Our Model of Care

Open Arms is proud of its history as a service established by Vietnam veterans more than 40 years ago.  We are one of the few mental health services established by people with lived experience, and its longevity is a testament to the ongoing adaptions made to support successive generations of veterans and families.

Open Arms’ Model of Care represents a honing of how the service has evolved over its 40-year history, and clearly defines what clients can expect when they reach out for support. The Model of Care defines the remit of Open Arms as a specialist service, focusing on delivery of military aware and trauma informed care rather than replicating more generalist services.

Episodes of care

Open Arms operates on the basis of episodes of care, consistent with other health services. This means that we provide services with a beginning, a middle, and end. It begins with understanding your needs and setting agreed goals for the support, counselling, treatment or program required and measuring outcomes from your perspective. The purpose of this approach is to support your recovery.

Some people that engage with Open Arms may require extended care. This will also be goal based and outcome focused. When your program of support is completed, you may need to receive further support and we try to make this as easy as possible for you to access.

Integrated care pathways

Through integrated care pathways, Open Arms can provide assessment and referral support including care coordination. This includes working in partnership with health systems, including primary health (GPs) and psychiatrists as well as other community agencies to comprehensively support clients, especially where the person is acutely unwell.

With client consent, we will write to your GP to advise them of our involvement; and provide progress updates and letters on case closure. The level of engagement will depend upon the GP and the level of risk identified.

Supporting families

The impact of service can have a significant impact on families. Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their families experience a range of military lifestyle challenges such as postings, service related separations (such as exercises and deployments), and transition from service to civilian life.

Family and relationship counselling makes up more than 50% of our service delivery and represents a critical need in our community. Families can also play an important part of protection against suicide.

Open Arms Lived Experience Peer workforce is a key part of our multidisciplinary team. Our Peers have experience as a former serving member or as a family member of a veteran, and provide family to family support.

Referral pathways

Open Arms is not a specialist Family and Domestic Violence/Intimate Partner Violence service. Where these risks are identified, we will refer clients to specialist support.

Open Arms is not a specialist forensic service and is not able to provide court ordered counselling, but will refer to an appropriate agency if this is required.

Open Arms is also not a specialist paediatric service and does not have the required skills or knowledge to provide psychological assessments (such as assessments for ADHD/ASD) for children. Where family counselling is required, children aged under five years can be seen as part of the family unit where clinically appropriate.

Open Arms is not a provider of services for homelessness but can support through emergency accommodation and referral to specialist providers.

The full Open Arms Model of Care is accessible as a PDF or as a DOC

If you are looking for counselling or support services, call us any time on 1800 011 046.