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February 2017


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Staff member recognised for community contribution

When Sandra McDonald began her volunteer work in the Macarthur region in 2000, she had a vision to open a mental health recovery centre in Campbelltown.
Within eight years the centre was opened, and her dream expanded to improve more facilities in the region.
In October, Ms McDonald was recognised for her 16 years of volunteer work being named both the Senior Volunteer of the Year and overall 2016 Sydney South West – Macarthur Volunteer of the Year for her work with the Beautiful Minds Community Committee and acute mental health unit.
Ms McDonald, President of Beautiful Minds and Carer Consultant at Partners in Recovery SWS, a partner of South Western Sydney PHN, said she was drawn to volunteer in mental health having experienced the lack of services available in the region for her son with schizophrenia.
“When I came into this mess, what I didn’t like about mental health was that it’s such a second cousin to primary health care and I wanted to change that,” she said.
“Our vision was to open a mental health recovery centre in partnership with Schizophrenia NSW and from then on continue to raise funds to support mental health programs in South Western Sydney.
“In 2008 we opened Harmony House and since have completed extensions twice with money raised through Beautiful Minds.”
Harmony House, Campbelltown, provides intensive support to people suffering a mental illness through the Day 2 Day Living Program. This initiative was funded by the Department of Health and supported by NSW Health.
Ms McDonald said the dream for Beautiful Minds moving forward was to continue to improve local facilities and raise mental health awareness.
“My particular focus is on acute mental health units – I see them as forgotten places, forgotten by everyone except the people in crisis,” she said.
Beautiful Minds is on the hunt for more volunteers in the Macarthur region for its bi-monthly stalls, mental health projects, Mad Hatters Dinner and Waratah Day. To be a volunteer you must have your own transport. For more information contact Sandra at Beautiful Minds on

Australia Day honours for two local GPs 

Australia Day 2017 was a special day for both Dr John Flynn and Dr Vinh Binh Lieu (pictured).
Bankstown GP Dr Vinh Binh Lieu was awarded with the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to medicine and to the community on Australia Day this year.
Dr Lieu is the founder of the Vietnamese-Australian Medical Association, and has edited a bilingual medical magazine.
Dr John Terry Flynn, Director of Medical Services at Bowral and District Hospital, was also honoured with an OAM for service to medicine and medical administration. Dr Flynn has been a chair of the Peer Review Committee for Bowral and District Hospital and chair/vice secretary/secretary of the Medical Officers’ Association. He was also chair of the Southern Highlands Division of General Practice.

National Male Health Conference

Held over two days, this program will be of interest to men and women working in men’s health and related fields, discussing issues like male suicide, family violence, trends in men’s health, working with ATSI males and GBTI males as well as exploring the challenges facing boys and young men. Click here to find out more about NEW MALE UPDATED PROGRAM  
Elders’ Olympics
Elders from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are invited to participate in the Olympic games organised by Macarthur Disability Services and supported by SWSPHN and other organisations. Elders must be 50 years of age or over to participate and participants must provide a medical clearance or bring one with them on the day to participate in the activities, however, they can come and watch if they are unable or don’t wish to get one. Teams will compete in groups of 10 plus 3 reserves and a manager.
To enquire contact Ruth Maginness,
Macarthur Disability Services on 02 4621 8400
Down Files 

Creating Links releases its social and community activities plan

Creating Links is a registered NDIS provider. They offer support coordination, plan management, assistance with social and community participation, assistance with daily life, and much more.
The new social and community activities plan for term 1 2017 includes activities such as music and craft classes, sports, bowling, and social support activities for youth and children, click here for more information.

New parents group for pregnant women and parents to be in Fairfield 

Pregnant women, parents experiencing the birth of a new baby and parents with children under 3 years of age are invited to this group which will talk about various topics such as communication, Triple P, child health, child development, sleep and settling and child nutrition
WHEN: Every Tuesday 10am – 12pm during school term
WHERE: 625 Cabramatta Road, Cabramatta West.
Limited transport available for families living in Fairfield LGA
For more information, please contact:
Group Coordinator Rossana Mendoza, Catholic Care Cabramatta West on (02) 8784 6222 or

Back to school health tips for parents

Registrations now open for Amp Camp 2017 

With children now back at school,  infections are common and often lead to illness. Children entering school for the first time, or after a long break or holidays, may not have been exposed to many germs that cause infection.
To stop infections, here are some quick tips and information to Learn how to wash hands properly  and Keep up to date with immunisations. More information on cough & sneeze etiquette can also be found here,
Remember to clean surfaces regularly and keep unwell children at home as much as possible.
Amp camp is a camp is for Kids living with Limb Difference and/or amputation and hosted by the Amputee Association of Sydney for Australian youth aged 12 years and over with amputation, limb loss or limb difference.
It provides a unique opportunity for those youth to share an amazing weekend together. To discover they have difference but they are not alone.

For further enquiries

email or call  1800 810 969 or visit their website.

Let's change the story: Violence against women  

Our Watch, an organisation established to drive nationwide change in the culture, behaviours and power imbalances that lead to violence against women and their children, has put together a campaign called “Change the Story”.
What the Our Watch framework makes clear is that gender inequality is the core of the problem and it is the heart of the solution.
Click here to watch change the story YouTube video clip
For more information on Our Watch click here. 

Keeping children safe

Keeping Children Safe is a free course for families with children on topics such as protective behaviours, building your child’s self-esteem, creating a safe relationship with your child, keeping your child safe in your home and more.
Bookings are essential.
Call 0402 787 571 to register or email
Keeping Children Safe
Where: Rotary Community Centre
34 North Parade Campsie
When: 5x Thursday nights
16 February – 16 March 2017
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Stepping on fitness program 
Free workshops for qualified exercise leaders in South West Sydney (with 6 CECs for successful completion of the workshop).
The schedule is for 2017 (February onwards) and includes workshops targeting Spanish, Vietnamese, and Aboriginal.
Those wishing to complete the workshop must register to attend.
Download forms here

If you or a  family member is sick and your regular GP is closed, do you know your after hours options?

It is important you call your regular GP first as they may already have after hours options in place. If not, watch this video to find out other ways to receive medical attention.
Click to play
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South Western Sydney PHN · Level 3, 1 Bolger Street · Campbelltown, Nsw 2560 · Australia

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