Living Well in Northern Sydney – a new mental health initiative for younger people

A new and innovative mental health project targeted at young people living with, or at risk of serious mental illness is now underway in the Northern Sydney area.

The Living Well in Northern Sydney project aims to create safe workplaces and opportunities for the inclusion and participation for people aged between 16-­‐35.

Notably, the project is one of the first to be funded from the Mental Health Innovation Fund. This Government fund provides grants to new, person-­‐centred initiatives that improve mental health services and outcomes across NSW through collaborative approaches between government agencies and non-­‐government organisations.

Partners involved in the Living Well in Northern Sydney project are: Primary & Community Care Services (PCCS); Northern Sydney Local Health District (NSLHD); Family & Community Services (FaCS); icare (Insurance & Care for the People of NSW); University of Technology Sydney (UTS); and, Sydney North Primary Health Network (SNPHN).

Speaking on behalf of the partners, Primary & Community Care Services’ CEO, Dr JR. Baker, said mental health is often overlooked as a barrier to workforce participation, but is a major issue for businesses. It’s known that 1 in 6 Australian workers are affected by a mental health condition each year1.

“Participating in the workforce is a really important part of the recovery journey for many people with serious mental illness. ‘Work’ is actually great for creating social inclusion, building routines and mental health stability,” said Dr Baker.

“Social connections through the workplace can play a big role in a person’s wellbeing; we’re aiming to make a difference to younger people who are more vulnerable in those earlier phases of their work life,” he continued.

Living Well in Northern Sydney intends to test new inclusion and participation models for individuals and employers as well as engagement strategies within the broader Hornsby community.

Local support services, Disability Employment Services, local employers and individuals with lived experience have all been consulted as part of the project’s design.

Living Well in Northern Sydney is a multi-­‐faceted project; it aims to provide positive outcomes and support not only for consumers, but for employers and the community in general,” said Dr Baker.

“It will be a great example of government and non-­‐government organisations working collaboratively in practice to support the people who most need it, and we look forward to keeping the community updated on developments in the coming months.”

For more information on the Living Well in Northern Sydney project, contact Primary & Community Care Services (PCCS) on (02) 9477 8700.