CEO Update - 11 September
World Suicide Prevention Day
This week we marked World Suicide Prevention Day. On Wednesday I was joined by a number of Mental Health Australia staff to attend the launch of RUOK? Day on the lawns of Australian Parliament House. The Hon Sussan Ley spoke at the event, noting that she would “have strong statements to make to the parliament on mental health before the end of the year”.
In addition, our Communications Director, Chris Wagner, attended the launch of Suicide Prevention Australia’s National Research Action Plan. This important Plan outlines a framework for research on preventing suicide, while helping to ensure more effective coordination and increased investment.
We put out a media release to mark this important occasion, calling for governments to ensure suicide prevention play a major part in reform design and implementation.
Submission to the Department of Health - Priorities for Mental Health Reform
After what seems like soooo many submissions, this week we provided a final submission to the Department of Health as it finalises its advice to government on mental health reforms. We understand that the Expert Reference Group has now completed its work, and we are approaching the final stages of this process.
Our submission brings together our detailed analysis of the NMHC Review, as well as feedback received from members and stakeholder at our recent Extraordinary Policy Forum held in August. The full submission can now be downloaded from our website.
Yesterday I joined the consumer and carer team in Melbourne yesterday for a meeting of the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum (NMHCCF), which continues today. During yesterday’s session, members heard an update from David Butt, CEO of the National Mental Health Commission. The NMHCCF and the Commission also took the opportunity to sign a new MOU, renewing their commitment to work together to promote and improve mental health outcomes for all Australians.
Members took part in a consultation with the Australian Human Rights Commission on the Willing to Work Inquiry, providing insights from the perspective of mental health consumers and carers on employment discrimination against older Australians and Australians with Disability. Hamza Vayani, MHiMA National Project Manager, provided members with an update on the MHiMA project, including the importance of CALD consumer and carer participation.
Distributed Advocacy Day
Following the launch of our Distributed Advocacy Day last week, we’ve already had a solid level of interest from people willing to either lead or participate in delegations. We are keeping a record of this interest and will follow up with you in the coming week. Meanwhile, this part of the ‘Countdown to Reform’ campaign is now online, and we encourage you to share this with people far and wide, to help broaden the impact of this important advocacy work.
As always, if you wish to discuss the campaign or express your interest in being part of a delegation, call or email us.
MHCC NDIS Forum
On Monday Josh Fear and I presented at an MHCC NDIS Forum in Sydney. Preparing for the event highlighted for me (yet again) how many significant reform processes are running concurrently - all with potentially huge impacts on mental health. The Government’s response to the NMHC’s review, the NDIS bi-lateral agreements, the NDIS roll-out, Federation White Paper and its impacts on health, the Primary Health Care Review, the roll-out of Primary Health Networks, the list goes on.
During the Forum the MHCC launched two documents:
Yesterday I participated in a webinar at the invitation of the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) to inform the sector of the work on the Australian Mental Health Care Classification (AMHCC). IHPA talked participants through an overview of the work on the AMHCC to date, how the classification model works, the results of a 6 month mental health costing study and outlined further work required on the development of the classification. I discussed the relevance of IHPA’s work to different areas of the sector highlighting the benefits and challenges of designing a classification that represents the full spectrum of mental health care services
IHPA is endeavouring to reach as many people in the mental health sector to inform them of the work on the AMHCC, particularly those who are not in the public sector. Comprehensive information on the AMHCC and a recording of the webinar will be available on the IHPA website and further information can also be found on our website.
Grace Groom Memorial Oration - tickets on sale
I am pleased to announce that tickets for the 2015 Grace Groom Memorial Oration are now on sale. The Grace Groom Memorial Oration was established to pay tribute to the former Chief Executive Officer of Mental Health Australia. Grace left an outstanding legacy and her contribution to the mental health sector in Australia is recognised by this annual event.
This year’s event will be orated by Professor Mike Slade, clinical psychologist, academic researcher and consultant in mental health services. Many of you will be familiar with Professor Slade’s work and we are looking forward to hearing what promises to be a very entertaining and informative address. More details are available from the website.
This week also saw the launch of the ABC’s Mental As campaign. You may have seen the advertisements already on our national broadcaster. I’ve said before that I am very pleased the ABC is once again dedicating an entire week to mental health and wellbeing, and I encourage you all to explore ways you can be involved with the week.
With that in mind, we are helping to facilitate linkages between the sector and the campaign this year and I encourage you to contact our Communications Team if you are keen to be involved.
Suicide prevention app supports veterans anywhere, anytime
The Minister for Veteran’s Affairs, Senator the Hon Michael Ronaldson, this week released a free mobile phone app to help serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel deal with suicidal thoughts. More details about the app are available from the website.
