CEO Update - 25 September

 CEO Update, Mental Health AustraliaGrace Groom Memorial Oration

This Week

Distributed Advocacy Day

This week, we have pulled together a delegation of people from Canberra to meet with Senator Zed Seselja and Senator Katy Gallagher as part of our Distributed Advocacy Day campaign.  My staff have sent our letters of introduction, following the same process we have asked you all to undertake as part of this important plank of our Countdown to Reform campaign. In addition, we are working with Kym Ryan at the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses to help her pull together another delegation to meet with ACT Members Andrew Leigh and Gai Brodtmann.

We’ve been heartened to hear from a number of you, and a number of delegations are already coming together. However, I do encourage you to take up this opportunity quickly, as there is a lot of effort to bring it all together. Timing is very important, and we suspect the government is very close to finalising its response to the National Mental Health Commission review, so it is an excellent time for us to be speaking to parliamentarians about these important issues!

As always our Communications Team stands ready to advise you and you can contact them directly through our Communications Director Chris Wagner.
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World Mental Health Day campaign

Preparations are well advanced for our annual World Mental Health Day celebrations. This year we are focussing on partnerships with on the ground organisations to help broaden our reach. We have signed on LifelineNeami Nationalheadspace, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, the Mental Health Council of Tasmania and Telstra as official partners for the campaign as well as making distribution agreements with the Australian Departments of Defence and Health and the Northern Territory Government.

Collateral including posters and postcards is available through the website and we are asking everyone to get along to and check it out. While you are there, please make a mental health promise to yourself and share it. By making this promise, and then sharing it on social media, we can all work towards reducing the stigma associated with mental illness in Australia. My promise for the year is at the end of this newsletter.
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Southern Cross Austereo’s Mental Health Program

A reminder to all our friends and members, especially those who provide crisis support services, about Southern Cross Austereo’s special mental health radio program next week. The program will air on Tuesday 29 September across more than 40 stations throughout the country. It will focus on music and mental health and wellbeing. They have some amazing material and will be running advertisements for mental health services instead of advertising during the three-hour show, kicking off at 7pm. Good friend of Mental Health Australia, radio DJ Bianca Dye, is co-hosting the program so why not tune in to hear us launch our World Mental Health Day campaign.

Menslink breakfast

I was delighted to join more than 500 others for the annual Menslink Business Breakfast in Canberra this week.  It is encouraging to see the community rally behind such an important cause.  I continue to get a strong sense that community sentiment is running well ahead of governments on important issues around mental health.  Events such as this are one way of bringing these issues to the attention of our leaders and policy makers.
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Demonstration of the EAGALA model

Yesterday I was delighted to have the opportunity to participate in a demonstration session facilitated by EAGALA, a structured program of equine based psychotherapy. If you follow my twitter feed @frankgquinlan you can see photos from the day. The program has demonstrated some great outcomes, particularly in the PTSD and veterans space, and the organisation is looking for opportunities to extend their work. Well worth having a look if you have not already done so.
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Parliamentary news

$100m family violence package

You may have seen the Federal Government’s announcement yesterday of a $100 million package to combat family violence. The package will improve frontline support and services, leverage innovative technologies to keep women safe, and provide education resources to help change community attitudes to violence and abuse. For full details on the package please visit the website.
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Mental Health Services in Australia

Mental health services in Australia provides a picture of the national response of the health and welfare service system to the mental health care needs of Australians. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has today released updates to its Mental health services in Australia website.

The Website can be accessed via the link below.
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Feel like a chat during Mental Health Week?

The ABC’s Mental As initiative for mental health week is gathering momentum and this year their dedicated site will encourage people who ‘feel like a chat’ to go to the SANE Forums to continue the conversation. 

The forums provide peer support for people living with a mental illness or related mental health issues, and for family, friends and other carers. They are a service provided by SANE Australia in partnership with 25 mental health organisations around the country.
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Carers Australia seeks Mental Health Respite case studies - clarification

There were some ambiguities in a recent Update calling for case studies from mental health carers of NDIS package recipients.  It needs to be clarified that it is Carers Australia rather than DSS who have expressed concern that funding for the Mental Health Respite: Carer Support programme is transitioning over time to the NDIS.  Among Carers Australia’s concerns is that mental health carers of package recipients may be getting a lesser level of support for their own needs than was or would have been available to them if the Mental Health Respite: Carer Support programme was retained outside the NDIS.  Carers Australia is also concerned that carers of people not eligible for packages will lose access to the services provided under this program. (Mental Health Australia shares some of these concerns). This is the reason Carers Australia is seeking case studies exploring mental health carers’ experiences of the NDIS in relation to their own needs for respite and counselling – whether that experience has been positive or negative or if they are of the view that their needs for respite and counselling have diminished through supports offered to those they care for.  Carers Australia would also like to hear from mental health carers who are caring for someone who has been found ineligible for the NDIS.  If you would like to share your story please contact Anna Morison via the link below or call 02 6122 9909.
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RACGP embraces emerging field of eMental health interventions

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has developed a new guide to assist GPs navigate the growing number of online services designed to deliver mental health information, services and care. e-Mental health: A guide for GPs is a practical, user-friendly resource providing advice on how to use e-mental health resources with suitable patients in primary care. For full details or to download the guide please visit the website.
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Volunteers needed for dementia risk reduction study

Dementia researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) are looking for people to take part in a pilot study aimed at lowering the risk of developing dementia. The pilot program called Body Brain Life-Fit (BBL-Fit) aims to find out how risk reduction in middle age can alter the development of dementia. If successful, the program could become a versatile, low-cost, intervention package available worldwide to help combat dementia. For further details please contact Beth Sinclair via the link below.
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Recovery in Focus - a photographic exhibition

Our friends at Richmond Fellowship Queensland invite you to a special Mental Health Week event in King George Square on Tuesday 6 October (10am – 6pm) Recovery in Focus. The event is a Photographic Exhibition profiling people in recovery. The portraits are by award-winning photographer, Andrew Leggett, and are supported by people’s own brief narrative. The Exhibition will be officially launched at 1pm with the Queensland Mental Health Commissioner, Dr Lesley van Schoubroeck. We will also hear a personal lived experience testimony from special guests, Ryan and Marlee from Channel 7’s ‘House Rules’.  Full details are available on the website.
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Doctor’s health at the forefront

Queensland doctors go above and beyond to help patients, but now they are being encouraged to help themselves. AMA Queensland this week launched the pilot of its Resilience on the Run program at Rockhampton Hospital aimed at providing young medicos with the resilience and coping skills needed to survive and thrive in the rewarding, but challenging, field of medicine. For full details please visit the website.
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ASCA professional development training

Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA) has just launched a new training package on vicarious trauma. They are currently offering this new training, along with two types of health professional training throughout Australia. For full details on all ASCA’s training programs please visit the website.
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Exercise Your Mood Month

A reminder that September is Exercise Your Mood Month! Our friends at the Black Dog Institute are running this national campaign designed to increase community awareness of the importance of regular exercise for maintaining good mental health. Exercise can help boost serotonin, which plays a key role in the brain in regulating mood, sleep and appetite. It can increase your levels of endorphins, which have natural mood-lifting properties. Exercise can also provide a distraction from worrying and provide an increased sense of control while promoting social interaction. For more information about the campaign and ways to get involved please visit the website.
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Please don’t forget to make your mental health promise!!   Warm regards,
Frank Quinlan
Chief Executive Officer     Mental Health Begins with Me!



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