Northern Alliance making a difference in Adelaide’s north
The Northern Adelaide Mental Health Alliance (the Northern Alliance) includes representatives from health and social organisations working alongside individuals from the community who have lived experience with a mental health condition.
The way in which the Northern Alliance works provides a rare opportunity whereby both the sector and the community can work together to make an impact locally.
The Northern Alliance has a clear vision and purpose: to improve mental health outcomes for people in the northern Adelaide region. Members seek to achieve this by improving integration between services and developing innovative solutions to complex issues requiring multi-agency solutions and collaboration.
The Northern Alliance has been meeting for eighteen months and several key outcomes have been achieved, including:
Co-commissioning of Adelaide’s first Safe Haven Café (commissioned via the Adelaide PHN and Northern Adelaide Local Health Network (NALHN).
Establishment of the MIND Connect Program to support people who have been discharged from hospital following a mental health crisis.
The SAAS Co-Responder Program, coupling ambulance crews with mental health professionals to support call outs to people in emotional or psychological distress.
The DASSA/ NALHN Project aligning mental health with drug and alcohol workers to provide help to people with co-morbid mental health and substance abuse issues.
It is envisioned that these initiatives will have the combined effect of providing more holistic, appropriate and timely assistance to people seeking support from mental health services.
The strength of the Northern Alliance lies in its representation. New members are welcomed, including community members who may have experienced a mental health condition, accessed a mental health service and/or felt suicidal. People with loved ones in similar positions are also encouraged to connect with the Northern Alliance. This provides an opportunity to work alongside those delivering, designing and commissioning mental health and related services to inform decision making and shape the future of services in the region.
Future projects in the pipeline for the Northern Alliance include:
The development of a mental health service directory app. This app will be freely available to people in the community. Designed and developed by people with lived experience, the app aims to have a point of difference from existing products through the detailed and highly localised information that will feature.
The development of an Advocacy Plan. This will be used to elevate the needs of the local community to the ears of politicians and commissioning bodies.
A second Safe Haven Café is supported by the Northern Alliance, focused primarily on people who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
The Northern Alliance will also play a central role in the co-design of the new Crisis Stabilisation Unit for the North (a walk-in facility for people experiencing a mental health crisis).