Case study: holistic support helped Natasha*

A smiling woman stands on a beachLives Lived Well welcomes a huge diversity of people through its doors each year. All of our clients have busy lives outside of treatment and need an approach that can be flexible to their lifestyles and goals. This was the case for Natasha, a successful businesswoman, mother and partner in her late 40s who approached our Woolloongabba Day Program in Brisbane to seek support for her alcohol use. She had tried sessions with a private psychologist in the past, which hadn’t been successful and shared with her clinician her scepticism for a positive outcome. Despite this, she felt the flexibility and regular engagement offered by a day program might have better results.

Natasha commenced the program by completing our new early treatment program, First Step. This allowed her to complete a series of measures and receive feedback on the areas of her wellbeing that would benefit from being with the service. It was here that Natasha learnt that her alcohol use was within the high-risk range and she was experiencing severe depression and moderate anxiety. She also reported feeling suicidal nearly every day. Natasha’s goal for treatment was to stop her alcohol use, improve her mental health, and continue to maintain an active social life, which she saw as an important part of her identity.

Natasha successfully completed the five-week Day Program and then participated in the aftercare groups to help with relapse prevention. Three months after treatment she has maintained her goal of abstinence and has even started organising non-drinking social groups.

Her mental health also improved with a 40% reduction in scores for anxiety and a 67% reduction in her depression scores. Natasha also reported that she no longer feels suicidal and enjoys more meaningful engagement in her community. She commended her clinicians and rated her experience with the service as “extremely satisfied.”

*Name has been changed to protect client’s privacy. The image used is a stock image of a person for illustrative purposes only and does not, expressly or implied, portray a person with drug, alcohol or mental health problems.

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Practical strategies and support with First Step

Craig Worland, a Lives Lived Well team member, stands beside Professor Leanne Hides

Craig Worland (Lives Lived Well) and Professor Leanne Hides (UQ)

Lives Lived Well is always looking for ways to improve our support offerings as a provider of evidence-informed services and our enduring partnership with The University of Queensland (UQ) plays an important role in our efforts to develop innovative programs and bolster our clinical capabilities. In 2022-2023 we celebrated the sixth year of our partnership with UQ and continued our collaboration on several significant clinical initiatives, including First Step.

Building on the success of the pilot trial with Lives Lived Well in Brisbane North Community Services from 2020 to 2022, we embarked on the organisation-wide implementation of our ground-breaking early treatment model, First Step, during the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

Developed in partnership with UQ, the First Step program facilitates a highly responsive and individually tailored treatment option for people dealing with problematic alcohol and other drug use. UQ supported the rollout of a randomised cluster-controlled trial, evaluating the real-world possibility of such an implementation.

As many clients engage in treatment briefly, First Step aims for clients to walk away with practical strategies and support from their first session with Lives Lived Well. This ensures that clients who attend briefly receive the support they are seeking, and clients who want to continue in treatment complete a solid foundation that can serve as a springboard for further progress.

Grounded in the principles of motivational interviewing, First Step incorporates core evidence-based techniques, including outcome measure feedback, psychoeducation and harm minimisation, personality-targeted coping skills training, and individualised goal setting. The program’s content is packaged into three distinct modules and is typically delivered across two to three sessions of treatment.

Already, 2,000 Module One sessions have been completed since the program roll-out commenced and early indications suggest positive outcomes, with high levels of client engagement, satisfaction and clinical improvements observed.

First Step embodies our commitment to providing a consistent and effective treatment experience for our clients at Lives Lived Well, drawing upon best practices in contemporary alcohol and other drug interventions.

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Lives Lived Well to establish new Veterans’ and Families’ Hub for Southeast Queensland

Lives Lived Well to establish new Veterans’ and Families’ Hub for Southeast Queensland

The Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) has appointed Lives Lived Well to establish a new Veterans’ and Families’ Hub for Southeast Queensland.

The Hon. Matt Keogh, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence, visited Lives Lived Well’s Wunya Residential Rehabilitation service in January to announce the funding.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Matt Keogh said the Australian Government is delivering on its commitment to provide more localised support for Southeast Queensland’s defence and veteran communities. “I am pleased to announce that Lives Lived Well will establish the Southeast Queensland Veterans’ and Families’ Hub, bringing a new perspective to supporting veterans and families,” Minister Keogh said.

“For over 40 years Lives Lived Well have provided health and wellbeing support in Queensland and New South Wales, with extensive experience in working with individuals and families needing physical and mental health services and support with social connections.”

In partnership with the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia (Queensland Branch) and Australian War Widows Queensland, Lives Lived Well will offer a dedicated, welcoming, confidential space for veterans and their families. Services provided will be flexible and tailored, offering possibilities for social connection and engagement and key supports that may include employment, housing, transition support, advocacy, mental health support and other counselling.

