Holistic drug and alcohol treatment service opens in Bega Valley

22 January 2021

South Coast residents impacted by drugs and alcohol can access a new support service. The Sapphire Health and Wellbeing Service (SHaWs) delivers a holistic drug and alcohol treatment program for people in the Bega Valley, with a focus on Bega, Eden, Bermagui, and Wallaga Lake communities.

CEO of the South Eastern NSW PHN, Dianne Kitcher, says the PHN-funded service was established by Directions Health Service in partnership with Grand Pacific Health, Katungul Aboriginal Corporation Regional Health Community Services, and three local general practices.

“Sapphire Health and Wellbeing Service provides people with non-judgmental and respectful alcohol and other drug treatment, together with primary health, mental health, and Aboriginal health services operating in the region.”

CEO of Directions Health Services, Bronwyn Hendry, says alcohol and drug dependence, mental illness, and other chronic health conditions are frequently intertwined; however, it is often difficult for people to get the holistic care they need.

“This is even more of an issue for people living in regional, rural and remote areas. 

“SHaWS aims to deliver timely support services based on a harm minimisation approach, recognising different stages of recovery, and the unique needs and goals of each client.

“We know that by encouraging people to seek help and providing confidential non-judgemental services, we can help lessen the impact of substance use on the individual, as well as their family and the local community.”

CEO of Grand Pacific Health, Ron de Jongh, says, “SHaWS was co-designed following intensive consultation with local agencies and individual consumers identifying a missing link in health care for our community.

“The service brings tailored, individualised care to where people live. This collaborative, flexible, and accessible service model will be the key to its effectiveness.”

CEO of Katungul Health, Joanne Grant, says SHaWS is committed to making Indigenous health a priority.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can experience a significant gap in terms of outcomes in key target areas such as health and wellbeing. Services will be more effective if they are community-led, accessible, and culturally appropriate.”

Member for Eden-Monaro, Kristy McBain, welcomes the service and the continued focus on supporting people’s recovery from drug and alcohol dependence.

“This is great news for the region by improving access to local support services for our coastal communities such as Eden, Bermagui, and Wallaga Lake.”

Three local general practices are partnering with SHaWS. They are Bega Valley Medical Practice, Curalo Medical Clinic (Eden), and Bermagui Medical Centre. SHaWS has established offices in Bega and Eden, with additional outreach services operating across these communities.

SHaWS is now accepting referrals for residents wanting to discuss their own drug and / or alcohol concerns or who are worried about someone else’s substance use.

To make an appointment or for urgent support, call (02) 6494 8870. For individuals or organisations wanting to make a referral, please email shaws@directionshealth.com.

Read more about SHaWS here.

COORDINARE news, Drug and alcohol, Media release