2015/16 Neami National Annual Report


This year under the theme of ‘Reaching Out Moving Forward’, we highlight the key areas of our work and where we have made an impact in the lives of consumers. This online summary demonstrates evidence of positive outcomes and reflect on our successes and the challenges that lie ahead.

Among the facts and figures, there are recovery stories of individuals supported by Neami. The honesty and courage in these stories provide a crucial perspective on the impact of our approach to recovery in people’s lives.

We hope that this summary can be a conversation starter with all our partners, from consumers and carers to stakeholders in different levels of government and communities around the country.

By reaching out and working together, we shape an inclusive future, supportive of people on their journey of recovery.


This summary of our Annual Report allows us to extend our reach, while also being mindful of resources and our environment. 

A digital version of the Annual Report and the full financial statements are available as downloads

Download a digital copy of the Neami National Annual Report (3.2MB PDF)

Download a digital copy of the Neami National Financial Statements (49KB PDF)

CEO and Chair report

This year’s Annual Report theme, ‘Reaching Out Moving Forward’ captures the organisational responses and capacity building strategies we’ve adopted to operate effectively and with agility in an environment of unprecedented socio-political and economic volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.

Our depth and maturity as an organisation is growing. Notwithstanding the uncertain environment, Neami has been successful; focusing on the impact that recovery has on the lives of consumers. We have expanded our service delivery options, improved outcomes for people experiencing mental illness, and have invested in infrastructure and technology with terrific results.

Across Australia, we have engaged positively with newly established Primary Health Networks. We are developing constructive relationships with the National Disability Insurance Agency as we participate in new markets as a registered specialist provider of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funded supports in New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria.

We have significantly invested in applying new business and service models to ensure viability as a quality NDIS provider, while maintaining our focus on quality as a leading specialist mental health provider, delivering a broader range of evidence-based recovery services.

A Board review of our strategic directions has sought to broaden the range of people we engage with, particularly people living in rural and remote communities or requiring preventive and clinical services. We see that reaching people in their communities and being able to scale the intensity of interventions to meet changing levels of need, will be crucial to successful service provision in the future.

We see this in our collaboration with clinical teams at the Cairns Community Care Unit and the recovery oriented clinical services delivered through a stepped care model in Southern Adelaide, funded by the Adelaide Primary Health Network.

We’re pleased to have seen the positive outcomes of our increased focus on early intervention and preventive services. Our residential Sub-acute and Crisis Respite services had a measurable impact in
reducing demands on hospital emergency departments and inpatient services. The University of NSW Crisis Respite Evaluation has provided clear evidence of how this innovative model reduces hospital
admissions. Further, the evidence from our Collaborative Recovery Model Fidelity Study and Sub-acute services evaluation demonstrate improved consumer outcomes.

We’re proud of the fact that Neami continues to be a place where people want to work, build a career and make a difference. We now employ over 800 people, and our staff engagement survey showed extraordinarily positive results on the attitude and commitment of our valued employees. Engaged staff are critical to the strength of the relationship between consumers and support workers, one of the cornerstones of a positive consumer experience. This is especially gratifying in a time of great change, testing staff resilience and organisational culture.

Our sponsorship of TheMHS, WAAMH and VICSERV conferences, partnerships with universities and our research enables us to continue to contribute to, inform and engage with the latest evidence based practice and leading innovative thinkers in mental health.

At a Board level, we farewell Remberto Rivera and Robert Bland, who joined us in 2008 and 2010 respectively. We acknowledge the great contribution both have made to the organisation. We welcome Fiona Nicholls who brings great expertise from the Federal Government and the mental health services sectors. 

We are committed to diversifying, investing in the future and strategically positioning our organisation for what lies ahead. As an organisation, we continue to maintain high levels of integrity in what we do,
and we believe our considerable capacity, economies of scale, our good reputation and strong partnerships will position us well for new opportunities.

We commend this report to you and would like to thank our staff, the people we support and all of 
our valued partners and funders who make this work possible.

Arthur Papakotsias
CEO, Neami National
Stephen Brand
Chair, Neami National

Our Focus

This year, we demonstrate outcomes from our evidence based approach and where we are working with new partners in new communities. We look at recent innovations in service delivery and how we are building our capacity to tailor services to support local needs.

Evidence of improved outcomes

An evidence-based approach is integral to the development of our services.

Supported by our Research and Evaluation team, we continue to use outcome data and evidence about best practice to inform our work. 

We collaborate with government bodies and universities to conduct research, and to develop and evaluate innovative approaches to meeting consumers’ needs. This rigorous foundation translates to improved outcomes for consumers.

