In 1994 the precursor to CAN Mental Health, the Northern Sydney Mental Health Consumer Network (“NSMHCN”), began operating. Its vision was to be a consumer-based organisation promoting, supporting and enhancing mental health. From humble beginnings, meeting in private homes, the organisation slowly grew. Initially, funding came from donations and small grants, and supporters donated their time and resources.
With time and persistence, minimal funding was secured from the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing. However, it was not enough to sustain the organisation, and members regularly undertook their own fundraising activities, testament to their belief in the benefits that CAN could bring to mental health consumers.
In 2003 the Pitane Recovery Centre was established at Manly Hospital. This was a facility that gave consumers a place to go for specific activities, all aimed at improving their mental wellness. There were movie sessions, local walks, art groups, music groups and writing clinics. And an occasional coffee!
When the health service disbanded the NSMHCN in 2005 the members decided to retain their independence and incorporated CAN in its own right, establishing CAN Mental Health Inc (“CAN”).
With time, persistence and incredibly hard work from the founding members CAN slowly grew. Office space was secured at Brookvale, belongings were relocated to the office and CAN continued to develop its services to the mental health sector, providing unique resources for consumers across Australia.