‘Like speed-dating, but for mental health professionals’

NEW FACES: Inayat Jan, Luke Gooding, Amanda Greenhow and Sall Wray-McCann at the 'speed-networking' event. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE
NEW FACES: Inayat Jan, Luke Gooding, Amanda Greenhow and Sall Wray-McCann at the 'speed-networking' event. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

They’re the questions you might expect at a speed-dating event – ‘Who are you?’, ‘What do you do?’, ‘What could we achieve together?’ – but they weren’t out of place in a gathering of health professionals on Thursday.

Thirty-eight people representing 27 organisations on the Border came together in a ‘speed-networking’ event hosted by the Albury-Wodonga Mental Health Partnership.

Partnership chair Luke Gooding was inspired by a similar function he attended, and gave people five minutes to meet another industry member before moving them on.

“The Albury-Wodonga Mental Health Partnership has existed as a group for about seven years, but we rejuvenated it at the start of this year, and decided to hold two events, this being the first,” he said.

“This sort of speed-networking event with a mental health focus hasn’t been done in this area before, from what we know.

“The idea is that within a space of an hour you can make five new connections within the industry.”

The partnership also plans to run an event in Mental Health Week where health workers will take part in a ‘bus tour’ of service providers.

This morning, the event began with a ‘Listening to Voices’ show, and finished with further networking.

“Four people with a mental health illness put on a performance about their perspective navigating services, and it really made us sit up and think about what we need to do,” Mr Gooding said.

“The partnership’s focus is about strengthening the mental health service sector.

“The bus tour later in the year will be focused on front-line staff.”

By day Mr Gooding is a team leader in Albury for Family Community Services NSW, co-ordinating more than 1000 social housing properties.

“Mental health is strongly linked with homelessness, so if we can better connect health services, it means better outcomes for the people we work with,” he said.

“We’ve seen a lot of connecting today, smiles and hopefully new members for the partnership.”

The Albury-Wodonga Mental Health Partnership meets monthly.