News

A milestone reached in Papua New Guinea

The first drop-in centre in Papua New Guinea for people experiencing mental health issues has celebrated its first birthday.

Haus Bung haircut 7 February 2019

Haus Bung, located in Madang, was established by St John of God Social Outreach on behalf of the Brothers of St John of God and opened its doors for the first time in November 2017.

The service is based on the Clubhouse International model, which sees people who use the service as members who participate in consensus-based decision-making regarding all important matters related to the running of the clubhouse.

Having grown from a modest group of just four members initially, it now has up to 20 members who drop in regularly to take advantage of shower, toilet and laundry facilities, as well as meals and daily activities such as music, art and a basic school program.

Haus Bung recently held a first birthday celebration attended by Dr Uma Ambi, Principal Advisor for Social Change and Mental Health at the PNG Department of Health, the Brothers of St John of God and St John of God Social Outreach International Health team members.

The festivities included traditional food, speeches and performances by well-known comedian Kanage and local band Demas Saul, as well as a local “sing-sing” group who performed traditional songs and dances. 

Haus Bung group photo Education Program Coordinator from Social Outreach’s International Health team, Jenny Tait-Robertson, said the day was a good opportunity to raise awareness of the program and also served an important reminder of the significance Haus Bung had in the lives of many whom are homeless and experience community exclusion.

“The celebrations were a great opportunity for the Madang community to come together and celebrate what is a first for the country, but to also celebrate the members who have found hope and healing through the centre,” she said.

Haus Bung also provides bus transport to and from the centre and offers members the opportunity to find friendship and support, in particular to access healthcare and mental health assessments and treatment.

Members are encouraged to be involved in the day-to-day running and operation of the centre.

Haus Bung continues to grow and develop, and provides an invaluable service to its members in the Madang community thanks to the support from the Modilon General Hospital, which provides the service with psychiatric staff and a Family Support Centre social worker.

St John of God Social Outreach continues to support the Brothers of St John of God to provide quality mental health care in the region.