A collaborative mental health workforce development experience in remote NSW… the continuing story.
The Far West Mental Health Recovery Centre is a residential sub-acute mental health facility in Broken Hill operated as a partnership between the Far West Local Health District and Neami National, a specialist mental health non-government organisation. The service has been operating since March 2013 and has greatly enhanced the range of mental health services available to the community of Broken Hill and the Far West Region. Both the NSW and Australian Mental Health Commissions have identified the development of a mental health workforce in rural and remote areas as vital to improving equity in service delivery.
Since I returned from the 8th Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium the service and the people that work there have continued to grow in reputation and confidence. Nearly all of the current staff are Broken Hill locals, born and bred, and come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Neami has a recruitment approach that is focused on identifying staff whose values align with those of the organisation. Selection is not based on qualifications but rather the person’s commitment to the understanding that recovery from mental ill health is possible. Staff have a diverse range of backgrounds, including mining, the defence forces, administration, aged care and hospitality.
However, what they have in common is the commitment to the values and vision of Neami and their commitment to the mental wellbeing of their town and region. Many come with their own lived experience of mental distress and are supported by training to use this to support others in their recovery. A positive “side effect” of employing locals with lived experience is the positive impact it has had on their own mental well-being.
The result of this approach is a local workforce that demonstrates a passion and commitment to a service that they feel has really enhanced their community, changing people’s lives for the better. The service is highly valued by consumers who have used it but has also given many a job that supports their own mental health by providing a job with meaning.
This article was kindly provided by Claire Lynch, Regional Manager – NSW Western, Neami National Orange.
Claire submitted a paper for the 2016 Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium.
We warmly welcome you to Albury, NSW from Wednesday 11 – Friday 13 October 2017 for the 9thAustralian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium. This year our theme will be Impacts & Outcomes, Putting People First. The Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium is designed for consumers, carers, clinicians, managers and all those working in rural mental health.