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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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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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Our members

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

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New report from mental health and AOD symposium highlights the critical need for systemic reform

Statistics show that nearly 50% of mental health service users and up to 85% of AOD service users experience co-occurring harms. Mental Health Coordinating Council and the Network of Alcohol and Other Drugs Agencies’ Collaborative Connections Symposium Report highlights the significant challenges hindering integrated practice, and puts forth six key recommendations to better support people with co-occuring needs.

On 10 April 2024, Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC) and the Network of Alcohol and Drug Agencies (NADA) joined forces in a symposium aimed at supporting community-managed mental health and Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) services across NSW. Held to address service delivery silos and advocate for comprehensive reform, the event brought together sector leaders, frontline workers, and stakeholders from both sectors.

The symposium, held at a pivotal time amidst increasing calls for integrated care approaches in light of the impending NSW Drug Summit, served as a platform for stakeholders to share insights, challenges, and innovative solutions. Participants engaged in robust discussions, highlighting successes in bridging gaps between mental health and AOD services, as well as identifying critical areas requiring immediate attention.

Presentations and panel discussions featured prominent voices from organisations such as NSW Parliament, as well as MHCC member organisations Uniting, Independent Community Living Australia, Sydney Drug Education & Counselling Centre, Weave, and The Buttery, among others. These sessions underscored successful models of care and innovative practices already making strides in the field.

A workshop session facilitated by MHCC and NADA revealed significant challenges hindering integrated practice, including fragmented service delivery, stigma, and inadequate training. As statistics show that nearly 50% of mental health service users and up to 85% of AOD service users experience co-occurring harms, there is an urgency to address the identified barriers to effective support.

Findings from the symposium underscored the critical need for systemic reform to foster a more supportive environment for individuals with co-occurring needs. Recommendations included:

  1. Increase funding for community-managed AOD/MH support services
  2. Foster collaboration and co-location models for integrated care
  3. Improve service accessibility and adoption of flexible and person-centred approaches
  4. Address systemic issues and reduce stigma
  5. Promote research and data utilisation of evidence-based treatments
  6. Enhance workforce capacity and increase cross-sector training

MHCC and NADA emphasise that implementing these recommendations will lead to more integrated, compassionate care models, ultimately improving health and wellbeing outcomes for communities across NSW.

As NSW continues to navigate the complex intersection of mental health and substance use, MHCC and NADA’s symposium stands as a marker of greater cross sector cohesion. By fostering collaboration, advocating for policy reform, and enhancing service delivery, the peak bodies remain committed to ensuring people receive the comprehensive support they deserve from the services they access.

Read the report

Find out more by visiting the symposium page where you can access recordings from the event and read the outcomes report

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