Continued Funding And Milestone Forum For New England “Partners In Recovery” Mental Health Initiative

Tue Oct 14, 2014

The 12-month anniversary of the New England Partners In Recovery (PIR) mental health initiative coincides with the commencement of a pivotal reform component which will see $300,000 in funding shared between up to 50 local organisations to implement recovery integration plans.

In addition, a strategy forum enabling participants to assess what’s worked well so far and map out how PIR can be taken to another level over the next year will be held as a foremost local event to mark Mental Health Month.

Under a local consortium led by RichmondPRA, the three-year local PIR initiative was launched in Tamworth in October last year.

PIR is part of a national program focussing on better outcomes for people with lived experiences of severe mental illnesses.

This is done by supporting people who need help through a tailor-made recovery journey, ensuring they get the right help from the right local services at the right time and ensuring that services work more collaboratively to achieve better mental health outcomes.    

The “PIR Future Forum” will be held in Narrabri on Thursday 30 October and bring together service providers, agencies and people with lived experiences of mental illness from across New England and North West New South Wales.

Information and experiences of the local PIR initiative will be analysed so participants can best understand how to expand the PIR offering and take up new funding opportunities which enable improved coordination across the mental health care system.  

The forum will also be an opportunity for local services to strengthen partnerships, discuss recovery-oriented approaches and solutions to service gaps so PIR can continue to grow and help more people.

Keynote speakers include RichmondPRA Inclusion Manager and NSW Deputy Mental Health Commissioner Fay Jackson and a panel of leading local stakeholders to provide insight to experiences of mental health engagement and recovery.    

As many as 50 local organisations will receive up to $6,000 each so they can continue driving the PIR concept forward by improving access to and delivery and coordination of mental health services in line with the mental health National Recovery Framework.

The funding reflects that the local PIR initiative has been successfully bedded down and is ready to be expanded across local services.    

Since launching, the local PIR initiative has seen 10 support facilitators appointed across Narrabri, Moree, Inverell, Tenterfield, Glen Innes, Armidale, Tamworth and Gunnedah.

PIR in the New England has already received more than 120 referrals and is currently providing support and improved care coordination for nearly 100 people.

RichmondPRA CEO Pam Rutledge said the local PIR consortium was on track to help more people with mental health issues as the local program shifts up several gears.

“We’re off to a solid start after 12 months of Partners in Recovery activity in the New England,” Ms Rutledge said.

“It’s rewarding to see so many people being taken on more efficient mental health recovery journeys by getting coordinated help.

“Now we need to build on the good work done so far and make sure the Partners in Recovery offering keeps growing so even more people can benefit.”

RichmondPRA New England Manager Jim Booth said the local PIR initiative remained a work-in-progress, making it important for participants to meet and critique developments so far.

“It’s no small feat to unroll such a significant mental health program over such a large and diverse area,” Mr Booth said.

“That makes the Narrabri Partners in Recovery Future Forum critical in terms of obtaining feedback, providing education and mapping out how to help even more people over the next 12 months.

“Partners in Recovery hinges on cohesion and collaboration between organisations that are there to help people with persistent mental illness and that’s what this forum is all about.”

Anyone wishing to register to attend the forum or requiring further information should visit or call 6766 7827.

Coincidentally, Narrabri will be treated to a night of drought relief comedy following the PIR conference, with one of Australia’s hottest new comedians, Kevin Kropinyeri, coming to town to serve up his side-splitting takes on life. This includes an exploration of the funny side of living amidst severe drought.

Organised by RichmondPRA and Australian Red Cross, the performance is being funded by the Commonwealth Government’s Targeted Community Care (TCC) Drought Assistance Package and is free to everyone in the community.

Jokes to one side, the evening will be an opportunity for RichmondPRA and Australian Red Cross to give advice on services and supports that are available for farmers struggling with the effects of long-term drought conditions.


  • The New England / North Western Partners In Recovery Program (PIR) was announced in July 2013;
  • Funded by the Commonwealth Government, the $5.2 million dollar local PIR program runs from July 2013 to June 2016;
  • PIR helps people with severe and persistent mental illnesses by ensuring better cohesion between local service and support providers;
  • Instead of being passed between multiple service and support providers with different offerings, people with a mental illness can now be guided to the help they need under a one-stop-shop structure, ensuring tailor-made and start-to-finish service and support. For example, an individual in need of accommodation and employment services is guided toward and connected with the most suitable services in the timeliest manner. This reduces the chances of people with mental illness abandoning recovery programs and ending up in costly and isolating hospitals, institutions and jails;
  • RichmondPRA has partnered with seven other local agencies spread across the region to deliver the local PIR program
  • In Tamworth, PIR services are being delivered by Billabong Clubhouse and Anglicare Northern Inland.
  • In Armidale, PIR services are being delivered by EACH Social and Community Health.
  • In Moree, PIR services are being delivered by Anglicare Northern Inland, with additional service delivery coming from RichmondPRA.
  • In Narrabri, PIR services are being delivered by Challenge Disability Services and North West Regional Community care.
  • In Gunnedah, PIR services are being delivered by North West Regional Community Care.  
  • In Inverell, PIR services are being delivered by The Benevolent Society.
  • In Glen Innes, PIR services are being delivered by EACH Social and Community Health.
  • In Tenterfield, PIR services are being delivered by the Benevolent Society.

RichmondPRA is a not-for-profit organisation providing recovery focussed support programs, accommodation and hope for people with a mental illness in New South Wales and Queensland. Advocating community-based assistance, it is a leading mental health support provider that has been in operation for more than 55 years.



When:     Thursday 30 October, 10.00am – 5.30pm
Where:    Narrabri Crossing Theatre, Narrabri  


When:     Thursday 30 October, 6.30pm – 9.30pm
Where:    Narrabri Crossing Theatre, Narrabri

Media enquiries: Matthew Watson 0417 691 884