The present challenging circumstances highlight an ongoing concern for community mental health and well-being. Local organizations such as Headspace, EACH and Foothills are reporting significant limitations in government funded counseling services, long waiting lists and lack of access to private counseling services for those experiencing financial disadvantage.
What can the Rotary Club of Knox do to improve the situation?
It is proposed that we set up an Incorporated Body called “Simple Steps Solutions” or “Simple Steps” to provide a pathway to private counseling services.
This body would comply with all the legal requirements of Incorporation such as governance, structure, rules, financial reporting, etc.
Simple Steps would have at least two members of the Rotary Club of Knox on the Committee.
After establishment and with the appointment of a qualified administrator (initially a qualified volunteer), consultation with the Referring Organizations (R.Os.) such as Headspace. Foothills and EACH, as well as professionally accredited counselors, Simple Steps would operate in the following manner:
- Referring Organization identifies a client who requires counseling support but is unable to immediately access government funded services and is lacking financial capacity to engage with private counseling services.
- Referring Organization contacts Simple Steps with request for financial assistance for the client, providing information about the type of issue but no personal identification data.
- Simple Steps administrator advises if funding is available, and if so provides a list of recognized counselors to the R.O
- Referring Organization converts this information to client who makes a decision about further action including choose of recognized counselor.
- Should the client take up the offer of counseling, the counselor sends the account to Simple Steps for payment
- Client and counselor would each be asked to complete a short survey at the conclusion of counseling.
As part of the evaluation of the pilot program the Committee would gather and review data as to the demographic of clients experiencing distress, types of issues and outcome of counseling.
(N.B, Recognized counselors have agreed to reduce fees per session.)
How will this be funded?
Rotary Club of Knox has allocated $5000 for the Pilot Program which will be applied to costs associated with the establishment of the program and initial counseling sessions.
In the future, the Club will take responsibility for on-going costs through donations, grants, Rotary Charitiable Services etc.