The Collaborative Recovery Model Fidelity Study

This year our Research and Evaluation team in partnership with Frank Dean from the University of Wollongong completed the Collaborative Recovery Model (CRM) Fidelity Study. The study explored whether our implementation of CRM was as intended and if consumers and staff found our delivery of CRM to be useful in supporting recovery and wellbeing. 
We found the majority of consumers perceive the CRM activities as being highly important to their recovery. Consumers and staff identified that exploring consumers’ strengths and values, setting meaningful goals, and action planning are highly valuable approaches to supporting recovery
The CRM Fidelity Study asked consumers to identify what they most wanted from workers to support their recovery and what they experienced support workers as providing.
New Neami services in 2015-16
Source: CRM Fidelity study
What consumers wanted from support workers
What consumers experienced support workers providing
Helps me identify me strengths
Encourages me to take charge of my own wellbeing
Helps motivate me
Encourages me to set meaningful goals
Involves me in choices and decisions
Understands my range of needs

New partnerships in new communities

We work with people from a broad range of backgrounds in 51 communities across Australia.

We collaborate with clinical teams, primary health care providers and community organisations to provide high quality, person-centred, meaningful support. As well as expanding our network of partnerships, we have strengthened ongoing relationships throughout the country.

New services in 2015-16

We continued to work with an expanding group of people in diverse communities around the country
New Neami services in 2015-16
1 BAWU is the traditional Yirrganydji name bestowed to the Day Centre in Cairns
2 opening later in 2016

Continuing to innovate

Neami continues to develop new and innovative ways to improve mental health and wellbeing.

As Neami grows, we are transitioning towards a more agile and flexible approach to service delivery. With a conscious shift in thinking, we are developing services driven by the consumer experience. With this view, we approach the evolving mental health landscape with excitement and fresh thinking.

The stepped model of care informs our approach to delivering services.

Broadening our focus means reaching more people in their communities and being able to scale the intensity of interventions using a stepped model of care to meet changing levels of need.
New Neami services in 2015-16
Adapted from Principles for a person-centred system from the Report of the National Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services, National Mental Health Commission 2015

Growing our capacity

Neami invests to prepare for the opportunities and challenges ahead.

This year, we invested in both people and infrastructure, preparing our organisation to meet the opportunities and challenges of an uncertain mental health landscape. We made changes to provide sustainable services into the future, strengthening our ability to respond to new opportunities. These changes ensure we have the flexibility to develop services that best meet consumers’ needs.

Consumer numbers

Our 826 staff supported 8057 people, across 51 sites, in five states around the country.
New Neami services in 2015-16
Total number of consumers, including those who have exited during the financial year

Staff numbers

We work actively to support leadership and staff within the organisation and enhance staff capacity and professional development.
New Neami services in 2015-16
The total number of employees at July 1 each year
314 consumers contributed 2,718 hours, totaling $112,661 of paid participation.

Responding to local need

Neami works at a local level while drawing on the capacity, knowledge and expertise of a national organisation.

With a culture of evidence-based practice, we work with consumers through feedback and collaboration to improve our services to  provide the best possible support.

Drawing from the foundation of the Collaborative Recovery Model, we tailor services to meet the needs of individuals and the local community. We share our knowledge and experience of local services across the nation to improve outcomes for all consumers.

In collaboration we develop innovative, localised services.

Pine Rivers
Community Network
Northern Brisbane local services, meet to share ideas and experiences, improving the responsiveness of local services.
Firm Footings
Based on a family inclusive recovery model, this North Brisbane program supports people experiencing mental health issues, as well as their loved ones, to improve resilience and wellbeing.
Street 2 Home
With St. George Community Housing in NSW, the Sutherland Street 2 Home program provides long-term housing and recovery-focused wrap-around support to long-term rough sleepers.
private psychiatry
Through stronger connections between community and private mental health services, this project with The Melbourne Clinic, is increasing access to psychiatric support in Inner-East Melbourne.
Responding to
cultural diversity
Funded by the Eastern Melbourne PHN staff at Banyule and Darebin, community health services work with people from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds in the Hume and Whittlesea areas.
appropriate practice
With Central and Adelaide Hills LHN, we developed a culturally appropriate, clinical practice model for working with Aboriginal people in acute and community mental health services.


‘I was dual diagnosis, but it was never an issue. I was never told, we can’t deal with your addictions. It was, how can we support you to address both?’

Paula is a Consumer Consultant formerly supported by Neami. Read Paula's story of recovery.

