Winner: John Hodges Nominated For: Excellence in service to families
The 1997 recipient of the Mental Health Service Provider Award for excellence in service to families is John Hodges, Manager of the Peel Community Mental Health Service. ARAFMI President, Mrs Brenda Cheeseman and the Minister for Health, The Hon. Kevin Prince, LL.B., M.L.A. presented this award at the opening of Mental Health Week on Sunday 19th October 1997.
The award acknowledges outstanding achievement in the area of providing services to families of people who have been diagnosed with a mental illness. John was nominated by five carers from Mandurah, who felt that his dedication, support and caring above and beyond his duty as a Mental Health Professional were the impetus in the development of many services for families in Mandurah.
John was nominated by five of his carers in the area for his dedication above and beyond the call of his duty as Manager of the service.
John originally began work in the Peel area as a social worker and it was while in this role that he contacted several carers in the area and began the Mandurah care and share group. John organised a venue for these meetings and attended every one as facilitator. John is always willing to listen to the needs of the carers in this area and from this initial contact many things have occurred. Jon has now progressed to become Manager of the Peel Mental Health Service and he still maintains that great contact with the carer group.
The ARAFMI group in Mandurah has grown from strength to strength and will, hopefully become the first branch of ARAFMI (WA) Inc. This group has very close ties with the Mental Health Team in the area and now, by John's invitation several carers attend business meetings with the team every two months. John is always willing to listen to the carers in his area and attempts to, wherever possible, alleviate whatever problems we find arising.
One of the more valuable aspects of John's relationship with the carers in the area, is that the carers are always among the first people that John contacts when he is establishing new programs, with this in mind, he has recently requested carers to attend meetings, with the intention of beginning a new carer / consumer run organisation in the Peel area. It is heartening to know that in this day and age we, as carers are finally being acknowledged as a part of the mental health service.
John and the initial group of carers established a working party to lobby for funding for an accommodation program for people with a mental health disorder in the Peel area. This program was funded and now, two years later, houses over twenty clients and families.
There are always several projects going on in the community involving mental health and John is constantly keeping the ARAFMI group informed.
John is a married man with two young sons and lives in the Rockingham area. His two sons would at times accompany John to ARAFMI meetings and amuse themselves at the computer while the meetings were on.
We carers also have a great deal of thanks to John's wife Gen who without her support, John would not have the support he required to be able to initiate these programs.
The carers of the area nominated John for his dedication to including the carer in the mental health field.