16th NSW Rural Mental Health Conference

Making the Most of Change: Building Mental Health Futures

Aboriginal PaintingOn behalf of the Conference Organising Committee, we invite you to join us at the 16th NSW Rural Mental Health Conference in Albury. This year's conference is a collaborative effort between the Murrumbidgee Local Health District and the NSW Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health.

Albury is situated on the banks of the scenic Murray River in southwest NSW. Adjoining this unique and beautiful location is the Victorian city of Wodonga. Albury is located on the Hume Highway about 310 kms northeast of Melbourne and 570 kms southwest of Sydney.

This region will see the full implementation of the Albury Wodonga Health Service in the next couple of years - the only existing cross border health service in Australia and a joint initiative of the governments of New South Wales and Victoria. Transformations like this demonstrate the constantly changing face of health service delivery in rural Australia.

The theme for the 2013 Rural Mental Health Conference is "Making the most of change – building mental health futures".

Rural communities within NSW and Victoria have been adversely impacted by serious drought, bush fires and floods in recent times; discussions about the future of rural mental health services should include the effects of climate change. The ANU's Professor Tony McMichael writes that rural and remote communities can expect to feel the increasing brunt of environmental adversity

"… as global climate change progresses over coming decades, dust, smoke, flames, water and wind will impinge more damagingly on many of Australia's rural and remote communities. Property, harvests, incomes, jobs and community vitality are at risk. More troubling, there are great risks to physical and, in particular, mental health." [Australian Journal of Rural Health, October 2011]

In addition to environmental events, rural mental health services face and overcome many challenges including: fewer resources; poorer access to services; limited availability of key health professionals; poorer health status; lower socio-economic status communities and the tyranny of distance. The conference will showcase the adaptability and innovation of rural mental health services in meeting these current and future challenges.

This year's conference will focus around the following themes:

  • Comorbidity - drug and alcohol
  • Indigenous mental health
  • Innovative models of care
  • Innovative practice in rural areas
  • Rural adversity, vulnerability and adaptability to climate change
  • Ageing population
  • Workforce - education and building future mental health services
  • Health services challenges and partnerships
  • Lived experiences
  • Prevention - creating healthier communities
  • Recovery

The Murrumbidgee Local Health District spans the beautiful rolling foothills of the Great Dividing Range and plains of the Riverina. Albury has many attractions during spring. Delegates will find first class accommodation and great restaurants. Albury is the gateway to the Victorian Alps and in close proximity to many sporting and cultural activities.

The Organising Committee is inviting eight keynote speakers. Please set the conference dates in your diaries and join us for what will be a landmark conference.

We look forward to seeing you in November.

Robyn Manzie, Director of Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Services for the Murrumbidgee Local Health District and Prasuna Reddy, Director Centre for Rural & Remote Mental Health Professor, School of Medicine & Public Health, University of Newcastle (2013 Co-Convenors)

Who Should Attend

  • Non-government organisations
  • Nurses
  • Workers in the provision of rural mental
  • Health services
  • Public health services
  • Private health services
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Rehabilitation Consultants
  • Health Professionals
  • Allied Health Professionals
  • Carers
  • Academics
  • Educational Institutions
  • General Practitioners
  • Local/State/Governments

Sponsors 2013

Australian College of Mental Health Nurses

Program Released

Click here to view the program - ensure pop-ups and new windows are not blocked.ACROBAT PDF

Download a pdf version

Confirmed Keynotes

The Hon. Kevin Humphries MP
Member for Barwon, Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Healthy Lifestyles and Minister for Western NSW

Commissioner John Feneley
Mental Health Commission of NSW

Dr Sadanand Rajkumar
Senior Psychiatrist and Conjoint Professor, University of Newcastle

Suzanne Dunford
Principal Program Officer in Impact and Adaptation, Office of Environment and Heritage, Department of Premier and Cabinet

Mr Peter Carter
Acting Director, Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Office, NSW Ministry of Health

Dr Ning Ding
Post-doc Fellow, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health

Professor Prasuna Reddy
Director, Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health University of Newcastle and NSW Ministry of Health

Professor Pat Dudgeon
School of Indigenous Studies, University of Western Australia

Dr Allison Rowlands
Director, Welfare Service for Police and Emergency Services

A/Professor Nick Lintzeris
Addiction Medicine, Central Clinical School, University of Sydney

Dr Matthew Cullen
Group Executive, Medibank Health Solutions


  • Robyn Manzie (Co-convenor) - MLHD Director Mental Health Drug & Alcohol – Murrumbidgee Local Health District
  • Alison Thorne - MHDA Community Manager - Murrumbidgee Local Health District
  • Sonya Bull -MHDA Governance Manager - Murrumbidgee Local Health District
  • Glen Reeks - MHDA Finance Manager - Murrumbidgee Local Health District
  • Craig Martin - MHDA Manager Inpatient Services/MHECS/Director of Nursing MHDA - Murrumbidgee Local Health District
  • Graham Garland - Acting MHDA Manager Service Development, Reportable Projects & Planning - Murrumbidgee Local Health District
  • Dennis Churchill - MHDA Manager Service Development, Reportable Projects & Planning - Murrumbidgee Local Health District
  • Prof Prasuna Reddy (Co-convenor) - Director CRRMH - School of Medicine & Public Health - University of Newcastle
  • Ian Rawson - District Coordinator, Specialist Mental Health Services for Older People (SMHSOP) and Mental Health Drug & Alcohol Disaster Response - Western NSW Local Health District
  • Len Kanowski - Senior Advisor, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social and Emotional Wellbeing Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health - NSW Ministry of Health & University of Newcastle