CEO Update: Acting now, and with hope

Acting now, and with hope

Last week, former Prime Minister and current Beyond Blue Chair Julia Gillard talked about the political, and management concept of “never letting a good crisis go to waste”…

And I completely agree.

Her OpEd also reminded us of how far we have come as a community when she said, “If a crisis of this nature had struck a decade ago, many would have suffered in silence and not taken the first step on the road to managing their mental health.

This is a succinct summary of the success of the mental health sector over the last decade.

It serves as a reminder of how far we have come in reducing stigma, and in creating innovative services and systems to encourage new and older generations of people with lived experience to seek help in a safe and secure way, where they may not have previously.

It is also a reminder of what has changed for the good as we continue to navigate through, and out of, this pandemic. We have to be optimistic and hopeful that in another decade from now, the mental health of our community will again be much stronger, and we will all be much more prepared for challenges.

To do this, and to capitalise on new ways of operating that have come out of this crisis, we have all been flexible and adapted where we’ve had to, but we also need to be strategic over the coming months.

In the first instance, strategy comes from leadership and Dr Brendan Murphy’s leadership as Chief Medical Officer during this crisis has been exemplary. He has helped guide our nation to a safer place, a global leader against this pandemic.

In recognising the impact on the mental health of all Australians, Government has this week announced the appointment of Dr Ruth Vine as the new Deputy Chief Medical Officer for mental health. As a sector, we welcome the clinical leadership and strategic thinking Ruth will bring to this position and the national discourse in planning the mental health response to the pandemic.

We have also welcomed the work the National Mental Health Commission has undertaken to prepare the pandemic plan for mental health, as well as keenly await recommendations to come out of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health and the Victorian Royal Commission later in the year.

Our system is already changing and where they have had a positive impact, we have to make those changes strategic and enduring. We must resist the urge to denigrate our existing system and using public outrage to highlight policy deficiencies and strain on our services.

Instead we should build hope, basing our focus on existing strengths to inform policy debate with solutions. We need to hear more from people with lived experience. And with a collective approach, which has certainly been the theme in a lot of my early discussions with members and stakeholders so far.

To do this we need to be positive, and focus on what we can say and do to make things better for all Australians.

Have a good weekend!

Leanne Beagley

Be sure to celebrate IDAHOBIT this weekend

This Sunday 17 May, marks 30 years since the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from the classification of diseases and related health problems, and at Mental Health Australia we acknowledge how far as a community we have come in those 30 years.

Celebrating this achievement is exactly what IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia & Transphobia) is all about.

We plan to mark the day with some special staff activities on Monday and by renewing our commitment to reducing phobia and stigma that we know creates alienation and despair.

The day is also about looking ahead and raising awareness for the work still needed. This is not the time to stop working for a fully inclusive future. 

And at Mental Health Australia that’s just what we also need to do more broadly for the sector. We need to look ahead and raise awareness, and recommit ourselves to the work still needed.

Click here to find out more about IDAHOBIT.

Mental Health Australia welcomes the appointment of Deputy Chief Medical Officer for mental health, Associate Professor Dr Ruth Vine

Mental Health Australia has this week welcomed the appointment of Associate Professor Dr Ruth Vine as Australia’s first Deputy Chief Medical Officer for mental health.

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Embrace Multicultural Mental Health News

The Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (the Framework) is a free, nationally available online resource which allows organisations and individual practitioners to evaluate and enhance their cultural responsiveness. It has been mapped against national standards to help you meet your existing requirements, with access to a wide range of support and resources. 

We are pleased to invite you to the second of a four-part webinar series in June 2020. The webinar will provide an in-depth look into Module 2 of the Framework: Developing Safe, Quality & Culturally Responsive Services.


  • When: Wednesday 3 June 2020
  • VIC, NSW, ACT, TAS & QLD2:00 pm
  • SA & NT1:30 pm
  • WA: 12:00 pm

Register here

Embrace CALD Mental Health Consumer and Carer Group members join Look after your mental health, Australia campaign

Some members of our CALD Mental Health Consumer and Carer Group have been sharing mental health advice as part of the Mental Health Australia Look after your mental health, Australia campaign, encouraging all Australians to prioritise mental health at this time. Watch below for Tandi’s tips, and check out our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter channels for more!


Mental Health News

The Commission welcomes the appointment of Dr Ruth Vine

The National Mental Health Commission (the Commission) has this week welcomed the appointment of leading Australian psychiatrist Dr Ruth Vine, as new Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Mental Health within the Chief Medical Officer’s team at the Australian Department of Health.

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NDIS Quarterly Report

This week the Minister for the NDIS, the Hon Stuart Robert MP, released the COAG Disability Reform Council Quarterly Report, a detailed insight into the progress of the NDIS from 1 January to 31 March 2020. 

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Alcohol misuse and mental health do not mix

It is more important than ever to be aware of the dangers of alcohol use for our mental health and wellbeing, according to the president of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP). 

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AASW calls for increase in medicare mental health sessions, publishes guidance for GPs

The AASW renews its call for an increase in Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS)-funded mental health sessions in response to COVID 19, said National President Christine Craik.

Read more 

COVID-19 creates added stress in small business community

New research from MYOB reveals two thirds (66%) of small businesses feel COVID-19 has impacted their mental wellbeing, with 58% revealing the pandemic has negatively impacted their business. 

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Veterans take home their assistance dogs

An important step forward in supporting veterans and their families has been reached with the first two dogs, Zuma and Leon, provided to veterans under the Federal Government’s Psychiatric Assistance Dogs program. 

