Living Well Report - downloads

Cover of Living Well - the Report


Full accessible version - Living Well: Putting People at the centre of mental health reform in NSW: A report PDF (4.2 MB)
Full high-resolution version - Living Well: Putting People at the centre of mental health reform in NSW: A report PDF (69 MB)
Introduction - Pages 1-32: includes values, the reform story, letters from Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners PDF (1 MB)
Community - Pages 33-76: includes sections on Aboriginal wellbeing, rural and regional, diversity, sexuality and identity, intellectual disability, justice, drugs and alcohol PDF (1.4 MB)
The Journeys - Pages 77-126: includes sections on different ages and stages of life, from very young children to older people PDF (2 MB)
Conclusion - Pages 127-143 PDF (375 KB)

Personal stories from the Report

Read personal stories and watch videos from people living with mental illness and mental health professionals featured in the Report:

People living with mental illness are identified in the stories by their first names only, for privacy reasons.

A message from the Commissioner

This Report tells the story of mental health in NSW from the perspective of people who live here.

This includes people who live with mental illness and pursue their recovery through work, art or connections to their communities – and those who are striving to change our systems of mental health support, so that they respond more effectively and more proportionately to people in distress. This includes Aboriginal people, people who live in the country and the inner city, children and adults, and people from diverse cultures who bring all manner of life experiences to this document.

Some people speak directly, through the personal stories presented here. These stories are testimony to the extraordinary resourcefulness and resilience of the human spirit, and to the strength and generosity of families and communities.

The voices of thousands more are embedded in the words on every page.

During 2013 the Commission undertook what we believe is the most extensive mental health consultation conducted in NSW. We travelled the state, holding public meetings and barbecues in small and large towns and Aboriginal communities. We held meetings in Sydney to hear the concerns of people from diverse cultural backgrounds.

We established working groups, based on common mental health experiences at different times of life, in which people with expertise gained from living with mental illness joined academics and service providers to get to the heart of how our system responds now and to develop ideas for how we could improve it.

Those people were joined by hundreds of others who participated online in the reform planning project, contributing their views and commenting on drafts.

The pages that follow present a powerful and at times emotional case for a new generation of mental health reform in NSW – one that puts people firmly at the centre. I am confident that this Report contains is a faithful articulation of the ideas and experiences shared with the Commission during our long and deep conversation with the community, which will continue as we drive reform forward.

People have been let down in the past. Three decades ago, Australia began in earnest to reform mental health care, recognising that isolating unwell people in secure hospitals could not be justified in a humane society. We began to close the asylums; the subsequent history in which we failed adequately to support people in the community is well known.

We live with the consequences of that failure every day. Our state of mind is the bedrock of our whole life – affecting personal relationships and family roles, interactions in our community, the work or occupations we pursue, and the fundamental ways we view ourselves and our abilities and aspirations. The whole of society loses out when we squander human potential, when we limit the capacity of people to be our friends, colleagues or leaders because we do not offer them the right assistance when they need it.

This Report is a companion document to the Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW, in which the Commission has developed what we heard about people’s experiences, needs, wishes and priorities for mental health support and community wellbeing into specific advice for government.

Together, the Report and the Plan set an ambitious but achievable agenda for mental health reform in NSW.

The Commission exists to promote change, and to guide and monitor it. But the Commission cannot make change happen. Positive reform that really benefits people who live with mental illness is everyone’s responsibility.

I look forward to working with the Government, the mental health sector and the people and communities of NSW to ensure that this time round we fulfil the promise of reform.

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