Safe space

15 December 2016

Last month, Perth-based youth rehabilitation residential service Ngatti House has been announced as winner of the WA Health Excellence Award for Improving Service Delivery.

The WA Health Excellence Awards are held every year to recognise the achievements of teams and individuals in the provision of quality health care to Western Australians.

The residential program based in Fremantle and run by Life Without Barriers provides community-based homeless youth services to young people between 17 and 22 years of age, who show signs and symptoms of mental illness while homeless or at risk of homelessness.

The service provides medium-term accommodation and clinical support, and has a strong focus on overcoming social disadvantage and enhancing social inclusion. Since its opening in 2010, Ngatti House has received an average of 37 referrals per year and has housed approximately 78 young people, while assisting them in overcoming social barriers.

Life Without Barriers receives support from our clinical partners Youth Reach South who are a government Mental health service. This type of partnership was the first of its kind in WA, developed as part of the WA Mental Health Strategy. An individual program is developed for each resident, who may live at the residence for up to 12 months.

“The award acknowledged the successful partnership between North Metropolitan Health Service, YouthReach South and Life Without Barriers,” said Warwick Smith, Director of Youth Mental Health. “The Ngatti Program assists young people who are experiencing mental health difficulties, homelessness and often trauma and abuse, in their journey along the path to better health and meaningful roles in our society.”

The service not only focuses on health issues but is also culturally appropriate and based on building self-esteem, social inclusion, recovery and the capacity for young people to achieve their desired goals whilst being supported by their  local community.

According to the Life Without Barriers Ngatti House team leader Natasha Campbell, building social skills and acceptance into the local community are paramount to help these young people transition out of the program: “Mental health and social support services work in tandem in the Ngatti House residential program, and this is what’s been key to its success,” says Natasha. “The house is a safe space for vulnerable young people to open up to learning new skills at a very difficult stage in their life.”