New graduate program for mental health services in Ipswich

Allied Health Graduate Program graduates Lily Nguyen, Rylee Ala-Outinen, Teena Mogler, Sarah Rizkallah, Amanda Saville, Caitlin Smith and Sally Vilenica with Principal Project Officer Dr Haida Luke.

A new training program is helping West Moreton Health grow its specialist mental health workforce to support the community.

Seven graduates of occupational therapy, psychology and social work are the first recruits to the new Allied Health Graduate Program in Mental Health, which offers graduates specialised training within Mental Health and Specialised Services.

Social Work graduate Sally Vilenica said she had landed her dream job.

“Growing up in an Indigenous community I grew up around a lot of disadvantage and trauma and I have experienced the impact of mental illness through other family and community members,” Ms Vilenica said.

“I was determined to make a difference to people’s life and this program gives me the opportunity to specialise in mental health.’’

Ms Vilenica said she would be working to make greater connections with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to help them break down barriers to access available mental health services.

Psychology graduate Sarah Rizkallah said she was drawn to psychology because she wanted to better understand people and would now have the opportunity to work with those accessing a broad range of service areas.

She said was thrilled to join a supported training program.

“I was attracted to the program because of the support and access to learn from staff and supervisors.

“I love working in community services but because West Moreton Health offers such a variety of services I’ll have the opportunity to gain specialised training in a variety of areas, including forensic services, which was an added bonus of the program.’’

Principal Project Officer Dr Haida Luke said it was a milestone for West Moreton Health that would give allied health graduates specialised training in areas from community to forensic services.

“West Moreton Health is already a leader in mental health research, training and services and the launch of the two-year graduate program will further enhance the skill level of our mental health workforce,’’ Dr Luke said.

“More than 100 people applied for the program and we are thrilled to welcome the seven new team members who were chosen from a very competitive field.”

Graduates Lily Nguyen, Rylee Ala-Outinen, Teena Mogler, Sarah Rizkallah, Amanda Saville, Caitlin Smith and Sally Vilenica will receive mentoring and support from allied health leaders to gain specialised experience during four placements. They will work in areas including Child and Youth Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs Services, Child and Youth Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs Services, Gailes and Goodna Community Care Units, The Park Centre for Mental Health and in the Ipswich Rural Community Care Team.

The allied health graduates, who started this month, were also joined by 15 new nursing graduates who will be working in Mental Health and Specialised Services at sites across West Moreton.

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