CEO Update - 4 September
Distributed Advocacy Day
Yesterday we launched the next major plank of our ‘Countdown to Reform’ campaign, our ‘Distributed Advocacy Day’. This cross-country event will see members and friends meet with politicians in their own electorates over the coming weeks to discuss local mental health issues and how they are being impacted by the current reform process. At this stage, we are seeking people who are interested in either participating in or chairing a delegation in their local areas. If you are keen to be part of this event, email my team or call us on 02 6285 3100.
Welcome to Robyn Kruk AM
You may have seen our media release earlier this week welcoming Robyn Kruk AM to the Mental Health Australia Board. Many of you will be familiar with Robyn through her position as the inaugural CEO of the National Mental Health Commission. I am delighted to welcome Robyn to the Board and look forward to working closely with her as we continue to prosecute the case for reform of the mental health system.
Wollongong Mental Health Forum
I was in Wollongong earlier this week to attend a forum convened by Stephen Jones MP and Senator Jan McLucas. The forum gave me a chance to hear from a gathering of about 70 locals with first hand experience of the mental health system, or concerns about the system. With local workforce reductions due to the downturn in the steel industry there was also considerable discussion about the role of large companies in looking after the welfare of their workers, even during re-structuring and “down-sizing”. I made some comments to the Illawarra Mercury while I was in town and you can read via the link below.
PIR Capacity Building Project Expert Reference Group
On Tuesday I was in Sydney for a meeting of the Partners in Recovery Expert Group. Even though it seems the evaluation of this program is proving quite positive, there is still a great deal of uncertainty about its future. The lack of a transition plan to the NDIS, and the lack of certainty about who will be in the NDIS and who will be left outside mean it is difficult to predict what will come next for this program. Partners in Recovery organisations are contracted until June 2016, and it would be my hope that the program will continue for at least some years after that date as the transition to the NDIS is completed, and as programs are established for people who will not qualify for the NDIS. I joined others in pressing the need for some certainty, knowing that as we speak programs are already being affected, with reports of staff already drifting away from the program.
NewAccess Advisory Committee Meeting
On Wednesday I participated in the NewAccess Advisory Committee meeting. This program is starting to gather some very interesting information and beyondblue has renewed their investment in its establishment and evaluation. As we countdown to reform, the role programs like NewAccess play in early intervention and prevention are certain to be examined more closely.
Meeting with the Department of Social Services
Yesterday I met with Russell Ayres (Branch Manager Mental Health) and John Riley (Branch Manager Disability Employment Taskforce) both from the Department of Social Services to discuss our common interests in mental health. We agreed that a great deal of planning remains to be done if NDIS transition is to be completed successfully, and a great deal of work remained to be done to resolve exactly how many people will end up being serviced by the NDIS and how many people will required services outside the NDIS. This is especially true for participants in the Personal Helpers and Mentors program.
Meeting with the Department of Health
Josh Fear and I met with Martin Bowles (Secretary) and Mark Cormack (Deputy Secretary) from the Department of Health to discuss next steps on the mental health reform process. As you know we have been keen to press the urgency of the timetable for reform, and I left the meeting with strong sense that the Department understood our concerns. We also discussed future commissioning and change management and agreed to have more discussions as the government’s plans for reform become clearer.
Australian Mental Health Care Classification
This week Josh Fear and Louise O’Donnell from our Policy Team met with representatives of the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IPHA) and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). Both IPHA and NDIA are keen to better understand, describe and ultimately classify the range of mental health services accessed by people in a community setting. Each is approaching the task quite differently: IPHA is developing the Australian Mental Health Care Classification (AMHCC), while the NDIA is refining its support catalogue, assessment tools and outcomes framework to ensure mental health issues are adequately addressed. Mental Health Australia will continue to work with IPHA and the NDIA to encourage coordination and consistency across these various streams of work wherever possible.
As mentioned in last week’s update, I will be participating in a webinar next week to discuss our ongoing work with IHPA on the development of the AMHCC.
IHPA will provide an overview of the work on the AMHCC to date, including how the classification model works, share with participants the results of a six month mental health costing study and outline further work required on the development of the classification. I will explain the relevance of IHPA’s work to different areas of the sector and address the benefits and challenges of designing a classification that represents the full spectrum of mental health care services.
I encourage members to join the conversation and take the opportunity to provide feedback to IHPA on the proposed classification model.
Perspectives - online magazine out now
The latest edition of our online magazine, Perspectives, is out now. In this issue you can read about the current state of mental health system reform activities, the development of workplace mental health first aid guidelines, the impact of childhood family violence on adult mental health and a proposal to have mental health nurses work alongside NSW Police to manage mental health related incidents. I have also included some photos from my recent trip to the Garma Festival.
