Member of the Month – February 2020

Neami National is our February Member of the Month!

Each month we will be highlighting the value and diversity of our members and the fantastic work they do in the community mental health sector.

Read on below to learn more about Neami National, including their history, values and mission. 

Please tell us a little bit about your organisation.

Neami National provides community-based mental health, homelessness, suicide prevention and residential mental health services that support people to improve their wellbeing, live independently and pursue a fulfilling life.

Through our recovery-orientated approach, we deliver a range of evidence-informed services to improve mental health and wellbeing in local communities. By listening, learning and testing, and understanding each person’s needs and goals, we continue to improve consumer experiences and support better outcomes.

Over our 30+ year history, we’ve diversified the services we offer, to support more people across the spectrum of needs.

What are three words to describe your organisation?

  • Person-centred
  • Recovery-oriented
  • Values based

How/why/when did your organisation get started?

Neami was first formed in Melbourne in 1986. Neami sought to address the growing housing needs of people leaving hospital and identify the gaps in services for those experiencing mental illness.

What inspires your work and what sets your organisation apart from everyone else?

We believe that everyone can live a good life based on their values, strengths and goals. Our job is to walk beside people and support them in their recovery. We take a recovery-based and evidence-informed approach to person-centred practice. Every day brings something new, and to be trusted with someone’s personal story, humbles us in our work.  Watching as people grow, build confidence and self-efficacy skills, continually inspires us.

Neami services are informed by consumer voices

Neami is committed to engaging with and learning from people with lived experienced, who use our services via consumer participation activities, through our lived experience peer workforce or from feedback received at a service level.  Neami works diligently to ensure that our services and programs are meeting the needs of the people accessing the service.

Neami culture

Neami is committed to cultivating inclusive environments for staff, consumers and carers alike; celebrating, valuing and including people of all backgrounds, genders, sexualities, cultures, bodies and abilities. Our Diversity and Inclusion Framework formalises a commitment to promoting culturally safe services at all levels of operations. The framework also seeks to provide strategic commitments to developing safe and inclusive environments across all diversity factors including; cultural, indigenous, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical and intellectual disability, age, socio-economic status and religious/spiritual beliefs. The practice of Neami’s Diversity and Inclusion Framework is supported by our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan and Equal Employment Opportunity and Fair Workplace Policy.

Neami’s partnership approach

Neami has an excellent track record of working collaboratively with PHNs, primary care providers, local alliances and local human service providers to ensure services are delivered in an integrated way. Neami are proactive in seeking out local partnerships that support solutions to identified gaps within communities.

Neami is innovative

To ensure we are meeting the ever-changing needs of consumers, carers and communities, we are committed to remaining responsive, agile, flexible and creative. Neami is continually developing, testing, monitoring and evaluating the models of service we provide.  Neami works collaboratively and in partnership with a number of Universities across Australia in building an evidence base of best practice. 

Where does your organisation provide services? What type of services are offered?

Neami has over 30 years’ experience delivering a broad range of recovery‐oriented services for people living with mental ill health. Over 9,000 people across Australia are supported each year through Neami’s recovery-focused services, which include:

  • PHN‐funded stepped care
    • Clinical assessment / care
    • Central intake / assessment
    • Psychological Therapies
    • Low intensity groups
    • Care Coordination (Mental Health Nurses)
    • Service Navigation
  • Assertive outreach
  • Psycho-education
  • Suicide prevention
  • NDIS services (Me Well)
  • Homelessness services
  • Residential care (youth and adult)
  • Sub‐acute / Step Up Step Down services
  • Women’s health and wellbeing (Counselling Services)
  • Support with activities of daily living
  • Individual recovery support – transition from correctional services

How many employees do you have? How many offices, and where are they located?

Neami has more than 900 staff who work in over 60 services across Australia. In Queensland, Neami currently provides support services across Brisbane (south and north), the Darling Downs, and North Queensland.  Neami has Queensland office sites in Nundah, Strathpine, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns.

How has your organisation changed over the last few years – and what has driven this change?

The last 12-18 months have been a time of change at Neami and across the broader mental health sector. As we’ve seen the funding landscape become more complex, with greater diversity and shorter contracts, Neami has focused on developing sustainable business models and finding greater efficiencies.

Neami holds significant expertise in supporting people with a wide range of needs, from emerging through to complex. Building on this experience, over the last few years, Neami’s range of services have expanded to support people across four key domains: community-based mental health, residential mental health, housing and homelessness, and suicide prevention.  Neami has strengthened its clinical care models without losing sight of our strong recovery focus. New multi-disciplinary teams have increased across Neami providing a broader range of services available to consumers. 

Looking forward, what do you see as the main challenges/opportunities for your organisation, and why?

Working in purposeful partnerships, provides opportunities to enable better outcomes for people experiencing mental ill-health. Working in close partnership with clinical teams, primary health care providers, Aboriginal services, community organisations and government, we can provide high-quality, wrap-around support tailored to people’s individual needs.

In the NDIS space, the fluctuations in the structure and implementation of the NDIS, including recalibrations of price changes for the services we offer have presented challenges. As a not-for-profit looking to achieve the best outcomes for customers in a market-based environment, we continue to balance our vision and mission against the practicalities of working within shifting constraints.

Neami has a clear focus on building our evidence base through data collection across multiple services, to inform the ongoing continuous improvement of service development.  This also brings about challenges, where funders require the use of a different databases, resulting in siloed data that is difficult to collate.

Tell us something about your organisation that most people wouldn’t know? 

Originally Neami was named North Eastern Alliance for the Mentally Ill. In 1998 Consumers and the Committee of Management sought to remove the emphasis of “mentally ill” and chose to use the acronym Neami.

Contact Details:
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Phone – (07) 3205 6622


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