CEO Update - 10 October
National Mental Health Week
And what a week it has been!
As I write this update we are still in the midst of World Mental Health Day, at a Members Policy Forum we are hosting at Old Parliament House in Canberra. The Forum comes the day after the very successful Grace Groom Memorial Oration, from Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, which was broadcast live from the National Press Club on ABC News 24 (and which we hope to make available on our website soon).
These events (all described in more detail below) have contributed to a very busy National Mental Health Week, a week bolstered by the ABC’s national MentalAs campaign - which has really driven a national conversation about mental health. The last of these events will be a televised gala event that will be broadcast from the ABC’s Sydney Studios this evening.
We will provide a more detailed wash up in next week’s update, but as you will see below there has been a lot of activity both in the media and behind the scenes, all aimed at drawing the nation’s attention to the issue of mental health.
7 Point Plan for Taking Action on Mental Health
We launched our 7 Point Plan for Taking Action on Mental Health this week.
You may have seen me on Sky News discussing the plan, if not please click here. To download the plan along with our media release please click on the button below.
After feedback from our members and stakeholders we are hopeful that the plan will help all those with an interest in mental health to join our advocacy efforts over coming months - as we encourage the Government to act on the findings of National Mental Health Commission’s Review (due to be handed to Government on November 30th).
I hope you all had a chance to watch Felicity’s Mental Mission on ABC2 during the week. If you did not I would encourage you to visit the ABC’s iView website to view the program. Felicity Ward’s program was a fascinating and sometimes disarmingly honest exploration of mental health, including Felicity’s personal journey. Felicity also supported our Mental Health Begins with Me! campaign - collecting promises for World Mental Health Day.
Board Meeting and AGM
The Mental Health Australia Board met on Thursday in Canberra, prior to the AGM.
The AGM sadly farewelled Tony Fowke as he left the Board. Tony has been an active contributor and Board member for more than a decade - making the regular journey from Perth to Canberra to help guide the work of Mental Health Australia. We wish Tony well for his future endeavours and thank him for the great legacy that he leaves behind. We also said farewell to Jack Heath and Craig Knowles (whose terms ended) and welcomed new Board members Patrick Hardwick and Alison Xamon.
Grace Groom Memorial Oration
Members and guests joined us last night at the National Press Club for the Grace Groom Memorial Oration. This year’s Oration was delivered by Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, the Vice Chief of the Australian Defence Force, who spoke about the cultural and organisational challenge of addressing mental health within the armed forces. Following the address, host Chris Uhlmann held a Q&A session with Admiral Griggs and Adam Boland, former producer of Sunrise.
Our Chair Jennifer Westacott was also pleased to announce that Mental Health Australia will be providing a new academic grant annually from 2015. Called the Grace Groom Memorial Grant, this prize will be provided to a post graduate student at the Australian National University, who is working to support the mental health sector.
Members Policy Forum
Our full members joined us today at Old Parliament House for a Members Policy Forum. The day has been very productive with participants hearing about progress with the Review of Australia’s Welfare System, the Federation White Paper, Activity Based Funding and the National Mental Health Commission’s Review. After lunch, we will be holding an in-depth discussion of our 7 Point Plan for Taking Action on Mental Health.
We have asked members and stakeholders to provide us feedback on the Blueprint for Mental Health Reform - which will constitute our final submission to the National Mental Health Commission’s Review of Mental Health Services and Programmes.
World Mental Health Day
And to round out this busy week, today we are celebrating World Mental Health Day. Our Mental Health Begins with Me! campaign has gone from strength to strength this year with over 7000 promises being made by people all around the world. I would like to thank all our members and friends who have supported the campaign and helped to spread the word.
National Centre for Excellence in Youth Mental Health
The Australian Government has announced $18 million for establishment of Australia’s first National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health. Orygen Youth Health Research Centre will be funded to operate the National Centre of Excellence. Health Minister Peter Dutton said the funding underlines the Coalition’s strong commitment to find new and innovative treatments for mental illness in young people.
Tender open for employment services 2015-20
The Australian Government this week released the Request for Tender for Employment Services 2015-20 and invited bids from organisations that have the capacity and determination to help more job seekers find and keep a job. Minister for Employment Senator Eric Abetz said the Government was investing $5.1 billion in a new model to operate from 1 July 2015 to better meet the needs of job seekers, employers and employment services providers.
Australian first study uses sport to reduce depression and suicide rates in young men
The University of Wollongong (UOW) has teamed up with our friends at Movember on a multi-million dollar project which aims to address mental health issues among adolescent male athletes. The Movember Foundation awarded UOW almost $2 million over the next three years to conduct the most comprehensive study of its kind into the role of sport in helping adolescent males identify and overcome mental health issues. The project will see UOW partner with Australia’s leading government sports body the Australian Sports Commission, and top sporting organisations, such as the AFL, Cricket Australia, Tennis Australia, Swimming Australia, Basketball Australia and Football Federation Australia, as well as The Black Dog Institute and the Australian Drug Foundation’s Good Sports Program.
The NDIS One Year In: A Perspective from Carers in NSW
Carers NSW has this week released The NDIS one year in: Experiences of carers in the Hunter trial site, an issues paper which aims to contribute information about carers’ experiences to the ongoing development and implementation of the NDIS. This paper draws on Carers NSW research, consultation and policy analysis from the first year of the NSW trial. Visit the website to download the paper.
Maximising social and economic participation for those with mental ill-health
A forum for policy makers, researchers and service providers is being held on 30 October at the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast to discuss how to maximise social and economic participation for those with mental ill-health. The forum is free to attend and promises to be a very important date on the calendar. Full details including the program are available from the website.
Chief Executive Officer