News Archive 2010-2011


The 13th Annual Minister’s XI Cricket Match

The First Minister’s XI Cricket Match was played at Bedlam Bay Park in the grounds of the old
Gladesville Hospital in 1998. Come along and help celebrate our 13th Anniversary. We are
confident that all who participate will find the occasion an exciting experience.

Sunday 16 October 2011
Commencing at 10.00 am
West Street

13th Annual Minister's XI Cricket Match 13th Annual Minister's XI Cricket Match




Government gets it right finally

Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW Inc welcomes the Federal Government's decision to list a number of medications on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

PDF logo SFNSW Media Release Government gets it right - finally




Mental Health Reform Survey

The NSW Government is seeking feedback and comments on the proposed Mental Health Commission. There will be community consultations held across the State. Look out for these. There is also an online survey where you can express your views. This can be accessed at the web site below. We would encourage as many people as possible to complete this survey.

This could be a defining moment in the history of mental health services in this state. Make your views known!


 Pfizer Report on Mental Health

Pfizer Health Report on Mental Health 
22 Feb 2011

Pfizer Australia partnered with Schizophrenia Fellowship NSW to conduct a survey and develop the Pfizer Health Report on Mental Health. The Report explores the attitudes and views of the Australian community towards people with mental illness and compares these findings with the experience of the people who care for and suffer from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

PDF logo    Click to read the report

      Pfizer Logo    SFNSWFooterLogo.jpg

Mental Health Sports Network

Was launched on 29 April, 2011

The Mental Health Sports Association (MHSA) was established in 1993 to provide opportunities for sport and recreation to people with mental illness.  Through sport these people developed self-confidence, along with improvements to their physical and mental well being.  Some of the participants have gone on to compete in open competitions in their chosen sport.  Participation in sport has improved the participants’ discipline, enthusiasm, social skills and general enjoyment and quality of life.  This has been reflected in other areas of their life, for example gaining employment.

With members of the board retiring, the MHSA is being restructured as the Mental Health Sports Network, under the auspices of the Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW.  The Network is being established as an umbrella body to enable all mental health agencies in NSW to join in and involve their members in sporting and physical health activities.  The Network has the support of the Department of Sport and Recreation and will establish partnerships with sporting bodies, create networks of participating organisations and expand the range of sporting opportunities.  MHSA has been offering cricket, table tennis, lawn bowls, ten pin bowling, volleyball, indoor soccer and tennis, which will continue to be offered along with new activities.

The network’s website ( ) will also be launched on the day.  Through the website members will be able to access information on events, sporting activities, reports on competitions, memberships etc.  Members will have access to sporting rules, guidelines on competitions, event management, sponsorship, training etc.  As the site develops, an e-newsletter, forums, research, and news will become available.

For further information about the formation of the  Mental Health Sports Network.........

GoFundraise Sunflower House Swim Challenge

A group of swimmers in Wagga are raising money to help Sunflower House in the purchase of capital equipment and to support the day-to-day living programs offered at Sunflower House to assist people live with and recover from a mental illness.

NSW CAG call for mental health consumers views by 20 April 2011

Have your say: education, employment and training

The Federal Government’s House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment has set up an inquiry into mental health and workforce participation. This committee will examine barriers to education, training and employment that people with mental illness may face.

The NSW Consumer Advisory Group – Mental Health Inc.  (NSW CAG) wants to connect with current and former mental health consumers to hear their experiences in accessing education, training and employment. They would like to hear from consumers about: what some of the barriers to employment and education they’ve experienced; their experiences with discrimination; and how they’ve managed times of transition (for example from school to the workplace). NSW CAG will use the information that they gather from consumers to inform their submission to the committee and their recommendations to make things better.

In order to gather a wide range of views, NSW CAG have set up an online survey. You can access this survey at: . For those who are not able to access the internet but would still like to share your ideas and perspective, please contact Tara Dias at or 9332 0200.

