CEO Update - 28 November

 CEO Update, Mental Health AustraliaMedia release

This Week

Integrating Mental Health into the NDIS Conference

I am writing my update today from this conference in Sydney.  Delegates had the chance to explore many of the current issues that we face in trying to ensure the NDIS provides appropriate support to people who experience psychosocial disability. Our Director of Policy and Projects Josh Fear and I presented on the range of issues Mental Health Australia has been concerned about, and we also heard from representatives from the Department of Social Services, the NDIA, trial sites and consumers and carers. There was a very strong sense that uncertainty regarding many future programs, coupled with uncertainty about who will qualify for NDIS supports (especially Tier 2 supports) is starting to bite in some areas and urgent decisions will be required to ensure more people are not left to fall through the cracks. 

You may have also seen our media release on this issue yesterday. If you missed it please click here.
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2nd World Congress on Integrated Care

Earlier in the week I had the chance to present about mental health issues at the World Congress on Integrated Care. I was very impressed by the range of issues addressed by this conference, which aimed to explore ways of ensuring people receive person-centered care from services that have too often existing in silos.  I’ve provided a link to the program which lists the very wide range of international initiatives that were presented at the conference.  I’d encourage you to have a look at some of the programs listed.
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While in Sydney I attended a meeting of the National Coalition for Suicide Prevention which is convened by Suicide Prevention Australia. The Coalition aims to bring together the resources of many organisations to implement intensive, evidence based initiatives to reduce suicide in specific locations and evaluate the “collective impact”. You can find our more at the link below…
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Victorian Mental Health Complaints Commissioner

I was pleased to have the chance to meet this week with Victoria’s first Mental Health Complaints Commissioner, Lynne Coulson Barr.  We were also pleased to be taken on a tour of the new Marie Bashir Centre in Sydney. The Mental Health Complaints Commissioner has considerable powers to investigate issues affecting people receiving mental health services on the basis of the complaints that they receive. You can find out more about the Commission below…
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National Disability Awards

I was pleased to be a guest at Parliament House for the National Disability Awards this week. The Awards are a major part of the celebrations marking the International Day of People with Disability, being held on 3 December. Ten outstanding individuals and organisations received an award at the gala dinner with the winners being selected from a pool of more than 200 nominees. Congratulations to all the winners, for a full list please visit the website.
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Life Matters Interview

Earlier in the week I was interviewed by Natasha Mitchell on ABC’s Life Matters program.  As the National Mental Health Commission comes to the end of its Review, our attention is moving to what happens next - especially how the government might respond to the Review. You can hear the interview by following this link.
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Backbencher briefing 

Next Wednesday we will be hosting a breakfast briefing for parliamentarians in conjunction with the Parliamentary Friends of Mental Illness. With the NMHC Review being handed to government on Monday it is timely to discuss the key issues facing the sector and the importance of government committing to a decade long reform plan. I will be presenting our Blueprint for Action on Mental Health and Jack Heath will join me to launch SANE Australia’s Guide to Electorate Offices which provides parliamentarians and their offices with the practical information and advice they need to help visitors whose lives are affected by mental illness. 

We wrote to members this week encouraging them to lobby their local members to attend the event, thanks to all who have provided their support.
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Tell us about World Mental Health Day – Win a copy of Brekky Central

Thanks to the generosity of Adam Boland, we have ten copies of his best-selling book ‘Brekky Central’ to give away, just in time for Christmas. To win a copy, all you need to do is provide us feedback on this year’s World Mental Health Day campaign. We are keen to hear your thoughts on the campaign to help us improve it for next year. It only takes a minute to complete, and will put you in the draw to win!
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Parliamentary news

Senate calls on government to release mental health review reports

This week the Senate supported a motion proposed by Shadow Minister for Mental Health Senator Jan McLucas, requiring the Abbott Government to table the two interim reports of its long-awaited mental health review being conducted by the NMHC
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Calls for inquiry into abuse against people with disability in institutions

