Resolve program workers above, from left to right: Ruth Getachew Peer Worker (Cranebrook) Ben Wilshire PW (Orange) Eric Salomon Shane Morrow PW (Cranebrook) Rishani Laffy, Jolyon Briggs, Asheeta Kumar, Manager (Cranebrook) Gavin Kelly PW (Cranebrook) Debra Stein PW (Orange) Rebekah Porter (Orange), Bonnie Wallace PW (Orange) Timothy Morandini PW (Cranebrook) and Samuel Sutton PW (Orange)
Led by people with lived experience of mental health issues, and financed by private investors, the Resolve Program has a mission: to reduce the amount of time people spend in hospital while saving money for the taxpayer.
The launch of the Resolve Program was held on 19 March 2018 at Flourish Australia’s Figtree Conference Centre, Sydney Olympic Park. The Hon Tanya Davies, MP, NSW Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Women and Minister for Ageing, conducted the launch, hosted by our new CEO Mark Orr. There was a welcome to country by Uncle Greg Simms and an acknowledgement of people with lived experience by Fay Jackson.
The program is partnership between Flourish Australia, Social Ventures Australia and the NSW Government. We are delivering it from two sites in Orange and Cranebrook. There are a total of nine peer workers across both sites, pictured above with manager Ash Kumar. Not pictured is Program Manager Christine Miniawy (see the December 2017 issue of Panorama).
“A wonderful example of the innovation we can come up with if we focus on solutions.” – Prof Elizabeth Moore AM, Chair, Flourish Australia
The project is one of the legacies of former Flourish Australia Chief Executive Officer, Pam Rutledge who was at the launch. Also present was General Manager, Operations Andrew O’Brien who worked with Social Ventures Australia from the early stages of the ‘brave’ project.
The Chair of Flourish Australia, Professor Elizabeth Moore AM said that the success of the program was the result of ‘very very strong partnership’ and positive collaboration between government, non-government organisations and investors. Minister Tanya Davies echoed this by emphasising that collaboration and communication are ‘so, so critically important.’
‘This is the time’
Elizabeth Moore mentioned Steven Pinkers’ book ‘Enlightenment Now’ which points out that despite the shortcomings of the world we live in, this is nevertheless the best time to be alive. Pinker puts this down largely to the fact that we employ reason to solve many problems. Elizabeth said that the Resolve project is a ‘terrific example of how if we use our nous’ we can overcome our problems. It is ‘a wonderful example of the innovation we can come up with if we focus on solutions.’
‘Like a blue whale’
Elyse Sainty, Director, Impact Investment at Social Ventures Australia said that mental health is something that resonated very much with private investors so that they very much wanted to get on board with the project. Nevertheless, she described social impact ventures as being like blue whales because ‘they are rare, they are big, and they have a long gestation period.’ She said that you also need to be brave as less than ten such projects exist in Australia at the moment.
‘…There is something we can do to be proactive, so that people are not just waiting for their next hospital admission.’ – Christine Miniawy, Manager, Resolve Program in Panorama #66, December 2017
Minister Tanya Davies reminded us that Resolve is ‘Australia’s first social impact investment for mental health… I do hope that it will not be the only one.’ Formal feedback from the people who access the service show that it is meeting their needs. Approximately 80 people have participated so far. The important focus, she said, was not on outputs, but on outcomes – the positive result that the program has for the person, enabling them to have the best possible life in the environment of their choosing. ‘Hospital admissions can dislocate people’ from their roles in life, the Minister said, ‘with long term repercussions.’ Resolve aims at keeping people out of hospital.
Social impact investment
Flourish Australia’s move into social impact investment comes as charities face a greater need to ‘diversify their income streams.’ According to David Crosbie, Chief Executive of the Community Council for Australia (CCA), the growing investment pool looking for impact investing opportunities means the time is ripe for charities eager to increase their capacity.
David Crosbie says there is an enormous –but mostly unrealised –potential for growth in the investment pool. ‘There are literally trillions of dollars held in superannuation and other funds looking for investments,’ he said in an article in Pro Bono magazine. ‘It is estimated that the impact investment market in Australia will be well over $35 billion within the next five years. This is at least double how much money is donated to charities every year.’ (Crosbie, 2018)
‘Social impact ventures [are like] blue whales: ‘they are rare, they are big, and they have a long gestation period.’ – Elyse Sainty, Social Ventures Australia
Crosbie, D. (2018, March 1). Diversifying income: but not alone. Pro Bono.
Above: At the Resolve Program launch, L-R: Andrew O’Brien, General Manager Operations; Michelle Maxwell, Acting Director Strategic Policy Unit, Health System Planning & Investment, NSW Ministry of Health; Jason Crisp, Director Mental Health and Alcohol & Drugs, Western NSW Local Health District; Elyse Sainty, Social Ventures Australia; Prof Elizabeth Moore AM, Chair; Hon Tanya Davies MP, Minister; Mark Orr, CEO; Uncle Greg Simms; Pamela Rutledge, CEO Emeritus; Bethany Pade, Manager Community & Partnerships, Mental Health, Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District