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Celebrating the official launch of Safe Haven

Celebrating the official launch of Safe Haven

On Monday 10 July, Sonder hosted two events celebrating the opening of drop-in mental health service, Safe Haven.

Funded by Adelaide PHN (APHN) and Northern Adelaide Local Health Network (NALHN), and delivered by Sonder, Safe Haven provides a friendly and compassionate place where people experiencing distress can access immediate support.

The launch event brought together partners and valued stakeholders of Safe Haven to celebrate its official opening and commemorate the service’s achievements since its doors opened in November last year.

Central to Safe Haven’s early success is its peer-driven focus. The service is staffed by a team of dedicated Peer Practitioners who have personal lived experience with mental health challenges and recovery. These workers are uniquely positioned to provide understanding and non-judgmental support, creating a safe space where individuals can feel heard and validated.

The launch event offered attendees a glimpse into the transformative power of this type of support firsthand. Jadee-Mae, a Peer Practitioner at Safe Haven, shared her personal journey with peer support, providing testimony to its profound impact on her recovery. Jadee-Mae’s story resonated with the audience, serving as a testament to the importance of accessible services like Safe Haven.

The event also emphasised the significance of collaboration in the development of community-based mental health services. Sonder established partnerships with organisations such as the Northern Adelaide Mental Health Alliance and the Lived Experience Leadership & Advocacy Network to seek their guidance in ensuring that the service was co-designed with valuable input from individuals with lived experience. This collaborative effort resulted in the creation of an innovative service that offers individuals experiencing distress a quiet and calm alternative to presenting at an emergency department.

Maree Geraghty, CEO of NALHN acknowledged compelling statistics that demonstrated the impact Safe Haven has had in reducing emergency department presentations in Northern Adelaide.

“Safe Haven is NALHN’s first step in providing alternatives to the ED for people experiencing distress.”

Since opening, Safe Haven has had 529 visits by guests, with an average of eleven guests per evening.

Already in the early stages of this pilot, 14% of people coming to Safe Haven report that they would have attended an ED if Safe Haven was not available.

Tamira Pascoe, Executive Manager, Mental Health and AOD, and Procurement at APHN also spoke at the event, emphasising the importance of non-clinical services like Safe Haven for individuals experiencing distress.

“The mental health care system is often based on clinical or medicalized models, and we know this approach does not always offer the best result for every individual.

“The Safe Haven concept provides a community-based solution and a safe space for people with mental health concerns away from a clinical setting,” Tamira said.

Sonder has been funded to deliver Safe Haven services until 30 June 2024. At the launch event, Sageran Naidoo, Sonder CEO commemorated the early achievements of the service and emphasized the importance of securing ongoing funding beyond 2024 in order to safeguard the continuation of this crucial service for community members in Northern Adelaide.

“Safe Haven is a safe space, but its longevity is not safe. There are people who doubt the model and the ongoing funding for this Safe Haven, let alone an expanded network, is up in the air,” Sageran said.

Following the official launch event, Safe Haven opened its doors for a community open day, offering community members and local service providers the opportunity to tour the centre, enjoy lunch, meet the staff, and learn more about the available supports.

Safe Haven is located at 9 John St, Salisbury. The centre is open from 5 pm to 9 pm, Tuesday to Friday each week, including public holidays. For further information about Safe Haven, visit sonder.net.au/safe-haven or email info@sonder.net.au.