Social Health Services aims to reduce the harm caused by the use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs and overall improve community safety and the social emotional wellbeing of individuals, families and communities by providing culturally sensitive programs and services. We provide a holistic approach to addressing emotional, psychological, cultural and spiritual needs of Aboriginal people through counselling, case management and therapeutic group healing programs.

Referral Process
Referral can be made either by phone, email or in person at the Jane Ardler Centre, 51 – 53 Berry Street, Nowra. If you wish to make a referral please contact Social Health Intake Worker on 02 4448 0200 or email enquiries or referrals directly to

Community Safety and Wellbeing Programs

SMART Recovery
The South Coast Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation has delivered Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) to our community over this past year. SMART Recovery is a free group program assisting people with any problematic behaviours, including addiction to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, food, shopping, Internet and others. Guided by trained peers and professionals, participants come to help themselves and each other using a variety of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and motivational tools and techniques.

Community Support Groups
The South Coast Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation’s Social Health section facilitate community based support groups in the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community. The support group provides education, support and awareness around substance use, social emotional wellbeing and mental health issues for individuals and families. The group aims to empower Aboriginal people to make healthier lifestyle choices to improve their wellbeing and break down access barriers to health related programs and services by establishing social health supports and providing referral pathways.

Shoalhaven Koori Youth Group
The Shoalhaven Koori Youth Group provides a safe place for young people ages 12-24yrs to access support and mentoring through a structured program that provides opportunities to participate in a group mentoring program and fitness activities. The program is held weekly on Fridays from 9:00am to 12:00pm and is held at the Shoalhaven PCYC.

The program is designed to assist young people to set goals, improve behaviour, health and wellbeing. The program also offers a diversion to the negative social impacts that young Aboriginal people may face in their community and assist those to reintegrate into community and establish positive relationships with peers and mentors. Appropriately qualified staff facilitate each session and are able to provide individualised support and assist young people to access appropriate local health, welfare and legal services to improve their current situations.

Women’s Group
The Shoalhaven Women’s Group supports local women around substance use, confidence, self-esteem, and health and wellbeing. The program is held weekly and provides a safe place for women to heal with other likeminded Aboriginal women. The program is held weekly every Tuesday from 1030 am 14:30 pm at the South Coast Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation’s, Falls Creek site. As part of the program the women participate in:
• Arts and crafts
• Cultural yarning
• Seasons for Healing
• Smoking cessation
• Substance use education and
• Health cooking programs

Men’s Group
The Shoalhaven Men’s Group provides structured support to local Aboriginal men to improve community safety and wellbeing. The program supports men with substance use and wellbeing issues, loneliness and those who have experienced family and domestic violence. The program aims to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal men and build healthier family and community relationships through supporting men to become better role models in the community.

The program provides a safe and culturally sensitive space through the facilitation of a support group. In this program support is also provided to Aboriginal men through referral service, where men can access a range of services including primary health, case management and counselling services.

Season’s For Healing
The ‘Seasons for Healing’ Program supports those who have recently experienced a death of a loved one, relationship breakdown, loss of country, culture, identity and/or dignity or any other major losses. It is delivered to promote social and emotional wellbeing. The program helps participants develop the necessary skills to deal with and accept loss, grief, trauma and change.

Social Worker Support
The SCMSAC Social worker will work with intensively with individuals, families, groups and communities in the context of their physical, social and cultural environments, their past and current experiences, and their cultural and belief systems.

Social workers may undertake in casework:
• Counselling
• Advocacy
• Community engagement
• Education and Training
• Policy development
• Education and research,
• Particularly around issues of social justice, disadvantage and the marginalisation of people in their communities or in society.
• Group work
• Consultation
• Psycho-social assessments

Mental Health Support
How can the Mental Health Worker help?
The Mental Health Worker can support clients with personal recovery and wellbeing through:
• Case management, support, advocacy and referral for those experiencing a mental illness or feeling socially and emotionally unwell.
• Promoting clients social and emotional wellbeing, as well as physical and psychological health.
• Supporting self-care and encouraging clients to take personal responsibility and direction for their lives.
• Building on client’s strengths and capabilities.
• Supporting clients to build skills to form and maintain personal relationships, including relationships with families and carers.
• Supporting clients to gain or regain valued roles in the community.
• Enhancing social inclusion through identifying preferred options for housing support, education and training, employment voluntary work and community participation.
• Supporting clients to build resilience.
• Minimising the impact of harmful behaviors, such as substance use, self-harm and self-neglect through the development appropriate care plans.
• Supporting those at risk of suicide, self-harm and or with a previous suicide attempt including developing safety plans and supports.

Psychological Services
How can the Psychologist help?
The psychologist can assist clients to find wellness and healing when they are experiencing difficult life circumstances, or are overwhelmed by intense emotions and having difficulties in managing their thoughts or actions relating to:
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Psychosis
• Trauma
• Relationship issues
• Creating a healthy lifestyle

When are appointments available?
Appointments are available Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 5:00pm.
Outreach services are also offered at Jerrinja (Wednesday afternoon) or Wreck Bay (Tuesday morning). Transport to the Jane Ardler Centre is available on request.

How do I make a referral?
Referrals can be made through the Social Health Team intake team on (02) 4448 0200 or email
Referrals are accepted from all (including SCMSAC program and/or external organisations and programs). Referrals can be made for children (from 8 years), young people or adults.
Note: Intake will check whether the client has a GP referral and what, if any, assistance is needed to obtain a referral.

