Mental Health Discharge Support Program
In early 2020, COVID-19 spread throughout the world. COVID-19 disproportionally impacts vulnerable communities including those with psychosocial disability or severe mental illness.
One such community are patients of the Adult Mental Health Unit (AMHU) at Canberra Hospital. A proportion of these patients were ready for discharge but would be discharged to homelessness – an outcome which was unacceptable. On the other hand, AMHU was keen to discharge patients out of hospital as hospitals can quickly become a place of risk during a pandemic.
Needing a prompt solution, Mental Health Foundation (MHF), ACT Health, and consumers (participants) collaborated to develop the Discharge Program. Through the Discharge Program, MHF provides:
- safe, short-term accommodation,
- community support to help build the individual’s capacity to engage with services, and
- support to the individual to find suitable longer-term accommodation, specific to their needs.
In October 2021, MHF and ACT Health won a Mental Health Month award for “Innovated person-centred valued supports” as a result of the Discharge Program.