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Mental Health Australia stylised flannel flower logo. The centre is yellow and the leaves are white.  Text: CEO Update

Text: Mental Health Australia
From the CEO - 
Leanne Beagley
Headshot of Leanne Beagley.

Community mental health services – for every family in every community

Picture of two people wearing masks on opposite sides of a bench.
We are currently marking time in new ways – how many new cases today? When and how restrictions will be eased is linked to how many are vaccinated… single dose, double dose, jabs, masks and more.

And while keeping us safe from the virus, we know the restrictions have had a negative impact upon mental health for many, particularly the young.

With World Mental Health Day fast approaching on Sunday 10 October, and many of us still scheduled to be in lockdown, we need to reflect on how we can improve our own mental health, but also for others in the community. 

In November we are expecting governments to announce they have achieved a National Agreement on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. We expect this Agreement to provide the platform for a better integrated mental health system. A system that will have impacts for years to come.

As our members and stakeholders are well aware, Mental Health Australia is strongly committed to the Productivity Commission Report on mental health and to the recommendations made within it. The extent of the review and the rigorous consultation with the sector over an extended period, and the sector’s support remains one of the most powerful enablers for implementation. 

At its heart, the PC Report shifts the conversation in three key ways. Firstly, it places people with mental ill-health and the people who love and care for them at the heart of the reform agenda. Secondly, it takes a life cycle and social determinants approach, recognising that both developmental life stages and the contexts in which people live impact our mental health and wellbeing, and that mental health responses should take these circumstances into account. Thirdly, it recognises that system reform will require a broad set of actions, across a range of domains, over a period of time and with clear coordination and strong leadership. 

Mental Health Australia fundamentally supports these three key themes and urges governments to prioritise investment in expanded and integrated community-based mental health care options to implement this change. These expanded options need to include employment, education and housing, not just a focus on ‘health’ services.

We believe that the driving principle for reform must be to build mental health supports in the community and reduce hospital-based care where possible. Evidence shows that community-based alternatives such as hospital in the home or strengthened community mental health service options are more effective and cost-effective. 

We support the action underway as a result of the Victorian Royal Commission commitment to a “future mental health and wellbeing system [that] will be fundamentally restructured around a community-based model of care, where people access treatment, care and support close to their homes and in their communities”.

Psychosocial support services form part of a comprehensive community-based response and there is currently a joint responsibility between the Australian Government and the state and territory governments for funding and managing these services. The PC Report identified a significant gap in funding for psychosocial services outside of the NDIS and we will be working with the psychosocial sector in its advocacy efforts to have this addressed once the National Agreement is finalised. 

There are further questions in relation to integration that we are continually raising. The states and territories are struggling to ensure their acute care and hospital services are functioning 24/7 especially in the context of a surge in presentations to emergency departments as a result of the challenges imposed through the pandemic.

It is urgent that the mental health ecosystem including consumers and carers, and governments work together to design a better community mental health system, including but not limited to psychosocial support services. 

A real commitment to this must be at the heart of the National Agreement due in November. 

Have a good weekend.

Leanne Beagley

Janne McMahon stepping back from Lived Experience Australia

Former Mental Health Australia board member, Janne McMahon has announced she will be stepping down from the Board Chair and Executive Director positions at Lived Experience Australia. She will be continuing a connection with the organisation, which she founded nearly 20 years ago, two days a week. Janne has made a huge contribution to the mental health sector as a passionate advocate, including time as a Board Director at Mental Health Australia, and we wish her well for her future endeavours.

World Mental Health Day - Become a Partner 

To become a partner for the upcoming World Mental Health Day campaign, and receive a FREE Partner Pack including the chance to record your own campaign video, please email or find out more on the World Mental Health Day website.

Some great videos have come through already, including this one starring Grant "Scooter" Patterson.


World Mental Health Day - Healthcare Professionals Research

We are conducting research into the mental health and wellbeing of Australian healthcare professionals, for public release on World Mental Health Day. Healthcare professionals are the most health-literate members of our society but are under significant pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In line with the campaign theme, we are seeking to understand how the pandemic has affected you personally, and what strategies you have used to maintain your mental health and wellbeing in 2021. Your behaviours, tips and advice may provide valuable insight to the rest of the community during this challenging time. Please feel free to distribute the survey amongst health care colleagues. Find the survey here.


