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Have your say on mental health


20 September 2006
Carers, health professionals and people with mental health problems are being encouraged to share their experiences during a mental health conference in Coffs Harbour on Tuesday, October 10.

‘Putting words into action: mental health provision 2006 onwards’ is being hosted by the Bellingen Institute, Southern Cross University’s Centre for Peace and Social Justice and the Coffs Harbour Mental Health Support Group.

The conference will include workshops designed to capture the views and needs of all those involved in mental health, from consumers to carers.

Dr Richard Hil, director of the Bellingen Institute and associate director of the Centre for Peace and Social Justice, said there were many questions about how recent funding increases from the State and Federal governments would be spent.

“While any increases to funding are welcome, it is the case that services for people with mental health problems are often extremely poor, and particularly so in regional Australia,” Dr Hil said.

“Over the years the Mid North Coast region of NSW, like other regional areas, has experienced the brunt of under-funding and lack of services.

“We want to ensure that all stakeholders have a say on how this money – in the vicinity of $3.5 billion – will be spent.

“There is a real and ongoing need to make State and Federal governments fully aware of the issues facing people with mental health problems, particularly for those who reside in regional areas.

“The Bellingen Institute believes that the provision of comprehensive mental health services is a matter of basic human rights. If we do not have such services in place it means that a significant section of our population is being denied the right to participate in the community.”

The conference will be held at the Coffs Ex-Services Club from 8.30am to 5pm. Registration is $95, concession $30. For information email Jo Jones on or Sheila at

Media contact: Brigid Veale Southern Cross University communications manager 02 66593006 or 0439 680 748.