In Spring 2016, The Temple Collaborative spent a week in Australia bringing one of that nation’s major community mental health providers – Wellways – up-to-date on the emerging research findings and best practices models to promote community inclusion for individuals with mental health conditions. To inform its ongoing initiative to transform services in Melbourne, Tasmania, and Canberra into a ‘next generation’ provider and advocacy organization, Wellways funded the Collaborative to develop agency-specific products and trainings. These trainings and products offered a current look at the fundamental principles of community inclusion and implementation strategies that help make engagement in community life a reality for those living with mental health conditions.
The Temple Collaborative’s Director, Mark Salzer, and Knowledge Translation Director, Richard Baron, prepared a 120 page overview of: a) the definitions of community inclusion and documented justifications for making community inclusion a priority service development focus; b) the theoretical justifications for promoting community inclusion for individuals with disabilities; c) eleven core principles of community inclusion policies, programs, and practices and their research origins; and d) and a multi-sided view of community inclusion from consumer and family, clinical and rehabilitation, and community perspectives.
Dr. Salzer and Mr. Baron then joined Wellways consumers, executives, staff, board, and community members for a week in May 2016, for a series of public discussions and plenary presentations, and small change-oriented training programs in Melbourne, Tasmania, and the national capitol of Canberra. Wellway’s response was enthusiastic – at both executive and direct service levels – and planning initiatives are now underway both to broaden the commitment of the agency to community inclusion outcomes and to engage and support individuals and organizations that can help to establish ‘welcoming communities’ throughout the region.