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Complex Mental Health and Disability News - November 2022
Karenza Louis-Smith

A message from our CEO

It feels like we’re all staggering to the end of the year and there’s lots happening, as always.

I’m so proud of our ermha365 team for the epic effort in preparing for our external audit that happened last month. We’re thrilled with the tentative feedback so far and the progress we’ve made since our last audit 18 months ago.

It was great to see the role of carers highlighted during last month’s National Carer Week.
Our Carer Support Team was a big part of the organisation of Carers’ Day Out, held by City of Casey at Myuna Farm in Doveton. There’s 2.65 million Australians caring for family members, friends and people in the community. Elevating their vital role and supporting their needs is so important.

Are you listening to our podcast? I love co-hosting Get Real: Talking mental health and disability and we’ve had a great year.  As we head into the Christmas and New Year period, we’ll have episodes focused on taking care of ourselves during this time, which can be difficult for many reasons.

Mental Health and Community Services

Carers Day Out at Myuna Farm

ermha365 staff at carers day out
Left: Practice Leader Di Hall (centre) with carers Laila and Zoya.
Right: Respite Facilitator Frank Nedell and students Julia and Dimitri cooking up okonomiyaki.

Carers are people who provide unpaid care and support to family members and friends who have a disability, mental health condition, chronic condition, terminal illness, alcohol or other drug issue, or who are frail aged.

As part of the National Carers week, carers were invited to come along and enjoy the ambience of Myuna farm. ermha365 staff and our social work students co-ordinated free activities and services such as catering, entertainment and health and wellbeing workshops.

“Respite breaks the isolation. I’ve made friends. I like to talk, to chat, and I enjoy the outings we do.”Zoya, carer 

For more information on our Carer Support Program email

Community Connections and Empowerment day at Pakenham

CPS staff at Living and Learning Centre
L-R: Support Facilitators Giovanni Arlandoo, Abegail Juson and Wellbeing Mentor Donna Arancibia

Our Commonwealth Psychosocial Support (CPS) team were at the Community Connections and Empowerment day at the Pakenham Living & Learning Centre on Saturday, 5 November.

The event was all about coming together and celebrating the cultural diversity of the Pakenham community as well as showcasing the services available in the area, including the CPS program, which provides mental health support for people in Melbourne’s south east who are not currently accessing support under the NDIS. People can self-refer or have someone refer on their behalf, with the individual’s consent.

As part of CPS’s Assertive Outreach service, we have Support Facilitators and Peer Workers based at the Pakenham Living & Learning Centre on Wednesday mornings 9am-12pm to provide one-off information and support, as well as referrals and linkage to other services, depending on a person’s needs. The team also has a presence at community centres in Narre Warren and Cranbourne during the week.

For more information about the CPS program, please phone the CPS Team on 1300 376 421, or email

External audit

On 17-19 October ermha365 underwent external audits. This was the first occasion in which all four standards were evaluated at the same time – NDIS, National Standards for Mental Health Services, National Standards for Disability Services and Human Service Standards - which made for a huge three days for all involved, not to mention the months of preparation. 

Tentative feedback is very positive and has highlighted our progress over the last 18 months since we were last audited. The auditors made particular mention of the passion and positive culture of the workforce, strong governance and emergency systems, incident management and induction program. 

The engagement, professionalism and camaraderie shown throughout these last few months has been exceptional and speaks volumes of the commitment we have to ermha and the individuals we support. 


New roles for Mental Health and Wellbeing and Forensic Mental Health

Interviewing for new roles

Senior AOD Clinician for a new Mental Health service
We have a part-time position (22.8hrs) for a Senior AOD Clinician to work at a new community mental health service for Geelong and Queenscliff. The service is an initiative of the State Government – part of the transformation of mental health service delivery in Victoria.

This role calls for a person who is passionate about mental health and has extensive experience working in the AOD field.  This is an exciting opportunity to be part of establishing this new service, based in Geelong and delivered by a consortium of equal partners: Barwon Health, Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative Ltd, Wellways Australia and ermha365.

Visit our website to find out more about the
Senior AOD Clinician role.

Behaviour Support Practitioner
We have a full-time opportunity for a Behaviour Support Practitioner Advisor to join our Behaviour Support team at Dandenong South. This is a great opportunity for someone with NDIS behavior support accreditation and/or tertiary qualifications in psychology, social work or similar who is seeking to expand their knowledge and further their career.

The role will provide you the opportunity to conduct evidence-based assessments with participants and stakeholders, focusing on the complexities of the participants and their needs as a result of their mental illness and/or disability. You will work toward implementation of sustainable plans and strategies to assist our staff, stakeholders and participants to work toward their goals.

Visit our website to find out more about the
Behaviour Support Practitioner role.


Talking Mental Health & Disability podcast

Get Real: Talking Mental Health and Disability
Get Real: Talking Mental Health and Disability presents frank and fearless conversations about mental health and disability, including people with lived experience, frontline workers in the industry, as well as policy-makers and advocates.

You can listen, rate and review GET REAL on your preferred podcast listening platform including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, and  Stitcher.
We had a great chat with Heidi Anderson for the Get Real podcast about her journey of finding confidence and being her authentic self.

Heidi’s had a successful career in radio, including the breakfast show in Perth on HIT 92.9, was a contestant in Big Brother and is a podcaster.

When she spoke vulnerably on air to listeners about her battle with hating herself and her anxiety, it sparked a reaction she never imagined. it’s changed her life and revealed her purpose. 

You can listen here
Get Real feedback
Recently we collaborated with Fostering Connections on a series of podcast episodes on Get Real about the living experience of foster carers. Fostering Connections is a joint initiative of foster care agencies across metropolitan and regional Victoria to raise awareness about the need for foster carers and provide information about how to become an accredited foster carer.

Bronwen Maher, Fostering Connections Campaign and Communications Lead worked with ermha365’s Emily Webb, who produces the podcast.

Bronwen emailed us to say the episodes have had great impact:
 “We have had quite a few people calling the enquiry line to learn more about fostering who have mentioned they listened to the podcast. We had one person listen to Jackson’s episode and said it’s what made them finally decide to start the journey: ‘I was waiting for the right time then he said he was 28 so I didn’t have an excuse anymore.’”

If you haven’t listened here are the links:
We’re proud to produce Get Real and thrilled that we are producing great content that’s engaging, useful and advocates about mental health and disability.

Useful links and resources

Standing strong against family violence

Safe and Equal is the peak body for specialist family violence services that provide support to victim survivors in Victoria.

Respect Victoria and Safe and Equal are partnering to deliver and support local community engagement with the 16 Days of Activism ‘Respect Women: Call It Out (Respect Is)’ statewide campaign.

Support and funding will be open to grassroots community organisations, regional and state-wide community health organisations, and local councils in Victoria.

Campaign resources are available here
ermha365 - Complex Mental Health and Disability
South-East Melbourne | North-West Melbourne | Geelong | Bendigo | Darwin
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Acknowledgement of Country

ermha365 acknowledges that our work in the community takes place on the Traditional Lands of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and therefore respectfully recognise their Elders, past and present, and the ongoing Custodianship of the Land and Water by all Members of these Communities.
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