Free mental health support now in Longreach

Our NewAccess coach, Mark ‘Sparky’ Dickson, is based in Longreach and will be delivering support to people there as well as in the core target areas of Winton, Barcaldine and Blackall. He’ll also be hitting the road to provide outreach services in Boulia, Bedourie, Birdsville and Windorah.

Following the flooding in northern Queensland, as well as the ongoing drought in many parts of western Queensland, services such as NewAccess are needed now more than ever. The NewAccess program was developed by Beyond Blue to provide free and confidential support to help people tackle day-to-day pressures such as work stress, family concerns and financial worries.

Mark says he is looking forward to supporting the people of western Queensland. He brings extensive experience to the role, having worked as an Enrolled Nurse and as a Medic in the RAAF. He spent 2014/15 living and working in the area as a Partners in Recovery Support Facilitator.

Lives Lived Well now delivers the NewAccess program in the Darling Downs, West Moreton and Central West Queensland regions. People can access the program via phone counselling or face to face at our Warwick, Dalby, Gatton, Kingaroy and Longreach hubs. Learn more.

Beaudesert move provides more space to do more

Opening our new home at 65-81 Brisbane Street (from left) Lives Lived Well CEO, Mitchell Giles and Brisbane South AOD Team Leader, Ronelle Waring were joined by the Federal Member for Wright, Scott Buchholz MP and the Queensland State Member for Scenic Rim, John Krause MP.

Aiming to deliver group programs including Smart Recovery and Breakthrough for Families information sessions, our Beaudesert team had outgrown its previous location at Illoura Carinity Care.

The new, centrally located office at Shop 10, 65-81 Brisbane Street was opened with an official event on 30 January. Lives Lived Well CEO, Mitchell Giles spoke at the opening alongside Federal Member Scott Buchholz MP, State Member Jon Krause MP and Brisbane South PHN’s General Manager of Commissioned Programs, Lucille Chalmers.

Lucille told the gathering that Beaudesert was one of the priority areas for alcohol and drug support as identified in the Brisbane South PHN’s 2018 Needs Assessment, so she was pleased to be able to support an extension of services in the region.

In the last financial year, Lives Lived Well supported 80 people through our Beaudesert service. Of those supported, most named methamphetamine (ICE) (42%) or alcohol (40%) as their primary drug of concern.
Our Brisbane South AOD Team Leader, Ronelle Waring, said the move to premises in the main street had already had a dramatic impact on the number of people the team was supporting.
“We have seen a 300 per cent increase in referrals, and many of these are self-referrals, which is fantastic,” she said.

Introducing Wyla – withdrawal and residential service

Our Orange-based withdrawal and residential rehab services are now located in a shared space on the Bloomfield Campus, under the new name of Wyla – the Aboriginal name given to the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo local to the area.

These services (previously known as Lyndon Withdrawal and Wattlegrove) have always worked closely with each other. Being co-located will mean an even smoother transition for those completing withdrawal and then moving into our residential rehabilitation program.

We provide live-in withdrawal in a safe and supportive environment which includes educational and group activities. After an average length of stay of seven days, clients can then move into the recovery program for a live -in three-month drug and alcohol program for people aged 18 and over.

For more information about Wyla please call us on 1300 596 366.

New partnership to address health inequality

Committed to partnership: Lives Lived Well CEO, Mitchell Giles and Bila Muuji CEO, Phil Naden.

Lives Lived Well has teamed up with Bila Muuji Aboriginal Corporation Health Service to build capacity and professional development among regional health service providers through the Lives Lived Well Drug and Alcohol Network (previously the Murdi Paaki Drug and Alcohol Network).

The partnership was announced in Dubbo on 28 February, with CEOs of both organisations – Mitchell Giles and Phil Naden – signing a commitment to partnership to address health inequality in local communities.

Bila Muuji works with its members, including a large number of medical services across the region, to support the provision of improved services, addressing not just physical needs, but social, emotional and cultural well-being as well, for individuals and communities.

As a specialist alcohol and drug support organisation, we’ll bring our expertise to western NSW, by working to build capacity and professional development among regional health service providers.

Through the partnership both organisations will be stronger in their shared commitments, and are looking forward to realising genuine improvements for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Problem gambling – up to one in three AOD clients affected

We know problem gambling is a major social issue but how does it intersect with substance misuse?

Lives Lived Well’s Gerard Moloney has been presenting Screening for Problem Gambling workshops across Queensland for more than two years. He says for many people, there is intense stigma related to acknowledging a gambling problem.

“People are far more comfortable discussing an issue with drugs or alcohol than talking about a gambling habit,” he said.

Research suggests a strong link between alcohol and drug use, and problem gambling. Around 75 percent of problem gamblers also have had a problem with alcohol, while 38 percent of problem gamblers have had a problem with drugs. Between 20 and 30 percent of people receiving treatment for substance misuse also have a moderate or severe gambling addiction.

With funding from the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors, we began delivering face-to-face and online workshops to raise awareness of this link among AOD support and other community and healthcare workers and how to use the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) as a screening tool.

Why screen for problem gambling?

Gerard says the anecdotal evidence he hears as he travels around the state lines up with the research, which shows that any level of gambling, even low levels, is leading to gambling-related harms, making early intervention more imperative.

Having AOD support workers screen their clients for problem gambling can help identify this problem before it becomes severe.

Studies by our research partner, The University of Queensland, along with PGSI results gathered within Lives Lived Well, indicate more than 40 per cent of people presenting with AOD issues are already experiencing gambling-related harm.

“The people at highest risk of developing a gambling problem are men aged between 18 and 34,” Gerard said. “Older Australians are also at risk – we see this issue in towns with a high concentration of retirees.”

Why has gambling been in the background?

Gerard says there are a number of contributing factors: clients experience high levels of shame and may not disclose a gambling problem, and they also may not believe their gambling is contributing to problems in their life; for clinicians, there are competing priorities which mean they may not think to ask about gambling or believe it could be a serious issue for someone in crisis.

“The shame and secrecy felt by the client interacts with the tendency of clinicians to minimise gambling as an issue, to keep problem gambling a background issue that often remains unexplored. By introducing the PGSI to clinicians, we’re aiming to provide a practical tool to facilitate conversations and reduce the stigma around gambling problems.”

Gerard is available to present the free workshop in workplaces across Queensland. For enquiries please contact him on 0407 285 615 or email [email protected]

To undertake the online training, simply register for free at

If you need support with the online workshop, email: [email protected]


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.