A caring collective - table of participants
4 July 2017

More than 130 mental health families and carers gathered on Friday 30 June to make an active contribution towards improving the life experience of all NSW carers and mental health consumers.

The forum, called ‘A Caring Collective: empowering mental health carer and families’, was organised by the NSW Mental Health Commission and drew attendees from all over NSW. The focus for the day was on finding solutions and sharing advice on common and emerging issues facing people who care for those with mental illness. A paper summarising the suggestions and solutions raised by attendees will be sent to decision-makers including the Minister for Mental Health, the Hon Tanya Davies MP.

Facilitator Justin Noel led the day which included sessions on:

  • The rights of mental health carers, as explained by the Deputy President of the NSW Mental Health Tribunal Maria Bisogni
  • How to navigate the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), with carer and mum Cathy Nattress sharing her personal insights and Mary Hawkins answering questions on behalf of the National Disability Insurance Agency
  • Ways to practice self-care and self-love, led by carer and advocate De Backman-Hoyle
  • Making positive changes to the mental health system through community activism, wherein Sandra McDonald shared how she and other volunteers have beautified mental health facilities via their program Beautiful Minds
  • How to turn personal loss into positive change, led by mum and anti-violence campaigner Kathy Kelly.

The event was livestreamed via Facebook Live and videos of the sessions are available below and via the Commission's Facebook page.

Following each presentation, attendees workshopped ways in which the information provided could be used to empower and inform change within communities. Attendees were also invited to share messages via video that spoke directly to politicians, clinicians, support agencies and others.  The Commission will use this feedback in its ongoing work to advocate for an improved mental health system, and the edited videos will also be publically available in coming weeks for carers to use in their own communities.

‘A Caring Collective’ was held as the NSW Mental Health Commission marks five years since its formation and its initial consultations with carers and families affected by mental illness.

View a gallery of photos from this event.

If you care for a personal with mental illness and would like to receive information and updates from the NSW Mental Health Commission, please contact us.

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Last updated: 21 July 2017