New rehabilitation program for otherwise unserviced AOD clients in Melbourne’s north-east

16 August, 2017

Eastern Melbourne PHN (EMPHN) is funding Banyule Community Health to deliver an innovative program providing people who are often ineligible for alcohol and other drug (AOD) rehabilitation programs the opportunity to participate in a personalised post withdrawal, eight-week day program.

As part of the initiative, people will be supported to access withdrawal programs prior to commencing rehabilitation.

The North East Recovery and Support Program aims to help up to 50 people with complex needs and co-occurring AOD and mental health issues over a 12-month period, and is based on a successful pilot by St Vincent’s Health.

Early data from the pilot shows a high level of engagement and retention in the program and particularly positive results such as significantly reduced or ceased substance use, improvement in quality of life, and a return to parenting responsibility, education and employment.

EMPHN CEO, Robin Whyte, said the comorbidity of alcohol and other drug as well as mental health issues has often meant clients with complex and high level needs were unable to receive the treatment and support they needed.

“The North East Recovery and Support Program aims to help people with complex needs to withdraw and receive the treatment they need to improve the quality of their life,” she said.  

Banyule Community Health Acting Executive Manager Counselling and Support Services, Lara Jackson, said by assertively engaging and supporting people otherwise ineligible for such programs due to complexity, the program aims to provide opportunities for people that previously fell through the gaps, the support to rebuild their life.   

“The service will be particularly beneficial for clients who have had multiple, but fleeting contacts with AOD services in the past, but have stopped pursuing treatment due to the debilitating nature of chronic substance addiction and level of functionality required to access treatment,” she said.

  • The program will facilitate access to in-patient, home based or GP managed withdrawal and will be followed by an eight-week day program at Banyule Community Health in West Heidelberg.
  • The day program will include face-to-face group therapy, psycho education, recreational activities and peer support.
  • Clients will work with an AOD peer support worker and AOD clinicians to assist with housing issues, employment readiness, access to education and respond to the physical health needs of participants, with many ancillary services available onsite.
  • The program will use assertive measures and a client centred approach to help retain and improve the capacity of people to participate in, and complete the program, including the ability to work with lapse and relapse, over time.
  • Clients can be referred by AOD clinicians, GPs, counsellors and other AOD and mental health workers and intake teams. 

The North East Recovery and Support Program service is supported by funding from the Commonwealth Government under the PHN Program.

EMPHN has also funded a full time alcohol and other drugs clinician for Banyule Community Health’s West Heidelberg GP clinic to provide improved care to consumers with complex AOD and mental health issues.

The clinician works with the GPs to assist them to manage clients’ access to pharmacotherapy, and recovery and support programs.

For media inquiries:

Claire James, EMPHN Marketing and Communications Manager 0425 887 397