Roles & Services of the Organisation


HEAD OFFICE

The HEAD OFFICE is situated in Bertrams, Johannesburg, occupying office space at our Gordonia Services, psychosocial rehabilitation centre. The HEAD OFFICE constitutes our Executive and Services Directors; Administrator, Finances and Maintenance Department; and the Awareness, Advocacy and Communications Unit. The HEAD OFFICE is also coordinating fundraising for the organization, soliciting sponsorships and donations towards all its projects and programmes.

JOHANESBURG OFFICE

The JOHANNESBURG OFFICE shares office space at the HEAD OFFICE and provides social work and statutory work services, and psychosocial rehabilitation programmes in the Johannesburg region, including Alexandra, Lenasia and Midrand regions. This office is also further involved in public awareness around mental disability, campaigning and advocacy initiatives.

EKURHULENI OFFICE

The EKURHULENI OFFICE is situated in Katlehong, occupying the cottage at our Tshepong Stimulation Centre, and provides social work and statutory work services, psychosocial rehabilitation programmes in the entire Ekurhuleni regions, and has regional offices in Daveyton and Tembisa. This office is also further involved in public awareness around mental disability, campaigning and advocacy initiatives.

The EKURHULENI OFFICE manages the Thusanang and Etwatwa Protective Workshops, which is a day care programme where persons with mental disabilities are engaged in contract work by assembling, packaging and labeling goods for companies such as Ramset, SA Fix and Dutton. These companies have been our regular suppliers and a strong relationship has been maintained for the past decade. The service users involved in this programme get paid according to production.

SOWETO OFFICE

The SOWETO OFFICE is situated in Soweto and has the biggest caseload in comparison with our other offices. The SOWETO OFFICE provides social work and statutory work services, psychosocial rehabilitation programmes in the entire west rand region, including areas like: Krugersdorp, Kagiso and Orange Farm. This office is also further involved in public awareness around mental disability, campaigning and advocacy initiatives.

GORDONIA SERVICES

Gordonia was established more than 25 years ago and is a residential psychosocial rehabilitation centre for adults with severe mental illness, like schizophrenia and bipolar mood disorder, situated in Bertrams, Johannesburg. The centre is licensed for 75 residents, but also accepts mental health care users living in the community to participate in the programme on a daily basis.

Gordonia Services manages 4 group homes: Lenasia House (in Lenasia); Derby House 1 & 2 (in Bezuidenhouts Valley); and Benbow House (in Kengsington), which accommodates between 6 and 12 residents each. The group homes are structured for high functioning individuals with severe mental illness who are able to live independently. Some of these residents are gainfully employed in the open labour market.

TSHEPONG STIMULATION CENTRE

“Tshepong” means “hope”. Tshepong Stimulation Centre is a centre for children with severe and profound intellectual disabilities, established in 1986, and caters for the needs of children from age 4 to 16 years in the Katorus area. Tshepong provides four programmes which include: stimulation; parent care & support; group and community work. The stimulation programme focusses on: self-care; feeding and toilet training; fine and gross motor skills; sport and recreation; etiquette and social skills; speech and communication; listening and following instructions. Tshepong is licensed for 60 children.

TSHEPONG STIMULATION CENTRE renovated two rooms and converted it into a residential care unit. Due to registration with various departments and funding for operational costs, this unit is not yet operational.

The Tshepong Stimulation Centre was established in response to community requests. Coping with a profoundly mentally disabled child is particularly difficult for families who doubly appear to be disadvantaged. Poverty is the first experience and mental disability the secondary one. Our disabled children are also affected by problems relating to child abuse and grandparents bring up HIV/Aids orphans. Our community is also affected by the high unemployment rate and high cost of living.

 

Direct Services

Our services include a holistic approach in providing essential services to persons affected by psychiatric and intellectual disabilities within our service area, considering each service user’s mental health, treatment and treatment compliance, family and community life, healthy work environment in protective and open labour market employment, disability grant applications to those who are disabled by the symptoms of their mental health condition to the extent of being unable to be gainfully employed, and participation on social and recreational activities.

SOCIAL WORK SERVICES

Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Soweto offices offer individual and family counseling to service users, offering support to families and extending services to people from the community experiencing life crises. Services also include early childhood development programmes, especially for children with special needs.

Social work involves a holistic approach on our clients’ well-being.

STATUTORY WORK SERVICES

The organization renders statutory service coupled with reconstruction and after care service. This includes the goal to provide protection services for the children, adults and aged with psychiatric illnesses.

