CEO Update - 21 November

 CEO Update, Mental Health Australia

Continuity of Funding Survey

This Week

Survey - Continuity of Funding

We have had a great response so far to our survey seeking feedback on the impact that the lack of funding clarity is having on your organisation, thank you to all those who have taken part. The survey is open until Wednesday so if you haven’t had a chance to complete it yet, please click on the button below and share your views.  

The survey results will be used to advocate directly to government for clarity on this matter within a fair and acceptable timeframe.  If you can send the survey on to others who might be in a position to complete it that would be of great assistance.

If you would like to hear my explanation of the survey please watch this video.
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Blueprint for Action on Mental Health

As members will be aware, we also released our Blueprint for Action on Mental Health this week. The Blueprint formed our final submission to the National Mental Health Commission’s Review and provides a series of key recommendations for reform of Australia’s mental health system. The Blueprint was developed following extensive consultation over the past 12 months with members and other key stakeholders and outlines some very clear directions for government.

You might think about how you and your organisation might support our advocacy efforts.  As you know, the Commission will report to Government on November 30th - so our focus is shifting from review to action.

You may have noted the Members Policy Forum and Parliamentary Advocacy Day announced in last week’s Update (11 February 2015).  I hope many members and stakeholders will be able to join us for this important day early next year.
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Carers Australia Conference

I enjoyed the opportunity to spend time at the Carers Australia Conference on the Gold Coast earlier this week. I discussed the many reform processes that are currently underway at the Federal level (NDIS roll out, McClure Review, NMHC Review, Federation Whitepaper, etc) and how it seems increasingly likely that as these reforms start to bite, gaps in services and programs are likely to open up.  We will be vigilant in trying to anticipate these problems, and trying to ensure that people who rely on services are not negatively impacted by changes as they occur.

I also had the opportunity to debate the topic “Living to 130 - can we cope?” I spoke on the negative team, suggesting a pessimistic view of our ability to meet the service demands of the future. They say the only difference between an optimist and pessimist is experience…


NDIS Mental Health Capacity Building Project to continue to June 2016

Mental Health Australia is pleased to announce that we have now been funded to carry out NDIS capacity building activities with the mental health sector until the end of June 2016.  My thanks to the NDIA and my congratulations to Josh and the team who have negotiated this important project. Those members already involved in the project can now expect formal activities to resume soon with an update to Project Advisory Group and Working Group Members and recommencement of the e-bulletin.
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Video of NDIS presentations from TheMHS

The NDIS Capacity Building Project has also started to add videos of presentations on NDIS issues to the website. The first, NDIS: How is mental health fairing?,  is a recording of the symposium held at The Mental Health Services Conference (TheMHS) in August 2014 and features presentations from Eddie Bartnik, NDIA; Tina Smith, MHCC; Rod Astbury, WAAMH and Liz Ruck, Mental Health Australia, followed by a panel discussion chaired by Pam Rutledge, Richmond PRA.  You can view the recording and accompanying presentations by clicking on the button below.

Please let us know what you think about these videos, we are hoping more publications like this might be well received by those unable to attend these conferences in person.
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New staff member welcome

The Policy and Projects team welcomed a new member this week. Emma Coughlan joins us from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, where she worked in Indigenous policy. Emma’s role as Administration and Project Officer will help progress our work on the NDIS.


Parliamentary news

Employment discrimination against people with disability - Senate Estimates

Discussions at Senate Estimates hearings this week focused on employment discrimination against people with disability. The Australian Human Rights Commission provided statistics showing that 33% of complaints made under the Disability Discrimination Act relate to employment. 


Amendments to Mental Health Act passed - NSW

The NSW Upper House this week passed amendments to the Mental Health Act. The amendments mean that consumers will now be able to nominate up to two designated carers who will be able to access relevant information about their care. The changes also include requirements for clinicians to seek and consider the views of carers and family members.



Postnatal Depression Week

It’s Postnatal Depression Awareness Week this week. Up to 1 in 10 women in Australia experience depression during pregnancy and 1 in 7 new mums and 1 in 20 new dads are diagnosed with postnatal depression every year in Australia; over 100,000 in 2013. Our friends at PANDA  are urging anyone who has concerns about antenatal and postnatal depression to call the national helpline on 1300 726 306 Monday to Friday between 10am and 5pm AEST or see their GP. View more on the campaign from the PANDA website or on twitter via #bePNDaware.
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Consumer and Carer experiences of the NDIS in Victoria

Last week we shared a video of consumer and carer experiences of the NDIS in Victoria’s trial site. That video was put together by MI Fellowship, and Indigo Daya, their General Manager Consumer and Carer Advocacy and Leadership, has told us: “We’ve had a fantastic response to our video. Consumers are feeling really empowered by having their voices heard. We haven’t got the response we want, yet. Please keep sharing the film.”

