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Mental Health support for the Lithgow community

03 Feb 2021


The Lithgow Community Mental Health Service is a team of experienced, compassionate mental health professionals who are passionate about the community they work with and the region they call home.

As part of the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District Mental Health Service, the team operate out of Lithgow Hospital and work alongside local non-government partners and the community to provide valuable prevention, early intervention and recovery support services.

Working in their own community, the team aims to improve mental health, promote recovery and prevent mental illness.

The team are proud to be supporting their own community and strive to deliver a model of care that’s tailored to the community’s needs.

“I love getting out and about in my local area and having the opportunity to talk with, listen to and support those most in need,” says Sonia Cox, Rural Adversity Mental Health Program Coordinator and part of the Lithgow team that operates a number of mental health services in the region.

“Lithgow is home and it is where my heart is. I love the resilience of our local community and their generosity of spirit,” says Ms Cox, who works alongside rural communities, families and farmers in the region to support them during challenging times.

Ms Cox also advises having a conversation with your GP and reaching out to family and friends to help you find support.

“Talk to someone you trust,” says Ms Cox. “There is a saying in my family that ‘Worry is like a rocking chair. It’s something to do but it won’t get you anywhere’. So look after yourself as you can’t pour from an empty cup.”

For mental health support, call the 24-hour Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 or contact the Lithgow Community Mental Health Service direct on 6350 2555 during business hours.

The Lithgow Community Mental Health Service is located at Lithgow Hospital, Cnr Col Drewe Drive & Great Western Highway, Lithgow.

Get to know the Lithgow Community Mental Health team
Lithgow Community Mental Health Service
Alan, Aboriginal Mental Health Liaison Officer

My role focuses on the care, welfare and assistance of Aboriginal people accessing mental health services in hospital or the community to ensure that Aboriginal consumers and their family receive a respectful, culturally responsive and appropriate service. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can access our service upon hospital admission, through GP or Allied Health referral or simply by calling the Lithgow Community Mental Health team.

Lithgow is a friendly and close-knit community. People here support one another and I personally witnessed the efforts of people coming together to battle the bushfires and support one another.

To help stay well, take time out to regather your thoughts, walk, exercise or find a quiet place to relax. Try to see the positives in situations that life presents to you. If things get too hard or you’re overwhelmed, find someone you can talk to. Remember, you don’t need to suffer in silence.

Lithgow Community Mental Health Service
Brian, Registered Nurse

As a registered nurse with both general and mental health experience, my role includes assessing the general physical and mental health of consumers and providing assessment and triage to people in crisis. This work gives me the chance to make a real difference in people’s lives.

We get a lot of people presenting to our service via Council referrals, but you could also come to see us through a referral from your GP or by self-presenting at our service at Lithgow Hospital.

To stay mentally well, don’t overwork and learn to let go of work when you get home. Ensure you find ways to unwind which work for you. It’s important to pursue your interests and relax outside of work.

Lithgow Community Mental Health Service
Bruce, Registered Nurse

I work with people who have serious mental illness who need support to remain in the community and to live at home. I feel privileged to work in the heart of the community. I enjoy seeing people live better lives and being part of that process.

To access mental health support if you need it, phone the Mental Health Line: 1800 011 511. You can also present to Lithgow Hospital in business hours and ask to see the mental health team or be referred by other agencies like the police, Family & Community Services or non-government agencies. Our policy is to be available any way you want to find us.

Mental health and physical health have a lot to do with each other, so eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, less fast food and exercise more. Have something purposeful to do; if you’re not working, consider volunteering. You’ll meet great people and have the satisfaction of helping others. If drugs and/or alcohol are a problem help is available. You deserve happiness!

Lithgow Community Mental Health Service
Claire, Social Work student

As a student, I’m learning how to be a social worker while supporting clients and team members.

Every day is different and I’m learning new things all the time from the Lithgow Community Mental Health team, from clients and from other community organisations in Lithgow.

To stay mentally well, get enough rest, eat well and exercise. Cherish the people and animals in your life and look for friends who see who you are, not what they need you to be.

Lithgow Community Mental Health Service
George, Registered Nurse

My role includes community case management and registered nurse duties, including aspects of psychosocial care. I can work with addiction issues, parental modelling, grief resolution, anger management and other psycho-educational issues. I’m also skilled at mindfulness practice.

Life can be challenging and overwhelming. If you need help to achieve changes in your life, call us.   Drink less alcohol and laugh more. Pat your dog or cat. There is no shame in being you; practice your culture, sing your songs and beat your drum. Show respect to your elders – of all cultures. Wave to your friends. Remember, they chose you.

We are here if you need help. You can call us directly on 6350-2555 and self refer, or just drop in. You can also ring the Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 There are no wrong doors in our practice. If people feel like they need us, then they do.

Lithgow Community Mental Health Service
Hilary, Career Medical Officer

Lithgow is a special little town which I have been visiting as a doctor for years. It is both very Australian but also reminds me a lot of a typical English mining town which helps me feel at home.

My job allows me to meet lots of people. I enjoy listening to their experiences and problems, and seeing what can be done to improve their situation.

