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Catholic Healthcare residents create Honour Garden for Mental Health Awareness

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To co-incide with Mental Health Month and World Mental Health Day, Catholic Healthcare residents at Charles O’Neill Hostel and St John’s Villa have created an honour garden, which officially opened to the public on 10th October, for Newcastle’s Calvary Mater Hospital.

2,123 multi-coloured wild flowers, each representing a mental health bed in New South Wales were proudly made and planted in the garden in honour of someone who is living with a mental health illness.

The initiative was developed to raise awareness of mental health illnesses in Australia, decrease stigma, empower people in the wider community to seek help and acknowledge that there is recovery after mental health illness.

Being part of such a special project has had a positive impact on the wellbeing of Catholic Heatlhcare’s residents who are living with a mental health illness. Creating the honour garden has reinforced their sense of self and given the residents an opportunity to socialise, recognise their own journey, bring hope to the patients in the Mater Mental Health Unit and reduce the stigma of mental heath in the community.

Residential Manager of both Charles O'Neill Hostel and St John's Villa, Miriam Mustasa, said, “The partnership with the Calvary Mater Hospital has lifted the spirits of both residents and patients. The bright and colourful addition is a reminder to them that regardless of their life experiences they can develop resilience; this is what makes people who they are. Their strength gives them the ability to adapt to life’s challenges to maintain good mental health.”

“It has also enabled the larger community to appreciate the abilities of people with mental health illness and the importance of seeking and providing support for them. There is a lot more we can do - just by acknowledging that mental illnesses can be experienced by anyone. Just because someone has suffered from mental health issues doesn't make them a lesser person,” she added.

Diversional Therapist at Charles O’Neil Hostel, Felicity Smith, said, “The theme for Mental Health Month is Share the Journey. This theme resonates with our residents who are at the end of their own long journey. The garden has given them the opportunity to be a guiding light to those who are still on their own journey. Every flower gives someone a voice and every time a flower was made, the maker had to think about mental health. We hope our beautiful display helps to break down the barriers and stigma surrounding mental health.”

The garden gave us a way of showing the patients in the mental health unit that we really care about them. I am proud that my friends helped me make some of the flowers when they visited. Betty
I hoped we would get that number of flowers. We should always be nice to each other and making a beautiful garden was a kind and caring thing to do. Sue
The garden gives me a such a positive feeling. I am amazed that we made so many flowers! It looks lovely. Rosalind

You can get more information on our Residential Aged Care services by visiting our Types of Care section on this website.

You can also call us on 1800 225 474 for details about our Residential Aged Care services

For more information on NSW Mental Health Month visit