People with mental illness, carers and mental health workers in the Barwon region are encouraged to continue to share their experiences with the NDIS trial. There is an online survey to complete, and more short films on the way, dealing with the issue of permanence and the impact of the NDIS on carers.

Stay up-to-date with the MI Fellowship campaign online, on Twitter or Facebook.
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2nd World Congress on Integrated Care

The 2nd World Congress on Integrated Care will be held in Sydney next week. I will be presenting as part of a session on ‘the state of integrated mental and physical health care in Australia’. The conference will bring together researchers, clinicians and managers from around the world who are engaged in the radical redesign of services. They will share experience and the latest evidence about patient and population needs, patient-centered service design, and the information and communications technology needed to make integrated services a reality. Full details are available from the website.
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Integrating Mental Health into the NDIS Conference

Also on next week is the Integrating Mental Health into the NDIS Conference. This year’s conference is being held in Sydney and will include keynote presentations from myself, David Butt from the National Mental Health Commission, Eddie Bartnik, special adviser to the NDIA and David Meldrum from Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia. I hope to see you there.
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Mental health change makers

A fantastic new grassroots campaign has been launched that aims to create a supportive and interactive online community of change makers in the mental health landscape. The Walking Feat project will provide education modules about how to reduce stigma, public speaking skills, how to put on awareness events, and self-care strategies. To get the initiative off the ground, the organisers need to raise $5000 in 30 days. When they reach this goal ING Direct will donate a further $5000 to help set-up the online community. If you are interested in finding out more or donating please visit the website.
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Champions of Mental Health Peer Work Initiative

This important initiative is a national capacity building project which will create a peer trainer and assessor workforce to deliver the new Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work and ensure prompt and streamlined implementation of the qualification across Australia. There are currently few trainers and assessors across Australia who meet all the requirements of the National Training Package, to train and assess the Cert IV in Mental Health Peer Work. The aim of this project is to catalyse the growth of a national peer work trainer workforce by targeting 30 highly experienced consumer and carer peer workers across Australia who are also experienced trainers and facilitators. Full details are available from the website.
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A Day in the Life project now online

A new blogging project launched in the UK this week that aims to build a never before seen portrait of what everyday life with a mental illness is like. People signing up to A Day in the Life will be invited to share their experiences of what makes their mental health better and what makes it worse by submitting a 700 word blog on set days as part of the year-long project. A Day in the Life is designed to provide an insight into the lives of people with a lived experience of mental illness to help inform the development of policies and projects which better meet their needs. The project is also designed to better educate and raise awareness among the wider public of the reality of mental health issues.
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Two homelessness services to merge

Two of Melbourne’s largest and most respected housing and homelessness services are set to join forces to boost capacity and strengthen the response to growing demand on their services.  HomeGround Services and Hanover Welfare Services will create a single organisation with a single, unambiguous focus - to end homelessness in Melbourne and beyond. It is expected that work to merge the two organisations will begin in early 2015.
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Mind the Bump - a world first App

Smiling Mind and beyondblue have teamed up to create a new App to support new and expecting parents. Mind the Bump is free, clinically-based and the first mental health-related pregnancy App in the world to cover both the ante and postnatal period while featuring Mindfulness Meditation. Mind the Bump provides a range of short, guided meditations and informal daily exercises to support mental and emotional health. 
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Mental Health Services - in brief 2014

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released ‘Mental Health Services - in brief 2014’. The publication provides an overview of data about the national response of the health and welfare system to the mental health care needs of Australians.
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National Youth Awards - last chance to nominate

Applications for the 2015 National Youth Awards close at midday on Thursday 27 November. The Awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding achievements of young people and include a $2000 prize and national recognition. The Awards are unique because the finalists and winners are selected by a panel of all young people. This unique Australian Government initiative is for those aged between 12-25 years old as of 16 April 2015. Individuals can be nominated for an Award or can apply for the Award themselves, full details are available from the website.
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Warm regards

Frank Quinlan
Chief Executive Officer


Mental health begins with Me!


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