Support Groups

Our support groups have been the lifeblood of the Schizophrenia Fellowship since its creation in 1985. There are currently over 50 groups across New South Wales in metropolitan and rural areas. 

A support group is a group of people that get together to share experiences, problems, solutions, ideas & friendship. Support groups build hope and strength for people. People meet others who have overcome difficult problems, improved their lives and are well into recovery. Generally, the groups work using the idea of "peer support" and aren’t run by doctors or health professionals. Volunteers who have experienced mental illness or who are carers usually run the support groups and the Fellowship supports them in their work. Every group makes new people welcome.

While our organisation's name is the Schizophrenia Fellowship, people who have experienced other mental illnesses are welcome and can benefit from our groups.

Some support groups are for carers only, some support groups are just for consumers (people who have the lived experience of mental illness), while some support groups have a mixture of people. It's also not uncommon for mental health workers to come to a support group to meet carers or people who experience mental illness to tell them about the services they provide.

Besides supporting and helping each other, there is another major challenge for support groups; to actually change the causes of the disadvantages and difficulties that people face. This is done by educating the community about mental illness, focussing on primary preventative strategies, researching your community needs, lobbying for services, advocating for individuals and the group, and providing information. 

NOTE: A carer is somebody that cares for a loved one, relative or friend with a mental illness but they don't have to be living with the person or be the 'official' carer. A number of years ago people who have had the lived experience of a mental illness advocated to be called 'consumers'. This moved away from the idea of illness and focussed on the idea that a person may have certain rights as a consumer of mental health services.

Metropolitan Sydney Groups

Place and name of group Who attends the group Time and place of meeting Contact
Balmain Mental Health Carers Support Group
Carers 1st Tuesday, 7pm. 
Balmain Town Hall

Bronwyn - 0427 601 795
Bronwyn.Monro@gmail.com

Bankstown Beautiful Minds People interested in raising awareness about mental health and supporting local mental health services. 1st Monday, 7pm.
Bankstown Sports Bowling Club
Meeting room entrance on Northam St or
enter via the club on Olympic Parade. 
Susan - 0402 647 497
susan.curd@bigpond.com
Bankstown Mental Health Carers Carers 1st Tuesday, 7pm.
Banks House Hospital Basement
Cnr Clarabel and Gallipoli Sts, Bankstown
Call Mae mob: 0439 437 926
or
Carer Assist - 02 9708 2670
noeline.charters@sfnsw.org.au 
Bondi Junction -
Eastern Suburbs Mental Health Support Group
People with lived experience, Consumers,
Carers

2nd & 4th Monday, 5.30-7.30pm
Church In The Marketplace
Cnr Oxford St / Newland St
Bondi Junction

Greg / Mary - 9399 3026
forsterg@bigpond.com
Burwood Carers 3rd Tuesday, 7pm.
Burwood RSL
Loris 02 9708 2670
loris.saysana@carerassist.org.au
Campbelltown Carers Support Group Carers 3rd Tues 5.30-7.30pm
Campbelltown RSL  
Janelle - 02 4620 5255
janelleh@carerassist.org.au
Campbelltown -
Beautiful Minds
People interested in improving mental health services in the Campbelltown area 1st Thursday, 4pm-6pm
Ingleburn Community Health Centre
Sandra 0408 633 181
sandrarick@bigpond.com
http://www.beautifulminds.net.au/    
Hornsby Kuringai Association Carers, people recovering from mental illness and those who are interested in providing support Meetings held in the
Cottage-in-the-Park,
Cnr Stuart and Illoura Sts., Wahroonga

Nick 9980 2500
Call for information about the next meeting and to get on the mailing list.

