It all stared way back in late 1989 when an open public meeting was facilitated by the Barwon Psychiatric Resource Centre.
For the first five years, the Group rented the Barwon Psychiatric Resource Centre Hall at 117 Myers Street, Geelong for monthly evening meetings.
Due to the increased need to have our own premises, paid staff, communication assets and equipment a joint proposal with the Schizophrenia Fellowship Geelong Branch Inc. was submitted to the Victorian Government Health and Community Services Department.
This was initially auspiced through the Joint Support Management Committee (comprising three members each from the Bipolar Support Group, the Schizophrenia Fellowship and two independent members).
From 28th January 1996 both groups received direct funding thus allowing better budgeting control and more cost effective communication channels.
On 21st October 1995 the Geelong Bipolar Support Group held its first ever seminar and bi-monthly support luncheon in addition to the monthly general meeting which were held at night.
With increased membership we soon outgrew the Myers Street premises and were looking for something larger and more homely.
We moved into 139 Yarra Street, Geelong in July 1998. It served us well for a decade but once again we outgrew it.
We moved into our now current premises at 284 LaTrobe Terrace, Newtown on the 18th February 2008. It’s significantly larger and more functional than Yarra St.
We can now more adequately cater for our increasing number of activities and interest groups.
The centre aims to provide Members with a welcoming, non-clinical environment for Members to enjoy throughout the week.
Members can relax with a cup of tea and chat to others in an informal manner or they can participate in a range of activities varying from tennis to Spanish language lessons.
The philosophy of the organisation has always been around sharing and caring for people with mental illnesses their families, carers and friends; and all are welcome to be a part of our Group.
Our monthly contacts have risen from about 30 per month in 1996 to currently around 500 per month.
The ‘Rollercoaster’ newsletter has been in print for over six years; and from Issue 13 onwards it has been produced and printed wholly within the Group with invaluable assistance from our volunteers.
Also over 10,000 educational pamphlets have been distributed since starting out in 1989.
Many hundreds of education presentations have been made, including consumer education to community groups and schools throughout the Geelong region.
Mind Works liaises and refers with all like agencies/groups in the Barwon Region and with other mood groups throughout Australia and overseas.
We receive referrals from other Agencies, General Practitioners, Psychologists, Clergy, Psychiatric Services and from individuals.
We hope in the future to work more with our community education program, as well as, of course, continuing to give good service to people with affective disorders and their carers.