The City of Sydney Narrative Resource project is supported by The INNER CITY MENTAL HEALTH RECOVERY WORKING GROUP, established in 2006, initially driven by the tenant community of the Northcott Public Housing Estate in Surry Hills.

The Northcott estate has had a reputation as a dumping ground for people with mental health and drug and alcohol issues. The community saw a need for cross-collaboration between agencies and themselves. A collective group of like-minded organisations and individuals created a forum which not only viewed best practice around mental health recovery, but provided a voice, not only to mental health consumers, but to their neighbours, friends, families and carers. The group developed ways of raising awareness and reducing stigma in relation to mental health. This approach is directed at promoting good mental health, preventing mental ill health and ensuring early intervention when mental health problems occur. It involves looking beyond prevention or management of illness, to the relationship between mental wellbeing and physical health, and people’s connections with the community.

The group meets monthly and consists of tenants, mental health consumers, and representatives from different service and government agencies, representatives from Housing NSW, St Vincent’s Mental Health team, St Vincents Community Health team, City of Sydney, Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMS), Neami, Mercy Arms, The Factory Community Centre, Inner Sydney Regional Council for Social Development, the local MPs electoral office, Surry Hills Public Tenant Association and South Sydney Community Aid.

Each year, the group has developed events and projects to improve the lives of mental health consumers and the community as a whole. In previous years, the INNER CITY MENTAL HEALTH RECOVERY WORKING GROUP have held activities, including Mental Health First Aid courses, the Looking Forward, Looking Back Mental Health forums, Yo-Yo au Go-Go (Recovery is full of ups and downs), a yo-yo-ing day which saw 300 people turn-out in support of mental health recovery and is currently organising ‘Keep Your Marbles’ day as a Mental Health month promotional event.

Whilst the group itself is completely un-funded and none of the participants come to the table with specific funds, having such a diverse group of people around the table results in a breadth and depth of knowledge, skills and resources that would be otherwise impossible to find.

The group has a Facebook page:

People who have participated in the working group (and development of this resource are included below:

Prue Rheuben, Prue Alcott, Raul Pollack, Roy Smoother, Ruth Champion, Sarah Barber,

Stephen Black, Stephen Suttie, Winnie Chong, Faye Jenkins, George Dibley, Ingrid Storm,

Kate Melhopt, Leanne Abbott, Leticia Funston, Loren Sheppard, Lynda Hennessy, Jeanette Cudmore, Colleen Hepburn, Laura Kelly, Bill Yan, Joe Vella, Reena Marrani, Michael Riley, Michelle Grace, Adam Smith, Allison McEntee, Anita Faber, Caroline Howard, Charmaine Jones, Craig Andrews, Craig Parkinson, David White, Dominic Grenot, Edith Olivares, Douglas Holmes, and Kira Weiss.

The organisations’ who have supported the City of Sydney Resource booklet include:

 Alex is committed to government transparency and accountability; protecting the natural and urban environments, open space and Sydney’s unique heritage; retaining inner city social and affordable housing; the humane treatment of animals; improving transport options; and fairness and equality for the LGBTQI communities

The ARC Group NSW Incorporated vision is for people with lived experience of mental health issues to create an alternate, fun, safe and inclusive environment where everyone has value. Run by and for people with lived experience of mental health issues.

CatholicCare Sydney is the official welfare agency of the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Sydney. Our Mission, as an instrument of Christ’s liberating presence in the world, is to provide for the social and emotional wellbeing of communities, families and individuals living in the Archdiocese.

The City of Sydney is the local government authority responsible for the city centre and more than 30 suburbs and parts of suburbs within our boundaries.

Curiousworks mission is to subtly reshape the systems of cultural production in Australia, for the benefit of all Australians.

Inner Sydney Regional Council for Social Development (Regional Council) is a not-for-profit organisation working in the local government areas of Botany, Leichhardt, Randwick, City of Sydney, Waverley and Woollahra to provide information, advocacy, support and community development to community organisations, groups and residents.

Mind Australia is a leading provider of community mental health services. We support our clients to live independent, productive and purposeful lives.

Neami Darlinghurst is part of Neami National and is a non-government mental health organisation that provides rehabilitation and recovery support to people with a serious mental illness who require assistance in areas of skill development, social contact and housing.

The Factory Community Centre Incorporated, or “The Factory” as everyone likes to call it, is a double-storied terrace owned by The NSW Dept of Housing. Reputed to once being an R.M. Williams hat factory, it has for the past 30 or so years ran a range of programs for the residents of the area, especially those who live in the surrounding public housing and high rise and precinct dwellings it also acts as a meeting place for local organizations.

South Sydney Community Aid Multicultural Neighbourhood Centre; We are an Incorporated Cooperative providing community services in the Redfern, Waterloo, Darlington, Alexandria and the City of Sydney Local Government areas.

St Vincents & Mater Health Sydney (SV&MHS) comprises St Vincent’s Hospital, Sacred Heart Health Service, St Vincent’s Private Hospital, the Mater Hospital, St Joseph’s Hospital and St Joseph’s Village.

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