Our Projects

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.

Independent Living Options – Florey

MHF, ACT Health, and Havelock Housing, in collaboration with Housing ACT and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), have engaged in a joint project and built a house specifically for people with high-level psychosocial support needs, to live in the community.

MHF provides in-home supports to help build the residents’ capacity to engage with the community and build life skills.

These Individual Living Option (ILO) style houses are part of a government initiative to provide long-term accommodation to people with enduring mental health illness with a resulting high-level functional impairment. The residents of these houses require a high-level of support or care to live in the community, in most cases an overnight carer.

In October 2020, MHF, ACT Health, and Havelock Housing won a Mental Health Month award for “Innovated person-centred valued supports” as a result of this ILO model.

Assisting Communities through Direct Connection (ACDC)

The Assisting Communities through Direct Connection (ACDC) project is a new initiative to connect people with the social and emotional wellbeing support services in their communities.

This is an evidence-based initiative that has been co-designed with people who have a lived experience of social or emotional distress, carers, local community members, local services, and state and territory peak organisations. The project uses a combination of best practice approaches including responsible door-to-door outreach and informed, community sensitive engagement. The outreach is undertaken by ‘People Connectors’ engaged by Community Managed Organisations (CMOs) contracted by Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA). The People Connectors complete a co-designed training program developed by the ACDC project team. This is a free service and is a way to provide information to people who may not know about what supports they can access.

MHF are a proud partner of the ACDC project and our People Connectors have already engaged with the communities of Dunlop and MacGregor during the pilot stage of the project. Our People Connectors will be back on the road in early 2022 talking to the good folk of Amaroo and Harrison.

Image: ACDC Facebook


Reconxted is a contemporary Rites of Passage camp for teenage boys and their father (or male mentor, who could be an uncle, stepdad, or family friend). Using the Rites of Passage framework developed by Dr. Arne Rubinstein (author of Making of Men), we will guide the boys so that they can create a vision of the kind of adult they would like to become.

During the Reconxted camp, the teenage boys will:

  • take a break from all forms of tech and social media,
  • find opportunities to safely explore issues important to them as they transition to adulthood,
  • hear stories from other men about challenges in their lives and how they dealt with those challenges,
  • be challenged both physically and mentally,
  • commit to behavioural changes they need to make to begin becoming independent of their parents,
  • be honoured for the skills and gifts that they bring to the community, and
  • have fun and deepen their relationship with the man that they came with.

Schizophrenia Awareness Week

People with schizophrenia are among the most highly stigmatised and socially marginalised people in our community.

Through Schizophrenia Awareness Week (SAW), MHF and its national partners aim to reduce stigma towards people affected by schizophrenia, encourage inclusive behaviour, bust myths about schizophrenia, and promote help-seeking by people affected by schizophrenia and their carers.

SAW is an initiative of Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia (MIFA) and its members, and is typically held in May each year. MHF is a proud member of MIFA.

Mental Health Month

Mental Health Month occurs each year in the month of October and encompasses World Mental Health Day.

This event is an important opportunity to bring mental health out in the open, to improve understanding of mental health issues, and to reduce stigma by showcasing mental illness as a source of strength.

MHF has the pleasure of joining our peak body Mental Health Community Coalition (MHCC), carers, consumers, and other community organisations in organising this event for the ACT each year.

Finding North Network

As part of the MIFA network, MHF is excited to introduce you to Finding North Network! An exclusive platform for people who’ve had firsthand experience with mental health conditions hosted by MIFA.

“The greatest force we harbour inside of us is the power of our Lived Experience.”

For anyone who felt uncomfortable with telling their mental health story or have had to tread carefully in anyway, this is an opportunity to share their experiences, discuss ideas, and develop their voice in speaking to Australia’s issues surrounding mental health.

Join this safe haven to unlock your Lived Experience power and find freedom and empowerment, to speak, to listen and to build a collective voice with others who understand the complex reality of mental health conditions

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