What costs are involved?
There are no costs involved for seeing the Social Worker, Mental Health Worker or Psychologist. However, for clients wanting to see the psychologist, they should talk to their GP about the following Medicare items:
• Allied Health Follow Up for Aboriginal People – which applies to chronic disease management and offers ten sessions per year
• Mental Health Care Plan – initially six sessions per year (can be extended to ten after a GP review)

Social Emotional Wellbeing – Bringing Them Home
The Social Emotional Wellbeing program, formerly known as the Bringing Them Home program, supports Aboriginal people experiencing grief, loss, trauma including trans-generational trauma as a result of the Stolen Generations. The program aims to support and improve the wellbeing of Aboriginal people and families affected by the Stolen Generation.
Service provided can include:
• Counselling for grief, loss and trauma
• Access to services to assist with family tracing
• Community events such as National Sorry Day and Apology Anniversary community events

Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing

Substance use support

Substance Use
The Substance Use program provides support and advocacy to clients experiencing drug and alcohol issues. Clients are supported through case management, counselling, support, advocacy and group programs. In addition to this, Smoking Cessation support is also available to clients who wish to quit smoking. Information, counselling and access to pharmacotherapy, such as nicotine replacement therapy is available through our GP’s.

Needle Syringe Program
The Needle Syringe program (NSP) is a program the SCMSAC provides to injecting drug users (IDU). Our services provides one on one client support though in clinic and outreach services where clients can talk to their case worker about arranging clean fit packs and disposing of needles in a safe way.
The NSP is what is considered a secondary outlet, we provide clean fit packs through an internal cupboard both at the Jane Ardler Centre and Wreck Bay Clinic, clients can walk into these facilities and access theses packs. We also provide clean fit packs through our ADM (Automatic Dispensing Machine) which costs $2, this is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week located on the northern external wall of the Jane Ardler Centre.

Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) is a national program that aims to reduce smoking as the most preventable cause of ill health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is associated with an increased risk of a wide range of health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, renal disease, eye disease and respiratory conditions such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis. Smoking rates of Indigenous people are significantly higher than non-Indigenous people and health outcomes are poorer. Approximately 44% of Indigenous people smoke.

Services that is provided through the delivery of the program includes:
• Education and support
• Health promotion
• Brief intervention
• Quit support groups
• Referrals to GP to access NRT
• Information and resources
• Links and referral to other service providers

The program is delivered regionally throughout the Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla and Bega Valley with offices located within the South Coast Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation Falls Creek site, providing services to the Shoalhaven, and also at the Katungul Aboriginal Community and Medical Service Batemans Bay site, providing services the Eurobodalla and Bega Valley regions.

There are Quit Support groups available in all service regions, including, Nowra and Surrounding areas such as Jerrinja and Wreck Bay Aboriginal Communities, Batemans Bay, Narooma, Wallaga Lake Aboriginal Community, Bega and Eden.

Want to find out more? Give us a call on (02) 4448 0200 to yarn about your situation and how we can support you

Tackling Indigenous Smoking

  • Resources is intended to help you or someone you care about quit smoking.
    Different people need different resources as they try to quit smoking cigarettes. The information and professional assistance available on this website can help to support both your immediate and long-term needs as you become, and remain, a non-smoker.


    iCanQuit has been developed by the Cancer Institute NSW in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders and users.

    It offers a helpful online resource for smokers who are about to quit smoking, are attempting to quit smoking or need some extra motivation to stay quit for good.

  • Further information

    No Smokes

    No Smokes is about changing that. No Smokes is an innovative anti-smoking initiative that uses videos, animations, music, games and other fun stuff to help young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders quit smoking. Youth friendly anti-smoking tools feature Aboriginal faces and speak to young Aboriginal audiences.

    My QuitBuddy

    My QuitBuddy is an app personalised to help you quit smoking, on your terms. My QuitBuddy is available free for download.

Workforce Support

The Workforce Training and Development Program aims to increase the capacity of the Social and Emotional Wellbeing Workforce through training, development and supervision. The Social and Emotional Wellbeing Workforce includes drug and alcohol workers, mental health workers, youth workers and community safety and wellbeing workers. The unit coordinates a regional network to provide professional support to Social and Emotional Wellbeing workers from various Aboriginal health organisations in the Greater Southern NSW region.

Support provided includes:
• Staff Training Needs Analysis
• Skills gaps training
• Workforce Development and community capacity building opportunities
• Regional networking and forums
• Best practice resources
• Professional Development workshops including Motivational interviewing, Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid, Drug and Alcohol First Aid, Case Management and more

The Koori Kids Wellbeing program is an early intervention program that provides culturally appropriate support and education to Aboriginal children and their families about mental health and wellbeing. The aim of the program is to promote help seeking behaviour and help students build resilience. The program is held weekly during the school term. It is delivered to selected schools in the Shoalhaven area. The program is inclusive of a school-based group program, counselling and school holiday activities. The students participate in a variety of activities such as;
• Yarning Circles (Group Discussion)
• Mental Health Literacy
• Arts and Crafts
• Aboriginal Culture activities
• Physical wellbeing activities
• Team-building activities
• Leadership activities
• Cooking activities
• Individual counselling
• referrals to the SCMSAC primary health, family support and psychological services

Koori Kids Wellbeing PROGRAMS

Justice Support

The Joint Support Program provides support to young people under the supervision of Juvenile Justice. Juvenile Justice and the SCMSAC work together to provide joint service delivery to support young people. The support services available include casework support, family relationships support and intervention. The program is also used to support young people transition into their community from custody. This program is delivered in the Far South Coast and Tablelands areas and operates out of the SCMSAC Batemans Bay office.



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