What is working well in South Eastern NSW?
The Commission visited communities in South Eastern NSW and held consultations in Bega and Batemans Bay. People attending our consultations in Bega and Batemans Bay reported that:
- access to mental health services is improving for young people, children and families through initiatives like Headspace delivering flexible services and outreach programs to parents with infants
- valuing the voice of lived experience to plan, co-design and support others is an area that has developed over the last five years
- there is an increase in Aboriginal led healing programs in the mental health and youth justice space, which supports the social and emotional wellbeing of local Aboriginal communities
- there is an increase in the use of technology to deliver mental health services and supports in a range of programs, whether it be through GP’s accessing psychiatry advice on the phone or using Skype to deliver face to face mental health support for those unable to travel to services.
What are the challenges in South Eastern NSW?
People attending our consultations in Bega and Batemans Bay reported that:
- navigating where to find services, and finding out information on what individual services deliver, is difficult
- individuals and families face huge out of pocket expenses when seeing a private psychiatrist or GP, when this maybe the only service available to them
- maintaining a stable health workforce remains a huge issue in the delivery of quality mental health services and supports. This is both retaining workers in current positions, and attracting workers to the area for new programs
- access to affordable housing and emergency housing was raised as a key issue which needed addressing to support good mental health in the region, as well as the need for programs and policies in the future to address disadvantage.
What are the priorities in South Eastern NSW?
People attending our consultations in Bega and Batemans Bay ranked the following as top priorities for the next steps for future effort in mental health reform:
- increasing the visibility of and access to services
- increase local collaboration between services
- increase the number of GPs who bulk bill in the region
- make programs and funding sustainable and long-term.