A partnership between Homelessness NSW,
Domestic Violence NSW and Yfoundations

Partnership - Wesley Mission and St Vincent's Hospital Mental Health Team

Excellence in Ending Homelessness - Adults Nominee

Partnership - Wesley Mission and St Vincent's Hospital Mental Health Team

Please give your reasons for nominating this partnership.

Wesley engages St Vincent’s to provide 2 Mental Health Clinicians (MHC) who are embedded in Wesley’s case management team to contribute clinical expertise and support, enhancing the skills of staff in supporting those with mental illness. 
The Wesley/St Vincent’s partnership is able to provide client centred case planning, assertive outreach to rough sleepers, short term accommodation to stabilise episodic mental illness, and early intervention to treat psychosis and supported referrals.
This partnership is innovative with embedding the clinicians into the Wesley team full time.  The MHC’s can cross health districts in order to support clients living in the area of choice is new to the industry. Traditionally, NSW Health as a whole serves the people that live within their district only and will not take on out of district referrals. They will also refer the in district patients to another mental health team if that patient is moving out of district. Our MHC can remain involved with their clients if they move out of a health district. (This also has a restriction as the client will need to remain in the funded district of Sydney & South Eastern Sydney – however this incorporates multiple health districts (POW, St George, RPA, SVH, Concord, Canterbury and Sutherland hospitals).
MHC provide education sessions that builds on the ability of caseworkers to identify signs of mental health decline at an earlier stage thereby,  developing confidence in assessing clear and immediate mental health needs of a client enabling earlier interventions where possible.
MHC are a conduit for clients to reconnect / begin engagement with their local mental/physical health services. MHC engages with rough sleeper patrols within Eastern Sydney to triage regarding both physical and mental health concerns/housing/local service links.
The MHC raise awareness of health concerns experienced by those who are homeless, services the MHC can offer to local community services as well as when rough sleepers or known people who are at risk of homelessness present at hospitals/ED.

What outcomes were delivered as a result of this partnership?

Since the program has been running (2015) the MHC have had 89 referrals; 56 males, 34 females.  13 identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island, 59 as Australian, 7 who were born overseas and speak English and 11 who were born overseas, but are non-English speaking.
Of those 89 referrals – 16 were rough sleeping, 46 were living in transitional accommodation and 15 living in permanent accommodation. 
For those referred, 20 have been diagnosed with a mental health diagnosis, 20 with a mental health diagnosis along with drug and alcohol use while 26 have been recorded with mental health, drug and alcohol and physical health concerns, 24 were recorded with mental and physical health concerns.
Clients engaging with the caseworkers/MHC are commonly presenting with one or more of the following: anxiety, depression, personality disorders, schizophrenia, bi polar, PTSD, complex trauma, drug and alcohol comorbidities, schizoaffective disorder, intellectual disability, Acquired Brain Injury.
A male client spoke to one of the MHC to pass on a quick message to the rest of the therapeutic team.  His comment is below:
"Just a quick message to let you know that I will be moving into Wesley transitional housing over the next couple of days. I wanted to give my sincere thanks to everyone for the faith shown and support provided during the journey. I am indeed lucky to be given this housing and to be under the care of such a professional and caring team of people. The accommodation will play a huge part in my overall recovery ahead."