The deadline to participate in this survey is 20 April 2011


2009-2010 Annual Report

The Schizophrenia Fellowship's Annual Report for 2009 to 2010 is now available for download. The report details achievements of the previous financial year, plans for the future and provides a statement of accounts.

Click here to download the report.

Shoalhaven Mental Health Fellowship Open Art Competition 2011

The Shoalhaven Mental Health Fellowship Open Art Competition 2011 is an open art competition to help raise awareness of mental health and mental illness in the Shoalhaven region. This year’s theme is “Family & Friends — Support makes a difference”.

Click here for a flyer with more information or call Jon Strang at The Junction, Mental Health Rehabilitation Service for an entry kit on (02) 4421 5595.

 Registration Form

 Hanging Guidelines


Are you a good friend? Mental Health Month October 2010

Mental Health Month, running during the month of October, will ask us all how we can be better friends. This year’s theme is ‘Good friends help us bounce back’. Friends are an important source of social support during tough times, providing practical help, a listening ear, information and advice.

Mental Health Month NSW (formerly Mental Health Week NSW) aims to promote social and emotional wellbeing. The month of October will see community groups all over the state stage their own Mental Health Month events to promote wellbeing and improve mental health literacy. It’s an opportunity for all residents of NSW to think about their own resilience and what resources they can use and build on to support them when times are tough.

A highlight of the campaign will be the official launch of Mental Health Month on October 12 from 11 am to 2.30 pm in Church St Mall, Parramatta. All are welcome to attend this free and enjoyable event. For more information about events happening across the state visit

As part of this year’s Mental Health Month campaign, the Mental Health Association of NSW is conducting a survey to better understand the relationship between friendship, resilience and mental wellbeing. Participants can win a prize worth $150. Find out more or fill out the survey now!

Sheila Openshaw's website win

A new website has been launched to support Hastings people affected by mental illness, their carers and families. The Hastings Mental Health Support Group went online for the first time last week, to raise awareness of mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Group leader Sheila Openshaw said the website was a “wonderful tool” and the first of its kind in the region.

Entries open in 25th anniversary art prize

Entries are now open in the Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW's 25th anniversary art prize. The award and exhibition of artworks is one of a number of events in 2010 raising awareness of the 25th anniversary of the formation of the Fellowship and its commitment to improving the circumstances and welfare of people with a mental illness, their relatives and carers.

People with schizophrenia have made art for centuries, sometimes influencing art styles. The 25th anniversary prize is open to people resident in NSW who are living with schizophrenia.

Click here for an entry form.

Schizophrenia Fellowship joins Blackmores Sydney Running Festival 2010

The Schizophrenia Fellowship has joined the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival 2010. Celebrate 10 years of the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival and help us make a difference! This is your chance to run, jog or walk over the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and finish at the iconic Sydney Opera House. Get outside, get active and now go the extra mile and fundraise for the Fellowship as part of this year's race.

Click here to register for the running festival, then visit our GoFundraise cause page to create your fundraising page and start raising funds for the Schizophrenia Fellowship!

GoFundraise provides charities and not-for-profit organisations with a way to fundraise online. It enables registered organisations to effectively fundraise through their existing events, or to benefit from events and campaigns GoFundraise supports across Australia.  

Launch of the Peter Meyer Fund for research into schizophrenia

The Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW is delighted to announce the launch of the Peter Meyer Fund for research into schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is a devastating illness that targets young people in their prime - promising young people who have had much to offer society, and much to look forward to. Peter Daniel Meyer was no exception.

He was born in 1964, and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1987 at the age of twenty two. Despite twenty unbelievably difficult years when he lived with the debilitating symptoms of this illness – when he imagined his enemies lurked at every corner, and a dreadful band of Nazis was about to target his precious eyesight – he managed to complete his Bachelor of Arts Degree at Sydney University, a media writing and editing course at RMIT, and during the last year of his life he worked hard to produce some significant drawings and paintings at St. Georges TAFE. Peter was a student of Sydney Grammar.

