Celebrating new federal funding for mental health care and D&A support were (rear) Terry McGrath Namatjira Haven Team Leader, Vicky Bardon Namatjira Haven Board Member and Mental Health First Aid Training Mentor, Dian Edwards Namatjira Haven Team Leader, Kevin Hogan Federal MP for Page, Jeff Richardson Rekindling the Spirit Service Manager; (front) Colin Marsh Namatjira Haven Mental Health Trainer, Sharmaine Keogh Rekindling the Spirit Counsellor, Roger Bartholomew Rekindling the Spirit Youth Worker, Dr Vahid Saberi North Coast PHN Chief Executive.

Increasingly committed to addressing regional mental health issues, the federal government is allocating new funding of $115,000 to train Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid staff and expand the residential capacity of Namatjira Haven Drug and Alcohol Healing Centre.

Announcing the funding boost at Namatjira Haven, on the outskirts of Alstonville, Federal MP for Page Kevin Hogan said the training will be coordinated by the Indigenous organisation Rekindling the Spirit.

The mental health package of $31,910, along with $83,186 to expand the centre’s capacity from 14 to 16 beds, is provided through the North Coast Primary Health Network’s commissioning funds.

“Mental health is an issue for our entire community that I take very seriously and will continue to lobby to make sure we get the resources we need to help our Indigenous community,” Mr Hogan said.

“This funding will help build the skills of our local mental health and drug workforce so that they can more confidently respond to clients and build community resilience.”


The acclaimed exercise program NeuroMoves has announced that potential clients with spinal cord and similar disabilities will now be offered two-hour initial assessments free of charge.

The only requirement is for people to become members of Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA), the organisation that runs the program that began operating last month from a dedicated gym space in Southern Cross University’s Health Clinic on the Lismore campus.

SCIA membership for people with a disability and their immediate family and carers is also free. Inquiries can also be directed to 1800 819 775 or locally to 0403 091 364.

Social Futures CEO Tony Davies with Kevin Hogan, Federal MP for Page, at the announcement of extra funding for youth mental health services.

The not-for-profit organisation Social Futures will now be managing the Lismore branch of the early intervention youth mental health service Headspace, with government funding also enabling an expansion of much-needed services to Casino and Kyogle.

On 9 March the Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan announced funding of almost $1.4 million, saying, “It is often difficult for young people in our smaller towns like Casino and Kyogle to access the services they need compared to those living near Lismore. These new services fill that gap”.

The funding follows last fortnight’s announcement of a new Headspace planned for Grafton, along with a number of other mental health programs that will service the Clarence Valley.

Chris Hendry pictured with former Australian Test cricketer Adam Gilchrist, one of Chris's greatest admirers.

Multi-award winning sportsman Chris Hendry, a person with disabilities who lives in Ballina, discusses his achievements with GP Speak’s Robin Osborne.

The first remarkable thing when meeting Chris Hendry is his powerful handshake, which could hold dangers for the unwary. However, there is no attempted dominance about Chris’s grip - it is simply the way he is: straightforward, self confident and as fit as a fiddle. Despite all, one might perhaps add.

After learning of his multiple achievements in the sporting world, from athletics to cricket and even ten-pin bowling and snooker, I was keen to see him in action. Unfortunately the cricket season was ending by this time, so all on offer was a sampling of Chris in action at the Ballina nets, and even then it was case of light-duties as he had recently damaged his shoulder bowling in a representative state game.

Peak - Reinventing Middle Age, by Patricia & Don Edgar (Text Publishing)

High profile and high-energy octogenarians Patricia and Don Edgar have “both experienced the ambivalence that accompanies ageing”, adding that while “life continues to offer opportunities and enjoyment, physically we are slower; our bodies need more maintenance.”

Since finishing careers in, amongst other things, TV production and family studies, they have kept themselves admirably busy in researching and writing about a range of issues relating to Australian society. In this case the focus is on how to maximise the productivity and social engagement of middle-agers, a group they define as being 50 to 75 years.

That said, “we don’t see these age brackets as fixed or uniform stages but as a way of thinking about our longer life journey to help shift policy in a more positive direction.”