ROAM Communities was Australia’s first nurse practitioner led mental health charity. Originally established in 2005 ROAM (An acronym for, ‘Recovery through Ownership Action and Management’) built an reputation for excellence through its work among people who were homeless with mental illness.
In 2007 ROAM moved to Campbelltown in South West Sydney where it worked in partnership with the University of Sydney to start one of Australia’s first ‘Headspace’ youth mental health centres and provide psychiatric outreach to Tharawal Aboriginal Medical Service.
In 2012 ROAM communities nurse practitioners Toby Raeburn and Matthew James moved on to establish Australia’s first completely independent nurse practitioner led mental health recovery centre in Camden, NSW. Over the next three years ROAM developed a team of four clinicians who worked tirelessly to provide over 3000 sessions of both centre based and mobile community mental healthcare to people with mental disorders throughout the South West Sydney region.
The perseverance and hard work of ROAM Communities staff and board members along with the support they received from a wide group of family, friends, the local community and patients led ROAM Communities to build a reputation as a leader in mental health recovery within Australia. The excellence of ROAM’s clinicians led to a number of awards including:
- 2014 Mental Health Nurse Achievement Award from the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses.
- 2014 Community Partnership Award from the University of Western Sydney.
- 2012 Partnerships in Wellbeing Award from the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses.
- 2009 Churchill Fellowship form the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.
- 2008 Rotary International Research Scholarship from Rotary Australia
- 2007 Special Commendation form the Australian Altruism Foundation.
- 2006 Mental Health Matters Award from the Mental Health Council of Australia.
Due to changes in direction for key staff member ROAM Communities closed its services in January 2015.
Toby Raeburn moved into a teaching and research position as a lecturer with the University of Sydney.
Matthew James moved into a new private practice named ‘Psych Fit Health’ based in The Oaks, NSW. Patients accessing ROAM’s services continue to access Matthew at his new practice as needed and can also access Toby through a one day per week clinic he provides at an Aboriginal Clinic in Liverpool, NSW.
For more information about the history of ROAM Communities please find an assortment of media articles below.