Awardees recognised for achievements

Image NCW Aust Day Awards1 Jan2017

1. L to R: Award recipient, CRRMH, UoN, Victoria Hirst;  CRRMH Research Leader and Academic Representative, Dr Hazel Dalton; Award Recipient, Music UoN Amelia Besseny; UoN Academic Representative Professor Helen English,  Award Recipient, Women’s History UoN, Elicia Taylor; UoN Academic Representative, Professor Victoria Haskins

Image NCW Aust Day Awards Jan 2017

2. L to R: CRRMH Academic Representative, Dr Hazel Dalton; Award recipient, CRRMH, UoN, Victoria Hirst; Patron NCW NSW Mrs Linda Hurley; State Honorary Secretary of CWA, Mrs Annie Kiefer

Photos courtesty of Volunteer Photorgaphy

Congratulation to all the women recognised for their remarkable abilities in their studies, across a diverse range of subjects.

Fifteen women were acknowledged during a ‘Celebrate Being an Australian’ Australia Day Luncheon Awards Ceremony held at Parliament House in Sydney on 27 January. Three of the women were from the University of Newcastle (UoN).

The awards were presented by the Patron of the National Council of Women of NSW, Mrs Linda Hurley. The UoN awardees were as follows:

Victoria Hirst -Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, University of Newcastle

Victoria was recognised for her doctoral work on the role of carers as part of the mental health workforce – in particular the requirements of carers as part of the mental health workforce. This includes investigating specific requirements for carer inclusive practice for rural and remote, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander or other community groups. Dr Hazel Dalton is her academic representative.

The Country Women’s Association sponsored the award (Mrs Annie Kiefer, State Honorary Secretary of CWA was sponsor representative).

Amelia Besseny –Music, University of Newcastle

 Amelia, who is undertaking a PhD in music, was recognised for exploring the social tagging of music online as a creative and community building tool. Amelia's Academic Representative is Prof Helen English (

This award was sponsored by the Women’s Club.

Elicia Taylor –Women's History, University of Newcastle.

Elicia who is undertaking a PhD in Women’s history at UON was recognised for looking at whether the first world war transformed lives of widowed and unmarried women. Elicia gave a thank you speech on behalf of all recipients which was inspiring. Elicia's Academic Representative is Professor Victoria Haskins (

Elicia's award was sponsored by The Women’s Club History circle and The Women’s Pioneer Society of Asia Inc


A little bit more about Victoria’s area of research - Carers and Mental Health

How is carer inclusive practice managed in mental health practice and does this contribute to the recovery of people living with severe and persistent mental illness?

Since the 1950s in Australia, processes of deinstitutionalisation of mental health care has led to greater emphasis upon informal and family carers supporting people with severe and persistent mental illness to live within the community.

Carers, often family members or close friends, provide physical, emotional and financial support, assistance in accessing mental health services when required, monitor moods, assist in medication compliance, manage and provide transport to appointments, provide a financial safety net and advocate for individual treatment and mental health service improvements. Through exploration of the inclusion of carers in mental health services across three rural local health districts in NSW, Victoria's research aims to:

  • Understand, explain and review the processes of involving carers to understand whether recovery outcomes for people with severe and persistent mental illness can be measured and have been realised;
  • Collect evidence on the way in which carers are being included in mental health care planning and practice for people living with severed and persistent mental illness within a sample of NSW rural local health districts; and
  • Develop a theoretical model for mental health services to guide the inclusion of carers in recovery oriented mental health practice in Australia.

 Congratulations to Victoria and all the other women recognised for their significant achievements in their work. These young women have the potential to be the future leaders in their field.

Managing stress over the festive season


Getting stressed at Christmas and the holiday season is very common. Not only do people put a lot of pressure on themselves to cook the largest and best meal ever, but there are also financial pressures, and many find shopping to find gifts for people at this time of the year a nightmare. We are trying to create the Perfect Christmas.

Here are some tips from our panel from our recent ONLINE FORUM on how to manage stress over Christmas:

  1. K.I.S.S principle - Keep it simple Sweetie - don't put too much pressure on yourself. Also the kids need to be occupied - see the Reachout Summer Survival Guide for some tips.
  2. Let family know what you can do and what your limitations are, as overstretching yourself can family can create conflict.
  3. Will you accept help? Sharing the load with other family members could lessen stress levels
  4. Don’t forget to appreciate each other. Maybe Mum needs to hear from you that she is doing a great job and that you don't expect too much!
  5. Aiming for Christmas perfection can be stressful. Might be good to go for less so it's manageable. Also stay in touch with your stress levels and ensure you take some time out (if that is possible).
  6. Others can help by focus on practical things like cleaning up etc

Other tips from our Rural Adversity Mental Health Coordinators include:

- staying connected with family and friends;

- volunteer work with a charity;

- getting involved in social activities such as a community Christmas function;

- being mindful of our diet and getting enough sleep and exercise;

- being careful of excessive alcohol intake and avoiding other substances;

- trying minfulness exercises and relaxation techniques.

Remember it is essential to seek help for any mental health or drug/alcohol concern over this period. Although many services will be closed over the holiday period, support from trained staff is available through the Mental Health Line, Drug & Alcohol Helpline and local hospitals.

If you have any concerns about yourself or a loved one, please contact the Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 (free call for landlines) or Drug & Alcohol Helpline - 1300 887 000.

CRRMH in the Media

R U OK? Day campaign reminds us to reconnect

RUOK SaySomething Work Poster A4 4Steps

This week and particularly R U OK? Day (Thursday September 8 2016) is a reminder for us all to get behind key messages and call to action for the R U OK? Day Reconnect capaign.

 Calls to action include:

-This R U OK? Day, reconnect with someone you've lost touch with

-Start a conversation and help make a difference

-Visit for tips on how to start a conversation.

Visit our RAMHP Facebook page to see some of the R U OK?Day events that RAMHP Coordinators are involved with around NSW. 

Also for anyone who missed our online Forum on Suicide and Mental Health last Friday, you can catch up here.




Researchers closing the gap on Indigenous health


jo-gwynn nicki-turner 12 14

Dr Josephine Gwynn and Nicole Turner affiliated with the CRRMH.

Hunter New England Health clinician and researcher Nicole Turner was honoured at the recent 2014 NSW Aboriginal Health Awards for her work in encouraging nutritious eating, physical activity and healthy weight for indigenous children.

Ms Turner received the Gail May Award which acknowledges those working tirelessly at grassroots level to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the State.

As one of Australia’s few Aboriginal community nutritionists, she has served as Senior Aboriginal Project Officer on the Go4Fun intervention for overweight children and as an investigator with the Many Rivers Diabetes Prevention Project (MRDPP).

“I am honoured to be recognised for doing something I’m really passionate about and feel privileged to work with so many great communities and people,” Ms Turner said. “It is so rewarding to educate young children about a healthy lifestyle and help them change their eating habits.”

Go4Fun focuses on nutrition and physical activity for children aged 7-13, helping parents learn more about healthy shopping, label reading and cooking. As part of this program, Nicole recruited and supported 47 Aboriginal people to train as Go4Fun leaders and also advised on a state-wide model.

Read more: Researchers closing the gap on Indigenous health