Greater Sydney Commission brings leading mental health experts to Wollondilly

Warragamba Panorama

Greater Sydney Commission brings leading mental health experts to Wollondilly

Posted on: 09.03.2017

On 27 February Wollondilly Shire Council and Wollondilly Health Alliance (WHA) was delighted to host leading mental health experts from around the world for the “Urban Collaborative – Supporting Mental Health and Wellbeing in Cities”. The visit, which was organised by the Greater Sydney Commission, looked at how better planned cities can improve residents mental health and formed part of the “International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership” (IIMHL) conference.

18 delegates from the UK, the US, Canada, Sweden, New Zealand and Australia were accompanied by Heather Nesbitt, Greater Sydney Commission’s Social Commissioner, and John Feneley, NSW Mental Health Commissioner. Both Commissioners addressed the attendees on the correlation between liveable cities and residents’ mental health.

“The two day collaborative built relationships and shared knowledge on how mental health could be addressed as part of a broader city agenda,” said Ms Nesbitt.

“It provided an unique opportunity to learn from mental health experts from around the world on how planning liveable cities can improve residents’ mental health.”

Wollondilly Shire Council was selected as the sole local government area to take part in the collaborative because of our proven ability to integrate health and wellbeing considerations into our strategic planning and operations.

The Council forms part of the Wollondilly Health Alliance with South Western Sydney Primary Health Network and South Western Sydney Local Health District and recently adopted a Social Planning Strategy designed to help prepare for the substantial growth the area is undergoing. The Wollondilly Health Alliance is chaired by Council’s General Manager, Luke Johnson.

“Wollondilly is undergoing unprecedented interest in growth at the moment including the planned creation of a major new town at Wilton with a population of up to 50,000,” said Luke Johnson, General Manager of Wollondilly Shire Council.

“So we are ensuring that we have a strategic approach to delivering social sustainability, quality of life and community wellbeing to current and future communities.”

During the visit WHA projects such as the ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’, ‘Dilly Wanderer, the ‘Wollondilly Diabetes Project’ and the ‘Healthy Towns’ project were showcased. These projects highlighted what can be done to improve the health and wellbeing of a population by delivering integrated care in the community with the goal of reducing hospital visits.

The conversation throughout the visit was extremely positive with lived experiences and well-informed advice shared from around the world.

 “The take home message for the Wollondilly Health Alliance was the importance of continuing to work collaboratively with the Federal and State Governments to achieve better health and wellbeing outcomes for our community,” said Paige Brown, Wollondilly Health Alliance Project Manager.

The Wollondilly Health Alliance is a key leader for such a model in Sydney.

For more information on the Urban Collaborative – Supporting Mental Health and Wellbeing in Cities or the Wollondilly Health Alliance contact the Wollondilly Health Alliance Project Manager on 0476 832 545.

To organise an interview with the Greater Sydney Commission’s Social Commissioner, Heather Nesbitt, and Wollondilly Shire Council’s General Manager contact Council’s Communications team on 4677 9644