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COMMUNITY sup­port provider Ed­men Group is turn­ing to new ways to source the highly-skilled work­ers it needs to help clients who suf­fer from men­tal ill­ness. The work­force em­ployed by its Community Staffing So­lu­tions arm has in­creased by about 25 per cent in the past two months.

It is tar­get­ing nurs­ing students to train specif­i­cally for the men­tal health and dis­abil­ity sec­tor and en­cour­ag­ing nurses and aged-care work­ers to con­sider work in the field. Ed­men client-re­la­tion­ship man­ager Adam Kum­cevski says community sup­port work­ers pro­vide day-to­day care to peo­ple with a men­tal ill­ness. It may in­volve de­vel­op­ing their in­ter­per­sonal skills – such as em­pow­er­ing the client or help­ing them with com­mu­ni­ca­tion or in­ter­act­ing with the community – or help­ing them with ba­sic per­sonal care, such as show­er­ing and other per­sonal hy­giene. More com­plex health care, such as work­ing with med­i­ca­tion or deal­ing with peo­ple with per­son­al­ity dis­or­ders, re­quires ad­di­tional skills and train­ing. ‘‘We have had to be very dy­namic with our ap­proach in re­cruit­ing,’’ Kum­cevski says. ‘‘We’re work­ing with nurs­ing students at Flin­ders Univer­sity and other uni­ver­si­ties, get­ting them to use their skills (in men­tal health) but also putting them through a A community sup­port worker pro­vides low, medium and high-level sup­port for clients who suf­fer from health is­sues. They of­ten work a few hours a day or week in a client’s home per­form­ing day-to-day du­ties for the client. Work­ers pro­vide phys­i­cal as well as emo­tional sup­port to their client. Cer­tifi­cate III in Dis­abil­i­ties and pro­vid­ing them with other train­ing.

‘‘It’s not pos­si­ble to find a dis­abil­ity sup­port worker who has that ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘‘We’re be­ing a bit broad and look­ing for work­ers with an aged-care back­ground or nurs­ing back­ground.’’ Ed­men op­er­ates in Queens­land, Vic­to­ria, New South Wales and re­cently set up in South Aus­tralia. Its community sup­port staff work with peo­ple of all ages with phys­i­cal and in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­i­ties as well as men­tal health is­sues. ‘‘The type of ser­vices we sup­port in­clude ac­com­mo­da­tion, group homes, res­i­den­tial ser­vices with in-home sup­port,’’ Kum­cevski says.

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