16 December 2022

Mind Australia has been working closely with the Darling Downs and South West Health Services to ensure that clients receiving long-term inpatient mental health care In Toowoomba can successfully reconnect with community. 

The Darling Downs Community Care Unit helps people who are experiencing severe and persistent mental health and wellbeing concerns to set individual recovery goals and so that they can progress towards living independently. 

The service provides fully self-contained units to support up to 24 residents with round the clock access to onsite clinical staff.  

Often times people who have received long-term inpatient mental health treatment can face barriers to successfully transition into independent community living. These barriers can include a shortage of stable housing, intangible pathways, stigma stemming from an inpatient admission and a sense of hopelessness. 

The Darling Downs Community Care Unit works to overcome these barriers for clients through a collaborative and flexible partnership between community and clinical mental health support services. 

Mind’s team of community mental health and peer practitioners provide psychosocial support – help to manage daily activities, rebuild and maintain connections, engage with education and employment and participate fully in the community - while clinical health teams offer extended stays and 24/7 support. 

Clients at the unit, like Wendell*, are resilient in overcoming the barriers they face day to day. 

Wendell was supported to transition to the Community Care Unit after more than 25 years in institutional settings. 

“I forgot how to do things for myself,” he said.  

“When I came here, I hoped to learn to live independently, [but] I wasn’t sure I could do that. The staff were really helpful and respectful, and they had a sense of humour. I liked spending time with them and the other residents. I felt safe because I had someone to talk to.” 

Staying at the Community Care Unit has provided Wendell with a supportive space to focus on his mental health recovery and his independence, which has led to him achieving his recovery goals during his stay and a successful transition back into the community. 

“I now live in my own place. If I can do it, you can do it,” Wendell said.  

Referrals for the Community Care Unit are taken from a range of teams within the Darling Downs and South West health services. 

*Name changed by request. 

If you would like more information about Mind, please contact us via Mind Connect or phone: 1300 286 463. 

If this article raises concerns for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islanders can also call 13 YARN (13 92 76) a 24/7 national crisis support telephone service staffed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.