The Junction began as a Country Health SA Community Mental Health initiative in partnership with several consumers, carers, non-government organisations and community agencies in 2009.
In its early days it was driven solely by Community Mental Health who invested significant time, staff and resources to set up this much needed regional service.
Over time, it developed into a psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery day program and continued to be staffed by Community Mental Health employees and volunteers, with non-government organisations providing guest speakers and in-kind resources.
In 2010 a management committee structure was developed that consisted of consumers, carers, Community Mental Health, non-government organisations and community agencies.
This management group applied to become a member of One Voice Network Inc. (OVN) in 2010, gaining support from One Voice Network Inc. and its six other Mental Health Activity and Resource Centres around rural South Australia. In October 2010 OVN employed a coordinator for The Junction through funding received from Country Health SA Mental Health.
In December 2011 this funding agreement was not extended, which meant the coordinator continued working on a voluntary basis and still does.
Since late 2010 The Junction has achieved its goal of becoming more consumer-run and broadened the profile and availability of the service, both in terms of opening times and promotion to a wider audience. As a result, the management committee has greater consumers and carers membership and is no longer dominated by professionals and community agencies.
From 2011 onwards The Junction prioritized its push into the wider community, to primarily raise awareness of its existence and to promote acknowledgement and acceptance of people with mental health issues or mental illness.
In addition, existing partnerships with agencies and organisations have been strengthened and inter-agency collaboration has continued to be highly successful. Significant media coverage has also contributed to this result.
In December 2012 The Junction became incorporated.
We are registered as a charitable organisation and a gift deductible recipient.
The goal of The Junction is to provide a range of services, experiences and opportunities to give support to people experiencing mental health issues or recovering from mental illness and improve the mental wellbeing of the wider community.
Groups are active in Mount Gambier and Millicent and we recently (after 5 years) stopped our activities in Penola. Lifeboat and the Limestone Coast Meditation Community are associated with the Junction.
At The Junction we promote mental health by encouraging participants (consumers and carers) to take responsibility for their own wellbeing and to take an active role in the day to day operation and its activities (empowerment and ownership) together with the volunteers, professionals and guest speakers/facilitators.
We do this by providing a safe and supportive environment which foster attendees’ independence, self-worth, confidence, and self-esteem through the activities we organise.
The Junction is a low cost, easy accessible service that provides targeted programs which develop coping skills and potential in people with mental health issues and interaction in the community, a safe environment for learning and developing friendships with like-minded people.
As we are a non-government and non-funded volunteer service we rely on local, state and federal funds and donations to support our activities and the management.
Besides gaining confidence,self-esteem and improvements in mental well being, social inclusion and avoidance of hospitalisation and gaining new (or regaining) skills the participants also move on from having need of support to offering others support and being part of the management committee and daily management.
Through this development of skills they might move on to doing volunteer work or paid work. Either way it will be a contributing life.