CEO Update - 14 August
Final stages of ERG response
It has been a big week as we gathered together all of your feedback from last week’s Extraordinary Members Policy Forum, so that we can have our input into the process that the Expert Reference Group and the Department of Health have underway to respond to the national Mental Health Commission’s Review. I continue to be encouraged that such a diverse and disparate sector has such a high level of agreement about the key directions of the reform process. I would like to think that this will make the Government’s response to the process easier, as they face a sector that is eager to be partners in the reform process. We will keep you posted as the process reaches its final stages as we continue to encourage Government to respond quickly so that services and programs are not unduly disrupted by the reform processes that will follow.
I was fortunate to start the week at this important summit at Parliament House. Minister Sussan Ley joined the Opposition and the Greens and a veritable who’s who from the suicide prevention space to consider the great challenge that Australia faces in overcoming suicide. The forum heard from overseas experts and considered a range of effective strategies that could be rolled out with a high expectation of success in Australia. As the Government considers its response to the National Mental Health Commission Review this summit was a timely reminder that there is much that we could be doing already to reduce the suicide rate significantly. Let’s hope the Government is listening and open to addressing this scourge.
Yesterday Louise O’Donnell from the Policy Team attended the launch the 9th Annual Health in Difference Conference at Australian Parliament House. The launch was hosted by the National LGBTI Health Alliance with the support of the Parliamentary Friendship Group for LGBTIQ Australians. The conference will run from 13 to 15 August 2015 bringing together community members, organisations, health practitioners, researchers, academics, policy makers, advocates, and others who are interested in improving the mental, physical and emotional wellbeing of LGBTI people.
Thank you to all members who completed the survey to assist the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) in understanding the capacity of the mental health community managed organisations (CMOs and NGOs) to collect the data set that will be used for the Australian Mental Health Care Classification. This survey was part of the work Mental Health Australia is conducting with IHPA to engage the mental health sector in the development of the Australian Mental Health Care Classification (AMHCC).
With the assistance of Community Mental Health Australia a series of workshops were held nationally to explain the importance of IHPA’s work and the details and concepts within the survey. The feedback collected at these workshops provides essential information needed to assist IHPA in understanding the unique services provided by the community mental health sector. The workshops also provided an opportunity for participants to question and understand the crossover between IHPA’s work and the NDIS.
If you have any questions regarding the IHPA’s work and the AMHCC please conduct Louise O’Donnell on (02) 6285 0806 or louise.o’firstname.lastname@example.org
On Tuesday this week we circulated our most recent NDIS Capacity Building Project Update, which is available to read on our website. In this update, you can read about:
Mental Health Australia’s Extraordinary Policy Forum;
- an NDIS Mental Health Sector Reference Group Meeting Communique;
- the NDIS Information, Linkages and Capacity Building Policy Framework;
- the NDIS Integrated Market, Sector and Workforce Strategy;
- a new website for carers;
- a Carers Australia survey on carers’ experiences of the NDIS;
- the latest public hearing of the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS;
- National Disability Insurance Agency information sessions on support coordination;
- new NDIS fact sheets; National Disability Services (NDS) NDIS briefings; and
- the NDS Community Inclusion Initiative.
If you would like to sign up to receive these updates regularly, please visit our website.
NDIS Information, Linkages and Capacity Building Policy Framework
The endorsed NDIS Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) Policy Framework is now available on the NDIS website. Mental Health Australia provided a submission on the draft Framework. Unfortunately, none of our recommendations appear to have been explicitly addressed. However, Mental Health Australia welcomes the Framework’s recognition of the important place for activities funded beyond individually funded packages (particularly to address illnesses that are episodic in nature) and the inclusion of more detail around decision making supports and supports for self-advocacy. It should be noted that the Framework by itself is only part of the story on ILC: perhaps more critical are decisions yet to be taken by governments on the resources available for the NDIA to ‘bulk-purchase’ activities through ILC.
To read more about this, please view the latest NDIS Mental Health Network update.
NDIS Integrated Market, Sector and Workforce Strategy
The NDIS Integrated Market, Sector and Workforce Strategy is now available on the Department of Social Services’ website. It provides guidance on the future use of the Sector Development Fund and introduces the role of Industry Advisory Groups, to provide advice on specific issues (including mental health) and identify potential solutions as the market for individualised services evolves and matures. Mental Health Australia is still working through the detail of the Strategy; however it is pleasing to see the emphasis on existing values, experience, skills, knowledge and infrastructure in the current disability support service system as key contributors to market success.