Media resources for reporting mental illness and suicide in LGBTI communities
Our friends at the Hunter Institute of Mental Health under the Mindframe National Media Initiative, in partnership with the National LGBTI Health Alliance have developed a range of new media resources for reporting mental illness and suicide in LGBTI communities. The online quick reference resources aim to support the challenges media face when reporting stories related to mental illness and suicide in the LGBTI community. The launch of the resources coincided with World Suicide Prevention Day, and recognises the challenges and the disproportionate rates of suicidal ideation and mental illness in LGBTI communities. Visit the website to download the resources.
Turning Point’s Self Harm and Mental Health-related Ambulance Attendances in Australia
World first research has revealed Australian paramedics are faced with thousands of mental health-related ambulance attendances each year. Conducted in conjunction with ambulance services across Australia, Turning Point’s Self Harm and Mental Health-related Ambulance Attendances in Australia report has identified numerous cases involving suicide attempts, accidental overdoses, anxiety, depression and psychosis. To read more or to download the full report please visit the website.
Launch of Mining Industry Blueprint on Mental Health
The Australian mining industry this week launched a Blueprint to address mental health and wellbeing issues in the workforce. The development of the Blueprint reflects the minerals sector’s recognition that industry has a key role to play in addressing mental illness and wellbeing. The Blueprint provides a broad-based framework for best practice models of health and safety for the sector. It spells out goals and strategies for the promotion of health, prevention of mental health problems and response to those in need. It also describes programs for supporting return to work, underpinned by an emphasis on robust evaluation. The Blueprint recognises that the support for workers in remote environments and their families is a key priority and ongoing challenge for the industry. Download the full Blueprint from the website.
Carers Australia seeks Mental Health Respite case studies
Carers Australia have been advocating to the Department of Social Services that funding for the Mental Health Respite: Carer Support programme should not transition into the NDIS. Along with several other mental health and carer-specific programmes which are also transitioning into the scheme, they believe this programme should be maintained outside of the NDIS as it is unclear that it will be used to fund carers of package recipients and carers of people who are not eligible are likely to lose the supports the programme offers. The Department have requested that Carers Australia develop a greater evidence case for funding retention, and so they are seeking case studies which illustrate why the programme shouldn’t transition. If you would like to share your story please contact Anna Morison via the link below or call 02 6122 9909.
PND Week changes its name to Perinatal Depression and Anxiety Awareness Week!
While PND has traditionally been an abbreviation for ‘postnatal depression’ and PND Week meant Postnatal Depression Awareness Week, health sector and community language is changing. The term Perinatal (referring to the period from conception to one year after the birth) is gaining currency and it’s important everyone understands that the antenatal period (i.e. during pregnancy) is also a time of risk for mental illness, particularly depression and anxiety.
This year, PANDA and beyondblue will be using the abbreviation PNDA to stand for ‘Perinatal Depression and Anxiety’ during PNDA Awareness Week (Nov 15 – 21). If you are planning to promote PNDA Awareness Week and haven’t adopted the all-encompassing term ‘perinatal’, and included information about anxiety, you may wish to think about how it relates to the audience you are trying to reach.
Dr Marsha Linehan’s 2016 workshop series
Byron Clinic presents Dr Marsha Linehan’s 2016 workshop series. Dr Linehan is the founder of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, a treatment modality developed for complex and difficult-to-treat disorders including self-harm, suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders and emotional instability.
These two-day training workshops are designed to review DBT strategies and examine typical pitfalls in delivering these strategies across various clinical populations. They will cover areas where even those well-versed in the practice may find difficulty and will offer perspectives on more complex cases. Dr Linehan’s last workshops in 2014 sold out months before, with over 250 people disappointed that they missed out. Early booking is recommended. For a limited time, you can register for this two-day workshop at our ‘keen’ rate of $550.00 (inc. GST) Please visit the website.
Dementia Awareness Month
A reminder that September is Dementia Awareness Month. The goal of this year’s campaign is to encourage Australians to become dementia-aware, have a better understanding of what it is like for a person to live with dementia, and ultimately be encouraged to create communities where people with dementia are supported to live a high quality of life with meaning, purpose and value. For full details including a list of events in your area please visit the Alzheimer’s Australia website.
Advocacy. Empowering Carer Advocates to be Champions for Change
Mental Health Carers Arafmi NSW Inc., in partnership with Mental Health Carers Arafmi Australia, is holding an invaluable forum for mental health carer support workers. Mental health carer support workers and carers who in engage in advocacy for others or would like to know how are all welcome. The forum will be held in Sydney on 22 September. For full details including a chance to win a trip to the forum, please visit the website.
Ready for Change - A survey about mental health reform in NSW
It’s just under a year since the release of the Living Well: A Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014-2024 to reform the NSW mental health sector and facilitate improved mental health and wellbeing in that state. The Mental Health Commission of NSW would like to hear what you think about the Plan, your experience of implementation and how you think mental health reform is progressing.
Whether you work for a government agency or a community managed organisation, or if you have a lived experience of mental illness or are a carer, your views are important and will help form a picture of progress.
Chief Executive Officer