Co-producing Lived Experience Leadership resources - a new partnership in mental health

The National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum (NMHCCF) and the National PHN Mental Health Lived Experience Engagement Network (MHLEEN) have established a formal partnership and MOU to co-contribute and co-produce mental health lived experience (consumers, carers and peer workers) leadership capacity resources.

The rationale for these projects is that an increasingly significant feature of the contemporary mental health policy environment is lived experience co-production and leadership.  The projects aim to consolidate and promote existing initiatives and resources to facilitate effective growth of mental health lived experience voices and leadership.

The three projects have NMHCCF and MHLEEN members on project steering groups. The projects are:

  1. The establishment a central national repository of mental health consumer and carer leadership-related knowledge and initiatives to be included on the NMHCCF website
  2. The co-design of a Mental Health Lived Experience Governance Framework and Toolkit to guide identified priority organisations and jurisdictions when engaging with people with lived experience, and
  3. Review of formal lived experience leadership education and training

The projects are due for completion in mid-2022. Further information on these projects can be obtained from the NMHCCF Secretariat at:

Further information about the NMHCCF can be found at: and further information about MHLEEN can be found at:


On Monday I have a meeting with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission and on Tuesday I have a meeting with the Psychotherapists and Counsellors Federation Australia.
On Wednesday I am meeting with a family violence survivor and advocate.
On Thursday I have Primary Care Reform Steering Committee meeting and a NDIA Co-design workshop.
On Friday We have a National Digital Health Strategy consultation and later a National Disability and Carer Alliance meeting.


Member Benefits, Jobs and Profiles

Communicate your news, job vacancies, or upcoming events to more than 5,000 people in the mental health ecosystem weekly.

Mental Health Australia members are invited to send us news, announcements, job vacancies, events or other notices for inclusion in the Weekly CEO Update newsletter. To do so, simply fill out this form by COB each Wednesday for your notice to appear in the newsletter the following Friday.

Member Profiles



Neami National
Neami National is a community-based organisation providing services to improve mental health and wellbeing in local communities around Australia. Using a recovery approach, we support people to improve their wellbeing, live independently and pursue a fulfilling life.  


Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health (CRRMH)
Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health (CRRMH) is a NSW state-wide organisation which is a major rural initiative of The University of Newcastle’s Faculty of Health and Medicine and the NSW Ministry of Health. We are committed to improving the mental health, wellbeing and resilience of rural and remote residents and we provide leadership in rural and remote mental health research and program delivery, working closely with rural communities and our valued partners to provide evidence-based service design, delivery and education.


Embrace Multicultural Mental Health News

Workshops and Information Sessions for community groups and leaders

The NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service working in partnership with UNSW is delivering a 2 hour training session for community leaders, community workers, and faith representatives working with CALD communities to promote uptake of vaccination, counter misinformation and address COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. To book a session contact: your local Multicultural Health Unit or the NSW Refugee Health Service.

Contact the NSW Refugee Health Service to request an in-language information session on COVID-19 vaccinations to communities with a refugee background. Contact RHS for details.

Western Sydney Local Health District has developed a 1-hour COVID-19 vaccine information session for CALD communities living in Western Sydney. Bilingual trainers can deliver it in Arabic, Dari, Dinka, Punjabi, Urdu. Contact

RHS’ Assyrian Vaccination Helpline

RHS is trialing a helpline to assist Assyrian-speakers with questions they have about the COVID-19 vaccine and assist them book a vaccination appointment. Call 0459 884 573 during business hours.  Those who want to make a booking themselves can also use Vaccine Eligibility Checker which is available in Assyrian and Arabic (as well as other languages).

Embrace Australia logo (a rectangle with a light and dark purple cultural stripe pattern with "embrace" and stylised outline of the Australian continent in the lower right corner).


Mental Health News

Australia lockdown lows hit all time high

Almost two thirds of Australians believe that their life has gotten worse during the pandemic and more than half are feeling more negative about the future compared to the first wave of infections, according to new analysis from The Australian National University (ANU). In a survey of more than 3000 people in Australia, roughly half said they were more stressed and more than a quarter said their relationship had got more difficult or strained this year compared to 2020. 

Read more

Pop-up mental health services will give care to those in urgent need during pandemic

cohealth has welcomed the Victorian Government's latest investment to boost mental health and wellbeing support for Victorians through 20 state-wide 'pop-up' COVID-19 mental health and wellbeing services. People will be able to access the services via a free 1300 number and website which will connect them with trained mental health workers in their area, who are based at community health services such as cohealth, and community managed mental health services. 

