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Speaking frankly...                                       

Workplace mental health a focus for World Mental Health Day

Over the next two months many workplaces around the country will stop and take part in World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September), R U OK? Day (13 September) and World Mental Health Day on 10 October.

We know from research and campaign analysis that promotion of these days helps to reduce stigma and raise awareness. They help to start a conversation and encourage people to talk, and ultimately to seek to professional help if they need it. 

Awareness days provide opportunities to bring people together in their work places: their offices, their work sites, their schools, hospitals, farms, playgrounds and more. Together to talk. 

For World Mental Health Day last year, more than 500 organisations around Australia engaged with the campaign to help shed a more positive light on mental health for their staff and their community.
From community morning teas to some of the biggest companies in the land getting involved, organisations held events and reached out for information on how best to inform their staff about wellbeing and mental health.

Why? Because workplace mental health is a serious issue, and the huge number of campaigns over the last decade or so have ensured people are more open to starting and having a conversation.

Importantly, these are people who will be unafraid to demand access to quality services when they need them, and who will demand governments prioritise mental health issues when decisions to allocate resources are made.

And why else? Because happy and healthy workers are more productive, no matter the role.

As our 2018 report with KPMG Investing to Save states, interventions in work place mental health could save the nation $4.5 billion dollars

To drill down a little further on the concept of just how important work place mental health is to the nation, here’s the background to the first recommendation from Investing to Save...

Recommendation 1: Support individuals with mental health issues to gain and maintain employment, and maintain the mental health and wellbeing of the workforce.

How do mental health issues impact our workforce?

The workforce is one of the major primary factors that drive the economy, together with capital infrastructure and natural resources. Almost 12 million Australians - half of the population - are currently in the workforce. 

Mental health issues impact on both the labour supply; as those with mental health issues are more likely to be absent from work (often referred to as absenteeism); and the productivity of the workforce; as output per worker is reduced due to mental health issues (or presenteeism).

Both absenteeism and presenteeism reduce output and profitability for workplaces and the industry in which they work. There are also wider flow-on effects to the macro economy from mental illness in the workplace. The labour market is the major conduit through which wider (or indirect) costs of mental health issues manifest as reduced labour participation and productivity result in lower wages, lower economic growth, lower taxation revenue, and higher consumer welfare.

How does being in the workforce impact our mental health and wellbeing?

The relationship between the workplace and mental health issues is endogenous - a two-way street. Improved mental health and wellbeing can lead to better workplace outcomes; similarly, improved workplace outcomes can improve mental health and wellbeing. There is strong evidence that employment has a positive relationship with mental health.

With this in mind, it’s no wonder that so many organisations are looking for ways to educate their staff about mental health.

Six weeks out from 10 October and World Mental Health Day, more and more organisations are engaging with the campaign, because more and more business are understanding the link between improved mental health and better workplace outcomes.

Stopping to take part in one of the many suicide prevention or mental health awareness-raising events over the coming months is just a starting point to improved work place mental health, but it’s a really important starting point. Stopping to take part will not magically conjure much needed, high quality services and programs, but it just might bring supporters to the cause.

So if you’re yet to start, or are looking to continue your work in promoting a positive workplace culture around mental health, get involved this World Mental Health Day campaign at

Warm regards,

Frank Quinlan

Chief Executive Officer


Mental Health Australia's submission to the National Disability Agreement review

Mental Health Australia recently provided a submission to the Productivity Commission’s review of the National Disability Agreement (NDA). The submission argues that an NDA is required to ensure all governments in Australia commit to, and are held accountable for addressing the support needs of people with psychosocial disability. The submission points out that there are a large number of people who will need psychosocial services outside of the NDIS and that a revised national agreement should provide clarity around the roles and responsibilities of governments to provide services.

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Next Week

On Monday, we welcome a new staff member who will be starting with the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum and National Register secretariat. 

On Tuesday, I'll be in Adelaide as part of a panel discussion at Disability Employment Australia’s national conference. The topic of our discussion will be ‘Lifting Employment Rates for People with Psychosocial Disability’.

I'm off to Melbourne on Wednesday for a meeting with Orygen's Professor Patrick McGorry and Kerryn Pennell and SANE's Dr Michelle Blanchard. I will also be speaking as part of a KPMG panel discussion exploring one of the key recommendations from our joint report Investing to Save

On Thursday, I will be attending the next Mental Health Reform Stakeholder Group (MHRSG) meeting at the Department of Health in Canberra.