Statutory work involves individuals who have either become involved in some form of legal process or are no longer able to function adequately in the community. The protection of their rights within communities includes the welfare and justice systems to prevent secondary abuse, exploitation, abandonment and gross neglect to persons with psychiatric disability. The reconstruction and after care include support service to enhance self reliance, psychosocial rehabilitation and optimal social functioning.

• Children’s Court Service:
Opening & Finalization of Children’s Court Inquiries, After care & Reconstruction service:
Social workers are expected to travel short and long distances to investigate cases of child abuse and orphanhood so that cases can be presented at the Children’s Court in order to recommend that children be placed in places of safety, institutions or foster care. Once these court cases are finalized at the children’s Court, social workers are expected to render after care and reconstruction services with a purpose to provide support to the places of care and the children in need of care. Now lately, the Society is inundated with referrals from various hospitals of abandoned children with intellectual disability.

• Foster Care Support Service:
Foster care is a substitute family care for children whose parents are unable to provide basic care for them. This is an alternative to a child being placed in a children’s home since foster care provides an ideal family environment that consists of stability, care, love and support. This service can be short or long term depending on the circumstances.

• Family Re-unification:
The Children’s Act is also emphasizing the need to re-unite the children with families but with abandoned children this has not been successful because parents are unknown. The organization has been successful in re-uniting lost/missing children with their families.

 

Psychosocial Rehabilitation

The aim of Psychosocial Rehabilitation is facilitate re-learning of skills by persons with mental illness to ease their reintegration into mainstream community living. Psychosocial rehabilitation attempts to reduce dependency and promotes optimal functioning for persons with mental illness.

GORDONIA SERVICES AND GROUP HOMES

The programme at Gordonia Services involves: a protective workshop; general housekeeping duties (cooking, cleaning, and laundry); basic and life skills training; group therapy; and individual counseling, with the main aim to prepare the service users to ultimately be reintegrated into society, either with their families or as independent members of their community. There are some whose mental health condition is of such a nature that they require ongoing care and are unlikely to function independently, and therefore remain living at the centre or are eventually referred to other care centres, depending on their level of functioning.

These residents at the group homes that is in close proximity of Gordonia Services, participate in the Gordonia psychosocial rehabilitation programme. The Lenasia group that is some distance from Gordonia, has been accommodated at Jacod protective workshop where they work 5 days a week.

PROTECTIVE WORKSHOPS

Central Gauteng Mental Health Society has 3 protective workshops, where 2 of them are situated in Ekurhuleni and the other at Gordonia Services. These workshops fulfill a vital part of an individual with a mental disability’s psychosocial rehabilitation in terms of having structure and routine, and keeping service users occupied whilst earning an additional income. Unfortunately due to financial constraints these workshops cannot offer its workers an income that is in line with industrial employment in the open labour market, but even so, the workers are grateful to earn the extra income.

The protective workshops are reliant on industrial companies to provide contract work and also other companies that can provide contract work other than industrial, for example administration work, like filling and labeling envelopes.

SKILLS DEVELOPMENT

Many persons with mental disabilities are able to be gainfully employed but often lack the skills as a result of their mental health condition that at one point affected the sustainability of the skills they had before they became mentally ill and as a result of being out of employment for many years during their recovery process. Therefore skills development programmes are designed to enable service users to regain those skills and also to learn additional skills in order to improve access to employment opportunities. Employment not only is beneficial to the person with a mental health condition to be financially independent but also contributes to the country’s economy, while the focus of global mental health is to reintegrate persons with mental disability into society where in the past they were shunned and abandoned in psychiatric institutions.

Skills development does not only encourage access to employment but also equip individuals with the necessary life skills to be functional and productive members of their society.

Skills development initiatives include: reading and writing, computer literacy, arts and crafts, budgeting, household maintenance.

FOOD GARDENS

Food gardens have become a popular initiative among proverished communities who struggle to afford a healthy, nutritious lifestyle or simply to provide for their families. Many of our service users are among those and engaging them in the establishment and maintaining of food gardens, often developed on the properties of our offices, enabled them to feed themselves and their families.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH

This programme involves the empowerment of mental health care users with life, social and vocational skills in a non-restrictive environment where they are able to learn, gain and exercise their sense of independence, coupled with nurturing supervision. The psychosocial rehabilitation groups take place in various psychiatric clinics situated in the Soweto, Ekurhuleni and central Johannesburg region. This service has become a successful programme in the organization which emphasizes the importance of working together with other stakeholders, e.g. psychiatric clinics and special schools.