UnitingSA’s regional mental health team travels thousands of kilometres each year to provide one-on-one support for country people living with a mental illness.

As the Coordinator of the Northern Country Individual Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Support Services (IPRSS), Amye Morgan knows her team of six would travel to the end of the earth to help their clients.

UnitingSA’s Northern Country IPRSS team members are based in Kadina and Whyalla – but their clients live in just about every postcode around and in between. They are on the road every day of the week.

Northern Country IPRSS Coordinator Amye with team members Heather and Kevin

Northern Country IPRSS Coordinator Amye with team members Heather and Kevin

“The team is small, but they cover an amazing distance,” Amye said.

“The IPRSS program is all about one-on-one, face-to-face support – so travelling out to see clients is an everyday part of the support our team offers.”

Northern Country IPRSS team members

People supported by the team could have a variety of diagnosed mental health conditions, and are referred to UnitingSA by SA Health. The support is tailored to the individual needs of each client, and can increase or decrease in response to an individual’s needs.

It’s support that can be life-changing. Leading people, step by step, on the road to living a better life.

Amye and her team know this, because they see clients take those steps to success every day.

They’ve had clients become baristas, when previously their actions, due to their mental health, had put them at risk of going to jail.

Others who wouldn’t even leave the house, now enjoy their daily 40-minute walk.

People suffering from drug addiction who kick the habit, and get back into the workforce.

People struggling with hoarding behaviours who have cleaned up and kept their homes, instead of ending up on the street.

“Our support is very tailored and depends on the person and their needs. Some have needs that are intensive and complex, and they need constant support. Sometimes daily,” Amye said.

“Having that one person who is there once or twice week, or just on a regular basis, can make a massive difference.”

Amye said while the Federal Government’s recent $47 million budget announcement to restore telehealth psychosocial support services to regional South Australians was welcome, it was no replacement for this type of face to face, community based support.

In metropolitan Adelaide, UnitingSA offers both IPRSS and a specialised psychosocial support program called GP Access, which it would also like to extend into regional South Australia.
“People living in regional South Australia already face so many barriers when trying to access local support,” Amye said.

“Psychosocial support programs like both IPRSS and GP Access are focused on providing holistic, one-on-one support. They help people to manage day to day living needs from housing security, money and meals, to rebuilding social connections and confidence and participating in education and employment.

“We need increased access to locally based, psychosocial support programs such as IPRSS and GP Access in our country areas to ensure all South Australians struggling with mental health challenges can access this type of support, no matter where they live.”

“We want to be able to work side-by-side with more regional clients, so they can live well in their own home towns.”

It takes very special people to do this kind of work.

Amye places the credit for the success of the current regional IPRSS program firmly in the hands of her team.

They are the heart and soul of UnitingSA’s IPRSS service footprint in northern regional SA.

We say thank-you to them today – and our entire Mental Health Support Services team at UnitingSA, as part of Mental Health Awareness Month.

Need help now?

If you require urgent mental health support, or are experiencing a mental health emergency or crisis, please get in touch with one of these support services.

Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 or suicidecallbackservice.org.au
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 or beyondblue.org.au/forums

Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800 or kidshelpline.com.au
headspace: 1800 650 890 or headspace.org.au
ReachOut: ReachOut.com

More resources can be found at the Mental Health Coalition of South Australia website.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency or are in immediate danger, call 000.