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 is an independent, state-wide organisation for people with a lived experience of mental illness (consumers) in NSW. Being works with consumers to achieve and support positive changes in services, in public policy, through legislation and within the community more generally, with the goal of improving the wellbeing, lives and experiences of all people with a lived experience of mental illness. Being carries out research and projects on key consumer issues, delivers education and training to consumers and organisations who work with consumers, and runs community events to strengthen understanding between consumers and the broader community. By collaborating with consumers, community and government groups, Being influences changes and improvements at the broader system-wide level for all consumers.
Being received $648,000 from the Commission to support its work in 2015-16.
Mental Health Carers NSW (formerly ARAFMI) is the NSW peak body for mental health carers. It regularly consults carers across NSW to gain insights into their experiences with the mental health system and their views about it. This includes convening forums and regular Carer Peak Advisory Committees to support its work with the Commission and the Ministry of Health. Mental Health Carers NSW uses the lived experience of carers to provide feedback on policies and services to the Commission, government and service providers. The organisation also operates a state wide Helpline for carers advising of local services as well as providing psycho-education, advocacy and other relevant training to support carer activists and is working to develop networks of carer advocates across the state and across sectors, particularly through its regular newsletter @Arafmi and email updates. Mental Health Carers NSW supports carers making a difference to the NSW mental health system and other human services that support mental health carers and their loved ones. By influencing changes in policy, legislation and service provision, Mental Health Carers NSW makes a positive difference to the mental health system for carers.
Mental Health Carers ARAFMI received $377,000 from the Commission to support its work.
WayAhead (formerly 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.
WayAhead received $976,000 from the Commission to support its work during 2015-16.
beyondblue is a national non-government organisation working to reduce the impact of depression, anxiety and suicide 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, anxiety and suicide prevention.
beyondblue received $1.2 million from the Commission towards the delivery of programs in NSW during the 2015-16 financial year.
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 are affected by depression, anxiety and suicide.