Key themes in North Coast NSW

Analysis for the North Coast region utilised written notes from two consultations in Kempsey (attended by around 54 people) and Ballina (attended by around 48 people) with photos of the butchers paper also available for Ballina. From the materials available the following key themes were distilled:

  • Stigma, reduced stigma, societal change view, media and public health campaigns to be improved, destigmatising and demystifying mental health issues
  • Peer workforce, peer led services, more lived experience peer workers


  • Well educated and informed workforce, mental health worker training, more support for all workers in mental health system, workforce strategies, improved professional development, self-care, recruit good people
  • Funding, short funding cycles, competitive tendering processes, funding responding to needs of the community, funding allocations
  • Infrastructure, transport, appropriate housing, long-term, affordable housing, community hubs, stable housing

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 North Coast NSW?

What is working well? Qualifiers/examples
Peer work

Peer worker program; Staff with lived experience/peer workers

- now recognising lived experience of staff members


Home visits; Community-based points of contact;

Partnerships with NGOs; Carers groups; Support groups;

Collaborative relationships between government and community sector


Decrease in stigma, high profile people talking about it;

More positive reporting in the media

Trauma-informed care  
Community engagement

Building a resilient community; Community will for acceptance and

change; Safe community

Co-design Increased design processes for co-design


What are the challenges in North Coast NSW?

What are the challenges?  Qualifiers/examples
Infrastructure Stable housing; Need for housing support; Transport

Outreach to isolated people is needed; Rural areas facing

distinct challenges; Access to services is challenging


Access and assessment; Out of pocket expenses;

Services won't engage until an approved plan


Short funding cycles; Competitive tendering processes;

Funding responding to needs of the community; Funding allocations


Short funding cycles; Competitive tendering processes;

Funding responding to needs of the community; Funding allocations


Lack of paediatricians; Lack of child psychiatry;

Lack of GP services; Staffing gaps; Workforce skills shortage;

Lack of counsellors; Staff burn out; Ageing workforce


What are the priorities in North Coast NSW?

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

Mental health worker training; More support

for all workers in mental health system;

Workforce strategies, improved professional

development, self-care; Recruit good people

Removing stigma

Reduced stigma; Societal change view; Media

and public health campaigns to be improved;

Destigmatising and demystifying mental health issues

Improved infrastructure

Transport; Appropriate housing, long-term;

Affordable housing; Community hubs; Stable housing

Children and youth services

Increase specialist children's services; More school-based education;

Services go to kids in their environment; Early intervention for

young people and children


More strategic increase in funding; Waiting times for lifeline;

Transition for funding change; Funding for emergency services;

Funding commitments that reach beyond funding cycles; Funding

for peer support, community care, research

Peer work

Peer led services; Peer support embedded in neighbourhood services;

Peer support for youth; More peer workers; More lived experience peer workers

Download the PDF of Key Themes in North Coast NSW

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.