Mental Illness doesn't discriminate, but do you?

‘Mental health issues can affect anyone’; that’s the message and ‘anyone and everyone’ is being invited to discuss at a free Mental Health Week Forum this Thursday 9.30am to 12 noon at Newcastle West.


Held during Mental Health Week (Monday 7 to Sunday 13 October), the Mental Health Week Forum is an initiative of CatholicCare Social Services and the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle’s Social Justice Council.


CatholicCare Social Services Director, Lisa Short, says the day aims to provide an opportunity for people to learn more about mental distress and hear from an expert panel about mental health issues.


“The forum provides an opportunity for people who may have, or who may know someone with, mental health issues to ask questions and hear from an expert panel about how mental health concerns can affect not only the individual, but those around them too,” Mrs Short said.


“Mental illness doesn’t discriminate; it can affect anyone, at any age, any demographic or race but sadly, that’s a message some people in the community still don’t fully understand and sometimes people with mental health issues can find they are discriminated against. CatholicCare and the diocese are working to change that.


“We want people in the community who may have mental health issues to know that they’re not alone, that there are support services available to them locally and we will be providing a session on mental well-being and mindfulness as part of the forum too.”


The panel of experts who will be speaking at the forum includes the Director of HEAS Consultant and Clinical Psychologists, Roger Peters PhD and a former Newcastle Knights player, Owen Craigie, who contemplated suicide and overcame a three year gambling addiction to become a Mission Australia gambling counsellor.


Roger and Owen will be joined by registered psychologist and team leader of the counselling team at CatholicCare, Tanya Russell and Consumer Consultant with Hunter New England Local Health District, Liz Newton.


All are welcome to attend the FREE Mental Health Forum from 9.30am to 12 noon at the Victor Peters Suite, 843 Hunter St, Newcastle West.  For more information, contact Lorrain Checketts P 4979 1290, or email


For all media enquiries, please phone Communications Manager, Emma Blackford, on 0419 263 901.