Read more

New mental health treatment withstands lockdown isolation

Experts say a new treatment option for young people with depression and loneliness is showing promising benefits, especially during COVID-19 lockdowns. Researchers from The Australian National University (ANU) say the new treatment, Groups 4 Health (G4H), focuses on social connection rather than symptoms of mental illness.

Read more

Dead Ends: How our security system is failing people with partial capacity to work

The growing group of people on JobSeeker Payment who are deemed to have ‘partial capacity to work’ reflects a decade of changes to tighten eligibility and assessment for social security payments, especially the Disability Support Pension. The impact on many people with disability and/or chronic health conditions has been severe. Enabling economic security for these vulnerable people requires reforms across intersecting areas including the social safety net and employment assistance.

Read more

Doctor mental health concerns increase as COVID surge hits hospitals

There is increasing concern about rising rates of mental ill-health and suicide among doctors. A recent review led by the Black Dog Institute and UNSW Sydney that was published in The Lancet has revealed doctors are at increased risk of suicide and, in their early years of training, one-quarter to one-third reported significant mental ill-health. The researchers said while this was an increasing issue even before the COVID19 pandemic, there is emerging evidence that the impact of the pandemic is creating even more mental health problems. 

Read more 

Schools double down on wellbeing support during lockdown

Thousands of specialist staff are supporting the wellbeing and mental health of school communities during the COVID-19 lockdown. Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said the NSW Government has been prioritising the mental health of students during the difficult lockdown period by ramping up wraparound wellbeing support. "We know how difficult the last 18 months have been for our students, which is why there are more than 3,000 non-teaching staff available - including school counsellors, school psychologists, student support officers and a network of specialist facilitators, wellbeing nurses, school chaplains and school learning support officers - to make sure children feel as supported as possible while they learn from home," Ms Mitchell said.

Read more

$15 million grant to support Indigenous Mental Health First Aid Training to 2024

The federal government is providing $15 million over three years to the National Wellbeing Alliance Pty Ltd to deliver mental health first aid training for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia. The National Wellbeing Alliance Pty Ltd was selected as the national provider following a competitive grants process. They will deliver culturally safe and appropriate mental health first aid courses to upskill participants in recognising when to seek assistance and how to assist family and other community members in need of support.

Read more



COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Alert

The Department of Health has issued its next COVID-19 vaccination – Disability Provider Alert 13 September 2021. In this update you will find important information on: current hubs offering vaccination services, support for NDIS participants to attend COVID-19 vaccination appointments, vaccination rollout to the 12-15 year age group, and vaccination data for people with disability (phase 1a). This provider alert along with other resources and information about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is available from a dedicated web page for disability service providers on the Department of Health website. 

Release of exposure draft for NDIS legislative and rule changes

DSS has released the exposure draft for legislative and rule changes. The proposed changes include change to eligibility criteria to emphasise the episodic nature of psychosocial disability. Changes most relevant to psychosocial disability can be read here. Public feedback is now invited on the draft new NDIS legislation. You can have your say about the changes on the Engage website until midnight 7 October 2021.

Public briefing and consultation on NDIS Amendment (Participant Service Guarantee and other measures) Bill 2021

The NDIS is undergoing changes following recommendations of the 2019 independent Tune review of the NDIS legislation. The proposed amendments to the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (the Act) include legislating the Participant Service Guarantee, streamlining administrative processes and removing red tape to improve the participant experience. The Department of Social Services is holding public briefing sessions so people can learn more about the draft legislation and the submission process. Briefing sessions will be held on 20, 21, and 22 September over several different sessions. You can register for a session here.

Community sector survey

The Australian Community Sector Survey is the longest-running survey of the community sector by the community sector. It examines changes in the operating environment of community organisations, major issues of concern to these organisations, and looks at how the sector is responding to community needs. With the pandemic and associated economic changes deeply impacting the community sector and exposing stark inequalities across communities, the findings of this year’s survey will be especially important. Take the survey.


Blueprint for Mentally Healthy Workplaces

The Blueprint for Mentally Healthy Workplaces aims to define a vision of mentally healthy workplaces that can be shared by all organisations and businesses across Australia. It also defines the core principles and focus areas for creating environments that protect, respond, and promote to support mental health. This Blueprint is a living document that will be refined over time. The National Mental Health Commission are seeking feedback from a wide range of organisations, businesses, unions, government agencies, professional associations, service providers and the mental health and workplace health sectors to shape the Blueprint.

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