A mental health forum that seeks to put the clients in the driving seat is launching in Penrith next week.
The Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Forum held in conjunction with Wentworth Healthcare’s Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network (NBMPHN) and the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District (NBMLHD), invites residents and carers who use local mental health services to have their say.
By hearing first hand the experiences and feedback of people within the community, they aim to utilise the information to better the services in the future.
NBMPHN Senior Manager of Mental Health, Danielle Castles said by providing a safe space for people to share their thoughts, they can get on-the-ground feedback to improve services.
“We do already know what a lot of the problems are so these forums are about finding out what would have made people’s experience better to assist in finding those solutions,” she said.
The forum will be set up in stations, each touching on a different topic relating to the mental health sector.
A number of questions have been structured to help gain a deeper understanding of how the services can improve.
Ms Castles said whilst they require participants and carers who have relied on these services, they will not have to share their story as part of the process.
“We’re very mindful of making it a safe place for people to speak,” she said.
“We will have people there facilitating the day who themselves have lived experience of mental illness so it’s not like they’re talking to just professionals, they are people who can really understand and empathise with those experiences.”
Those who work in the industry will also be able to have their say at a separate upcoming forum.
Wentworth Healthcare CEO Lizz Reay said the feedback will assist in the development of a five-year implementation plan for mental health and suicide prevention services in the region.
“We’re really pleased to be doing this type of planning and to have that consultation with the community,” she said.
The forum will take place on Tuesday, December 3 and will run from 5.30-9pm at the Hornseywood Hall inside Penrith RSL Club.
Register at: www.nbmphn.com.au/MentalHealthForums
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Nicola Barton is a news journalist with the Western Weekender, primarily covering crime and politics.