The Hub will act as a shopfront to provide simple and flexible access to relevant services. Our team will comprise Wellbeing Coordinators and people with lived experience of Veteran life to ensure anyone accessing the Hub is supported in a safe and understanding way.

Our team will work in partnership with Ex-Service Organisations (ESOs) and other key partners to help the Veteran or their family member to access services and support.

Wellbeing coordination will be delivered in-person, by phone and online to ensure flexibility and accessibility. Read more about the new Veterans’ and Families’ Hub.

Lives Lived Well receives mental health award

Lives Lived Well receives mental health award

Lives Lived Well has been heartened to see our work recognised by our peers, with our organisation being named the recipient of a Queensland Mental Health Week Achievement Award in the large not-for-profit organisation (100+ staff) category on 14 October.

The award recognises mental health related services, programs, projects and initiatives that demonstrate a commitment to improving the quality of life of Queenslanders living with mental illness and promoting their inclusion in the broader community.

Lives Lived Well delivers a number of mental health support services – headspace Southport, headspace Upper Coomera, a NewAccess program on the Darling Downs/South Burnett and the Lighthouse service for young people on the Gold Coast.

The award acknowledged our shared commitment to collaborating and consulting with consumers, their families, carers, and other relevant agencies to deliver best practice services.

Lives Lived Well was in good company for the award, with Neami National and Youturn Youth Support Services also being nominated in this category.

Thanks to the award sponsors and organisers, Queensland Mental Health Commission, Open Minds and CheckUp Australia.

Learn more about our mental health support services.

For all media enquiries please contact:
Lives Lived Well Marketing team by emailing [email protected]

Alcohol is #1 concern for clients entering central QLD’s newest rehab

Alcohol is #1 concern for clients entering central QLD’s newest rehab

Problematic alcohol consumption is the most common concern for people seeking help at Central Queensland’s newest purpose-built live-in withdrawal and rehabilitation service, Binbi Yadubay – Healthy Beginnings.

The service celebrated its first birthday on 7 December and data from the first its 12 months of operation shows alcohol to be well ahead of methamphetamine and cannabis as the main drug of concern for Binbi Yadubay’s clients.

Around 46% of the people entering rehabilitation at Binbi Yadubay in the past 12 months sought support to address alcohol-related concerns, while 38% sought help for a problem with methamphetamine (ice) and 7% for cannabis.

Since its opening in 2021, the service has offered a ‘healthy beginning’ to 453 people and families from across the region, enabling them to address concerns related to alcohol and other drugs.

Owned by Queensland Health and operated by not-for-profit organisation Lives Lived Well, the service offers support to men and women aged 18+. Binbi Yadubay can also support families with young children, with two family units on site enabling parents to attend treatment while children are in childcare or at school.

Lives Lived Well’s Central Queensland Clinical Services Manager, Mikel Gellatly, said adults could access a safe and supported 24-hour environment to withdraw from alcohol or other drugs through Binbi Yadubay’s 8-bed Withdrawal Unit.

“The withdrawal program is delivered over 5-10 days and, in its first year, supported 118 people,” Mikel said. “On completion, clients can continue their recovery journey at the 32-bed rehabilitation service, located on the same site. In the past year, 233 people have accessed the live-in rehabilitation service.

“The age group we most commonly saw represented was 25-34 years (36%), while 33% of clients were aged between 35-44 years.

“Anecdotally, we know that problematic consumption of alcohol is a major issue across Australia, and our own client data certainly supports that,” he said.

Mikel said the team at Binbi Yadubay was looking forward to continuing to build an inclusive and welcoming service for the people of Central QLD.

“Our first year has been very positive. We already have some clients returning to volunteer with us – they have experienced life-changing support and want to give back.

“It’s incredibly motivating for our clients to meet people who have been through our treatment program and are now living their life well.”

Holistic recovery

While clients complete an evidence-informed treatment program that runs in cycles of six weeks, they also can participate in various programs and activities designed to support holistic treatment and recovery.
Clients can gain life skills, such as cooking, gardening and physical health, by participating in additional on-site activities.

“A lot of energy in our first year has gone into building relationships and networks with local groups and agencies so we can offer clients access to the support they need to address various interests and concerns,” Mikel said.

Mikel thanked the Central Queensland community for supporting Binbi Yadubay in its first year.

“People have been asking for this service for a long time, and thanks to the Queensland Government and Lives Lived Well, it’s now not just a reality. It’s part of the fabric of the community. Thank you to everyone who has helped bring the service to life.”

Lives Lived Well is a not-for-profit provider of drug, alcohol and mental health support services across QLD and NSW. Enquiries about Binbi Yadubay can be made by visiting, emailing [email protected] or calling 1300 727 957.

Learn more about Binbi Yadubay.

For all media enquiries please contact:
Lives Lived Well Marketing team by emailing [email protected]