Taree forum to seek feedback on mental health care and recovery

SIX months after the Partners In Recovery (PIR) Program was launched locally the co-ordinator of Richmond PRA is planning a landmark mental health forum in Taree.

The forum will bring people with a lived experience of mental illness, carers, sector professionals and the general community together to focus on how mental health support can be better managed in the Manning Valley.

The PIR program is focussed on an holistic approach to mental health care and recovery, combining all aspects of treatment from social through to emotional, financial and more, to provide tailor made support for local mental health sufferers.

In order to ensure that the service was meeting its targets and addressing the needs of the community, team leader at Richmond, Chris Cassar said they decided to organise the forum so that all the appropriate people could come together in the one place.

"It was always in our plans to hold the forum, to get the community together to tell us exactly what services are needed," Chris explained.

"We're asking the people who are directly affected by this to guide us because they are the experts or their own care.

"The forum is for us to get an idea of where any service gaps may be locally, and to provide a platform for the different providers and the very people who'll be using them or know someone who needs assistance, to get together and voice their concerns or thoughts."

The program recognises that all mental health cases are different and ensures that support is tailor-made, that the individual receives the right support at the right time to achieve their recovery goals, while families and friends of people living with a mental illness will also be guided on how to provide recovery-focussed stability and support for their loved ones.

As a result of the program, the Recovery in Action working group was also formed as another form of support and member Scott Gourlay, who lives with depression and anxiety, said the forum was a great idea to further assist Partners In Recovery to be successful.

The forum is being held on Tuesday, June 24 at Club Taree and all members of the community, involved with or touched by mental health are invited to attend.

The forum will run from 9am to 4.30pm and will feature a range of guest speakers including the deputy mental health commissioner and ABC broadcaster, Craig Hamilton as well as prominent researcher and consumer advocate John Sharples.

For further information visit www.richmondpra.org.au/recoveryforum

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