Realising our value in mental health: Demonstrating the impact of the Whyalla Community Mental Health Rehabilitation Service

Mr Adrian Leet1, Mr Shaun Dennis1

1CHSA, Adelaide, Australia

Australian mental health service delivery systems have undergone significant reform in recent years to ensure promotion of recovery and that all Australians have access to effective, appropriate treatment and support to allow them to participate in their community.

The aim of this research project is to evaluate the current service delivery model of the Community Mental Health Rehabilitation Service (CMHRS) in Whyalla, South Australia, and to investigate the impact of the service on consumer recovery outcomes.

Phase One will map and describe the CMHRS service model. This qualitative descriptive study will involve focus groups with CMHRS staff.

Phase Two will evaluate recovery outcomes and consumer perceptions of the CMHRS. This will be a mixed method study which will include pre-post evaluation of recovery outcomes using the Recovery Assessment Scale – Domains and Stages (RAS-DS) and qualitative interviews with consumers after transitioning from the CMHRS.

This research project is in its infancy. The RAS-DS has been successfully introduced as part of standard practice for consumers entering and transitioning from the CMHRS.  Early data collection is suggestive of the CMHRS positively influencing recovery outcomes.

Access to specialised mental health services in rural Australia is considerably lower than in major cities. It is therefore imperative that mental health services in regional areas maximise impact for their communities. Benefits and impacts of this research project include;

  • production of data that will enable a determination of the effectiveness of a rehabilitation service that supports consumer recovery.
  • development of a protocol service research project that allows for other services within the mental health system to be evaluated for their service model operation and impact on recovery outcomes for consumers.


Mr Adrian Leet works for CHSALHN as the Advanced Clinical Lead Occupational Therapist in Mental Health. Mr Leet graduated in 1998 from the University of SA and has 20 years of clinical and leadership experience across child and adolescent, adult and community and inpatient mental health. Mr Leet has a strong passion for service improvement for country clients and the development of occupational therapy within mental health.

Mr Shaun Dennis works for Country Health South Australia Local Health Network- Mental Health (CHSALHN- MH) based with the Integrated Mental Health Service at the Whyalla Hospital. Mr Dennis also works with the Department of Rural Health, University of South Australia as an Occupational Therapy Academic.  He holds a MSc Occupational Therapy and a BSc Psychology.  He has 8 Years of Mental Health Occupational Therapy experience, managerial and operational leadership, and has recently been part of the development of inpatient mental health rehabilitation services in the UK and Community Country Mental Health rehabilitation services in South Australia.

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