Nepean Blue Mountains Consultations in April 2019

The Commission held the Living Well consultation in Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network between the 9th and 11th April 2019. Two community consultations were held in Penrith and Lithgow, as well as visits to Resolve Cranebrook and the Nepean Hospital mental health units and attended the official launch of the Charter of the Carer Council and the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District, two local examples of mental health reform. 

What is working well in the Penrith region?

People attending our consultation in Penrith reported that: 

  • access to early intervention services has improved
  • there is more communication and awareness about mental health in the community
  • there is an increase in valuing the voice of lived experience through meaningful participation, peer work, and co-design
  • there is an increase in local collaboration and co-located services
  • there are more community services and supports available for mental health.

What are the challenges in the Penrith region?

People attending our consultation in Penrith reported that: 

  • short term funding cycles pose a challenge and programs are being funded for “services” not people 
  • there are difficulties accessing the NDIS, including long waiting times for assessments and decisions
  • there is poor visibility of services- people do not know where to turn to when they need a service or support for a mental health related issue
  • there is a lack of services for people without a formal diagnosis- meaning that if a person is experiencing a mental health issue and is seeking support perhaps for the first time or for general support and assistance, a service may have access criteria that require a formal diagnosis and so exclude them from getting an appointment 
  • people are still experiencing stigma and discrimination. 

What are the priorities in the Penrith region?

People attending our consultation in Penrith ranked the following as top priorities for the next steps for future effort in mental health reform: 

  • improve the visibility of services
  • send funding to the correct areas and create longer funding cycles
  • improve flexibility in the boundaries between services
  • scale up programs that work
  • reduce stigma. 

What is working well in the Lithgow region?

People attending the Lithgow community consultation reported that: 

  • Lithgow has a high number of great community initiatives for wellbeing and mental health and opportunities for social connection (men’s shed, walk and talk, community groups)
  • there is good collaboration between local services
  • there is good understanding of mental health in the community and less stigma
  • there is a genuine sense of community
  • there is good wellbeing programs for school aged youth and links to learning. 

What are the challenges in the Lithgow region?

People attending the Lithgow community consultation reported that: 

  • social determinants such as housing, transport, lack of finances and lack of employment are a huge barrier for having good mental health
  • there is a lack of crisis support
  • the geographical location of Lithgow being “the end of the train line” is challenging for mental health service provision and how far people travel to access services 
  • there are challenges for people accessing the NDIS
  • there is poor visibility of services
  • there are some people in the community who have issues with misuse of drugs and alcohol. 

What are the priorities?

People attending the Lithgow community reported the following top priorities that the next steps in reform should focus upon:

  • improving co-design and listening to lived experience
  • having more places in the community for social interaction and community connection 
  • changing the culture of mental health services from a medical model to one of recovery 
  • having more services for people experiencing homelessness. 

Reform initiatives in your region

We had the privilege of learning about a variety of innovative initiatives and programs that are improving mental health and wellbeing in Nepean Blue Mountains, such as:

Living well means?

Workshop participants took part in a digital activity that captured a one word response to the question, Living well means?

View the images created by our graphic scribe

View the images created by our graphic scribe on this page to see what was discussed and shared in the full day workshop. Right click on an image to save and then print as required.


For each consultation, a graphic scribe was produced outlining the primary points of the consultation.

The Neapean Blue Mountains consultation which took place in Lithgow can be downloaded below. 

PDF iconDownload here. (10.25 MB)