Philanthropic Families Donate $1M to Mental Health
24 March 2016 at 5:07 pm
A $1 million donation by two Sydney family philanthropic trusts has seen the launch of the new Centre for Family Based Mental Health Care at St Vincent’s.
The Grant Family Charitable Trust and the Crouch Family made the joint donation to the St Vincent’s Curran Foundation.
Both philanthropists were driven by a desire to change the face of mental healthcare in Australia, and this donation will enable new models of care at the hospital.
The new centre will work to increase collaboration between mental health care patients, their families and social and health care providers.
At the same time the $1 million gift will support the development of a new dedicated mental health nursing workforce, trained by the University of Sydney, who will work with families to implement the program of care.
Described as a pioneering family-based mental health initiative, the St Vincent’s Centre for Family Based Mental Health Care,will develop models of mental health care, which involves families.
International research has found that the role of families in the recovery of people with mental illness is currently undervalued by clinicians. St Vincent’s said it hoped to turn this around through the endeavours of the centre and improved collaboration between individuals, their families and social and health care providers.
The centre will be directed by the newly appointed St Vincent’s Professor of Mental Health Nursing, Professor Niels Buus. This was established in partnership with the University of Sydney Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery and will also lead the development of postgraduate education programs to develop the mental health nursing workforce.
“This new initiative will be at the forefront of mental health reform in Australia, by finding ways to engage families and the community in supporting and healing people with mental health problems, in partnership with government and non-government organisations,” Professor Buus said.
Speaking at the launch of the centre, John Grant AM shared how his own family experience had driven his desire to change the face of mental health care in Australia.
Grant said he had approached Michael Crouch and his family to work together to help fund the new initiative.
John Grant is a former investment banker and venture capitalist, and the founder of the Grant Family Charitable Trust.
Like many families, Grant said he had experienced the effects of mental illness.
While working to provide assistance to his family members experiencing mental illness, he said he had been frustrated by the privacy barriers which have limited his participation and access to best advice.
“It’s this combined family experience, that has sparked our interest… in supporting new models of mental health care. By developing new inclusive and more collaborative models of care at St Vincent’s, we hope to improve the lives of patients and families around Australia,” Grant said.
Michael Crouch AO, a philanthropic supporter of the hospital, is the Chairman of Australian private equity company Midgeon Holdings.Previously he was Executive Chairman of Zip Industries, an instant boiling water manufacturing company, from 1962 to 2013.
As a co-founder of the project, Couch said he was committed to providing a holistic approach to mental health care in the community.