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Speaking frankly...                                       

The targets we need to fix mental health

In less than a fortnight more than 80 representatives from the mental health sector will converge on Parliament House in Canberra for the Mental Health Australia Parliamentary Advocacy Day.

United and representing a diverse group of advocates, consumers, carers and health professionals, our aim is for a bi-partisan systematic approach to fixing mental health in this nation. 

What does that mean?

We want to restore, then increase funding levels. We want to urgently address the gaps opening up in services, especially psychosocial supports. We want to address funding uncertainty, especially to programs that are working. We want to support and learn from consumer and carer engagement. And we want to adopt clear targets that we can all work towards.

On the day, speaking with some 40 senators and members, we will continue to educate, and continue to communicate areas of concern with the decisions makers. We will continue to ask tough questions and highlight problems, but also provide solutions on where best to fill the gaps and focus long term funding. And all because we are united in the push to ultimately fix mental health in Australia.

For a long time now we’ve been talking about targets and indicators, and I firmly believe that if we don’t say what we are trying to achieve and then measure it, we will never know if our strategy is effective or not. If we set some clear targets and indicators that allow us to measure our progress, and guide our investment, that will allow us the sector to line up future investment in pursuit of the broader goal. It will allow the community to understand the objectives we are pursuing, and it will allow federal and state governments to focus spending on long term and successful initiatives.

Defining targets takes courage and requires strong leadership. Leadership which the National Mental Health Commission review said has to come from the Commonwealth. Targets that can then drive the work of the mental health sector and ultimately the community.

A community where a lot of hope and expectation has built up over recent years to fix mental health, thanks to a lot of good work from within the sector, especially around awareness and reducing stigma. A community where mental health issues are still very close to people's hearts and minds, but a community where one in five Australians will experience mental illness this year…

One target we all know we need to reduce. 

Frank Quinlan
Chief Executive Officer

Vale Jeff Cheverton

It still seems a bit surreal that it's been almost a week since we lost our dear friend Jeff Cheverton and I'm sure many of us are still in shock...

I am pleased to be going to Jeff's funeral in Melbourne on Sunday, and will get a chance to say a few words, reflecting on Jeff's professional and personal contribution to mental health and primary health care.  A tremendous honour to be able to record those memories, and thanks to all of you who have been kind enough to share your memories with me.

Jeff's partner Rod has asked us to spread the word on the events to celebrate Jeff's life and these are the details Rod has provided. I hope to see some of your there! 

There will be a viewing at the Lonergan and Raven Clifton Hill Funeral home, 187 Queens Parade on Saturday 11th March 2017, 2-4pm.

The funeral service will be in Melbourne on Sunday 12th March 2017, at Footscray Community Arts Centre, 45 Moreland St, Footscray from 11-1pm with a wake to follow at our friend's house in Newport on Sunday arvo.

Then on Saturday 18th March 2017, there will be a memorial event at Orleigh Park, Orleigh Street in West End from 3pm.

Everyone is welcome to attend any or all of these events.

I am also aware that a fundraiser is underway for those who may wish to contribute to Jeff’s funeral costs.  Details are available here:

Next Week

On Monday we will be celebrating Canberra Day and have a public holiday where the Mental Health Australia office will be closed.

On Wednesday I will be back up at Parliament House for further meetings on our Incoming Government Brief.

Also on Wednesday I will speaking on Consumer and Carer Colloquium, hosted by Consumers Health Forum.

On Friday I will be at the Department of Health for a Digital Mental Health Advisory Committee Meeting.


Meet a Mental Health Australia Member

Brain and Mind Centre 

The Brain and Mind Centre is a global leader in brain and mind science research, education and treatment. By partnering across borders and disciplines, their teams are committed to the development of better treatments for disorders of the brain and mind, and leading improved health care for generations to come.

