Cairns Community Recovery Program (CCU) launch
New service supports people to leave hospital behind them

Above (l-r): ​Rob Pyne MP, Member for Cairns; Jenny Hall, COO Neami National; Tanya Miller, Queensland State Manager Neami National; Arthur Papakotsias, CEO Neami National; Alison Overland, Clinical Director CHHHS; Karyn Weller, Operations Manager Mental Health and ATODS, CHHHS; Gillian Yearsley, Divisional Director CHHHS; Carolyn Eagle, Acting Chair CHHHS

Neami National has launched its latest service, the Cairns Community Recovery Program (CCU) in Far-North Queensland. This service is a partnership with the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service.

The event was well-attended by local politicians, services and neighbours living near the centre in Manunda. A representative of the traditional owners, the Bama People, opened proceedings and welcomed everyone onto their Country.

Cairns MP Rob Pyne said the service was long overdue. ‘What we’ve experienced in the past is people leaving the hospital not having support and having to be readmitted. This is going to be great to allow people leaving the hospital setting to transition into the community with much lower levels of support.’

Acting CHHHS Chair Carolyn Eagle also spoke positively about the impact the service would have. ‘Twenty residential units is absolutely a perfect first step and it is very favourable for the community to now have this. In terms of the needs going forward, I think we’re at a point where we need to understand what the needs are at the moment, how effective this is and then we can consider that as part of longer term planning at the hospital board.’

Neami CEO talked about the innovative approach being taken in Cairns with recovery-oriented community care working alongside clinical staff to enable people to pursue a life in line with their values, strengths and goals.

‘There’s been a number [of CCUs] built in Queensland and I think this one is unique because its approach will introduce more of a social model of health. It will be more holistic, it will be a partnership between a non-government organisation providing recovery-oriented services and clinicians ensuring the right clinical treatment occurs for the individual as well.

‘I like to think of it as ‘step down’ program, people stepping down from hospital into the community. For a lot of people, they find that transition very hard. They haven’t been prepared adequately, they’ve been in hospital for a long time. This allows us to assist people in a homelike environment where they can develop their skills, their confidence and competencies in a whole lot of different areas.’

The service provides three streams of support, including:

  • Community Care Units: These comprise 20 self-contained 1-bedroom units offering people a supported transition from acute psychiatric care back into independent community living. Community support is on-site 24/7 and clinical staff are available as needed. 
  • Outreach Service: Community outreach extends the support as people return to their local community, meaning even after leaving the residential program people still have access to the support they need. 
  • Day Service: The day program offers a range of group programs, including Flourish and the Optimal Health Program among others. It is an integral part of the residential service and will also be made available to others in the Cairns and Hinterland Region.

More information: Cairns Service information / Factsheet / Media release

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