Partnerships are at the heart of the work of the Commission, which is in a unique and fortunate position to work with a broad range of partners with which it shares values and a commitment to improving the mental health system in NSW.
Embedding a reform agenda relies on collaboration and opportunities to listen, learn, share and advocate with and on behalf of those who are closest to the challenges and achievements in the community.
The Commission partners with organisations that include people who have a lived experience of mental illness, and their families and carers, through consumer participation at all levels of planning, service delivery and policy development. It also partners with community and government groups that bring a regional or local collaboration focus to their work, because mental health reform needs to respond to specific needs in different areas of NSW. And it partners with organisations conducting research that can be translated readily into better practice.
The Commission works particularly closely with four key mental health organisations - which it also funds - to engage and empower consumers and carers, to ensure these constituencies can be authentically represented, and to improve the mental health and wellbeing of people in NSW:
Being (formerly the NSW Consumer Advisory Group) is the peak body representing people with a lived experience of mental illness. Being works with consumers to achieve and support systemic change. It acts as a bridge between mental health consumers and the government. Being conducts research, advises and seeks to influence the decisions which will impact on consumers of mental health services.
In 2014-2015 Being received $553,300 from the Commission to support its work.
Mental Health Carers ARAFMI NSW Inc. (ARAFMI) is the peak body for mental health carers. It regularly consults with carers across NSW to gain insights into their experiences with the mental health system and their views about it. ARAFMI uses this information to provide feedback on policies and services to the Commission and government. By influencing changes in policy, legislation and service provision, ARAFMI makes a positive difference to the mental health system for carers.
In 2014-2015 ARAFMI received $354,700 from the Commission to support its work.
WayAhead (Mental Health Association NSW) seeks to influence decision-makers to create positive changes for consumers, carers and the community. It works in partnership with others to address the stigma around mental illness and to promote mental health and wellbeing through public education, support and advocacy. WayAhead provides information and support to mental health consumers, their families and carers, and to the general public, and runs the Mental Health Information Line and the Anxiety Disorders Information Line. It also plays a prominent role in Mental Health Month.
In 2014-2015 WayAhead received $457,500 from the Commission to support its work.
beyondblue is a national non-government organisation working to reduce the impact of depression and anxiety in the community by raising awareness and understanding, empowering people to seek help, and supporting recovery. It publishes position statements and information papers on key issues associated with depression and anxiety.
In 2014-2015 beyondblue received $1.2 million from the Commission towards the delivery of programs in NSW. These programs addressed the priority areas of early intervention, challenging stigma and discrimination, and improving links between primary care and mental health services to support people who experience depression and anxiety.