CEO Update - 7 August
Extraordinary Policy Forum and Stakeholder Workshop
Our ‘Countdown to Reform’ campaign continued this week with some major activity.
We joined more than 70 members and friends in Canberra on Wednesday at our Extraordinary Policy Forum. The day was a great success with a wide ranging discussion focusing on the key questions raised by the Department of Health in the lead up to their mental health stakeholder workshop the following day.
Participants at the Forum expressed a number of concerns that formed the basis of our contribution to the Department’s Workshop and our ongoing campaign.
In particular, Forum participants found that previous responses and plans:
- had not adequately addressed consumer and carer engagement and “co-design principles” (nothing about us without us)
- had not overcome fragmentation across a complex system, and
- had not developed a suite of services that are delivered efficiently and allow long-term investment in key parts of the system.
Other key issues raised included:
- strong agreement that the development of the 5th National Mental Health Plan should include deep engagement with consumers, carers and service providers across the whole system.
- the provision of appropriate governance and planning arrangements are critical to ensure Primary Health Networks do not see resources shifted to clinical activities rather than the broad range of psychosocial supports required to enable contributing lives.
- the urgent need for transition plans to be put in place to ensure that as we respond to the Commission’s review, as we begin implementation of the 5th National Mental Health Plan and as we reach full roll-out of the NDIS, we do not see gaps open up in already fragmented services and programs, harming people who are already vulnerable.
As mentioned in last week’s update, we will continue to engage with the Department over the coming months and will provide a written submission taking account of member feedback. Please feel free to provide us with written comments addressing the questions in our Consultation Paper by 21 August.
Delegates also had the opportunity to attend a National Press Club address by Professor Allan Fels who urged all governments to commit to mental health reform. You can watch the full address here.
I was lucky enough to be part of a delegation Carers Australia put together to visit the Garma Festival in East Arnhem Land. The festival brings together Indigenous leaders, business leaders, government officials and (in our case) not for profit organisations to consider Indigenous issues. The event has two main streams: a “Key Forum” that has a series of presentations and debates featuring largely Indigenous leaders, alongside a cultural program (dance, song, storytelling) offering the opportunity to experience traditional Indigenous culture in an immersive way.
I will write a fuller account of the Festival for our regular “Perspectives” publication, but suffice to say here it was a very powerful experience, and nourished my personal commitment to ensuring we support our Indigenous brothers and sisters as we all seek to overcome the considerable barriers they face in achieving the social and emotional wellbeing to which we all aspire.
Young Minds Matter Survey
You may have seen the release today of a landmark national survey into child and adolescent mental health and wellbeing. The Young Minds Matter survey showed that as many as one in 10 children, some as young as four, have mental health disorders, with widespread instance of self-harm as well as anxiety and depression.
I have been discussing the survey with a range of media outlets including the ABC and Channel 10 and I will be on Sky News in the morning, watch out for the links to these interviews in next week’s members Media Summary.
Government announces new approach to dementia research
Minister for Health Sussan Ley today launched a three-pronged approach to support and promote dementia research in the search of new treatments, models of care and ways of preventing the debilitating disease.
Ms Ley today announced $35.6 million for six Dementia Research Team Grants that included the largest dementia clinical trial in the world for people aged 55 to 75 to test an online tool to reduce the risk of dementia, and projects aimed to uncover early warning signs of Alzheimer’s and non-Alzheimer’s disease dementias earlier. To read more please visit the website.
Young Carer Bursary Programme applications
Assistant Minister for Social Services, Mitch Fifield, has confirmed applications for the 2016 Young Carer Bursary Programme will open on 18 August 2015. The 2016 Young Carer Bursary Programme will deliver 333 bursaries worth $3,000 each to assist young carers up to 25 years old to continue studying and to relieve the financial pressure on them to work in addition to their caring. For full details please visit the website.
Greens announce mental health policy
The Australian Greens this week called for rural mental health to be a top priority in Australia’s fifth mental health plan. Following a national tour of regional Australia by their spokesperson for mental health, Senator Penny Wright, the Greens have released a full costed Mental Health Policy. Visit the website to download the full policy.
National Disability Awards - nominations open
Applications are now open for the 2015 National Disability Awards. Now in their ninth year, the Awards help build awareness of disability issues and showcase important work throughout the community, enabling people to fully participate in work and society. Nominations close on 4 September, full details are available from the website.
Yarn Safe is the first youth-led national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health campaign, telling young people there’s no shame in talking about problems affecting their mental health and wellbeing. Yarn Safe encourages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to speak up and ask for help when going through a tough time. For more details on this fantastic campaign please visit the website.
Improve one-on-one treatment outcomes: workshop
In this two-day workshop Dr William (Bill) Miller will address areas where people often get stuck in developing clinical strategies and skilfulness during the therapeutic alliance. How to deal with clients’ resistance and denial, and will illustrate ways to build clients’ confidence to enhance motivation for change. This workshop will blend didactic presentations with demonstrations and ample opportunities for experiential skill practice. Early bird registration rates are available until 31 August. For full details please visit the website.
PTSD Awareness Program Launch
Our friends at Mental Illness Education ACT are launching a new PTSD Awareness Program with a local short film documentary screening and light morning tea. Special guest speaker Professor David Forbes from Phoenix Australia will talk why it is important to never forget PTSD. More than half of all Australians experience a traumatic event in their lifetime. If left untreated, PTSD can affect people’s ability to work, perform every day activities or put strain on their relationships. Misdiagnosis and damaging experiences with professionals can extinguish help seeking and have negative implications for people experiencing PTSD. The event is free and is taking place in Canberra on 10 August. Full details are available from the website.
Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA) is undertaking a project to identify the programs and services in suicide prevention that are being delivered in communities across Australia. Funded with the support of the Macquarie Group Foundation, the survey will help to identify gaps in programs and services as well as indicate where services are strongly represented.
The survey will take about 30 minutes to complete and SPA would like to hear from your organisation and have your contribution to this project. In addition if you are aware of any community network that is operating could you also introduce them to SPA.
Due to the structure of the survey you will need to email SPA with your email address so the link can be sent directly to you. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with Mapping Survey in the subject line and SPA will send you the link to the survey.
National Carer Awards - nominations open
The National Carer Awards have been developed to publicly recognise and celebrate unpaid carers and foster / kinship carers across Australia. The Awards seek to raise awareness and acknowledge the extraordinary contribution carers make to the nation. Nominations will close on Sunday 6 September with national winners being announced in February 2016. For full details please visit the website.
Health in Difference Conference
Health in Difference is a flagship conference of the National LGBTI Health Alliance and is Australia’s premier conference on the health and wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer and other sexuality, gender, and bodily diverse people and communities. The conference is being held in Canberra from 13-15 August. For full details including the program and registration information please visit the website.
Second National Complex Needs Conference
The Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) - in conjunction with the National Complex Needs Alliance (NCNA) - invites you to participate in the second Australian conference to showcase successful programs/approaches in addressing complex needs - with the broader purpose of identifying what works and how. The Conference will be held in Canberra from 17-18 November 2015. Full details including registration information is available on the website.
Chief Executive Officer