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Unique support service for families opens in Logan

Unveiling the plaque: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, the Hon Michael McCormack, with Federal Member for Forde, Bert van Manen (left) and the Hon Di Farmer, State Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and Minister for the Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence.

Queensland families will have access to a unique drug and alcohol support service starting in the new year, following the official launch of our Family Recovery Units at Logan House on 12 December.

The program makes it possible for parents to receive support, while their young children stay with them on site in the two and three-bedroom units.

Parents can access wrap-around support on site at Logan including specialist alcohol and drug counselling and information, group sessions and parenting, life and health support, whilst having appropriate care arrangements set in place for their children.

The opening was jointly conducted by the Hon Michael McCormack, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, the Hon Di Farmer, State Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and Minister for the Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence; along with Lives Lived Well Chair Damian Wright. The Federal Member for Forde, Bert van Manen and the Acting Logan Mayor, Cherie Dalley also attended.

The Australian Government invested $986,000 in the construction of the units, jointly funding it with Lives Lived Well, which contributed more than $1M. The Queensland Government has committed to providing $1.7M in funding over three years to support the operation of the family alcohol and drug recovery program at the units.

Speaking at the launch, Mr McCormack said he knew Logan House, set among gum trees in Logan’s rural southwest, would be a special place.

“People will look along this deck at this beautiful view and will see there is hope, there is a future. They will experience the warmth of the counsellors here, people who will share their expertise, their care, their compassion, their love and it will make a difference.”

Lives Lived Well Chair Damian Wright expressed gratitude for the funding support of both state and federal governments.

“This funding allows us to work closely with families to turn their lives around after the harms and disruption of alcohol and drugs,” Mr Wright said.

Ice Help – giving families the skills to support a loved one

Our ICE Help service in Mackay in north Queensland has recently begun hosting a family support group for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families affected by methamphetamine use.

The service provides counselling and other supports to family members – regardless of whether the person with the ice dependency is accessing our support. Offering support to families has proven to be a powerful early intervention strategy for our ICE Help service.

Family Support Worker, Janice Quadrio, says families accessing ICE Help created an intervention pathway for 65% of her clients since the team was formed in 2017.

“Even when a person continues to use and experience issues, the families who have accessed our services report increased wellbeing,” she said. “They are better equipped to manage situations. Family members understand the drug and how it works. They have strategies in place for harm minimisation and feel empowered where before they felt helpless.

“Also, very importantly, through ICE Help, family members can access a support network that helps to reduce the stigma they feel around having a person with ice dependency in the family.”

Lives Lived Well’s ICE Help service came into effect in April 2017, enabled by funding from the Northern Queensland PHN. From 1 April 2017 to 1 November this year, the service supported 305 clients – made up of a mix of people seeking help for problematic ice use, as well as their families.

Sixty-four per cent of the people seeking help for their own use of methamphetamine were male, while 55 per cent of people seeking help for a family member were female. The most common age range of clients and family members was 18 to 45 years.

Many of the people accessing ICE Help go on to engage with other Lives Lived Well services in Mackay, including psychosocial supports, day withdrawal and outreach. More information about our Mackay services here.

Caboolture services now include withdrawal support and day rehab

Opening our new space: From, left Lives Lived Well CEO Mitchell Giles, Lives Lived Well Board Members Raylee Taylor and David Tapsall, Senator James McGrath, Lives Lived Well Board Chair Damian Wright and Lives Lived Well Clinical Services Manager Leah Tickner.

Almost immediately after opening the doors of our Brisbane North service early in 2017, our staff were receiving referrals four times higher than predicted. Recognising this high demand for alcohol and drug support services in the region, the Federal Government announced an additional $11M in funding for the service in June 2018. That funding has now been put into action, with the opening of our new service for drug and alcohol support in Caboolture.

The extra funding has enabled Lives Lived Well to significantly boost the level of support we provide to people affected by the problematic use of alcohol and other drugs, including methamphetamine (ice).

Part of this funding will go towards constructing a 20-bed live-in recovery residence, due for completion in 2019.

Lives Lived Well CEO, Mitchell Giles said “the addition of withdrawal and rehabilitation day supports puts extra counsellors in the field and means more support for more people at different stages of their recovery over a longer period.

“Since opening in late 2016, our Brisbane North services have supported 1813 people, including 570 from the Caboolture area. Most named methamphetamine (ice) as their primary drug of concern, with alcohol and cannabis also presenting strongly,” Mr Giles said.

“In some ways this is a positive sign. It means people are recognising that they have a problem and are comfortable in coming forward for support. That step alone takes courage.”

People wishing to access our support services can refer themselves online or phone 1300 727 957 (QLD) or 1300 596 366 (NSW).

On the road with Breakthrough for Families

Our new Breakthrough for Families (BFF) program has seen more than 100 people across Queensland participate in free public information sessions with our BFF team in just two months.

This innovative program, funded by the Queensland Department of Child Protection, Youth and Women, aims to demystify issues around alcohol and drugs and help families develop strategies to support a family member with a drug or alcohol problem.

A big part of support to families is teaching them self care. The information the program provides not only informs and educates people, but also makes them feel safer and teaches them what they don’t have to accept. As one participant said: “Thank you, now I can do this. We don’t have to put up with certain behaviours, we don’t have to tolerate abuse”.

Our BFF team has delivered 23 two-hour sessions in the Health and Hospital Service regions across Townsville, Cairns, the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane as well as one-on-one sessions with families and individuals, and outreach as far west as Hughenden and Richmond in north Queensland.

The education sessions aim to empower family members to make positive decisions as individuals and as part of a family unit. The sessions are a safe environment for family members to ask questions, allay concerns, build a plan and move forward with renewed confidence.

More sessions are planned for next year – visit our website to see dates and locations. Individuals and families can self-refer through our website or by calling 1300 727 957.

Read more about Breakthrough for Families.

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Lives Lived Well acknowledges the peoples of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia, respecting their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to elders past, present and future. 

Lives Lived Well celebrates diversity and is committed to providing inclusive services. Everyone has the right to live well, with dignity and respect. We offer support to all people without judgment or discrimination.