To access mental health support, call the Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 – this allows people to access the nearest Mental Health Service to their location. An assessment can be organised at a time to suit. However, in a life threatening situation it is better to call 000.

I think it is important for people to know it is always OK to ask for help, and that applies to us as professionals as well as those we identify as clients. 

Lithgow Community Mental Health Service
Jacob, Occupational Therapist

My role involves helping people to figure out what they are good at and what they find difficult. I work with them to build on their strengths and find new ways to manage what might be difficult. I also help people to access services that might give extra support if they need it.

I encourage people who need support to call the Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511, visit their GP to access a mental health care plan or lean on their friends, family and their community.

To stay well, make time to do the things that you find meaningful and that give you a sense of purpose, don't let other people tell you what those things should be. Trust your own expertise on your own life, stay connected to others and be open to help if you need it.

Lithgow Community Mental Health Service
Mara, Social Worker

My role is primarily case management which can involve visiting people in their homes, organising medical appointments, building safe and trusting relationships, engaging with families and making sure clients feel supported in the community.

I enjoy working with diverse kinds of people and hearing about their stories. Every person has their own unique experiences and personalities. I also feel privileged to work with the staff at Lithgow Community Mental Health Service as each person brings their own strengths and abilities to the workplace.

Self-care and knowing your limitations are very important. Doing things you enjoy and surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people as often as possible are also very important to staying mentally well.

Lithgow Community Mental Health Service
Michael, Team Leader and Social Worker

I coordinate and supervise the clinical work of the team to create a centre of excellence in the community. I really enjoy serving the soul of Lithgow. This community has a strength, resilience and spirit of place.

Finding an awareness practice that doesn’t neglect the body will help you to stay well. Walk, stretch, lift weights; do it often and in the community. Be still, go slow and know what nourishes you. Reaching out to others is a good way to support your own mental health.

If you need mental health support, call us or walk into our office at the hospital during business hours. You can also call the Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.

Lithgow Community Mental Health Service 
Robert, Clinical Nurse Specialist

My role involves the initial assessment and brief management of emergency department presentations as well as consultation or liaison with service providers regarding recommended best practise.

I enjoy working in Lithgow because there is a strong sense of community and an enthusiasm in how best to meet the challenges of an evolving situation.

Managing the basics, such as sleep, diet, exercise and relaxing or self-nurturing can help you to stay mentally well. It’s important to check in with friends or family and access a wide variety of supports as and when they are needed.

Lithgow Community Mental Health Service
Sara, Clinical Psychologist and Farm Gate Psychologist

I work with the clients of the Lithgow Community Mental Health Service. I also provide support and work with rural families and farmers in the local region to address the challenges of living on the land and coping with rural adversity.

To help stay well, I encourage balanced eating and regular exercise. Have a good sleep schedule, avoid or minimise any substance use (drugs and alcohol) that can affect your energy levels or mood (including sugar and caffeine), and appreciate the small things. Staying connected with others and having a philosophy and approach to life that is your anchor can help to guide you through tough times.

To access mental health support, talk with friends and family members to help you find services, talk to your GP or call the Mental Health Line. Look up ‘Mental Health services near me’ on your mobile, computer or at a library, also consider attending community and Rural Adversity Mental Health Program events and gatherings.

Lithgow Community Mental Health Service
Sonia, Rural Adversity Mental Health Program Coordinator (RAMHP)

I work alongside communities, families and farmers in our local region during times of challenge and adversity. I link people to local mental health services and educate workplaces and communities about mental health and wellbeing. RAMHP embodies my values by making sure people in rural and remote NSW know who to turn to for the services they need and are supported to access these services.

Lithgow is home and it is where my heart is. I love the resilience of our local community and their generosity of spirit.

There is a saying in my family, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It’s something to do but it won’t get you anywhere.” So walk along a beach, touch the bark on a tree, or dip your toes into a creek. This will ignite something positive within and you will walk away taller, happier and more grounded to yourself and the ones you love.

For support, talk to family or friends or see your GP and have a conversation. Look up mental health services online, go to the RAMHP website, ring the Mental Health Line or attend community and RAMHP events.

Lithgow Community Mental Health Service
Tanya, Administration Officer

Lithgow is a great place to work and I enjoy meeting and greeting people while answering phone calls and doing reception duties.

My tips for staying mentally well are to take up a creative hobby, eat healthy and go for a walk regularly. To access mental health support, call the Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.

Lithgow Community Mental Health Service
Tony, Social Worker

I case manage and support Lithgow Community Mental Health clients. I enjoy working in the community and visiting people to ensure they are safe and well.

To stay mentally well, consider and implement a ‘balanced lifestyle’. Balance between work, home or any other activity. Have a good diet and engaging exercise activities, maintain your contact with family and friends, and speak to them if you are concerned about your own wellbeing. Be open to their advice, as they care. The local saying of, “It ain’t too weak to speak” is an apt saying here.

If you need mental help support, call the Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 People can also be referred by their GP, Police or other community services, or just call or walk into our Lithgow Community Mental Health Service for a mental health assessment.