Minister for Mental Health Curtis Pitt today worked alongside dedicated Brisbane community mental health workers as part of the Bligh Government’s ‘Walk a Day in My Shoes’ initiative.
Mr Pitt spent the day at the Stepping Stone Clubhouse in Brisbane’s southern suburb of Coorparoo.
“Earlier this year I was involved in a public Twitter forum discussing mental health in Queensland with people right across the state,” Mr Pitt said.
“During that forum I committed to a Walk a Day in My Shoes project – and that’s exactly what I’m doing here today.
“It has been an absolutely invaluable experience.
“I was able to witness first-hand the vial work that community mental health workers do to support people with mental ill health.”
Mr Pitt said to many of its members, Stepping Stone was much more than a community service.
“Stepping Stone provides a raft of services including a structured working day, social and recreational programs, housing assistance and education and employment opportunities,” he said.
“So whether a person needs company on the weekend, the skills to get back into the workplace, or even to find out how to get a secure roof over their head – Stepping Stone is there to help out.”
Mr Pitt said he had learnt a great deal from spending the day at Stepping Stone, and rubbing shoulders with up to 21 staff and 70 clients or ‘Clubhouse members’ was extremely valuable.
“As the Minister responsible for mental health, it was very useful to meet, work with and listen to the front line workers and some of the members who are experiencing mental ill health,” Mr Pitt said.
“I worked in the hospitality unit in the morning where staff assisted people to plan and prepare lunches, snacks and beverages, and then in the afternoon I participated in a member meeting.
“This gave me a lot of hands-on contact with staff and members which was extremely beneficial.”
Executive Director of Stepping Stone Clubhouse Morag Roseby said Minister Pitt’s visit today was a really valuable experience for everyone involved.
“Mr Pitt spent the morning working side by side with our members and staff in both our Housing and Hospitality Units, getting to know the members and the services on offer, and helping out wherever needed,” Ms Roseby said.
“We appreciate any opportunity to demonstrate how our services work and I know the Minister appreciated the opportunity to get some hands-on experience in a community mental health facility.”
A longstanding member of the Clubhouse Stephen Casey said he enjoyed having Mr Pitt spend the day at the facility.
“It’s been really nice being able to talk to Mr Pitt about the challenges we face in the community on a daily basis – he’s a great guy,” Mr Casey said.
Stepping Stone Clubhouse receives more than $700,000 funding every year from the Bligh Government.
Mr Pitt said the Walk a Day in My Shoes was a very worthwhile project for the government to better understand the challenges and rewards Queenslanders experience at work each day.
“This project is about finding out what more we can do to support hard working Queenslanders, now and into the future,” he said.
People with a disability, their families and carers can now find information on government supports and services at www.qld.gov.au/disability