Parity: Mental Health Disability and Homelessness
It has long been acknowledged that there is a greater incidence of mental health issues for many people who experience homelessness, particularly those who experience chronic or long-term homelessness. It has also become increasingly clear that, despite the progress being made with the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the needs and requirements of people with a mental health disability are not being sufficiently acknowledged or supported by the scheme. People with a mental health disability who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, are in effect excluded from the remit of the NDIS because their disability is not given the same status as other forms of disability. As a result, people in this situation are experiencing multiple levels and forms of disadvantage and discrimination.
You are invited to a presentation on the key issues around the nexus between mental health, disability and homelessness from people at the frontline, including people with lived experience of homelessness.
This event will also include the launch of the October edition of Parity: Mental Health Disability and Homelessness, which has been published by the Scope-University of Melbourne Partnership in collaboration with Neami National, Wellways and the Council to Homeless Persons (CHP). Parity is the national publication of the CHP.
Professor Keith McVilly, Scope-University of Melbourne Professorial Fellow in Disability and Inclusion
Professor Keith McVilly
Scope-University of Melbourne Professorial Fellow in Disability and Inclusion
University of Melbourne
Professor McVilly is an internationally renowned clinical psychologist whose work addresses the translation of research into policy and practice, with a focus on promoting the wellbeing and community inclusion of people with multiple and complex disabling experiences. He was the founding Convenor of the Australian Psychological Society’s Special Interest Group for Psychologists working with People with Intellectual & Developmental Disability. He is on the Executive of the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities (IASSIDD).
Ms Rosie Frankish, Program Coordinator, Doorways Program
Ms Rosie Frankish
Program Coordinator, Doorways Program
Rosie Frankish is the Program Coordinator of the Doorway Program, a specialist mental health and homelessness program delivered by Wellways Australia. Rosie has worked in the community mental health sector for six years supporting people experiencing homelessness, mental health challenges and disability. Rosie is a passionate leader in the pursuit to end homelessness, which includes improving services to support individuals experiencing homelessness, mental health challenges and disability. Rosie has a background in psychology.
Mr Phil Watson, Service Manager MHCSS Intake
Mr Phil Watson
Service Manager MHCSS Intake
Phil Watson (BSW) started his Social Work career as a Child Protection Worker and has been working in Community Mental Health Services for over 14 years. He is a keen advocate for social justice and human rights with 10 years’ experience managing support services. He has done sessional work for School of Social Work at RMIT University on Program Management and Evaluation. Phil has been working for Neami National for over 7 years and is currently the Service Manager for the Central Intake Service.
Ms Helen Matthews, Peer Education and Support Program
Ms Helen Matthews
Peer Education and Support Program
Council to Homeless Persons
Helen Matthew’s road out of homelessness was a long and complicated one that impassioned her to make a difference, so others wouldn’t have to go through the same thing. A hardworking advocate for ending homelessness, Helen works with both the Peer Education and Support Program (PESP) at the Council to Homeless Persons (CHP) and the Lived Experience Advisory Group (LEAG) at Launch Housing. Ensuring people with a lived experience of homelessness are participating in the design, delivery and evaluation of the homelessness system and government policies is of great importance to Helen. She has also been working with CHP to deliver NDIS training to the homelessness sector around Victoria and says: “It is important to have the lived experience as part of the NDIS training for homelessness sector workers as it provides insight into what the gaps and issues are so that they can potentially be resolved.” Helen is also a member of the Moreland Council Housing Matters Advisory Committee
Mr Nigel Pernu, Peer Education and Support Program Volunteer
Mr Nigel Pernu
Peer Education and Support Program Volunteer
Council to Homeless Persons
When Nigel Pernu’s health took a turn for the worse and he was unable to continue his work as a chef, he was on the path to homelessness. The pathway out of homelessness led him to a peer recovery program, where he spent his time completing a double Diploma in Community Services and Community Development. He now volunteers as a member of the Peer Education and Support Program (PESP) at the Council to Homeless Persons (CHP). Nigel is working to further peoples’ understanding of the issues around health, mental health and homelessness and improve policy and service delivery. He has been working with CHP to deliver NDIS training to the homelessness sector around Victoria, to help workers make it easier for people to access the support they need. Nigel is also working with the VEC as a Democracy Ambassador, providing peer education to people experiencing homelessness to about the election and the importance of their vote.
Ms Jenny Smith, CEO
Ms Jenny Smith
Council to Homeless Persons
Jenny Smith’s professional life has been dedicated to the public sector. This includes 25 years in leadership and management roles in policy, management, government, in training and service delivery, and in health, mental health, community health and community sectors. Jenny joined the Council to Homeless Persons (CHP) in 2011, following her role as General Manager Medical Services at St Vincent’s in Fitzroy. There her responsibilities included emergency demand, addiction medicine, correctional health and mental health. Jenny began her career as a social worker and family therapist. She has since completed a Master’s degree in social work and a Master’s qualification in public policy and management. She is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has considerable experience as a Board director of community sector agencies and she is currently Chair of Homelessness Australia. Jenny is passionate about applying her skills and experience to ending homelessness and about working in partnership with those who have experienced homelessness, the specialist homelessness sector, public sector providers, government and the philanthropic and corporate communities.