South Western Sydney Consultations: June 2019

The Commission visited communities in South Western Sydney and held consultations in Tarmoor, Campbelltown and Bankstown . We had the privilege of learning about a variety of innovative initiatives and programs that are improving mental health and wellbeing in South Western Sydney. Watch the video showcasing the Tahmoor Integrated Subspecialty Clinic and click the links below to learn about other examples of reform in the region.

Living Well Mid-Term Review: Integrated Subspecialty Clinic in Tahmoor (South Western Sydney)

What's working well in Bowral?

People attending our Bowral community consultation on the 26th of June  2019 reported that: 

  • Variety of mental health and wellbeing interventions are available in accessible services: drop in free open access youth service, walking groups, pet therapy, creative art and cooking classes, playzone, community lunches at church, health and fitness facilities
  • Conversations that mental health is everyone’s business are occurring, helping to break down stigma
  • Schools are aware of and invested in wellbeing of students – outreach, wellbeing hubs, holistic approaches
  • Web-based self-help resources are increasingly available through apps and web sites.

What are the challenges in Bowral?

  • many people do not know about available services
  • people face access barriers to services, as hospital and emergency department is located in Campbelltown, or other services are in main towns, not well served by public or community transport in this large region
  • formal pathways to care are not always those people feel comfortable with – eg students face stigma in seeing school counsellors; waiting in EDs, not enough support post-discharge
  • young people find the response of schools and a conservative community a huge challenge.

What are the priorities in Bowral?

  • people need approachable, accessible services with soft entry, minimal barriers to access, free
  • stronger relationship-based services and supports in all areas, especially with young people in schools and youth services, to reduce stigma, intervene early, and normalise support/help seeking
  • weekend and afterhours support is required especially for people experiencing crisis – alternatives locally to emergency department attendance at distant city-based hospitals.

What's working well in Bankstown?

People attending our Bankstown community consultation on the 28 June 2019 reported that: 

  • specific programs and services exist for mums and babies and school students, to provide support and early intervention 
  • peer workforce growth is positive
  • some Commonwealth funded programs commissioned through Primary Health Networks have added to the service mix
  • there are some bilingual staff and some services have improved their cultural responsiveness

What are the challenges in Bankstown?

  • responding to cultural and linguistic diversity in the region is a challenge – addressing stigma and attitudes within diverse communities to mental health; awareness of religious requirements/expectations; adapting service responses to address cultural needs; recruiting mix of CALD diverse, gender appropriate staff including in peer workforce.
  • mental health workforce issues occur in recruitment, training and retaining the right mix of staff, including peer workforce
  • there is a need to improve responsive, appropriate service delivery.

What are the priorities in Bankstown

  • more culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) workforce and more CALD responsive services are required in the region
  • services need to be more integrated and better coordinated, with warm referrals to improve access to care
  • better training is needed for primary care professionals
  • greater effort is needed to reduce stigma and increase mental health awareness, especially in diverse communities.

What is working well in the Campbelltown region?

People attending our consultation in Campbelltown reported that: 

  • there are more healing services and local mental health supports for Aboriginal people 
  • there is an increase in the peer workforce and peer worker training within the Local Health District 
  • there is improved collaboration between services and more partnerships
  • there are more bulk billing psychiatry services and general practitioners. 

What are the challenges in the Campbelltown region?

  • short funding cycles and changing funding arrangements create stability
  • accessing the NDIS is a huge challenge, including long waiting time for assessments, and a lack of feedback on why applicants have been rejected  
  • programs that have been working well have ceased without reason
  • there is difficulty in accessing inpatient mental health care.

What are the priorities in the Campbelltown region?

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

  • access to 24 hour wrap around mental health services and supports 
  • modernise mental health facilities and services, inside and outside of hospital 
  • create a centralised intake for all mental health services 
  • increase the length of funding cycles (minimum four years).

What is working well in Tahmoor?

People attending our Tahmoor community consultation on 26 June 2019 reported that: 

  • there is improved collaboration and communication between services – including primary care, GPs, CMOs, LHDs – enhanced by PHN funding of new services
  • awareness of the geographic diversity in the region, and providing services across all parts of region is improving
  • access to services is improved through minimal barriers to service, such as soft entry, walk in without appointments and outreach to schools and communities
  • target groups, such as young people, older people and people with disabilities can access a range of specialist services.

What are the challenges in Tahmoor?

  • NDIS issues include its non-recovery focus and difficulty people have to access the right supports
  • defunding of services that work, insufficient funding for non-NDIS psychosocial support services and competition for funding lead to lack of continuity in service delivery
  • regional diversity – rural and urban differences, rapid growth in population, isolation in rural areas and lack of access to public transport – pose challenges
  • community mental health team approach is not recovery-oriented and teams lack capacity to take on new referrals.

What are the priorities in Tahmoor?

  • funding arrangements should be reviewed and addressed so that funding in secure over longer term, programs that work continue to be funded, negative impacts of funding changes of service users/participants and workforce are avoided
  • plans for services should match the geographic, demographic and population profiles, across region, including rural areas
  • develop and build local solutions to local needs and address infrastructure that affect access and social determinants including transport and jobs
  • recognise diversity, especially respond to mental health needs of children and young people and people who need access to the NDIS more actively.
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.

Also below are photos taken from our consultations throughout the region, reproduced with permission.

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

The South Western Sydney scribe can be downloaded below. 

PDF iconDownload here.  (9.63 MB)