Impact and outcomes of a rural personal helpers and mentors service

Debra A. Dunstan, Anna K. Todd, Linda M. Kennedy, Donnah L. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To describe impacts and outcomes associated with the Personal Helpers and Mentor's (PHaMs) service in a rural Australian town. Design: A descriptive analysis of longitudinal data, uncontrolled pre-test and post-test caseworker ratings, and retrospective pre-test/post-test self-ratings and feedback comments were collected from convenience samples. Setting: A community-based mental health recovery service. Participantsn = 76 mental health consumers; mean age = 37.78 years; 45% male; 63% Aboriginal; primary diagnoses = 41% psychotic disorder and 61% mood disorder; co-morbid diagnosis = 45% substance use disorder. Interventions: Individual recovery plan (IRP), personal goal setting, caseworker mentoring and support. Main outcome measures: Gains towards goals, the Role Functioning Scale (RFS), self-ratings and feedback comments.Results: The most frequently addressed goals were: attend mental health treatment services, acquire suitable accommodation and be more involved in the community. IRP completers (n = 19) showed a significant improvement in caseworker-rated adaptive functioning which was adequate at case closure (t(18) = -4.38, P < 0.001). Participant (n = 19) ratings of the service and its key performance indicators suggested global satisfaction and gains in the management of everyday tasks, use of medications and community engagement. Good rapport was reported with the locally trained and predominantly Aboriginal (56%) staff. Conclusions: PHaMs shows promise for assisting rural people with mental illness to improve their everyday functioning, medication management and community involvement. Recruitment and capacity-building of Aboriginal staff appears to facilitate Aboriginal consumer participation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-55
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Journal of Rural Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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