$60,000 to boost suicide prevention in the ACT

The ACT Government has awarded almost $60,000 in grants to support suicide prevention services and awareness projects in the Territory. Through the Let’s Talk Funding Grants, the Government is supporting the mental health sector by helping community organisations to deliver better services to Canberrans we need to reach the most.

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Australia’s first report on PTSD among first responders 

The Australian Federal Police (AFP), Victoria Police and Northern Territory Police, Fire & Emergency Services have joined with Australia21 and FearLess Outreach to launch Australia’s first report on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among Australia’s emergency responders. When Helping Hurts: PTSD in First Responders explores more effective ways of preventing the debilitating consequences of traumatic stress, and improving mental health outcomes for front-line responders.

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Improved experience for NDIS participants and providers

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will deliver a better experience to participants thanks to improvements that will be rolled out from October. The NDIA workforce improvements include: an additional 750 staff to be hired over the next 12 months; the NDIA's staffing cap will be increased; and the Government will introduce amendments to the NDIS Act that would allow the NDIS to increase the number of staff who can make access decisions and approve plans.

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Member Profiles


Mind Australia is one of the country’s leading community-managed specialist mental health service providers. They have been supporting people dealing with impacts of mental illness as well as their families, friends and carers, for 40 years. In addition to providing practical and motivational support to help people develop skills, thrive and improve the quality of their lives, Mind also works with people to address poverty, housing, education and employment. Mind is a registered NDIS provider. 
Website is external)




Flourish Australia is a not-for-profit organisation providing support programs, employment, accommodation and hope for about 5,000 people with mental health issues in New South Wales and Queensland. Advocating for community-based assistance, the organisation is a leading mental health support provider that has been in operation for 60 years. Flourish Australia's vision is to enable full participation within a diverse and inclusive community. The organisation's mission is to work with participants for optimal mental health and wellbeing.
Website is external)


Borderline Personality Disorder webinar series

Registrations are now open for the fifth webinar in this professional development series on Management of self-injury and suicidality, to be held Wednesday 26 September. The webinars are funded by the Australian Government and produced by the Mental Health Professionals’ Network in partnership with the Australian BPD Foundation and Spectrum Personality Disorder Service for Victoria. The series will help practitioners improve understanding of the complexities of BPD and better support people living with BPD and their families. 

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Survey to improve mental health outcomes for consumers

You are invited to participate in a survey that seeks to ascertain the potential advantages of the My Health Record and e-record management solutions for Mental Health consumers. As a part of this project, participants of the National Mental Health Commission's (NMHC's) Mental Health Leaders Fellowship are conducting an online survey to collect information that will inform recommendations to the NMHC on how community level engagement with the benefits of My Health Record can best be communicated and understood by consumers, carers and the general public, specifically in the context of mental health. Survey closes September 7 2018.

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Psychosis research project

Mental Health First Aid Australia is seeking participants for a research project that will inform an updated set of mental health first aid guidelines for psychosis. People who have personal or professional experience with psychosis, including; people with lived experience, carers or providers of support for people with psychosis, clinicians, and professionals in the fields of research or education are encouraged to participate. See flyer below for more information...

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New psychological treatments for bipolar disorder: seminar

There will be a community seminar in Melbourne on 4 September 2018 from 7:00pm - 8:30pm to introduce the latest psychological treatments for bipolar disorder. Leading researcher, Professor Greg Murray, will present his work in the field of bipolar disorder, which includes a $1.1 million NHMRC project investigating a novel online intervention for bipolar disorder. 

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Call for abstracts for the next edition of newParadigm journal

The Australian Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation, newParadigm, is calling for abstracts for the Spring/Summer edition to be published in late 2018. This edition will explore best practice examples of integrated service provision in mental health and interrelated fields. The focus will be on best practice examples or other instances where a project provided valuable lessons for others who are attempting to provide a joined-up service model.

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World Suicide Prevention Day

In Australia more than 2,800 people die each year. Recent research tells us that hundreds of Australians are impacted by each suicide death. This World Suicide Prevention Day on 10th September we’d like every Australian to support the 2018 theme “Working Together to Prevent Suicide” with as many suicide prevention awareness raising events as possible being held in Australia on or around World Suicide Prevention Day. Check out the Events page to see what’s happened near you.

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