely and individualised support. Her care coordinator progressed her application for a Disability Support Pension – which was successful – and supported her during visits to Centrelink and to allied health professionals.

To assist with Mary’s self-care, health and dietary needs, her LIFT care coordinator and psychologist helped Mary prepare an NDIS application, including by liaising with her regular psychiatrist and support services. While waiting for the outcome of that application, her care coordinator contacted local council services to help Mary clean her house before a landlord’s inspection, and organised affordable and nutritious meals while Mary recovered her capacity to self-care.

Mary’s care coordinator also contacted the two universities where she was studying to discuss her challenges. The care coordinator gathered evidence of Mary’s current health status and applied to change her failed grades to a ‘withdrawn’ grade, while also applying for a refund of her HELP loan for failed electives.

Mary was also helped to apply for a leave of absence while she recovered and was linked into student welfare to enable academic adjustments on her return.

The LIFT psychologist worked with Mary on plans and skills to help her cope in times of distress, and connected her with activities that would bring value and meaning to her life.

Mary now receives ongoing clinical support from her psychologist and a mental health nurse. She has appropriate financial entitlements based on her disability, reducing the necessity for her to work while unwell, and her self-care at home is supported while she works toward recovery. Getting refunds from the universities, maintaining her place and right to return, and putting supports in place for when she does, has also been a massive boost to Mary’s sense of stability and wellbeing.

With the right supports and services in place, Mary reports an improvement in her symptoms and that she is better able to cope with her diagnoses.

* Name changed to protect identity.