Eight Mental Health matters award winners have been announced for 2019. These individuals and organisations have worked to improve understanding, awareness, service provision and the general mental health of communities in NSW over the previous year.
“This year’s incredible winners showcase the amazing work being done across New South Wales to create communities and connections that support people going through difficult times and enable everyone to have the best possible mental health.”Elizabeth Priestley, WayAhead CEO
Mental Health Matters Youth Award
FLING Physical Theatre for “My Black Dog”
A performance and research project designed to support the mental health of young people in regional locations. The project involves the creation and presentation of a new live work exploring the fictional lives of regional teens and the adults around them such as parents, teachers and school counsellors. The show has been designed for future touring with the hope to take it to regional towns across NSW in 2020.
Mental Health Matters Community Initiative Award
Jewish Suicide Prevention Strategy (JSPS), initiated and coordinated JewishCare NSW
The first and only Jewish specific suicide prevention strategy in Australia, the Jewish Suicide Prevention Strategy (JSPS) was developed in response to a number of people attempting and taking their own lives within the community. A steering committee was formed, comprising representatives from 20 communal organisations, including local Jewish schools, Rabbis, Jewish crisis and emergency medical services, and Jewish Youth Groups and mainstream organisations.
Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing Award
Warranggal Dhiyan (Strong Families) program, Gunida Gunyah Aboriginal Corporation
The Warranggal Dhiyan (Strong Families) program is an intensive management and support package program for individuals and families who are in regular contact with the criminal justice system and may be at risk of becoming incarcerated. The program also supports individuals who have been released from incarceration, with an aim to reduce the rate of recidivism. The program aims to offer support to individuals and families that may not be at risk of incarceration but are in adverse contact with the system.
Outstanding Achievement in Mental Health Promotion Award
Mission Australia, Connections Program – Reducing Loneliness in Far West NSW
The Connections Program is an out-of-hours social connection program wholly staffed by Peer Support Workers with a lived experience of mental ill health. Access to out-of-hours services is a particular issue in the Broken Hill community, creating a reliance on emergency and crisis services. In order to address this issue, Mission Australia and the far West Local Health District, in partnership with consumers and family and carer groups, co-designed the Connections program to provide people with a bridge between inpatient services and the community.
Leadership through Lived Experience Award
Katherine Gill, FND Australia Support Services
For decades, Kate has been using her lived experiences of services, and of slipping through sector gaps, to advocate for others in similar situations and improve system responses to the needs of people with complex and poorly understood mental illnesses. Most significantly Kate established the first and only charity to advocate for and offer support to meet the needs of people with Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) through FND Australia Support Services Inc.
WayAhead Workplaces Wellbeing Award
The Freelance Jungle
The Freelance Jungle began with a humble survey on freelance challenges and gatherings to bring people together. It has now grown to a brimming Facebook group, and face-to-face networking events in Sydney, Wollongong, Newcastle, Central Coast, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne and Adelaide. It includes a focus on education and knowledge share through a variety of online community platforms, content sources and coaching avenues. The Freelance Jungle focuses on reminding self-employed people stress has a productivity cost, ending the isolation inherent in the freelance world and raising the knowledge bar for Australian freelancers everywhere.
Mental Health Matters Rainbow Inclusion Award – Sponsored by ACON
Rainbow Waves Festival Committee, Pambula Mental Health Service
Rainbow Waves was a mardi gras style festival held for the first time in April 2019 in the Bega Valley to acknowledge the LGBTI community and the unique challenges they face in rural and regional areas. The organisers wanted to create an inclusive event for everyone to come together in a safe space and show there is support in the wider community regardless of what sexual or gender issues a person may be struggling with.
NSW Mental Health Commissioner’s Award
Dr Jonathan Ho
Dr Jonathan Ho is a GP based in Wagga Wagga who is passionate about helping people through trauma, the justice system, drug and alcohol addiction and mental ill-health. He sees it as a privilege to better understand people by creating a safe environment in which they can safely share their emotions. Much loved in his community, he is renowned for his empathy and focus on holistic, patient-centred care.