Celebrating five years of Haus Bung in Papua New Guinea
23 Dec 2022
Haus Bung, located in Madang on Papua New Guinea’s north coast, is the nation’s first clubhouse for people experiencing mental health issues and was established by St John of God International Health on behalf of the Brothers of St John of God.
Jenny Tait-Robertson, Education Program Coordinator and PNG Project Officer, has worked closely with the Haus Bung team over the past five years and says that the service has been hugely successful for its members and has benefitted the wider community.
“One of our biggest achievements is the change we’ve seen in the local community in their attitude towards mental health issues. We’ve worked hard to help address and reduce the stigma and discrimination that people experiencing mental health issues frequently face. We have done this by bringing their families along on the journey and helping them to understand what’s going on without fear and prejudice," Jenny said.
“It’s been incredible to see the impact of the service not only on the members, but their families too. Some family members of the men and women at Haus Bung spoke at the anniversary event about the positive impact of the service and the changes they’ve seen in their loved ones.”
In 2017 when the service first opened, four members attended but it has grown to provide support to around 25 people a day, four days a week. Haus Bung, using the Clubhouse International model, works to provide opportunities for all members to be involved in the daily work and activities of the centre with members and staff working side by side. Members have the opportunity to develop skills such as cooking, cleaning, maintenance, administration skills, health and hygiene and more recently education and employment support has been introduced.
“We have now supported five members to gain employment as part of the service, and plan to expand this support. One young man was so proud of himself for gaining employment that he used his first pay to buy groceries for his family. Being able to make this contribution was extremely meaningful for him and shows how much confidence he has gained through Haus Bung," Jenny said.