Inner West Carers 3rd Wednesday, 9.30am-11.30am Julie 02 9708 2670
Julie@carerassist.org.au 
Liverpool Fairfield Mental Health Carers Carers 1st Thursday, 11am-1pm (not January)
Cabravale Diggers Club
1 Bartley St, Canley Vale

Contact Mardi 9708 2670;
mardi@carerassist.org.au
Group leader, Carol
Search on Facebook for
"Liverpool - Fairfield mental health carers support group"

Manly, North Head
Art Wednesday
Carers Every Wednesday 11.30am-2.30pm
Art Space, North Head, Manly Sanctuary
Lotte 9977 0099
lotte.conradi@sfnsw.org.au

North Shore People with lived experience, Consumers,
Carers
1st Thursday, 7.30pm, (not January or July)
Uniting Church, corner Shirley Rd & Nicholson St, Crows Nest
Suzanne and Joan 0451 038 307,
nssglead@hotmail.com
Northern Beaches Mental Health Support Group People with lived experience, Consumers,
Carers
2nd Tuesday, 7.30pm, (not June, July or August),
Brookvale Community Centre
2 Alfred Rd, Brookvale
Margaret 0407 662 149,
margaretwillingsjumblerock@gmail.com
Parramatta Information and Social People looking for information about the mental health sector Local volunteer Leslie can provide information about local services. Ring Leslie or meet in the Parramatta Library meeting rooms on the first Tuesday of the month at 6pm. Leslie 0407 368 095,
leslierogan@hotmail.com
Penshurst Carers 4th Friday, 10.30am,
Pole Depot Community Centre,
23 Georges Rd, Penshurst
Vicki 9580 0688
vicki.sainsbury@3bridges.org.au
Ryde Bipolar Support Group People with lived experience, Consumers
Carers
1st Sunday, 2pm
Ryde Eastwood Leagues Club
(West Ryde)
Ph: Schizophrenia Fellowship on 9879 2600
or simply attend the meeting

  

Regional NSW Groups

 

Place and name of group Who attends the group Time and place of meeting Contact
Albury - Oasis Carers 2nd Monday 7pm-9pm Vicki, 6021 5882 or Kath 6058 1750
Armidale Carers Last Wednesday 5pm,
in different locations
Isabelle 6772 3211
isabelle@carerassist.org.au
Ballina Carers  4th Monday 5-7pm  Shelley 0424 229 244 or 6681 4375
swestgate@live.com.au  
Bateman's Bay - Caring Connections Carers 2nd Wednesday
Location varies (call to find out)
Julie call 0421 078 485
thesturats@hotmail.com
Bathurst Mental Health Carers Support Group Inc Carers  3rd Thursday, 7pm,
Bathurst Information and Neighbourhood Centre (BINC),
96 Russell St, Bathurst  
Christine 6367 9292,
zemzem27@hotmail.com
Branxton People with lived experience, Consumers,
Carers 
3rd Monday, 11am  Julie, 8315 1450
julie.killeen@sfnsw.org.au   
Bega - Peer Support Art Group Adults with a lived experience of mental illness.  Create art and share social support in a safe, non-judgemental space.

Tuesdays 10:00-12:00
Personal Helpers & Mentors Service
64 Carp Street, Bega 2550

Megan Sidey, Recovery Support Worker
Ph: (02) 6492 1811
megan.sidey@sfnsw.org.au

Bombala - Hearing Voices Self-Help Group People with lived experience, Consumers,
Voice Hearers

2nd & 4th Tuesdays
12noon
Abundant Life Centre
100 Maybe St, Bombala

Peter 0459183838
Jen 0434688010
Cathy 0401141105

Cessnock

People with lived experience, Consumers,
Carers 

1st Monday, 7pm
Cessnock Supporters Club, 1 Darwin St, Cessnock

Julie, 8315 1450

julie.killeen@sfnsw.org.au 

Central Coast Schizophrenia and Bi-polar Fellowship People with lived experience, Consumers,
Carers
1st Thursday, 1pm-3pm,
Gosford Uniting Church, Donison St, room 3,
Stephanie 4344 7989
ks.wood@bigpond.com
Coffs Harbour Carers 1st Tuesday 10am-12nn.
Uniting Church, Corner Vernon and Gordon St, Coffs Harbour
Yvonne 6652 8633
vmyquad@yahoo.com.au
Coffs Harbour Mental Health and Wellbeing Support Group People with lived experience, Consumers 1st Thursday, 11am-12.30pm, (not January)
Uniting Church, Corner Vernon and Gordon St, Coffs Harbour (beginning Aug 2015)
Dusty 0408 065 256
dustydempsey@hotmail.com
Cooma - Hearing Voices Self-Help Group People with lived experience, Consumers,
Voice Hearers

