Key themes: Hunter New England and Central Coast

Analysis for the Hunter New England/Central Coast region utilised written notes from the Newcastle (attended by around 53 people), Gosford (attended by around 25 people), Tamworth (attended by around 44 people) and Singleton (attended by around 18 people) consultations with photos of the butcher’s paper also available from all consultations apart from Newcastle. From the materials available the following key themes were distilled:

  • Funding, resources and continuity of care. The issues raised included: it is a small pot of funding, funding cycles, competition and time limitations to funding


  • Access to services, in relating to the assumption that people know where to go for help
  • Connecting to young people, increasing early interventions in schools and providing free youth counselling services
  • Stigma and discrimination around mental health
  • Training and education including professional development and case management
  • Collaboration and coordination of care with services not talking to each other

In addition, the following key themes emerged in response to the questions: what is working well, what are the challenges, and what are the priorities?

What is working well in Hunter New England and Central Coast?

What is working well?  Qualifiers/examples
Peer workforce Peer support; Peer work; Working together; Formal and informal support
Increased connections 

Connections between mental health services and other organisations;

Employment support; Support for independence; Community events;

Coffee groups; Carer support network; Informal family support; Interagency

group convened by Council - both mental health and youth interagency networks

Willingness to engage and connect, working together

Improved awareness; Readiness and willingness to work in partnership;

Destigmatisation; Increased community campaigns -

RU ok, anti-bullying etc.; Links between services; knowledge of services

Connections with young people/positive school involvement

Schools youth hubs; school link; youth solutions committees;

increased awareness of services and how to access them, in school training

and counselling, education in schools preventing mental health issues

Increase and improvement in co-design  
Increased use of technology and alternative therapies

Telechat; Telecross morning welfare chat; assistance dogs;

headspace LITE; mental health first aid; outreach; adult acute services;

support groups; Got it Program

Engagement with workplaces Flexible workplaces; EAP; Psychology support; Mental health first aid


What are the challenges in Hunter New England and Central Coast?

What are the challenges? Qualifiers/examples
Visibility of services

Assumptions made that people can access services; services not visible or known to other providers

Lack of collaboration of services

Services not talking to each other; Communication; Having to repeat your story;

Duplication; Inconsistency;Lack of flexibility; Lack of contact with service providers

NDIS Access; Uncertainty; Funding; Case management

Small pot - have to fight: cycles; Criteria; Timing; Not funding right services;

Competition; funding/time limitations; Lack of communication

Trauma informed care "We say we are doing it - but we don't know what it is"

Burnout; Skilled workforce training; Referral pathways from GPs; Staff staying relevant

and up-to-date; Recruitment; Retention; Cost and wait times to see professionals; Access


What are the priorities in Hunter New England and Central Coast?

What are the priorities  Qualifiers/examples
Well educated and informed workforce

No wrong door policy; GPs education and awareness; Workforce

development training; Skilled workforce shortage; Shortage of psychologists;

Trained staff and clinicians; Security staff with empathy; Mental health education

and training for community; Mental health nurses and community workers;

Social workers and allied health professionals

Removing stigma

Developing a society that is welcoming and free from discrimination; Decreased

stigma; Increased community engagement; Focus on people's ability; Treat people

with dignity and respect; Listen to people; Community support

Co-design Co-designing services; Increasing peer networks
Social determinants of health

Housing; Employment; Training; Education; Transport;

Increase collaboration/engagement with broader health sector


Sustainable, flexible, consistent funding models; Better funding - translating

into on-the-ground services; Consumer focused funding; Sufficient beds;

Improved ED services; Outreach services; Non-NDIS services; Advocacy

Alternative therapies

Therapy animals; Skype sessions; Telehealth; Include fitness industry in

mental health policy

Download the PDF of the Key themes in Hunter New England

The Mental Health Commission of New South Wales acknowledges the contribution of The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), who were engaged to conduct a qualitative data analysis for the mid-term review of Living Well.