Inner West Publications and Media

Mental Health Week BBQ

On the 8th October 2009, a Mental Health Week celebration was held in Eora Garden in Summer Hill.


Mental Health Week is an awareness-raising initiative to promote social and emotional wellbeing. The theme this year was “Building Resilience” through ‘signing up, linking in and getting involved’.

The celebration saw many members of the local community coming together to share a BBQ lunch.

One young lady who has schizophrenia shared her story with the group, and her mother spoke about her experience of caring for a loved one who has a mental illness. A singer also performed some acoustic songs for those gathered in the community garden.

The celebration was a collaborative event organised by Mary MacKillop Outreach, Inner West Respite Services a service of the Schizophrenia Fellowship and Ashfield Council.

Ruth Paillas of Ashfield Council said an event like this is all about community education. “Celebrating Mental Health Week is about people coming together to share space in our community to learn, listen and be in each others company. It is essential that we understand mental health in a community context as well as at an individual level, so that we can increase our understanding of mental illness and how it is experienced by people living in our community.

“We are continuing to work towards an agenda for social inclusion and supporting the most disadvantaged people in our community and these events are part of that approach,” she said.

Peregrin Chiara of Mary MacKillop Outreach said that the day had a number of very positive outcomes. “The day really brought people together. We had people who live in boarding houses interacting with other members of the community. Both groups seemed like they were genuinely enjoying themselves and each other’s company. I hope the Summer Series continues to achieve similar outcomes.”

Legacy Services Forum

On Friday 18th September Legacy Australia held a Services Forum for their Legacy volunteers from across NSW and the organisations Community Service Workers (CSW). This Forum was focused on the ageing Carers/Legacy Widows and their son or daughter who is a person with a disability or a person with a mental health illness and addressing the needs of these individuals. Other services invited to the forum include Carers NSW and Department of Aging, Disability and Home Care (DADHC). Catherine Tavernese and Elaine Ho from our Inner West Respite Services presented to a group of 50 Legatees and CSWs exploring different mental illnesses and different services to go to in different circumstances.

Legacy is an organisation of veterans, servicemen and women and other volunteers who share the ideals of Legacy and are dedicated to the care of the dependants of Australian Defence Force members, after the death of a spouse or parent during service, and to Australian and Allied families after operational service. They currently care for 115,000 widows and 1900 children and dependants throughout Australia. Legacy is dedicated to enhancing the lives and opportunities of families through innovative and practical programs aimed at the protection of individuals and families basic needs; advocating for their entitlements, rights and benefits; assisting families through bereavement; and helping people thrive, despite their adversity and loss.

The issue of the ‘Aged Carer’ and the dependant child when they are no longer able to care for them and the fear “who will care for my son or daughter when I can not?” was one of the major concerns at the forum.

TranSCRIBE Young Writers Competition Award Ceremony

The TranSCRIBE Young Writers Competition is run in conjunction with Transcultural Mental Health Centres and the Blackdog Institute. This year presents us with 7th Transcribe Young Writers Competition – the competition is run biannually, and this year’s theme was “Like a Fish Out of Water”. The competition provides young people the opportunity to express themselves creatively through writing about issues that may directly impact their lives in multicultural Australia. The competition was open to all young people, between the ages of 12 and 19 across New South Wales. The two topics this year were:

Topic 1: a young person (could be themselves) coping with mental health issues either personally, in their family or with their friends; or

Topic 2: about the experiences of a young person from a culturally and linguistically diverse community that is or was living in difficult times, either in Australia or overseas.

TranSCRIBE Young Writers Competition Award Ceremony


On Wednesday 23rd September the award ceremony was conducted for this competition. It was held at ANZ Stadium in Homebush and attendees had the privilege to be inspired by author and screenwriter Melina Marchetta, who has written multiple books relating to the societal struggles faced by adolescents in our multicultural society including the award-winning novels ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ and ‘Saving Francesca’. There was also performances conducted by the Bankstown Intensive English Centre’s (IEC) Drumming Group who were highly entertaining. The ceremony concluded with a Youth Services Expo with various Mental Health organisations such as Beyond Blue, Rosemount Youth Services, Carers NSW presenting and offering helpful information to those who attended.

Stress Management Group

The Inner West Respite Service conducted a Stress Management Program for carers in the Inner West area. This program includes Kinesiology which is a non evasive method of using the muscles of the body as a feedback mechanism to assist in the reduction of stress; Reiki which is an ancient Tibetan health healing technique; Sandplay therapy which allows individuals to enter their own world of healing using symbols and Art Therapy. This group was held for six weeks at the Burwood Office and the group consists of carers from varied cultures such as Turkish, Chinese and Lebanese.

Stress Management Group

Burwood Respite House

Respite Services has co-located with Sydney South West Area Health Services at Burwood Respite in Sydney since February 2009.; The partnership has provided an increased opportunity for friends and family caring for people with a mental illness to take a break.  One family has been able to take a trip overseas to visit family that they have not seen in 15 years.  Burwood Respite has provided the care recipient with a safe and secure environment to stay while their family is away.  Additionally, the care recipient staying at Burwood Respite will have the opportunity to build on their existing living skills and increase their independence.  Burwood Respite is a semi-independent, centrally located 8 bed centre providing emergency or planned short term residential respite for referred male and female mental health consumers across NSW.

Chinese Health Awareness Day

The Inner West Respite Services sponsored a Chinese Health Awareness Day on the 13th of May at Ashfield in partnership with the Australian Nursing Home Foundation, Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre Inner West and the Chinese Australian Service Society.

The aim of the day was to provide information and education about recognising symptoms and accessing services. The three speakers Dr Bernard Tse, Dr Ernest Tam and psychologist Noris Ma presented on osteoporosis, dementia and mental health. The presentations were in Cantonese and translated to Mandarin.

Inner West Respite Services and Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre Inner West facilitated a discussion group on mental health. Some of the outcomes of the workshop were to reach hidden carers of people with mental illness and to reduce stigma. The Inner West Respite Services has a support worker who speaks Chinese, both Mandarin and Cantonese. Additionally, we have a culturally and linguistically diverse worker. The day was very successful with 110 attendees.

To find out more about the Inner West Respite Services please call (02) 9747 8616 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            (02) 9747 8616      end_of_the_skype_highlighting