The impact of our work

We look at the impact our work makes in reducing demands on hospitals and supports the building of independence. We reflect on how our work in partnerships is increasing access to services, and our commitment to improving physical health. Our continued innovation is providing services to meet the needs of consumers and building a vibrant organisational culture.

Reducing hospital stays

Neami works to reduce the demand on hospitals through targeted, preventive  and transitional support.

Our prevention and early intervention services, including Sub-acute, Community Recovery Program and Crisis Respite Services have proven that site-based prevention and recovery services can play a useful role in avoiding hospitalisation.

We see evidence that early and effective intervention can prevent acute episodes and avoid higher-level trauma. Rehabilitation following hospital discharge can facilitate a successful transition back into the community, with support to prevent future relapses.

Sub-acute services

Nationally, we saw high annual occupancy rates across our prevention and early intervention services, including Sub-acutes. Our evaluation of these services demonstrates that these residential services are an effective approach to reducing levels of distress and hospital admissions.

of Sub-acute residents were satisfied or very satisfied with the service
annual occupancy rate for step-up, step-down residential services across Australia

South Australian Crisis Respite Service

Our three Crisis Respite Services (CRS) in South Australia demonstrated a highly successful service delivery model, supporting more than 1500 individuals, over two years, through the provision of a safe space to recover and access crisis support.

An evaluation of the CRS by the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales found that CRS provided substantial benefits to the wellbeing of consumers who used this service. The CRS resulted in statistically significant reductions in psychological distress, hospital admissions, time spent in hospital, and number of emergency department presentations. A large percentage of the costs to deliver this service were offset by reductions in hospitalisation and emergency department presentations.

Read the full Crisis Respite Service Evaluation (PDF 2MB)

of both residential and home-based CRS consumers avoided inpatient admission
of consumers avoided presentation to emergency departments


‘I thought it would be like hospital, so I was worried about coming here, but when I arrived, the staff were good and offered lots of support.’

Dean is a former resident at Neami Joondalup sub-acute service in Western Australia. Read Dean's story of recovery.

Building pathways to independence

As Neami works toward the vision of full citizenship for people with mental illness, we focus on delivering services that build independence.

Through our conversations with consumers we know that living an independent life, in a community of their choice, is essential to recovery.

Our residential work with young people and our programs and workshops such as Peer Frontiers, Individual Placement and Support and Pathways to Employment, help in building skills and knowledge for the next step towards real independence.

Supporting employment

In June 2016, consumers and staff attended the first annual graduation celebration for the participants of the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) program in New South Wales.

The IPS program is an evidence-based employment model that supports individuals living with a mental illness to seek and obtain competitive employment. From a pilot program implemented at Neami Hurstville in August 2015, we are now working with over 100 people in South West Sydney.

‘Now I have this job, I feel more like myself. I have an identity. I know who I am. I’m someone. Just like any other person. I’m easier on myself, and I’m rewarding myself for the hard work I’ve put in. But the major reward is having the right kind of work and working with people who respect me.’
Sam, Pathways to Employment participant

Peer Frontiers

Peer Frontiers is a new peer-based program operating in Western Australia for consumers interested in pursuing peer work. The ten-week program spans ten fortnights to allow for one-on-one coaching in between sessions.

Peer Frontiers begins by questioning what peer work is and using the Collaborative Recovery Model (CRM) to identify values and strengths before moving on to topics such as goal setting, maintaining boundaries, working ethically, diagnoses and resilience.

Developed by Peer Support Workers at Neami Bentley, in collaboration with consumers, this program has been instrumental in guiding people to bring their lived experience of mental illness to support the recovery of others.

‘It made a big difference learning about different mental illness during Peer Frontiers, especially when we started talking about schizophrenia. I realised that I’ve really got schizophrenia, but without hearing the voices. I’d been told in hospital that I had schizophrenia, but no one had ever told me what that meant.’
Shelley is a 2016 Peer Frontiers participant

Improving physical health

Neami continues to increase health literacy and support positive changes to physical health.

There is substantial evidence to show that people with mental illness have a life expectancy of 20 years less than the general population.

Our approach is to focus on improved physical health in all of our services. This commitment has grown from evidence highlighting the importance of addressing physical health needs.

Peer Health Coaching

In partnership with SANE Australia, we delivered a successful three-year pilot of PHC, addressing the poor physical health outcomes of people living with a mental illness. We were thrilled to have been recognised at the 2015 TheMHS conference, with PCH winning the award for Physical Health.

After the success of the pilot, we will be rolling out Peer Health Coaching nationally. This ensures that the excellent outcomes demonstrated by the pilot will be available to people around the country.

of consumers reported achieving their goal within Peer Health Coaching sessions or feeling confident to pursue it independently afterwards

Metabolic Health Stations

Working in conjunction with Central Adelaide Local Health Network, we produced physical health metabolic stations to be located at local Community Mental Health Centres.

