Partnering with anglicare to address low-intensity mental health

One in eight people in the world lives with some kind of mental disorder, of which several are classified as low-intensity. So when the New South Wales government committed funding to address this problem, including its ongoing devastating impacts, it was widely celebrated. However, initial efforts failed as the government tried to find the best partner for this type of service, one that would deliver sustainable outcomes as opposed to a quick-fix solution. This case study examines how Anglicare's partnering with Wayne Stickel from Mighty Ability achieved the government's objective by adopting an ontological approach that delves deeper than surface-level behaviours for ongoing positive benefits.


Mar 26, 2023

4 mins read

Anglicare is a Christian not-for-profit organisation that has been serving people in need, including older people, people with mental health issues and the most vulnerable in society, for more than 160 years. Anglicare Australia is the national umbrella organisation for the community services body of agencies associated with each diocese of the Anglican Church of Australia. They offer a range of services from retirement living and aged care to food and financial assistance, family, parenting and youth support, and mental health support, to name just a few.

The Challenge

After researching the impact of low-intensity mental health issues on society, communities, families, workplaces and individuals, the New South Wales government included money in their annual budget for the early-stage intervention of these types of conditions. The decision came on the back of the World Health Organization's (WHO) findings that one in eight people in the world lives with some kind of mental disorder, of which several are classified as low-intensity. WHO concluded that most people cannot access adequate care even though effective prevention and treatment options exist.

The government found that the statistics were similarly alarming in Australia. Furthermore, their research highlighted the following:

  • Inadequate support services that address low-level mental health issues,

  • Early-stage interventions were not being provided despite being seen as critical,

  • A high financial cost to the government, taxpayers and communities when there is a lack of early-stage intervention.

With abundant data proving the effectiveness of preventative measures, both from a wellbeing and financial perspective, the government decided to invest in the issue. They knew that if they didn't find a suitable solution to the problem of low-intensity mental health disorders, the issues would exacerbate and place an even greater financial burden on them, taxpayers and communities. They also considered the significant non-financial costs of failing to deliver early interventions to individuals, families and communities.

After allocating the budgetary funds to address the issue, the government enlisted the support of a prominent national crisis support service to create a series of early intervention programs. However, the projects delivered by that service failed to produce the positive impact the government sought.

After this failed attempt, the government approached Anglicare to partner with them for a better solution. Knowing they didn't have the right expertise to deliver an effective solution in-house, Anglicare contacted the founder and director of Mighty Ability, Wayne Stickel, as they were aware of the proven effectiveness of his tailored wellbeing programs, particularly in the area of supporting and empowering people living with disability, including low-intensity mental health disorders.

The Solution

Wayne designed and developed a six-week program with the specific intention of impacting the emotional wellness of participants by delving deeper than traditional wellness programs, which offer tips and techniques designed to address behaviours alone. He then personally facilitated the online programs to participants in group settings at Anglicare facilities.

Adopting an ontological 'let's get real' approach, Wayne drew much of his material from the Being FrameworkTM Ontological Model, which looks into how a person is BEING by considering their relationship with 31 Aspects of Being that all human beings have in common but relate to differently. Wayne specifically focused on the Aspects of Being with the most significant impact on emotional wellbeing: qualities like vulnerability, care, awareness, compassion, freedom, forgiveness and integrity.

The Outcome

By adopting a coaching approach that focuses on how we are being and delves deep beneath the surface-level behaviours, Wayne's programs gave participants the means to address and change their behaviours, decisions and actions. In many cases, it also gave them permission to take the important next step of seeking professional help and commencing a series of other wellbeing practices for sustainable results well beyond the programs.

In one notable example, a male participant attended the program suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, an example of a low-intensity mental health disorder, following a serious car accident. He admitted he had never sought professional help for his condition before, despite its enormous impact on his life. His key takeaway from Wayne's wellbeing program was the power of compassion and forgiveness, particularly self-compassion and self-forgiveness. 

Wayne says, 'He had spent so long blaming himself for what had happened that it impacted everything else in his life and prevented him from seeking the professional help he believed he didn't deserve but desperately needed. Learning about self-compassion and self-forgiveness opened the door to other options and encouraged him to seek psychological support.'

Anglicare's program manager, Liliane Machado, highly commended Wayne's program. In a written testimonial, she said, 'We chose to work with Mighty Ability to support our Emotional Wellbeing Space programs. Wayne is excellent when it comes to coaching people, and his passion for personal development is clear and inspiring. Wayne's experience and knowledge, his supportive approach, his willingness to share his own challenges and his genuine interest in his client's progress makes his coaching experience a positive one for our participants.' 

Following the first program's success, Anglicare has engaged Wayne to develop and facilitate a series of other programs, primarily targeting men, utilising the government funding they received. These programs have had further positive impacts on the wellbeing of the community and are regarded as highly effective early intervention strategies for low-intensity mental health challenges.

If your organisation would benefit from Wayne’s ontological approach to supporting and empowering people for greater effectiveness and wellbeing, contact him here.


Wayne Stickel
Wayne Stickel

About The Author

A leadership coach with over 25 years' experience in leadership roles, Wayne knows what it takes to move forward and succeed. Like you, he knows the tough obstacles, challenging circumstances, and financial pressures. Importantly, Wayne has felt the exciting highs that are a result of intensifying your effectiveness. Accelerate your Mission. Wayne, who also has a medical condition - a rare type of Spina Bifida - is renowned for his empathy, compassion, inspiration and honesty. Drawing on his expertise in coaching and business and relationship development, Wayne incorporates The Being Framework, Being Profile® and the Transformational Methodology within his programs. The application of these world-class tools ensure you will expand your influence and impact in whatever you endeavour to accomplish.

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