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Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System

Case study:

Resolve Program

Flourish Australia’s Resolve Program is a peer‑led program designed to support people experiencing mental health issues who have spent an extended period in hospital as a result of their illness. Since October 2017, Resolve has been operating as a partnership between the New South Wales Government, Flourish Australia and Social Ventures Australia to deliver the first social impact investment developed in Australia focused on addressing mental illness.

Mr Mark Orr AM, CEO at Flourish Australia, said Resolve is a free, two‑year program delivering comprehensive, mental health support including a short‑stay residential program. Its aim is to reduce the likelihood of readmission to hospital.

The respite house offered as part of the Resolve Program is comfortable and quiet, and is a place where people can feel safe and supported by peer workers. They don’t need to worry about food or any other things; they can focus on getting on top of what’s going on. That may include accessing clinical support at times.

Mr Orr said the Resolve model is staffed by peer workers who have a lived experience of mental illness. It offers three tiers of support, which can be adjusted as required.

[Resolve] includes access to 24/7 short term respite residential support, outreach for in home supports and opportunities for social connection with others during the week. It also provides access to a 24/7 warm line, which provides non‑crisis supports on the phone when people feel distressed or just need to talk.

An evaluation of the Resolve Program in 2019 identified early evidence that the program is reducing the number or duration of hospital admissions for some consumers when compared to the year before they commenced in the program. Consumers using the respite element of the program reported it helps them to ‘reset their routine’ when they notice their mental health declining, and that ‘the non‑institutional nature of the program is a very welcome change’.

One resident commented that the support of peer workers was helpful during their time in the program:

I didn’t feel comfortable being identified with other people with mental illness. But guess what, while I’ve had residential stays, I’ve seen this group operate and I’ve met some of the people and they’re as human as I am, because I feel safe around the peer support workers—I’ve allowed myself to feel comfortable in that environment and join in those activities, and that’s helped.

Source: Witness Statement of Mark Orr AM, 6 May 2020; Urbis, Resolve Social Benefit Bond Baseline Report, 2019.