The metabolic health stations, built in consultation with consumers, allow for weight checks and BMI assessments. We developed a promotional video and information on how to interpret the results in accessible brochures and posters.

Increasing access to services

Neami has experience in supporting people with complex needs to access effective support.

Our partnerships build better links between clinical and community support organisations, improving referral pathways that facilitate access to a range of supports.
We work with people who have experience of mental illness alongside other complexities such as homelessness, trauma, language and other cultural complexities. We embed  strategies that improve outcomes for people with complex needs through innovative programs that enhance access to employment, physical health and clinical services.

Links to Wellbeing

In South Australia, we were pleased to be the lead agency for a new Links to Wellbeing consortium with Mind Australia, Mental Illness Fellowship SA and Uniting Care Wesley Bowden.

Commissioned by Adelaide Primary Health Network, Links to Wellbeing provides recovery orientated clinical services across Central and Southern Adelaide using a stepped model of care.

‘By bringing the primary mental health system under one umbrella (Links to Wellbeing), we don’t just improve efficiencies, we improve efficacy. It will deliver better outcomes – making people healthier and keeping them out of hospital.’
Deb Lee, Adelaide PHN CEO

From street to home

In New South Wales, Neami Way2Home supported the 300th person to transition from sleeping rough into permanent housing. We recognise the work that rough sleepers do in making the transition to permanent housing and celebrate the success achieved through commitment and collaboration with the homelessness sector.

The success of the service relies on the close collaboration between partners, including the Department of Family and Community Services, the City of Sydney, St Vincent’s Hospital, Bridge Housing and a range of other housing providers and service partners. We are continuing to work together to deliver new and creative ways to support rough sleepers to gain permanent housing.


‘Having a home changed everything. My mental health was all over the place, but I wasn’t aware that I had any mental health issues.’

Sami is supported by Neami Way2Home in New South Wales. 

Sustaining a vibrant culture

A positive relationship between consumers and our staff is a key part of Neami’s success.

Staff engagement and development opportunities are integral to our vibrant culture. We recognise that in building capacity for the future, we must continue to focus on developing our leaders, and respond to changes in the mental health landscape with a comprehensive learning and development program.

Staff engagement survey

We completed a staff engagement survey in early 2016 to measure our progress on supporting staff, staff satisfaction and how we are nurturing a healthy and vibrant organisational culture.

The results were overwhelmingly positive, with a high level of staff engagement in a time of growth, change and funding uncertainty. Our staff members are engaged because they recognise the value in the work they are doing, are supported in their development at work, feel confident in the leadership and are aligned with culture of the organisation.

of staff felt positively engaged with the organisation
of staff felt their work really allows them to make a positive difference
of staff felt that the leaders at Neami have communicated a vision that motivates them


‘Focusing on new opportunities for Neami – I think it’s a really  exciting place to be in the organisation.’

Kirra Johnson is Senior Manager of Tenders and Submissions based at head office in Victoria.

Neami state reports

New South Wales

'In a time of uncertainty, the past year for NSW has been characterised by optimism and innovation. Our programs have continued to operate at a very high level, and our staff members continue to improve outcomes for consumers.'

Peter Gianfrancesco
State Manager
Neami New South Wales


'A focus in Queensland over the past 12 months has been our work in consumer engagement and creating the foundation for important new work across the state.  It has been a process of seeing the need and responding creatively.'

Tanya Miller
State Manager
Neami Queensland

South Australia

'This year we saw a range of opportunities open to us with the successful tenders for Primary Health Network (PHN) services in South Australia.'

Kim Holmes
State Manager
Neami South Australia
* Excludes the Central, Northern and Southern Crisis Respite Services that closed in May 2016


'After the recommissioning of Victorian services two years ago, the past year has been one of consolidation and bedding down new services. We are also gearing up to transition to the NDIS, and we are leading the way with confidence and strength.'

Glen Tobias
State Manager
Neami Victoria

Western Australia

'Neami Western Australia continues to provide support services to people with complex needs, working in partnership with clinical services, mental health associations and specialist services.'

Glen James
State Manager
Neami Western Australia

Financial summary

We have highlighted some key elements of our financial position. For more details you can download the Financial Statements (49KB PDF)

Profit or loss and other  comprehensive income

Financial position

Contact Neami

Head Office

4-8 Water Road, Preston, Victoria, 3072
03 8691 5300

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Thank you

Thank you to the consumers, staff, partner organisations and others who have contributed to this report.