To read more about the Strategy and Mental Health Australia’s project with Community Mental Health Australia and the NSW Mental Health Coordinating Council on the NDIS mental health workforce, please view the latest NDIS Mental Health Network update.
Senate debates bill to remove Centrelink payments to people in psychiatric confinement
Earlier this week, the Senate commenced debate on government legislation that would remove Centrelink payments for some people in psychiatric following an arrest for a ‘serious offence’. This would have major implications for people held on remand pending assessment of fitness to stand trial, or under each state/territory’s mental health acts as unfit to stand trial, not guilty by reason of mental illness. The Labor opposition, the Greens and Senator Lambie have all spoken against the Bill, but it remains unclear how the other cross-bench senators will vote. I have again been in contact with various senators (including the cross-bench), providing them with information about the Bill and we will watch the progress of the debate carefully.
About half of all Australians have a chronic disease, and around 20% have at least two, according to new data released this week by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). The release covers eight chronic diseases: arthritis, asthma, back problems, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and mental health conditions. To read more or to download the full report please visit the website.
PSA calls for more research into medicinal cannabis
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) today released a position statement on the investigation of the potential therapeutic value of and therefore possible medicinal uses for cannabis. The PSA cautions that the document does not aim to address implications or barriers to the calls to legalise the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes in Australia, while acknowledging the dynamic nature of the discussions and initiatives around the subject. In its paper, Therapeutic use of cannabis, PSA notes reports that in some medical conditions cannabis has provided positive outcomes to individuals who may not have experienced comparable therapeutic benefits from other clinically proven medicines or treatment protocols. To download the position paper please visit the website.
Online program helps lower dementia risk
Researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) have developed a world first online dementia risk reduction program which has proven effective in helping people lower their risk of developing dementia. More than 340,000 Australians are estimated to have been diagnosed with dementia and close to one million people could have a form of dementia by 2050 without a medical breakthrough or major public health intervention program. The new online program called Body Brain Life has been developed by Professor Kaarin Anstey, Director of ANU Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing and colleagues from the ANU and the Johns Hopkins University in the United States. Full details are available from the website.
If you’re aged 16-22, and live outside the big cities, enter your story in the Heywire competition and be part of something big. Entries close 16 September 2015 so don’t miss your chance. Full details on the competition including entry details are available on the website.
RANZCP Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 2015 Conference - program announced
RANZCP are pleased to present preliminary program for the upcoming Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 2015 Conference. The preliminary program will provide you with an overview of the Conference content, which will showcase a variety of themes complemented by keynote speakers. The Conference is being held from 29 September to 2 October in Vanuatu. Full details are available on the website.
eMHPrac Workshop - Exploring e-mental health programs: An inside look at online resources for service providers
This eMHPrac workshop is especially designed for peer workers. It follows TheMHS Consumer Forum starting at 5pm on Tuesday 25 August at the National Convention Centre in Canberra. It features an in-depth look at some of Australia’s online e-mental health programs. This will be a practical and interactive workshop, introducing a range of e-mental health programs in Australia as well as providing hands-on experience of programs. Full details are available from the website.
Allied Health Scholarships
Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH) is expecting an increase in demand for allied health scholarships as compared to previous years. The scholarships help Allied Health Professionals working in rural and remote Australia meet the costs of training and education. There are also scholarships to support students from the bush to study courses such as physiotherapy, social work, speech pathology and other allied health degrees. Full details on scholarship opening dates are available from the website.
Expert panel members needed
Expert panel members are needed to help develop a guide to assist family, partners and friends of people with major depressive disorders. The guide will be developed by combining information from the existing literature with the opinions and consensus of expert panel members to help make sure the information is relevant, reliable and useful. People who are 18 years or over, and who have considerable experience in dealing with major depressive disorder in adults are invited to participate as expert panel members. This includes consumers, carers and clinicians with experience in working in the area. For full details please visit the website.
National Disability Awards - nominations open
Applications are now open for the 2015 National Disability Awards. Now in their ninth year, the Awards help build awareness of disability issues and showcase important work throughout the community, enabling people to fully participate in work and society. Nominations close on 4 September, full details are available from the website.
National Carer Awards - nominations open
The National Carer Awards have been developed to publicly recognise and celebrate unpaid carers and foster / kinship carers across Australia. The Awards seek to raise awareness and acknowledge the extraordinary contribution carers make to the nation. Nominations will close on Sunday 6 September with national winners being announced in February 2016. For full details please visit the website.