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About the sector

The community managed mental health sector is a key provider of mental health services and supports to people in the community.

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Find detailed information on the work we do to support the community managed mental health sector.

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Catch up on all the latest news and stories from the community-based mental health sector.

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Mental Health Rights Manual

An online guide to help explain your legal and human rights in the mental health and human services systems in New South Wales.

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Recovery Oriented Language Guide

Words are important. The language we use and the stories we tell have great significance to all involved.

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Build on your lived experience or on-the-job experience and receive a nationally recognised qualification.

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Our members

Our members are community managed mental health organisations, large and small, local and NSW-wide service providers.

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Wrapping up a long career in supporting others learning

With a career in education and the community sector for more than 20 years, Sally Dumbrell, Mental Health Coordinating Council’s Learning and Training Manager, says her biggest motivator has been seeing people who have not been through the conventional academic pathway, come back to learn again.

Sally and the Learning and Development team at MHCC have together provided training to more than 200 students in highly regarded courses such as the nationally recognised Certificate IV in Mental Health, Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work and professional development short courses. The team have also brought a range of popular courses such as Understanding Mental Health and Understanding and Responding to Suicide, to regional areas of NSW, including Dubbo, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Parkes, Wagga Wagga and more.

As she prepares for retirement, we ask Sally to share her experiences and highlights in training and education for the community sector over the years.

You’ve been in training and education for over 20 years now, can you tell us how you first got involved?

Before I became a trainer I worked in housing and homelessness. Once I had kids, I decided I wanted to do something with more opportunities, so I completed a Graduate Diploma in Adult Education. My first job was teaching a literacy class to a small group of learners in a little town called Junee. From there I got a job at TAFE where I stayed for over 15 years. I ended up as Head Teacher of Community Services at Ultimo TAFE. I then worked for a short time with a peak housing organisation, training community housing workers, and I finally ended up at MHCC.

What has motivated you throughout your career?

The biggest motivator for me has always been providing second chance education to people for whom the school system didn’t work. I love the pride that students get when they pass their first assessment, the joy that family members get seeing their loved one graduate. I think that learning should be a lifelong pursuit and I am happy that I have been a part of supporting people to open their minds to new ideas and skills.

What has been the biggest highlight/fondest memories working at Mental Health Coordinating Council?

When I first started at MHCC I didn’t have a huge knowledge of mental health. I have learnt so much from my colleagues here. The work that MHCC does to support the peer workforce is inspiring. The commitment that the trainers have to their students is fantastic and the support team that helps make it all happen are wonderful. The Learning and Development team are a hard-working, dedicated group and it’s been an honour to help them do their jobs. I love the fact that we provide as much support as possible to give students the chance to complete their course and meet their goals.

What do you think are the best (and if you’ve seen them, worse) developments in the community mental health sector in the last 20 years?

One thing that is great is the development of the mental health peer workforce. The only thing that I can think may improve is the relationship between the clinical workforce and the peer workforce. There is a lot of work being done to achieve this and I hope it continues.

What’s next on the cards for Sally?

I have a fairly new granddaughter who I would like to spend as much time as possible with. Also a bit of travel would be fantastic, I might become a grey nomad…

From everyone at MHCC, it’s been an honour to work with you Sally and we wish you all the very best on the new chapter ahead.


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