The NSW Mental Health Commission will visit Batemans Bay on Thursday and Friday to seek your views on how the sector is working.
These visits are part of the state-wide consultations informing the review of Living Well: A Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014 - 2024, a 10-year plan for mental health reform in NSW.
The Commission invites everyone to participate at the Soldiers Club on:
Thursday 21 March - Batemans Bay - Workshop, 9am - 2.30pm
Friday 22 March - Batemans Bay - Workshop, 9am - 1.30pm
About half the people who need a mental health service actually reach out for it, the NSW Mental Health Commissioner Catherine Lourey has said.
"In general there are a lot of suicide prevention services, but people don't know about them - so they may not be advertised or other providers may be unaware of them," she said.
"It's not unusual to find services aren't always connected."
She was responding the the findings of the South Eastern NSW Mental Health and Regional Suicide Plan, released in December, which said the region had a need for a shared delivery of services.
It also reported high rates of self harm in the Bega Valley, particularly within Indigenous Australian communities, and stated the South Coast had one of the highest rates of suicide in the state, as well as a lack of culturally appropriate mental health services for Indigenous residents and a lack of coordinated suicide prevention services.
Ms Lourey said the report showed there was a need for Indigenous communities to be leading the solutions and being invited into spaces to do so, as well as being given the resources to complete the work.
"In Indigenous communities all services have to come together to wrap around the person," she said.
"You might have a service, but if it's not culturally appropriate or it's not a welcoming place, people may not step in to get the support they need."
She said services needed to have an inherent understanding that the leaders of such communities were the experts on their community and needed to be listened to, and then both leaders and services had to work together towards solutions.
The NSW Mental Health Commission was visiting Bega on Wednesday, March 20, to talk to the community as part of a mid-point review of Living Well: A Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014-2024, a 10-year plan for mental health reform in NSW.
"Mental health reform is about people," Ms Lourey said.
"The solutions that come from a community are really heartfelt and really responsive to the needs of the community. Every community is different and has its own needs."
While she could not comment on the state of the mental health system in a regional area like the Bega Valley - she was meeting experts from the area during her visit to learn more about any issues - but said in general specialist services were always harder to get the further away a region was from Sydney.
There were also issues of attracting the right workforce for an area and making sure services were delivered in a way that was suitable to a region, as well as if there was enough "connectedness" - if people in the community supported each other.
"A healthy community is one that has strong support for young families and new parents, that has healthy workplaces that supports the wellbeing of its workforce, and that has schools with supportive environments," Ms Lourey said.
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"It's also about connectedness - if someone becomes suicidal they know where to reach out and people know when to step in."
She said it was an important time for the Bega Valley, as it was the one year anniversary of the bushfire in Tathra and its district.
As events such as anniversaries could be triggering for residents, she said it was important people watched out for each other at this time.