From a client perspective
I’m 56 and I’ve been unemployed for the past couple of years. Relationship with my wife hit a rough patch and I’ve done a few stretches in jail as a result. Just ended up couch surfing and homeless, taking drugs and hanging out with friends.
I knew I felt depressed and taking drugs was my way of trying to feel better, but things just got out of hand and I was admitted to an Acute Psychiatric ward for a couple of weeks. The doctor there told me GPIR might be able to help me get the help I need outside, to organise a few services to get me back on my feet. So I gave permission for my details to be sent to GPIR.
I met with the GPIR facilitator at a community centre and he told me how they use a tool called the Recovery Star – which covers a whole range of things in your life, like living skills and social networks as well as the usual mental health and addictive behaviours. It helped me see my life as a whole network of things that I could improve to support a journey to getting my life back. Not just a series of problems. It looked at strengths and weaknesses and I was able to choose, in consultation with the Facilitator, which areas I wanted to work on.
I feel a bit more in control now, and know who to contact for help when I need it.
From a service provider perspective
As a police officer, I’m called to lots of homes where violence has occurred. It’s hard for people stuck out in remote areas and farms to deal with mental illness and sometimes families suffer for many years.
One incident where GPIR was able to help coordinate services was for a man called Jamie, he’s 37 now but his father committed suicide at the farm when Jamie was six and ever since his behaviour has been combative and many community services have tried over the years to help. Jamie was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 17.
Jamie remains on the farm with his brother, Greg, and Greg’s young family. When Jamie would drink he’d get abusive and violent, and with a young family to protect Greg would call the police. The last time was when Jamie physically assaulted Greg and he ended up hospital, where fortunately one of the doctors showed him the GPIR referral form. Greg ended up getting Jamie to give consent to send the referral form to GPIR directly.
The GPIR facilitator was able to look at the bigger picture, see how they could help link Jamie to services that would improve his ability to cope with his mental illness, family tension, reduce his drinking, and come to terms with the legacy of his father’s suicide.
It only took a short time with the GPIR Facilitator to get a plan in place with a number of different mental health professionals, drug and alcohol counsellors, and family/grief counselling to give hope to Jamie and the rest of his family.
And I know, as a police officer that I can contact GPIR anytime I get called out to similar situations where complex mental illness might be present.