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RACGP urges rural and remote healthcare workers to look after mental health and seek help

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has urged rural and remote healthcare workers to look after themselves and take advantage of new mental health resources. 

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New data shows young people are reaching out for COVID-19 mental health support

Leading digital youth mental health service ReachOut has released new data which reveals that unprecedented numbers of young Australians are turning to digital support for their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Read more 

Communique - COAG Disability Reform Council

Commonwealth, state and territory disability ministers met this week by telepresence. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss continued efforts to ensure that people with disability are supported and are able to access the services they need during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Read more 



Next week I am looking forward to calling more of our Voting and Non-Voting Members to introduce myself and learn more about their work and the sector at large.

On Monday, and as mentioned above, we’ll be celebrating IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia) with an office online get together by holding a trivia event for staff.

On Thursday, I will be meeting with Christine Morgan of the National Mental Health Commission followed by attending the next Mental Health Australia FARM Committee meeting, both via webinar. Melanie Cantwell, Deputy CEO, Harry Lovelock, Director, Policy and Projects, and I will finish the day with a regular TC catch up between Mental Health Peak Bodies and the Mental Health Division of the Department of Health.


Member Profiles

Ostara Australia is a national not-for-profit organisation that works closely with the Australian Government, member organisations, communities and employers to place people disadvantaged through age, health, disability or cultural background into sustainable employment. Their holistic approach is to address both the vocational and non-vocational barriers faced by disadvantaged job seekers. As such, they deliver personalised employment services, whilst also working in collaboration with countless community and welfare organisations to help job seekers with any mental, cultural or emotional challenges.
Website - Facebook - Twitter -

The ACT Mental Health Consumer Network is a consumer-led peak organisation representing the interests of mental health consumers in the ACT in policy and decision-making forums. The Network is committed to social justice and the inclusion of people with experience of mental illness. Their aim is to bring about a higher standard of health care in the mental health sector through representation, lobbying and active involvement in new developments in the mental health sector.
Website - Facebook -



Schizophrenia Awareness Week: Webinars

This year’s Schizophrenia Awareness week will run from Sunday 17th to Sunday 24th May 2020 and the theme is “Stay Connected”.

In a time where physical distance has been essential, raising awareness about mental health and fostering connection and inclusion has never felt more relevant.

During the week, One Door Mental Health, guest speakers and partners will host interactive webinars that connect professionals, carers and consumers. Together, they’ll bust myths, discuss new ways of being connected and promote help-seeking for all those affected by schizophrenia in our community.

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RACGP Expert Advice Matters campaign

The RACGP has launched a new website and social media campaign which is aimed at providing information on Telehealth and advocate for patients to continue seeing their GP to get expert advice on their chronic condition(s) and seek advice for new symptoms.

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Telehealth guides for consumers

Read this handy telehealth guide for consumers.

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7th Rural and Remote Health Scientific Symposium

The 7th Rural and Remote Health Scientific Symposium has been rescheduled and will now be held in Alice Springs on 24-25 May 2021, with a virtual pre-Symposium session on Monday, 25 May 2020.

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Calling all Australians: Share your experiences of #COVID-19

The Australian Institute of Family Studies is conducting the Families in Australia Survey: Life during COVID-19 to help paint the picture of how Australia’s families are adapting to the pandemic. How has the pandemic affected your life, your family and your relationships? Make your experience count. Do the survey today.

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MHCC Webinar: NDIS Practice Standards 28 May

Psychosocial disability providers are invited to join a free webinar to learn more about Complaint Management, Incident Management, Human Resources and Continuity of Supports under the NDIS Practice Standards. We will also discuss continuity of service during COVID-19 outbreak. This webinar features Graham Humphreys, NDIS Commission Director of Complaints for NSW/ACT & Kate Wilson, One Door Quality and Safety Manager. This webinar is being run as part of the Embracing Change: Applying the Practice Standards in Psychosocial Disability Services project.

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MHCC ACT Board Vacancy

The Mental Health Community Coalition (MHCC) ACT calls for nominations for a Lived Experience Director – person with lived experience as a carer.

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IDTWO: Intellectual Disability Trial for Wellbeing Online

The Black Dog Institute and UNSW Sydney are examining if an internet-based self-help program can improve anxiety and mood in people with borderline-to-mild intellectual disability (ID). The Research Team are looking for people with ID and carers to help test an electronic mental health (eMH) program, designed to meet the unique needs of Australians with ID

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Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia - five free posters to download

Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia, the new national Indigenous wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention leadership body, have launched five free posters for Indigenous Australians containing 20 tips for staying healthy and strong during the coronavirus outbreak. 

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How can you help people in your community living with mental health challenges?

Join us for the final webinar as we launch the final learning materials, ‘Good Practice Guide and Final Report’ and celebrate the lived experience co-design of the project and its learning opportunities. The learning opportunities are important in the COVID-19 environment where we are expecting an increase in people looking for help that have mental health challenges.

The webinar will:

  • Describe the learning materials developed by the CEEP Project
  • Encourage the use of the learning materials by people nationally (including launch of the ‘Good Practice Guide and Final Report’)
  • Celebrate the lived experience co-design of the learning materials/opportunities.

FREE Webinar: June 10, 10.30am-11.30am AEST

Register now



Paralympian Ahmed Kelly’s tips to
“look after your mental health, Australia”

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