1st & 3rd Tuesday
Monaro Community Access Service
Lambie Street
(Next to the Hotel)
Cooma

Peter 0459183838
Jen 0434688010
Cathy 0401141105
Cootamundra Care Recipient Group Care Recipients, Consumers Every Thursday 11am-2pm
Old Hospital Bld, 30 Mackay St, Cootamundra
Tanya 6921 6064 
Dubbo Coffee Club Consumers, People with the lived experience of mental illness Every Wednesday, 10-11.30am
Fiona or Sue
6882 2855
dubbophams@sfnsw.org.au 
Dubbo Social Skills Group Consumers, People with the experience of mental illness Mondays, 1.30-2.30pm
Ground Floor Oliver House
34 Church St, Dubbo
Fiona or Sue
6882 2855
dubbophams@sfnsw.org.au

Glen Innes - CUPS (Carers Under Pressures) Carers 4th Tuesday, 1pm
Highway Diner, New England Hwy, Northside
Isabelle, Miriam 02 6772 3211
Isabelle@carerassist.org.au
dandmdadley@ozemail.com.au
Great Lakes Carers  2nd Wednesday, 10am-12noon, location varies Mydie 6551 4333
mydie@carerassist.org.au  
Illawarra - Pampering Carers Alternate Mondays, 9.30am-11.30am
Meeting Room Bulli Community Centre, 
328 Princes Highway, Bulli
Julie 4285 0019
lynne.hutton@sfnsw.org.au
Illawarra - CALD Carers Carers with diverse ethnic backgrounds 2nd Monday each month, 12noon-2pm
Illawarra Yacht Club, Northcliffe Drive, Berkeley
Lynne 0458 299 067
lynne.hutton@sfnsw.org.au 
Illawarra - Multicultural Social Skills Group   Every Wednesday 11am-2pm
Warilla Community Centre, Belfast Avenue
Julie 4285 0019
lynne.hutton@sfnsw.org.au
Illawarra - Boys Are Back In Town Consumers Every Wednesday, 11am-2pm
Location varies
Mary 4285 0019
lynne.hutton@sfnsw.org.au
Kempsey -
Macleay Valley Mental Health Carer and Support Group
Carers 1st Wednesday, 10am-12noon
48 Wide St, West Kempsey
Kaye 02 6562 6732
silvercloud@bigpond.com
Lake Macquarie Carers 1st & 3rd Thursday, 1pm Jennifer 4968 9268
Jennifer@carerassist.org.au
Maitland Carers 3rd Thursday, 10am

David 0498 119 680
or email Kirsten
kirsten.noack@carerassist.org.au

Merimbula -
Sapphire Coast
Carers Last Friday, 11am
Venue rotates between Bega and Merimbula
Mary, Yvonne, 4474 0900
mary@carerassist.org.au
Moss Vale Carers 2nd Wednesday, 10am
Kate 4868 2755
kate@carerassist.org.au
Moree Mental Health Carer Support Group Carers 3rd Wednesday
5.30pm
Kristy 9879 2683
kristy@carerassist.org.au 
Narromine Ladies Morning Tea All women with an interest in mental health 3rd Thursday, 10am-11.30am
CWA hall, corner of Nymagee and Third Ave
Erin - 02 6882 2855
erin.stageman@sfnsw.org.au 
Newcastle

People with lived experience, Consumers,
Carers

3rd Monday, 4pm
Sunflower Centre Mayfield
182a Maitland Rd

Julie 8315 1450
Julie.killeen@sfnsw.org.au
Newcastle -
Let's Talk About Mental Health

People new to the support group
People with lived experience, Consumers,
Carers

1st Monday, 2.30-3.30pm
Sunflower Centre Mayfield
182a Maitland Rd
Julie 8315 1450
Julie.killeen@sfnsw.org.au
Nowra - Shoalhaven Mental Health Fellowship People with lived experience, Consumers 3rd Wednesday, 7pm
The Junction Health Centre, Nowra
Renee 0467 776 710
renee.harding@sesihas.health.nsw.gov.au 
Matthew ph: 44218002
matthew.sproule@health.nsw.gov.au
Nowra - Crafty Creations Consumers  2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month, 10am-12noon
" West Street"  Complex, Nowra
Sharon 4285 0019
lynne.hutton@sfnsw.org.au
Port Macquarie - Hastings Mental Health Support Group People with lived experience, Consumers,
Carers
Last Friday, 10am-12nn
McAdams Building (adjacent to Players Theatre)
Sheila 0408 235 870
mentalhealthsupport@hotmail.com
On Facebook search for
"Hastings Mental Health Support Group"
Singleton Combined People with lived experience, Consumers,
Carers
Last Friday, 12noon
Uniting Church Hall
Church St, Singleton

