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Navigating Mental Health Services Forum

April 17, 2018

Over 150 people attended the Navigating Mental Health Services forum on 11 April 2018 at Shellharbour Civic Centre to hear Deputy Commissioner Karen Burns from the NSW Mental Health Ombudsman’s office and speakers from the Local Health District, Coordinare, Grand Pacific Health and the NDIS Stakeholder Engagement team.

Karen spoke about ‘Living Well’, a Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014-2024, adopted by NSW Government and the current work of the commission reviewing Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention in NSW, Lived Experience Framework, Review of Headline Indicators and Community Based Mental Health Project.

George and Shane from Illawarra Shoalhaven Community Mental Health Team spoke about the services offered by the Local Health District including the 1800 triage number, acute care, case management and special services for different age groups.

Dr Rebecca Sng, Manager Primary Mental Health at Grand Pacific Health spoke about being a Not-for-Profit organisation providing physical and mental health services. GPH has hubs at Wollongong, Nowra and Shell Cove as well as rural locations such as Moruya, Bega, Queanbeyan and Goulburn. They provide clinics with psychologists at Shellcove and Nowra, Headspace (Young People 12-25) in Wollongong and Nowra plus Partners in Recovery services. They also have Suicide prevention programs and Child and Family mental health programs.

Alanna Hector from Coordinare described the Primary Health network shift to stepped care. Their objectives are to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of services, particularly for those at risk of poor health outcomes and Improve coordination of care to ensure people receive the right care in the right place at the right time. Their goal is to effect change from a health care system which is fragmented, hospital-centric and designed to provide episodic treatment, to ‘one’ coordinated system that better supports people with long term and complex conditions, and is financially sustainable. They will be consulting with the community on the regional mental health and suicide prevention plan which will be on the website:

Leisa Markey, Stakeholder Engagement for NDIS spoke about Psychosocial Disability and the NDIS. She described the recovery approach and the NDIS, eligibility and access to the NDIS for people experiencing psychosocial disability, functional impact v’s symptoms and the mental health sector and the NDIS. She explained what funds can and cannot be claimed for and encouraged sufferers, their advocates or carers to discuss their circumstances with an NDIA provider. The domains of impact the NDIA requires information on are: mobility, communication, social interaction, learning, self-care, self-management. NDIS funded supports must address the impact of a functional impairment and not the underlying symptoms of a mental health condition.

There was a video presentation by Way Ahead ( followed by a panel discussion of questions from the audience. In-between the main speakers 15 local services provided two minute Power Pitches. A marketplace for attendees to gather further information to take back to their clients and services was also held with lunch and networking. We thank our co-hosts Shellharbour City Council.

Reactions to the day were very positive. Community Industry Group have made a commitment to continue to pass on information and links to the proposed online consultation with The NSW Mental Health Ombudsman.

Click here to see the presentations from the day.

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