Member of the Month – March 2020

 Wellways Australia is our March 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 Wellways Australia, including their history, values and mission. 


Please tell us a little bit about your organisation.

Wellways work with a diverse range of people living with mental health issues and/or various disabilities.

We work with individuals of all ages experiencing disabilities or challenges to their social and emotional wellbeing. This can include creating a home, securing a job and building meaningful relationships.

We connect people, strengthen families and transform communities.


What are three words to describe your organisation?

People-led

Resilient

Innovative


How/why/when did your organisation get started?

Wellways were established in 1978 by families advocating to improve the services, information and support available to people with mental health issues, their carers, families and communities.

Our commitment to advocacy is central to the work we do today, because we know that advocacy opens the door to participation in the community, including employment, housing and relationships.


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

  1. Our evidence-based practice principles are what set us apart. We work to ensure that people have choice and control – what’s important to an individual is prioritised. Our focus is on our participants’ goals and we adapt our evidence-based program materials to be culturally appropriate to strengthen connections with each participant’s community and culture.
  2. Reconciliation Action Plan Wellways is dedicated to building authentic relationships, increasing respect through knowledge and learning, and creating beneficial opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities. Staff have embraced our first Reconciliation Action Plan while the organisation continues to build relationships and partnerships with our regional communities.
  3. Wellways volunteer-run Helpline reaches out to people who are feeling socially isolated, seeking information about mental health or services, or who are wanting a chat. Everyone who works on Helpline has a lived experience of mental health issues, whether personal, or as someone who cares for a family member or friend.
  4. Wellways works with LGBTIQ+ people to create welcoming and inclusive spaces within our organisation, our programs and our community spaces.

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

Wellways Australia Limited is a leading not-for-profit mental health and disability support organisation with services in Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Tasmania. Our services span mental health, disability and community care, and reach thousands of people each year.

Wellways was at the forefront of the NDIS trial site in the Barwon region of Victoria. Since then our experience as an NDIS provider across both mental health and disability has made us a service provider of choice.

We support and understand participants physical and emotional needs. More than 2,200 people last year chose Wellways to help them focus on achieving their goals and imagine and achieve the best life that they want.


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

Across Australia Wellways has 97 offices and, 2000 staff.

In Queensland Wellways are currently located in Brisbane (Taringa), South Brisbane (Upper Mount Gravatt), Toowoomba, Warwick, Maroochydore, Mackay, Townsville, and will soon be opening an office in Cairns. We provide NDIS, helpline, Out of Home Carer (through Department of Child Safety), Peer and Community Education,


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

Wellways has grown significantly over the last few years, becoming a well-established disability provider in the NDIS space and becoming the lead agency of the new Carer Gateway consortia throughout Queensland and the NSW regions of South West Sydney and Nepean Blue Mountains. With this growth, we have remained dedicated to creating genuine opportunities for each and every person to participate in their community.


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

Opportunity: Establishing the new Carer Gateway services throughout Queensland and working with our Carer Gateway partners in delivering evidence-based carer support services to the many 1000’s of informal carers and family members throughout Queensland.


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

Founded by Carers in 1978. 64% of staff have a lived experience. We have 180 volunteers.

Carer Gateway – Wellways Australia is the lead/coordinating agency for all Australian Government funded Carer Services in Queensland, South West Sydney and Nepean Blue Mountains. Service delivery is set commence in April 2020.

Stampede Stigma – This year we commenced work on our own public mental health awareness campaign, #StampedeStigma, to tackle the issues of mental health stigma and discrimination. Involving blow-up zebras, colour and movement, #StampedeStigma uses humour to communicate the message that no one should have to fear being treated differently because of issues with their mental health. The campaign formally commenced in October 2019 and will continue to be sustained year on year.


Contact Details:
Website – https://www.wellways.org/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Wellwaysau/ 
Twitter – https://twitter.com/wellwaysau                
                            
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkPfxRtdllWedc4c6ktZMCg                                              
                           
Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/company/wellways-australia/                                             
                            
Contacts – https://www.wellways.org/contact-us

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