CEO Update - 20 November
Countdown to reform continues
Our countdown to reform continues with only 12 days left on our countdown clock. Minister Ley indicated she would have strong statements to make to the Parliament before the end of the year, so time is ticking. In addition to the reform measures we are acutely aware many services have contracts currently due to end in June 2016. We have made many representations to the Department and the Minister in the hope of avoiding a further crisis of uncertainty related to these contracted services. We will continue to advocate for timely information to be released to allow for careful planning, even if that means planning for transition to some kind of new arrangements. I would hope we don’t have too much longer to wait.
Private Health Insurance Roundtable
Early in the week I attended the Private Health Insurance Roundtable, with the Department seeking views on possible changes to the private health insurance system. The consultations are in their early stages, and you can learn more, and have your own say by following the link below
NDIS Cross Sector Engagement Roundtable
The National Alliance for Young People in Nursing Homes hosted a meeting of national peak bodies to examine ways in which we could collectively engage better with the NDIS. The work is being conducted by Spark Consulting, and is funded by the NDIA. I think most peak bodies in the space feel a bit overwhelmed by just how much there is to do, and how many issues there are to engage with as the NDIS is ramping up, so we are hopeful this project might provide some better ways of working together on these important issues.
The Good Greek Girl
I was delighted to spend an evening with Maria Katsonis, a long time friend of Mental Health Australia at the Canberra Muse discussing her debut book “The Good Greek Girl”. The event was held as part of the SpringOut season in Canberra celebrating LGBTIQ achievements and creativity. As many of you will know, Maria’s book tracks her own story “from Harvard university to the psych ward” and back to recovery. It’s a deeply personal but wonderfully uplifting account of triumph over adversity. I would highly recommend you put it on your Christmas reading list.
Good Sports Awards
Yesterday I attend the Good Sports Awards, which were presented by Minister Fiona Nash. You may recall I am a member of the Government’s Australian National Advisory Council on Alcohol and Drugs, and the Good Sports awards recognise the tremendous work done by the Australian Drug Foundation to promote responsible alcohol use in sporting clubs across the country. It is a wonderful program and evaluations have demonstrated real reductions in alcohol related harm. A great example of grass roots programs having deep and lasting effects.
NDIS Mental Health Update
Today, the most recent edition of the NDIS Mental Health Network update was circulated. The update is available on our website and includes information about:
- a NDIS webinar on provider readiness occurring on Tuesday 24 November 2015
- follow-up information regarding questions asked at the mental health webinar hosted by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) on 7 October 2015
- an important initiative by Carers Australia to support carers to engage with the NDIS
- opportunities for input to an evaluation of the NDIS by Flinders University
- a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Disability Reform Council communique
- a report and public hearing from the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on NDIS
- a Mental Health Commission of NSW publication outlining key issues for mental health in the Hunter Trial site, based on a collaborative project with the Mental Health Coordinating Council (NSW)
- two reports recently released by the NDIA.
MHiMA Project positions at Mental Health Australia
Mental Health Australia is recruiting for two positions based in our Canberra office – a Project Manager and a Project Officer - for the Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (MHiMA) Project. The temporary positions will be for a period of 6-7 months until the 30 June 2016. We will be recruiting people with strong knowledge, understanding and experience working with people from CALD backgrounds. People from CALD backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
The Project Manager is full-time or part-time (minimum 0.8 FTE). The role will be accountable for leading and managing the development, implementation and delivery of the MHiMA Project. It will also be responsible for providing project management advice and leadership and ensuring any risks and issues associated with the project are identified and effectively managed.
The Project Officer is full-time or part-time (minimum 0.8 FTE). The position is responsible for providing a high standard of support to the Project Manager across a range of project activities to ensure the successful delivery of the MHiMA Project. Additionally, it will be responsible for managing and implementing the Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia.
Information on the positions is available on the Mental Health Australia website (see link below)
Version 1.0 Australian Mental Health Care Classification
The Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) has released the first version of the draft Australian Mental Health Care Classification (AMHCC). IHPA is seeking the views of stakeholders through a public consultation process from now to 18 December 2015.
We have been working with IHPA to engage a broader range of stakeholders from the mental health care sector to contribute to the implementation and ongoing refinement of the AMHCC. There are both challenges and opportunities in developing a classification and it is essential that all stakeholders from across the sector provide input into this significant policy reform.
The AMHCC aims to improve the way that mental health care services can be classified, counted and costed – helping the sector understanding what, where and how services are provided.
This first version of this consumer level classification is a simple design that will be built upon in further refinements. It is IHPA’s intention that in the future the classification will cover all mental health care services, requiring collection of data from settings including admitted, non-admitted, public community mental health care and community managed/non-government organisations.
