Landmark Mental Health Research Initiative For Bega Valley Shire

Fri Feb 27, 2015

In a first for Bega Valley Shire, a series of gatherings will be held over coming months to collect information on how people with mental health issues can obtain the best possible peer support to ensure smoother recovery journeys.

Headed by mental health community support provider RichmondPRA as part of the national Partners In Recovery (PIR) program, the initiative will involve as many as eight gatherings around the Shire to research what the community wants.

Significantly, the open-invitation meetings will enable people with mental health issues to convey what help they need to recover.

Mental health stakeholders including community supporters, carers, counsellors and relatives are also being asked to provide input.

The aim is to ensure that people with mental health issues receive the most effective, timely and cohesive support to avoid outcomes such as social isolation, being admitted to hospitals, ending up in courts and jails or taking their lives.

“It’s quite common that people with mental health issues need only basic supports at the community level,” Partners in Recovery Bega Valley Shire support worker Lee Rowell said.

“But if those supports are missing or provided in an uncoordinated way people in need of help can abandon their recovery journeys and fall through the cracks.

“Mental health recovery journeys can be confusing and costly when people are left to navigate through multiple organisations and networks on their own, particularly when they may have differing needs and requirements.

“This initiative is all about asking local people with an interest in mental health what is needed to make the best go of a recovery journey.

“It’s a case of being informed so the region can be best prepared to tailor-make recovery solutions for individuals.

“It’s also about making sure that the right supports are in place at the right time.

“We want everyone in the community who lives with or is affected by mental health issues to participate in this unique opportunity.

“That includes mental health workers, people with a lived experience and their carer’s, relatives, friends and neighbours.”

The first meeting will take place on Tuesday 10 March, 10.00am – 1.00pm at “WorkAbility”, 156 Newtown Road Bega.

Dates for other locations including Merimbula, Eden and Bermagui are being set.

RichmondPRA said that as many as one in five people would have a lived experience of mental health issues during their lives.

RichmondPRA is a not-for-profit organisation providing recovery focussed support programs, accommodation and hope for people with mental illness in New South Wales and Queensland. Advocating community-based assistance, it is a foremost mental health support provider that has been in operation for nearly 60 years.

Partners In Recovery aims to support people with severe and persistent mental illness with complex needs and their carers and families, by getting multiple sectors, services and supports they may come into contact with (and could benefit from) to work in a more collaborative, coordinated and integrated way.

Media enquiries: Matthew Watson 0417 691 884

Event enquiries: Lee Rowell, 0487 155 639