Today, as part of Anti-Poverty Week and Mental Health Awareness Month; Minister for Mental Health, Shane Rattenbury, officially launched the pilot of Vinnies Community Inclusion Program at Oaks Estate, an urban village on the northern side of Canberra.


Barnie van Wyk, CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn said, “This is a two year pilot program assisting people with a psychosocial disability who are not eligible to access an NDIS package.”

“The main purpose of the program is to build the capacity of individuals to live an independent life,” he said.

“The Community Inclusion Program acts as a referral service, linking participants with mainstream and community services to help address their specific needs, and to provide assistance with resume writing, job ready skills, access to food and nutritional advice, clinical services, counselling and advocacy,” said Mr van Wyk.

“Additionally, the peer support network provides information on how to secure a tenancy and build resilience, along with advice on assistance with daily living skills and becoming more independent.”

“Vinnies case managers facilitate community meetings, daily breakfasts and help coordinate visits from other support programs, such as Directions Health Services, which attend on a weekly basis,” said Mr van Wyk.

“Community Inclusion Program participants, and other Oaks Estate residents, have access to a nurse, GP and drug and alcohol counsellor as well as harm minimisation support,” said Bronwyn Hendry, CEO of Directions Health Services.

Minister Rattenbury encouraged all Canberrans to help break down stigma this Mental Health Month, encouraging others to reach out and seek support where needed.

“Through awareness raising and promoting mental health and wellbeing, we increasingly break down the stigma associated with mental illness. As a community, we can show that reaching out for support is a sign of strength, not weakness,” Mr Rattenbury said.

The Community Inclusion Program is funded by an Information, Linkages and Capacity building grant from the NDIA, and was introduced in June this year.

18 October 2018