IHPA would like to hear views from a range of stakeholders - the community sector, peak bodies, private healthcare providers, jurisdictions, other key stakeholders and members of the general public. We encourage members to visit IHPA’s website and read the consultation paper. Background to the development of the first version of the AMHCC can be found at the links below:
- http://ihpa.gov.au/internet/ihpa/publishing.nsf/Content/mental-health and
Mental Health Australia sees strong potential in the successful implementation of a well-designed and truly representative national classification that will assist policy-makers to better integrate services and funding sources and promote more transparent and equitable funding arrangements.
We appreciate that the content of this work may seem technical and unfamiliar to some members, however we anticipate that future funding arrangements with governments will require a greater level of data collection and it is crucial the design of data collection systems correctly represents all service models.
If members have questions, please contact Louise O’Donnell in our Policy Team on p: 02 6285 0806 or Louise.O’Donnell@mhaustralia.org
Disability Reform Council Communique
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Disability Reform Council (the Council) met in Melbourne. The meeting was chaired by the Hon Christian Porter MP, the Commonwealth Minister for Social Services with responsibility for disability policy and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). A communique from the meeting can be accessed from the DSS website.
Disability Discrimination Commissioner
Attorney-General Senator George Brandis this week announced the reappointment of the Hon Susan Ryan AO as the Disability Discrimination Commissioner. Ms Ryan was first appointed as acting Disability Discrimination Commissioner in July 2014, before being confirmed to the role in September 2014. The term of Ms Ryan’s reappointment aligns with the term of her appointment as Age Discrimination Commissioner, which expires on 28 July 2016. Ms Ryan continues to be a strong advocate for the rights of people with a disability. She is currently leading Willing to Work, the Commission’s national inquiry into employment discrimination against older persons and persons with a disability.
Mental health risk for new dads
Researchers have found anxiety around the arrival of a new baby is just as common as postnatal depression, and the risks for men are nearly as high as for women. The causes of anxiety and depression around the arrival of a new baby are poorly understood. While results from individual studies vary, some studies suggest over 20% of parents suffer from anxiety or depression. This research reinforces the messages of Perinatal Depression and Anxiety Awareness week, which began on 15 November. For more details please visit our friends at PANDA.
Impact of military service on mental health and wellbeing - survey
The Transition & Wellbeing Research Programme is the largest and most comprehensive programme of study undertaken in Australia to examine the impact of military service on the mental, physical and social health of serving and ex-serving ADF members and their families. Service personnel are being asked to visit the website below and complete the survey.
PR and communications research survey
The Hunter Institute of Mental Health and Mindframe invite Australian public relations and communication professionals to participate in a research project that is looking at the views and attitudes regarding the communication of suicide. Within the suicide literature, there has been extensive research investigating the relationship between news reporting and suicide. This research has been used to develop evidence based recommendations regarding how to safely report on suicide. However, there has been very little research looking at the views and attitudes of public relations and communication professionals, nor their attitudes towards suicide more broadly. For more details or to participate please visit the website.
Royal Commission - call for submissions
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is calling for submissions on issues relating to advocacy and support and therapeutic treatment services.
It is important for the Commission to hear what services victims and survivors need, what was useful to address the impact of the abuse and how services can better support survivors. Survivors, victims and service providers are encouraged to have their say. For more information or to lodge a submission please visit the website.
Connect with Healthcare Professionals at Addiction 2016
The Australian and New Zealand Addiction Conference will be held from 18-20 May on the Gold Coast. Hosted by the Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association, the Conference is dedicated to sharing skills and understanding in the treatment of all addictive disorders, including alcohol and other drugs, behavioural addictions, and the emerging field of online compulsive behaviour in both adults and children. Full details are available from the website.
International Indigenous Health Conference - registrations open
This year’s International Indigenous Health Conference generates interests from First Nation’s Peoples throughout the world. The conference agenda has now been finalised with more than fifty featured keynote speakers. As the conference has been centred around the sharing of information, increasing network and access to programs, what a great opportunity it will be to have more than fifty experts gathered under one roof, over the course of this three-day conference, from various states and territories of Australia and international First Nation’s speakers freely sharing knowledge, ideas based on successes of programs implemented at the community, national and global level. The conference is being held in Cairns from 1-3 December.
A reminder about the launch of a new (virtual) Australian Association of Mental Health Consumers. Australian mental health consumers are invited to get involved and make a difference. People who self-identify as mental health consumers or similar (eg as survivors, service users, ex-service users, voice hearers) can join for free and participate in online forum discussions. More details are available from the website.
Consumers Health Forum of Australia Seminar Series
The Consumers Health Forum of Australia is launching a new Seminar Series with an event hosted in collaboration with the National Mental Health Commission, the Department of Health and the team here at Mental Health Australia. The seminar’s theme is Physical and Mental Health: the importance of Integrated person-centred care. The seminar represents a significant opportunity for the mainstream healthcare consumer network and the mental health sector to come together and discuss how we can collectively shape policy in an area of such importance. For full details please contact Kerry Hollis.
Chief Executive Officer