Disorders of the brain and mind are among the greatest health challenges we face in the 21st century. These diseases are devastating for those affected, their families and society, and threaten the social and economic participation of people of all ages across the world. The Brain and Mind Centre aims to address and reduce these impacts, through real-world and real-time multidisciplinary and collaborative research and education.

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Brain Awareness Week

March 13 – 19, 2017 is Brain Awareness Week, the global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research.

Every March, BAW unites the efforts of partner organizations worldwide in a celebration of the brain for people of all ages. Activities are limited only by the organizers’ imaginations and include open days at neuroscience labs; exhibitions about the brain; lectures on brain-related topics; social media campaigns; displays at libraries and community centres; classroom workshops; and more.

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Become a Member of Mental Health Australia

As the peak body for the mental health sector in Australia, Mental Health Australia is uniquely placed to influence the national debate on mental health issues and achieve our vision of mentally healthy people and communities. Representing more than 100 organisations in the mental health sector, find out more about Membership at the link below.

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Parliamentary News

Improving mental health services for South Australian veterans  

Premier, Jay Weatherill, says South Australian veterans will have ongoing access to specialist mental health services following the development of a new model of care. It recommends the delivery of a range of additional or enhanced services along with integration of teaching, research, clinical care and quality assurance. 

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'Got It' Support for Central Coast Children  

The Central Coast will be the next community to benefit from an $11 million early intervention pilot aimed at helping children with disruptive behaviour disorders. Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies have met with health workers and principals from North Lakes Public School and Toukley Public School, the first two schools in the region to receive the Getting on Track in Time Program (Got It!). 

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One Door Mental Health
the new name for the Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW

Through One Door, people living with mental illness and their families will continue to find an inclusive community, innovative services and strong advocacy. Since 1985 they have been committed to providing services and advocacy for people with mental illness and their families.

Thirty-two years on, their goals have not changed but the look has bringing together 82 programs and services offered under one banner with one name. For more background about the journey to One Door, I invite you to watch a short brand story video here.

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Mindfulness and CBT for Carers - SANE Forums Tue 21 Mar

To recognise Brain Awareness Week 13 - 19th of March, the SANE Forums will take a look at how you can sooth your mind using CBT and mindfulness. Addressing what the difference between these therapies, how can they be useful for carers, and what services are out there that can offer these services for carers. We'll be joined by Northside Community, who are currently running an online CBT program, 'This Way Up,' as part of a pilot study within their organisation.         

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National Consultation for LGBTIQ Disability Strategy 

Developing an LGBTIQ Disability Strategy for the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) This consultation provides an immediate opportunity to directly influence the future of this important work in Australia 
• Are you a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, or queer [LGBTIQ] person living with disability?
• Are you the intimate partner/carer for an LGBTIQ person living with disability?
• Would you like to ensure your lived experience contributes to guiding the work of the National Disability Insurance Agency [NDIA] into the future?

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Extension on Abstract submissions for TheMHS Conference
Now Closing Monday 13 March

Tell your staff, colleagues and friends! You now have an extra week to submit your abstract for TheMHS Conference 2017 to be held in Sydney, Australia from August 29 - 1 September. Share your work, innovations, updates, stories, research, programs with the mental health sector.

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Independent Hospital Pricing Authority release efficiency reports

Please be advised that the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) today released the National Efficient Price (NEP) and National Efficient Cost (NEC) Determinations for 2017-18 and the Pricing Framework for Australian Public Hospital Services 2017-18. IHPA would like to thank everyone for their contribution to this work over the past six months. 

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Way Ahead - Mental Health Association of NSW - Have your say...

It's time to have  your say on what theme we should focus on for October's Mental Health Month campaign in 2017. Each year, we release a survey with some concepts and ideas. Take the survey and you'll be helping choose the theme. Be quick. The theme survey will close on Wednesday the 15th of March.

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NDIS must have a consistent national model with all in

In light of recent media activity, the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) reiterates its support for a national approach to the NDIS. This includes WA joining the complete Commonwealth NDIS to ensure Western Australians with disability are not compromised by a multi-layered system. 

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