THE Palmerston Association was recognised for its achievements at the inaugural Western Australian Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Excellence Awards last Wednesday.
The association, which has a branch in Mandurah, won the award in the Partnership category for the partnership between AOD and mental health services in the south metropolitan area and the award in the Families category for the Palmerston Association Family Program (PAFP).
The partnership involves collaboration between South Metro Community Drug Service and the South Metropolitan Mental Health Service and a partnership between Palmerston Farm Therapeutic Community and South Metropolitan Mental Health Service.
Mandurah coordinator Sandra Harris said it was wonderful to win the awards.
“There was high competition so it’s absolutely wonderful,” Ms Harris said.
She said she had been involved with the Family Program since its inception about 14 years ago.
“It’s the first time for the program to be recognised in 14 years and in that time there have been diverse and different programs,” she said.
“We’ve adopted the program over the past six years to incorporate dual-diagnosis and so the two categories which we won almost swap over now.”
She said the partnerships were formed to enhance the quality of care given to individuals presenting with co-occurring disorders and had delivered innovative, best practice resulting in “no wrong door” services.
“Up to 80 per cent of those choosing to use have a mental disorder and then families come onboard with that,” she said.
“We recognise that behind all people choosing to use there is a family and behind them is a bag of emotions.
“When you offer support and strategies to families it makes a huge difference.”
Mental Health Minister Helen Morton said the AOD sector was a shining example of collaboration and partnership.
“I am always struck by the dedication, commitment and genuine passion I find in the people who work in the alcohol and other drug sector, even in the most troubling and trying of circumstances,” Mrs Morton said.
“The work that these people do is not easy, and it is not always immediately rewarding, as we know there is no quick fix for preventing or responding to substance use problems and dependence.”
The Palmerston Association holds a family group at the centre, 22 Tuckey Street, Mandurah, every Tuesday at 6pm.