You can sign up here to receive the next edition directly in your inbox or click on the link below to read the September issue now.
World Suicide Prevention Day 2015 and R U OK? Day - 10 September
Next Thursday, 10 September, we will join our friends at Suicide Prevention Australia and R U OK? Day to mark World Suicide Prevention Day. The 2015 theme is “Preventing Suicide: Reaching Out and Saving Lives.”
It is speaking up to reduce the stigma around talking about suicide prevention safely. It is about standing up to make a positive impact on our mental health and wellbeing. It is about being self informed and aware of support and services available to all those touched by suicide and those building a resilient community to prevent suicide. World Suicide Prevention Day events occur in local communities across Australia. Check out the Events page to see what’s happening near you.
New name for Arafmi WA
Today is an historic day in the nearly 40 year history of Arafmi WA with an unveiling of a new name, logo, tagline and website to support their evolution to a leading not for profit Mental Health Services and Carer support organisation. The new organisation name HelpingMinds reflects a commitment to provide quality counselling, respite and support services to carers and individuals affected by mental health. The new tagline “Helping You” illustrates that HelpingMinds is there to support and understand carers and clients as they try and live their best life possible. To read more about the name and brand change please visit the new website helpingminds.org.au
Ready for Change - A survey about mental health reform in NSW
It’s just under a year since the release of the Living Well: A Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014-2024 to reform the NSW mental health sector and facilitate improved mental health and wellbeing in that state. The Mental Health Commission of NSW would like to hear what you think about the Plan, your experience of implementation and how you think mental health reform is progressing.
Whether you work for a government agency or a community managed organisation, or if you have a lived experience of mental illness or are a carer, your views are important and will help form a picture of progress.
Dementia Awareness Month
Dementia Awareness Month is held from 1 September to 30 September nationally and this year’s theme is Creating a Dementia-Friendly Nation. The goal is to encourage Australians to become dementia-aware, have a better understanding of what it is like for a person to live with dementia, and ultimately be encouraged to create communities where people with dementia are supported to live a high quality of life with meaning, purpose and value. For full details including a list of events in your area please visit the Alzheimer’s Australia website.
Advocacy. Empowering Carer Advocates to be Champions for Change
Mental Health Carers Arafmi NSW Inc., in partnership with Mental Heallth Carers Arafmi Australia, is holding an invaluable forum for mental health carer support workers. Mental health carer support workers and carers who in engage in advocacy for others or would like to know how are all welcome. The forum will be held in Sydney on 22 September. For full details including a chance to win a trip to the forum, please visit the website.
Territory strategy to support and improve mental health
This week saw the launch of the Northern Territory’s first ever Mental Health Strategic Plan. The Department of Health developed the plan in consultation with the community and stakeholders who provided valuable input through participation in consultation forums and focus groups held across Darwin, Alice Springs, Nhulunbuy, Katherine and Tennant Creek last year. To download the full plan please visit the website.
A reminder to ask ‘How is Dad Going?’ this Father’s Day
This Father’s Day, our friends at PANDA - Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia are calling on Australian’s to check in on new dads and ask the important question, ‘How is dad going?’. Research released earlier this year from the Australian Institute of Family Studies highlights the importance of supporting new dads, with 1 in 10 reporting symptoms of depression in the year after the birth of their child. It is also believed that up to 1 in 20 men will suffer from depression whilst their partner is pregnant. For more details on this campaign please visit the website.
Blue Knot Day - 26 October
Blue Knot Day is ASCA’s national awareness day celebrated in October every year. On this day, ASCA asks all Australians to unite in support of the 5 million Australian adult survivors of childhood trauma and abuse.
This year’s Blue Knot Day is on Monday 26th October 2015, with events held throughout the country during the week of October 26 to November 1. See what events have already been scheduled in your area. Building on our overarching message that “recovery is possible”, this year’s Blue Knot Day has a theme of “supportive communities help survivors recover”. ASCA is asking all communities to be receptive and supportive to the survivors who live within their local communities. Visit the website for details on how you can get involved.
Society for Mental Health Research Conference 2015 - early bird registrations available
Early–bird registration is now available for SMHR 2015. Register before Friday 19 October 2015, and save up to $50 off the standard full registration rates. SMHR 2015 ‘Building a healthier future’ will be held at the Sofitel Brisbane Hotel 2-5 December 2015. This year’s conference theme has been developed to reflect both the broad range of mental health and psychiatry research from the sub-cellular to translation and implementation science as well as the spectrum of diagnoses that are covered. Visit the website for full details.