On the 1st January 2003 Peter Meyer took his own life because of the torments of schizophrenia. He was 38 years old. Within days of his death his parents Rosalind and Bob Meyer set up the Peter Meyer Fund, through the Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW. The aim of the Fund is to offer small grants to young researchers working specifically in the field of schizophrenia.

The Peter Meyer Fund was established with some very generous donations from family and friends. Rosalind Meyer has also written two books. The first, A window into schizophrenia, was published in 2004 and highly commended. It featured Peter’s drawings and some of his essays. Her second book, Rosie’s War: escape from Singapore 1942, is about the Japanese attack on Singapore. The proceeds from both books have gone to support the Peter Meyer Fund.

The Peter Meyer Fund is calling for its inaugural applications for a grant of $5000. The Fund focuses on all aspects of cause, treatment and support for schizophrenia and is open to researchers under 35. The very first of the Peter Meyer grants will be presented to a worthy young researcher on the 5th November, 2010 at the Schizophrenia Fellowship 25th Anniversary Dinner.

By some strange coincidence this day would have been Peter’s 46th birthday.

For more information please contact the Fellowship on 9879 2600.

One family’s experience with schizophrenia

“We carers do a lot of grieving, for the grandchildren we’ll never have, for the loss of life that my son could have had.”

A Port Macquarie mother who has dedicated much of her life to looking after her son who is living with schizophrenia recently touched the hearts of those attending a national sales conference on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

Sheila Openshaw was invited by Eli Lilly to share her story with members of their neuroscience sales team to help them better understand how a patient’s journey with schizophrenia impacts on an entire family and broader community.

Sheila Openshaw Eli Lilly ConferenceSheila, who is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunty and niece shared that despite her many responsibilities she is first and foremost a carer.

With her husband Alan by her side, Sheila shared their experiences with her son David who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia as a teenager. She told of the challenges they faced before, during and after diagnosis and how effective treatment and rehabilitation has helped David rebuild his life with the support of his family.

(Photo Caption: Sheila and Alan Openshaw with members of the Eli Lilly neuroscience team)

Sheila spoke of David’s constant struggle with hearing voices and paranoia – he would wake her and Alan up in the middle of the night to ask them if they were talking about him. He also covered the air vents in his bedroom and pulled the carpet up to reveal old antennae wiring which he claimed was being used by people next door to listen to his thoughts. She shared how hopeless she felt as David was admitted in and out of hospital during which time he was interviewed by several doctors which eventually resulted in his diagnosis.

“There were times when I didn’t know how I was going to cope; I would be driving David to hospital at all hours, waiting in accident and emergency, hours upon hours in the middle of the night,” she said.

“Many times I would be driving home with tears streaming down my face, hoping and praying this would be the last time this would happen and that one day I would wake up and David would be cured.”

After several suicide attempts, a six-month period in a locked ward and trials of numerous treatment options, Sheila told of another chapter in her journey – David’s eight and a half year rehabilitation at Morisset Hospital.
Sheila shared the range of ongoing challenges she and David faced during this time but also the turning points in David’s journey which eventually resulted in him being able to return home to Port Macquarie where he lived in a group home.

With an expression of pride and satisfaction, she told the group of her son’s gradual improvement over the years which eventually resulted in him being able to move out on his own. David now lives independently, does all his own shopping and housework and is also an avid volunteer in the local community.

“I now call in to David’s home and can sit with him for hours and just listen and talk to him about his psychosis and all the troubles he feels he is experiencing,” she said. David and I like our good old cup of tea together and we still manage to have lots of laughs.”

Sheila began her journey as a mental health carer when David was 17 years of age. He is now 37. Throughout the difficult times, she has found the Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW to be a great source of strength and is dedicated to using her experience to help others through her own support group.