Following this week’s harrowing Four Corners program on the abuse of people with disability in institutions, a motion was introduced to the Senate calling on the government to establish a national inquiry into the issue. 
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Perspectives - December edition

The final edition of our bi-monthly magazine, Perspectives, will be released in mid-December. Mental Health Australia members are invited to contribute articles on the key issues facing their stakeholders. This is a great opportunity for members to share content with the entire sector. If you are interested in submitting an article or for more information please contact

In case you missed it, you can read the October edition of Perspectives here.
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The Global Depression Crisis - conference

Our good friends Patrick McGorry and Jack Heath joined a gathering of international policymakers, health and business leaders in London this week to examine the urgent need for a global response to the growing impact of depression. The conference was opened by former Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan who advocated that mental health should be placed on the post 2015 Millennium Development Goals agenda and that reducing the stigma around mental health was an absolute priority. For more details please visit the website.
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Equity, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth Laws - ALRC Report

The Australian Law Reform Commission’s Final Report Equality, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth Laws, was tabled in Parliament this week. The Report makes 55 recommendations for reform that will better provide people with disability equal recognition before the law—in particular, in relation to the right to make decisions that affect their lives and to have those decisions respected. To download the full report or a summary version please visit the website.
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Medication and mental illness - last call for responses

The NSW Mental Health Commission is calling for responses to its Medication and mental illness issues paper. To create positive change in NSW, the Commission would like to understand the varying impact that medication has on people’s lives and whether the system is responding safely and sensitively to people’s needs. The Commission encourages consumers, carers, and professionals to share their experiences, issues and concerns with using medication to treat mental illness. Responses are due by 30 November so don’t miss out. For full details please visit the website.
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International Day of People with Disability

3 December is International Day of People with Disability, a United Nations sanctioned day that celebrates progress in breaking down barriers, opening doors, and realising an inclusive society for all. Disability organisations, businesses, governments and the community come together at events across the country to mark the occasion and celebrate the achievements of people with disability. For more information on how to get involved please visit the website.
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Work and Care Initiative launched

Our good friends at Carers Australia this week launched their new Work and Care initiative at a meeting of the Parliamentary Friends of Carers at Parliament House. Work and Care aims to improve the capacity of family and friend carers to combine employment with their caring responsibilities, and to assist long-term carers on income support to transition into employment when their caring role ceases or is reduced. Full details are available from the website.
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SMHR Conference - registrations now open

The SMHR 2014 Conference formerly known as ASPR Annual Conference is the principal research meeting for psychiatric and mental health research in Australia and New Zealand, attracting researchers and a wide range of clinicians including psychiatrists, psychologists, and public health professionals. The areas of research cover basic neurosciences, pharmaceutical and psychosocial clinical interventions, consumer research, translation into policy and practice, as well as health services and public health research. The Conference is being held in Adelaide from 3-5 December, visit the website for full details.
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Primary Mental Health Care in the Digital Age Conference

The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses are hosting their Primary Mental Health Care in the Digital Age Conference next March. The conference will explore the impact of technology on mental health and wellbeing, and the impact on clinicians’ capacity to deliver primary mental health care.  The conference is a supportive forum where clinicians can share their practice experiences with other clinicians, and have the opportunity to hear from leading experts in e-mental health including  Professor Helen Christensen from the Black Dog Institute and Associate Professor Jane Burns of the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre. Full details are available from the website.
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AMA Indigenous People’s Medical Scholarship - applications open

A reminder that applications are open for the 2015 AMA Indigenous Peoples’ Medical Scholarship. The successful applicant will receive $10,000 each year for the duration of their course. The AMA Scholarship aims to help increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the medical workforce. Full details are available from the website. 
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ACCI collaboration agreement with Campbell Page

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) this week announced a major collaboration with Campbell Page, one of the country’s leading employment and disability employment service providers which aims to improve job outcomes for the unemployed, and for people with disability. For more details about the collaboration please visit the website.
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Warm regards

Frank Quinlan
Chief Executive Officer

Mental health begins with me!


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