Personal Helpers & Mentors



A new direction for the Southside Personal Helpers & Mentors (PHaMs) program

From 1 July 2016, funding for PHaMs in the ACT will progressively transition to the NDIS until the PHaMs program ceases at the end of 2017. Block funding for PHaMs is reducing in line with the rate that PHaMs participants are expected to become NDIS participants with individually funded support packages.

During the transition period, the range and level of servicing provided will depend on the resourcing available to us as a PHaMs provider. Our first obligation is in supporting existing PHaMs participants transition to the NDIS if they are eligible. This will represent the bulk of the work of the PHaMs program until funding ceases at the end of 2017.

In addition to this however, there is a provision in the PHaMs guidelines to provide continuity of service and short term assistance to people eligible for the PHaMs program but who may not be eligible for the NDIS or, by extension, who want to maximise their mental health recovery and potential for independence as an alternative to the NDIS. With this potential in mind and the resourcing available through to the end of 2017, WCS will limit intake to the Southside PHaMs program to young people severely affected by mental illness between the ages of 16 and 25 years.

What will PHaMs do for those now entering the program?

PHaMs will provide increased opportunities for recovery for new participants of the program by helping them to overcome social isolation and increase their connections to the community. PHaMs participants will be supported through a recovery-focused and strengths-based approach that recognises recovery as a personal journey driven by the PHaMs participant.

Our PHaMs workers are highly skilled and qualified recovery practitioners who will work with you to develop recovery-focused goals as well as the strategies to achieve those goals. They will provide you with opportunities, support and services that will help you reconnect with your community. They can talk through any concerns you may have about your mental health symptoms. They can support you in many different ways, including:

  • helping you get relationships with family and friends back on track
  • accessing appropriate clinical support
  • working with you to get you involved in a community activity that you would really like to do
  • connecting you with other services or programs that could also support you on your recovery journey, like drug and alcohol, housing, financial counselling or medical support
  • working with you to learn how to better manage everyday tasks such as housekeeping, managing finances and learning how to use public transport
  • assisting you to reengage or remain engaged in education, training or employment.

Your Personal Helper and Mentor can support you with many things. The key is that it is up to you what you want to achieve from the program and how you go about achieving it.

A Team Approach

Our PHaMs workers understand mental health issues and the needs and expectations of young people with mental illness. They know what other services and opportunities are available in your community. They will respect your wishes in identifying what you want from the program. They will also encourage your families, carers and friends to be involved in the program with you – if you want them to be.

What do you have to do?

Contact us and you will be asked some questions to see whether you are eligible for the program. You can bring along a family member, carer or friend if you choose. Alternatively, with your consent, you can be referred by another service and you may have a person from that service assist you with your initial contact with PHaMs.

Woden Community Service is responsible for the delivery of the PHaMs Program for the South Canberra region.


Download: PHaMs (Southside) Referral Form

PHaMs is a national, community based mental health outreach service funded by Department of Social Services.

Want to know more?

For more information, please contact us on (02) 6221 9527 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Acknowledgement of Country

"Woden Community Service acknowledges the Ngunnawal people as the traditional owners of this land and their continuing connection to land and community. We also acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have come from other nations to live on Ngunnawal land. We pay our respects to their cultures, ancestors and elders past, present and future."