For more information about the Hastings Mental Health Support Group, contact Sheila on (02) 6582 5592 or

This article was written with the assistance of Eli Lilly Australia Pty. Ltd. 112 Wharf Rd, West Ryde, NSW 2114. AUZYP00263

2UE interview with SFNSW CEO Rob Ramjan

SFNSW CEO Rob Ramjan talks on radio station 2UE with Dr. Ross Walker's Healthy Living program.
(Please note - interview begins approx 14:50 minutes into program)

11th Biennial Australasian Schizophrenia Conference

The Schizophrenia Research Institute will host the 11th Biennial Australasian Schizophrenia Conference (ASC2010) in Sydney on 22-24 September 2010. This is the major schizophrenia focused conference in the region and will include over 300 psychiatrists, medical practitioners, psychologists, research scientists, clinical educators, nurses and other mental health workers.

The theme of the conference is 'Molecules to Mind', which reflects the broad perspective required to achieve a greater scientific understanding of schizophrenia — understanding that will make a tangible difference in the lives of people with this illness.

ASC2010 will also feature a free public forum on schizophrenia and psychosis, facilitated by the ABC’s Kerry O’Brien, to be held on the evening of Tuesday 21 September. The theme of the forum will be: 'Has research been of benefit to people with schizophrenia?'

For more information on ASC2010, click here.

World Suicide Prevention Day - Friday September 10

On World Suicide Prevention Day, events, conferences, campaigns and local activities around the world call public attention to one of the world’s largest causes of premature and unnecessary death — suicide. This year’s theme is Many Faces, Many Places: Suicide Prevention Around the World.

Over 65,000 Australians attempt suicide each year, with around 2,200 dying by suicide annually.

The 2010 Wesley Mission LifeForce Suicide Memorial Day Sydney will be held at the Sydney Opera House on Friday September 10, bringing together those who are concerned about or have been touched by suicide. It is an opportunity to remember those lost to suicide and come together in a spirit of comfort and hope.

For more information on the LifeForce Suicide Memorial, click here.

For more information on World Suicide Prevention Day, click here.

Click here for a flyer about mental health awareness and suicide prevention in culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.

People with a mental illness make great workers!
OSTARA Disability Employment Services

We’re off to a great start to the year with a new employment program specifically designed for people with mental illness. The Fellowship will be providing Disability Employment Services at six sites around NSW. We will be able to cover the Northern Beaches, Campbelltown, Bowral, Goulburn, Yass, Wagga Wagga, Temora, the Shoalhaven and Burwood areas. The team has been working hard ensure the service will be ready to open its doors on Monday 1 March.

The setup has been a great team effort by everyone involved. The support and ideas from staff for establishing DES as cost effectively as possible have been fantastic.

DES will provide the following services to job seekers who have or have had a mental illness:
• help in finding a job and starting employment in the open labour market
• continuing support when starting employment
• support while training for a particular job

Our job seekers will have access to individually tailored and comprehensive services including capacity building, training, work experience and other activities. An individual tailored pathway plan will be developed in consultation with the job seeker. The plan will take into account individual needs and identify the services and training that will best help them to find and keep employment.

To access Disability Employment Services people must be registered with Centrelink . In most cases a person must be assessed by a Job Capacity Assessment Provider before they can join the new service. People can get a referral from Centrelink or come directly to the service to receive assistance and to confirm or organise assessment.

We will be able to commit to early intervention partnerships with schools and other services to ensure employment assistance is available as soon as a person with a mental illness is ready to participate.

An Employment Assistance Fund will provide job seekers, employers and providers with easier access to resources to assist with finding and maintaining employment, such as workplace modifications and Auslan interpreting services.

Many participants will be able to leave Disability Employment Services as independent workers once they have moved into sustainable employment. Ongoing support will be available for as long as it is required to help the individual maintain their employment. Flexible ongoing support is a new feature and will provide a safety net for people who have been placed into work, but who may require irregular or less predictable access to support to maintain employment. This option better supports those people with mental health and other episodic conditions.

We will also assist people who are employed but whose jobs are in jeopardy because of work problems related to their illness, injury or disability. These services are intended to assist people maintain their employment

OSTARA is a network of service provider organisations contracted by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) to provide specialised employment help for people who have or are experiencing mental health illness. The new Disability Employment Services will involve working with employers to supply work-ready job seekers who can meet local labour market demands.

