Haven has helped me find my independence
7 minute read

Jenni says living at The Haven Foundation’s residence in Frankston has improved her mental health, and her relationships with family.

Jenni, 40, lives at Haven Frankston Wattle; an integrated social housing and support service for people experiencing significant mental health challenges. These residences provide safe, secure long-term housing with support from qualified and experienced mental health practitioners.

Jenni has a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder (bipolar type). She says living at Haven Frankston Wattle with her guide dog Gretel has given her independence and helped improve her relationship with her mother.

“Living at Haven has put less pressure on Mum; she’s now my mum and not my carer and watcher, so it’s a much healthier relationship to have,” Jenni said.

“I’ve got a sense of freedom and independence now. At Haven I’ve got space when I want it, but support when I need it. I’ve made a lot of friends since moving here.”

Jenni says being supported by peer workers – staff with their own lived experience - has helped her successfully transition into life at Haven Frankston Wattle.

“The staff are fantastic; most of them have a lived experience of mental health challenges, which is awesome. I don’t have to explain everything they just get it and they understand,” Jenni said.

“I’ve said to the staff that I feel better supported here than in any hospital or clinical setting that I have experienced. Having shared experiences with staff make them relatable and easy to talk to.”

The staff are fantastic; most of them have a lived experience of mental health challenges, which is awesome. I don’t have to explain everything they just get it and they understand.
- Jenni

Most Haven residences now have peer workers on staff. They use their lived experience to form meaningful connections with residents and support them to identify their goals and build the skills they need to achieve them. Peer support is provided one-on-one and in group activities.

Jenni says the best thing about living at a Haven residence is the recreational group activities. Her favourite groups are sewing group and the weekly billiards competition.

In her spare time Jenni manages a table tennis club for vision impaired players (otherwise known as Swish table tennis). She is hoping to be chosen for the Victorian team to contest the national championships in Brisbane later this year.

Whether Jenni gets selected for the team or not, she is a champion in the eyes of residents and staff at Haven Frankston Wattle and a key member of the tightknit community.

Recent progress reports from a four-year independent evaluation of the Haven model by La Trobe University encapsulate Jenni’s experience at Haven.

These reports indicate that Havens are helping residents experience: 

  • A reduction in mental distress
  • An enhanced sense of connection, empowerment and hope, and
  • Improved self-confidence and skills for independent living.

 

About Mind Australia and The Haven Foundation 

Mind Australia supports people experiencing mental health challenges to find help, hope and purpose in their lives. 

We partner with health, community, and government organisations to provide holistic support and a safe environment for people experiencing mental health challenges to live in the community.  

Mind is one of the leading specialist community housing providers in Australia for people experiencing a psychosocial disability.    

Haven residences have operated in Victoria since 2011. There are currently seven residences providing a home, stability and support to more than 100 people in Victoria, with more in development.   

Haven residences provide high quality, long-term housing with specialised 24/7 mental health support from Mind to help people live life to the fullest. This integrated social housing and support service is a partnership between Mind and The Haven Foundation – a subsidiary of Mind. 

If you would like more information about Mind services, contact us by submitting a form via Mind Connect or phone: 1300 286 463. 

If this article raises concerns for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islanders can also call 13 YARN (13 92 76) a 24/7 national crisis support telephone service staffed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 
If you would like more information, please contact us.

1300 286 463 
[email protected]  

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