Kirsten.noack@carerassist.org.au
Ph:
0466 453 078

Tamworth Mental Health Carers Support Group

Carers and
People interested in mental health and available services

1st Tuesday, 5pm
4 Darling St, Tamworth

Ring Laurelle at Carer Assist
02
6761 3222 or
Ask for the carers support group on
mob 0414913523

Taree - Manning MH Social Family and Friends Carers Last Monday, 10am-12noon
McDonalds Cundletown
Mydie 6551 4333
Mydie@carerassist.org.au
Temora Carers Group Carers Every Friday, 10.30am-2pm
Richmond PRA Meeting Room,
215 Hoskins St, Temora
Tanya 6921 6064 
Ulladulla Carers Carers 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month, 1pm-3pm
Ulladulla Community Resources Centre,
78 St Vincents Street,
Sharon 4285 0019
lynne.hutton@sfnsw.org.au
Wagga Wagga Carers 1st Friday, 11.30am
Leonie 6925 9399
leonie@carerassist.org.au
Wagga Wagga - Ladies Carer Group    Female Carers Every Monday, 10am-12noon
47-49 Gurwood St, Wagga Wagga
Tanya 6921 6064 
Warialda Carers 2nd Tuesday, 2.30pm
Warialda Information Centre
Kristy 9879 2683
kristy@carerassist.org.au
Woolgoolga Mental Health Support Group People with lived experience, Consumers 2nd Tuesday, 10.40am
Woolgoolga Community Hall
Dusty 0408 065 256
dustydempsey@hotmail.com
Yamba Carers 1st Monday, 10am Julia 6644 4263

  

 Specialised SFNSW Support Groups

Place and name of group Who attends the group Time and place of meeting Contact
Bankstown - Arabic Speaking Carers Group Carers 3rd Tuesday, 10am-12noon 
Arab Council
Shop 15-16, Terrace Plaza
212 Terrace St, Bankstown
Call Carer Assist 9708 2670
sarah@carerassist.org.au
           
Bankstown - Vietnamese Speaking Carers Group Carers Bankstown Carer Assist Office Lianne 9708 2670
Lianne@carerassist.org.au
Burwood - NOUS
Greek Support Group
Carers Andonia 9715 7215
nous@sfnsw.org.au 
Canterbury - NOUS Greek Carers Group Carers

3rd Monday, 10am-2pm
Bridewater House, 11 Berna Ave, Canterbury

Nonorta 9715 7215
nonorta.youkhana@sfnsw.org.au

Morisset Hospital - Kestral Unit
Flames Forensic Consumers
People with lived experience who are living in Morisset Hospital Sunflower Centre Hamilton Newcastle@sfnsw.org.au
Ph: 8315 1450
Newcastle - Nexus Adolescent inpatients Every Thursday, 3-5pm
John Hunter Hospital
Newcastle@sfnsw.org.au
Ph: 8315 1450
On Fire! Activities for young carers time and place varies according to the activity Shay 9879 2600
shay.hedayet@sfnsw.org.au
Ryde Bipolar Support Group  People with lived experience, Consumers,
Carers
1st Sunday, 2pm
Ryde Eastwood Leagues Club
(West Ryde)
Contact via SFNSW
9879 2600 
Snowy Hydro Snowy Hydro employees    Robyn 0417 492 842
Wagga Wagga -
Support After Suicide
Family and friends who have lost someone by suicide

Jan, Mar, May, Jul, Sept, Nov
- 2nd Wednesday, 6pm,
Wagga Wagga RSL
Feb, Apr, Jun, Aug, Oct, Dec.
- 2nd Friday, 2pm
58 Plumpton Rd, Wagga

Nola 6922 4438 or 0458 224 430
wwsasgroup@gmail.com