Landmark Mental Illness Support Program and Conference for Great Lakes / Greater Taree / Gloucester ‘PARTNERS IN RECOVERY’

Mon Jun 2, 2014

People living with a severe and persistent mental illness in the Greater Taree, Great Lakes and Gloucester regions will benefit under a landmark plan ensuring better cohesion between local service and support providers.

RichmondPRA has been selected by the Hunter Medicare Local to deliver the local $980,000 Partners in Recovery (PIR) program which focusses on making sure that people with a lived experience of mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression get the right help at the right time.

The three year local PIR program runs until mid-2016.

Under the arrangement RichmondPRA is partnering with other local agencies and people with lived experiences of mental illness across the region to ensure that people in need of help are getting coordinated, holistic and seamless ‘wrap-around’ support.

PIR ensures that support is tailor-made, ensuring that the individual receives the right support at the right time to achieve their recovery goals.

For example, an individual with a mental illness in need of medical, accommodation and employment services will be guided toward and connected with the most suitable services in the timeliest manner.

Importantly, families and friends of people living with a mental illness will also be guided on how to provide recovery-focussed stability and support for loved ones.

“The mental illness recovery journey can be confusing and costly when people are left to navigate through multiple organisations and networks,” RichmondPRA Team Leader Chris Cassar said.

“In some instances people slip through the cracks and abandon their recovery journey, ending up in hospitals, jails and sometimes even committing suicide.

“This program coordinates and streamlines existing resources to match the needs of individuals.

“It’s essential that the capabilities of multiple support organisations and individuals are tapped into and aligned so that all the bases of an individual’s mental illness recovery journey are covered.”

Recovery in Action working group member Scott Gourlay, a Taree resident who lives with depression and anxiety, said a major local forum - the ‘Recovery in Action Forum’ - was being organised to obtain the best ideas and input on how to progress the local PIR program.

Guest speakers include NSW Deputy Mental Health Commissioner and RichmondPRA General Manager Inclusion Fay Jackson and ABC Broadcaster Craig Hamilton. Both speakers have their own lived experiences of mental illness. Prominent researcher and consumer advocate John Sharples will also speak

“We want everyone in the community who lives with or is affected by mental illness to participate in this unique forum,” Mr Gourlay said.

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

“We need to zero in on where the existing gaps in support are then map out how we can pull existing offerings together to ensure that people in need of help are getting the support they need.”

The forum will be held at Club Taree on Tuesday 24 June, starting at 9.00am and finishing at 4.30pm.

People wanting further information should contact 9393 9415 / email or visit

The Greater Taree / Great Lakes / Gloucester PIR initiative is funded by the Commonwealth Government and Hunter Medicare Local is the lead agency.

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.


RichmondPRA will hold a media conference to launch the PIR program and the upcoming forum.
WHEN: 10.30, Monday 2 June
WHERE: Fotheringham Park, Taree

Media enquiries:
Matthew Watson, 0417 691 884
Chris Cassar, 0404 572 499