Maintaining one’s mental health can be a difficult task at the best of times. But for some, it’s more than a struggle; it’s an everyday battle, and getting 24/7 support for it can be just as tricky. The Haven at Mooroopna provides accommodation and support for those with struggle and challenges.
Mr Coulter has been battling a mental illness for years now, and as part of his recovery, he’s been able to receive support from Haven Mooroopna.
Haven Mooroopna provides medium to long-term support housing for people who have a lived experience of mental health struggles.
The space allows residents to receive 24-hour support in their own portable home in a safe and secure environment, assisting them with mental health recovery and helping them develop independent living skills.
There are 16 homes in total, with the mental health support side of business managed by Mind Australia and housing managed by Haven Foundation, a subsidiary of Mind Australia.
Mr Coulter has been at Haven Mooroopna for nearly a year, during which time he’s never looked back.
“It’s set up in a way where they try to get you to live by yourself, but you’ve also got help here so that if you do fall off the track, they’re there to help you,” he said.
Mr Coulter said he had seen huge improvements throughout his mental health journey.
“I went pretty much downhill when I got my mental illness, and now I’ve been just climbing back up on to my track,” he said.
“I’m doing stuff like a GOTAFE course, getting my licence, getting back into my hobbies — because when this stuff happens, you lose all your hobbies, you lose all your footing.
“It’s good having a place like Haven here because if you need help, they’re there to help you, and the community is just outside the door.”
The portable homes haven’t been there for long, though — on Wednesday, January 17, Haven Mooroopna celebrated two years since it officially opened.
Haven Mooroopna service manager Trudy Fuller has been involved with Haven Mooroopna since the start.
“The journey has been really interesting, and there’ve been lots of different challenges along the way,” she said.
“I think it’s all exciting because ultimately, we’re still working with vulnerable people in the community, we’re still able to provide safe and secure housing, and to watch residents move in and realise that this is a place of their own to identify and develop goals and be supported to achieve them, is amazing.
“Most of our residents have been here for over 12 months now, and the progress that some of them are making is just remarkable.”
Mind Australia northern region general manager Jane Threader said this sort of support housing had been shown to be successful, and it was important that the organisation continued to advocate for more.
“It does show, from an evaluation that was done, that this kind of model, with support and housing together, that people don’t need to access crisis support at hospitals,” she said.
“The research does show if people are living in rundown damp places, it actually has a really negative effect on people’s mental health.
“Quality housing is really important, and then the wraparound support with that, people are able to build skills and believe in themselves again, and actually, move on to more independent living.”
These apartments were the stage one development of a $10 million grant from the Victorian Government, and in the past few weeks, stage two was completed.
The second stage contains 20 independent living homes managed solely by the Haven Foundation.
These homes are for people affected by floods or domestic violence, or for people who have transitioned from supported living to independent living, and last week, Victorian Housing Minister Harriet Shing visited the developments to meet with staff and residents.