‘Empowered to understand their care’: Celebrating knowledge and compassion at Cumberland Hospital’s Mental Health Month events

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More than 80 consumers, family, friends and staff have participated in a series of events at Cumberland Hospital for Mental Health Month.

Held in October every year, this year’s theme was ‘we all have a role to  play’ and events included a Consumer Day and a special event for families, carers and staff.

Heidi Lee, Assistant Manager Peer Services, said Consumer Day was all about helping people understand the resources available to them.

“Mental Health Month Consumer Day helps remind people about the range of services we provide, as well as encouraging them to feel that they have a role in their recovery,” Heidi said.

We’re fortunate to have a great team of peer workers with lived experience of mental health challenges and illnesses or disorders, and we’re here to support the consumers in their recovery and their mental health challenges.

“We use our own lived experience to inspire them and help support them in their journey,” Heidi said.

Consumer Day included morning tea for consumers as well as staff, and presentations from the REACH Program, Integrated Mental Health Complex Integrated Project Team, Mental health Line, Official Visitors and Pathways to Community Living.

“What I love about my job is seeing the consumers happy – seeing them feeling supported, empowered to understand their care, and knowing they have that network of support around them,” Heidi said.

Families and carers were also included in Mental Health Month events, with a Family Day which included presentations, a Boronia Cottage art tour, a pharmacy quiz, and lunch organised by the Family and Carer Mental Health Program.

Coordinator Cathy Kearney said it was a very special day for families, who joined consumers and staff for the event.

This year’s theme was particularly important to us because so many people can be involved in caring for and supporting a family member.

Cathy Kearney, Coordinator – Family and Carer Mental Health Program

“We were very fortunate to have presentations on a range of topics including medications, multicultural services, neurodiversity and volunteering, which really showcased the tremendous work of our care community.”

WSLHD Mental Health Services  Change Manager Nirav Thakker said it was a great opportunity to talk to consumers and carers in person about the modern new facilities now under construction.

“Consumers and families were very interested in the designs for the clinics, wards, courtyards and social areas, but they were most interested in the new consumer bedrooms, which will have their own ensuites,” Nirav said.

“Having the comfort and privacy of your own room and bathroom is something they are really looking forward to, and as a project team, it’s important for us to hear first-hand what matters to consumers and carers, so we can better plan for the transition to the contemporary new building.”

The $460 million Integrated Mental Health Complex is now under construction at Westmead Hospital and is expected to be completed in 2026.

Thank you to all the consumers, guest speakers, mental health organisations, family members, carers, staff, volunteers and sponsors for supporting Mental Health Month events at Cumberland Hospital and Melaleuca Unit, Blacktown Hospital.

For more information about mental health services, family and peer support visit https://www.wslhd.health.nsw.gov.au/mental-health-services/mental-health-services

For information about the new Integrated Mental Health Complex at Westmead Hospital, visit https://www.wslhd.health.nsw.gov.au/Mental-Health-Services/Latest-Updates/integrated-mental-health-complex