The Importance of Holidays for People Living with a Mental Illness
People living with a mental illness can be disadvantaged in many ways, whether due to the symptoms of their illness, the side effects of medication, the stigma they experience within society or the loss of income due to reduced ability to work. For these reasons, it can be extremely difficult for them to plan and pay for social activities – something that many people take for granted.
Leisure and rest are vital for the psychological well-being of any person. Holidays for people with a mental illness have the added benefit of providing respite for their carers. This respite break increases carer well-being so they can continue their invaluable role of caring for people with mental illness in the community.
Through these holidays, participants are able to enjoy recreational activities and opportunities. Most importantly, the holiday will help build their social and interpersonal skills and enable them to establish and strengthen their social support networks. It will also help increase their community participation, which is a critical step to social rehabilitation.
The people who provide care in the community will benefit with respite from their daily caring duties. Through the Holiday Program, participants will enjoy:
• A break or time out from usual routine
• Relaxation and rejuvenation
• Meeting new people, making new friends
• Learning new skills, taking on new challenges
• Seeing new places in NSW
• A chance to build self-confidence
History of the Program
The SFNSW has enjoyed many successful years of holidays for participants across the state. 2008 marked significant growth in this area where Recovery Services adopted the concept and ran a total of six individual holidays. A greatly appreciated partnership with NSW Sport and Recreation has enabled so many, with so little, the opportunity of richly deserved respite in many magnificent sites across the state.
• A holiday at the Sport and Recreation Centre at Milson Island in May and June
• A unique Yuletide experience at the Blue Mountains in July
• A holiday at the Sport and Recreation Centre at Myuna Bay in September
• A holiday at the Sport and Recreation Centre at Jindabyne in December
• The annual Christmas holiday at the Sport and Recreation Centre at Broken Bay, which polished off an extraordinary year of outcomes.
In 2009, Recovery Services partnered with Respite Services, another division of the Schizophrenia Fellowship, in the Holiday Program to maximise the total holiday experience for both people living with a mental illness and their carers.
In 2009 holidays were enjoyed at the Sport and Recreation Centres at Point Wolstoncroft, Lake Burrendong, and Narrabeen. We are optimistic the Holiday Program will continue to have a positive impact.
The first camp for 2012 was held at Broken Bay Sport and Recreation Centre on May 21st-24th. All of our participants enjoyed a variety of activities including archery, the high ropes, boomerang throwing and the chance to enjoy the warmth of an afternoon campfire after a long afternoon walk on the beach.
The Holiday Program accesses venues which provide a range of fantastic recreational activities in relaxed and ecological settings.
Through the Schizophrenia Fellowship's relationship with NSW Sport and Recreation, and other similar operations, the Holiday Program accesses ideal locations throughout the state including the Sanctuary Respite Centre at North Head Manly and the Gundair Homestead at Tooraweenah (near Gilgandra).
To participate in the Holiday program you should:
• Be in sufficient good health to enjoy the benefits of a holiday and;
• Be living with a mental illness and have a family member or friend who provides you with regular support; or
• Be caring for someone who is living with a mental illness.
Who is a Carer?
A carer is a person who provides regular or sustained care and assistance to another person without payment for the caring role other than a pension or benefit.
A carer does not have to live with, or be related to the person with mental illness.
Participants are encouraged to contribute to the cost of the holiday if possible.
Our Holiday Program provides respite opportunities for both people living with a mental illness and their carers. Please take a look at some of our past holidays:
“I have now got over my fear of heights, thanks to abseiling and the ropes course. I have made lots of new friends and the empowering that I have got out of this holiday is overwhelming. The food was great and the staff were excellent. All activities were great. I can now go forward with my head held high and have confidence in myself. Thank you.”
Participant - Point Wolstoncroft
“The holiday gave me the opportunity of doing something fun with people that understood people with a mental illness. It’s something I would not get any other way. It has been like a ray of sunshine. Thank you so much.”
Participant - Katoomba
How to Apply
If you would like to receive an application form for an upcoming Holiday or receive more information please contact us.
For promotional material relating to the Holiday program, please contact us.
Further Information & Useful Resources
Please be advised that some of these links will direct you outside of the SFNSW website and we can take no responsibility for their content and are not necessarily affiliated with those organizations in any way. If the resources or links contain any offensive or inaccurate information, please contact us.