If you would like any more information please contact the Fellowship on 02 9879 2600.

Hoping community spirit will grow too

A group of North Ryde residents have been working towards establishing an organic community garden.
Community gardens provide a valuable resource in areas where many residents live in units and apartments and in areas where there is very little open space.

The group has been discussing with Macquarie Hospital whether the community garden can be created on unused green space in Norton Rd. Macquarie Hospital is a 195-bed specialist mental health residential facility. Acute services are provided for Ryde/Hunters Hill residents.


Professor Patrick McGorry named Australian of the Year 2010

Prime Minister, Professor Patrick McGorry and Adam Gilchrist

Victorian youth mental health expert Professor Patrick McGorry has been named Australian of the Year 2010. Professor McGorry was presented with the award by the Prime Minister, The Hon Kevin Rudd MP and National Australia Day Council Chair Adam Gilchrist at a public event on the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra on 26 January.

The BiPolar Bears

The band’s story of rock’n’roll and mental illness was told in a 3 part TV documentary on SBS TV in January 2010. Visit SBS TV’s website for more info and to catch up on the episodes. The rockumentary follows the journey of their search for a lead singer: they’ve gotta be good, they’ve gotta be loud and they’ve gotta be mad

The band started as a free-for-all music project for people with mental illness run by the City of Port Phillip. 15 years on and the band has some serious goals. They’re a good rock outfit who perform regularly around Melbourne’s mental health scene and like all musicians they dream of hitting the big time.

But they’ve got a problem. Their lead singer, a recovering drug addict, has recovered, cleaned up and moved on. The band hold auditions, but finding a singer with a great voice and a mental illness is trickier than they thought.

Around the drama of finding a lead singer the band candidly share their experience of living with a mental illness with humour. Join the BiPolar Bears as they rock their way to sanity and prove that rock is the best therapy.

More info on the BiPolar Bears can be found at



SFNSW 25 years logo

Saturday May 22 2010

8.30am to 4.00pm
Grand Lodge Room, Masonic Centre Sydney
Goulburn and Castlereagh Streets (enter Castlereagh Street)

Speakers include:

Professor Stan Catts
Professor of Community Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Leader in the establishment of the Schizophrenia Research Institute, Foundation Director of the Schizophrenia Research Unit at Liverpool Hospital, Co-chair Australian Psychosis Research Network

Jillian Skinner MP
Deputy Leader of the NSW Opposition, Shadow Minister for Health

Anne Deveson AO

Janet Meagher AM

Laraine Toms - President Carers NSW

                                                        Early Bird (*)

CONCESSION         $40                $35
GENERAL                 $65                $60
PROFESSIONAL     $90                $85

Price includes, Morning Tea, Lunch & Afternoon Tea 
(*) Early Bird applies until 30/04/2010 (price includes GST)

For Bookings click here

Click here for the Symposium presentation program

Pam Bruce (02) 9879 2600 or email to
or Locked Bag 5014 - GLADESVILLE NSW 1675


Dr Joanne Nicholson lecture

Dr J NicholsonThe Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW Inc is delighted to welcome Dr. Joanne Nicholson, Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Center for Mental Health Services in Schizophrenia Awareness Week 2010.

Dr Nicholson will be presenting a special program for families and carers on

Monday May 17 at 6pm.

We can look forward to a very interesting program as Professor Nicholson has spend her academic career working with families, and will present on the topic Mental Illness: Understanding the Impact on Families and How to Help.

Dr. Nicholson will provide an overview of her work in developing education and skills training for people supporting a family member with a mental illness. She is passionate about the need for a ‘family education approach” to dealing with the challenges of mental illness and, in particular, how parents might best be supported in their caring role. 

Inside out Theatrical Reading

The evening will also include a theatrical reading from the ground-breaking play Inside Out. Actors Valerie Bader and Benn Welford will enact the struggles of mother and son, as they come to terms with his emerging schizophrenia.

NSW Parliament House
Parliament House Theatrette
Macquarie Street, Sydney

This is a free event but bookings are essential. Please click here for flyer details