CEO Update: Clarity and collaboration will deliver a comprehensive response

Clarity and collaboration will deliver a comprehensive response

What a great opportunity we have to collaborate as a sector and inform the planning for an ongoing mental health response to the pandemic. The National Mental Health Commission has been charged with providing a plan to the National Cabinet and many parts of the mental health ecosystem have provided comment and advice for that work. 

As we all know, there are many voices in our sector seeking to advise and influence the planning. We need all those voices if we are to understand and plan a comprehensive response to the way the pandemic has aggravated existing conditions, vulnerabilities, service gaps and community challenges.

We need all those voices if we are to understand and plan to respond to new and emerging challenges that have been triggered by the situation we find ourselves in. And, we need all those voices to ensure that the existing strengths in the system are sustained and form the foundation for the next phase of reform work.

Amongst the strong, big, gentle and quiet voices, the challenge for us as a mental health sector is to work together to ensure there is clarity for those leading the planning. The risk in not doing so is a diluted message that can be unhelpful, directly opposing views or a complicated set of messages that are hard to translate into coordinated action.   

In our ‘patch’ Mental Health Australia was pleased to provide advice and receive feedback from members to the planning process, grounded in the broadly supported Charter 2020 and enhanced with current experience from members. You can find our paper and supporting documents here.

The process of government policy development is a complex one, particularly in the rapidly changing environment we are currently in. However, many of the investments being made by governments now will have long lasting impacts upon the delivery of mental health services and these should be well informed by consumers, carers, and service providers.

Mental Health Australia continues to advocate for increased investment in consumer and carer infrastructure, and data collection, to enable improved government engagement and decision making that could support future planning processes. 

We can best represent you as members and stakeholders when we spend time engaging with and including your voice, and as I wrote last week, understanding your perspective.

To that end I have begun getting in touch with all member organisations as part of my first few weeks to learn more and hear more. If you haven’t been contacted yet – you will be, there’s over 100 members! I am looking forward to the conversations.

In a final note, we are pleased to have made a submission today to the Senate Inquiry into Bushfires in Australia. The bushfires and COVID-19 disasters have seen collaboration across all governments, and across sectors, and that has resulted in extraordinary changes in a relatively small period of time.  These efforts should be justifiably celebrated but also embedded in the planning and delivery of mental health services into the future.

Have a good weekend.

Leanne Beagley

Leanne shares some tips on how to “Look after your mental health, Australia”



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


Mental Health News

Ombudsman releases new mental health resource for sole traders

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has released a free online mental health webinar for sole traders, amid alarming predictions of a dramatic rise in Australian suicide rates due to the economic and social impacts of coronavirus.

Read more

RACGP welcomes mental health and masks announcement

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement that more masks and greater mental health support will be made available for the nation’s hardworking healthcare workers.

Read more

Covid-19 impact likely to lead to increased rates of suicide and mental illness

Australia will likely see increases in youth suicide and a surge in demand for specialist mental health services as the full and lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is experienced across the community. 

Read more 

Regional Australians encouraged to access mental health support

Regional Australians are encouraged to access the additional mental health and wellbeing services on offer during the COVID-19 pandemic to help them get through uncertain times. 

Read more 



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

Tuesday will be a busy day, with Mental Health Australia hosting our next Board meeting via webinar. Mental Health Australia staff and I will be participating in a Network Mindout Webinar looking at Inclusive Practice during COVID-19. I will also be meeting with the National Mental Health Commission in the afternoon.

On Thursday, Harry Lovelock – Director of Policy and Projects will be participating in the next Disability Support Services Committee meeting via teleconference.

And on Friday, Harry will be participating in Project Steering Committee Meeting #3 for the Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Project.


Member Profiles

Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health is the world’s leading research and knowledge translation organisation focusing on mental ill-health in young people.
Their leadership and staff work to deliver cutting-edge research, policy development, innovative clinical services, and evidence-based training and education to ensure that there is continuous improvement in the treatments and care provided to young people experiencing mental ill-health.
Their work has created a new, more positive approach to the prevention and treatment of mental disorders, and has developed new models of care for young people with emerging disorders. This work has been translated into a worldwide shift in services and treatments to include a primary focus on getting well and staying well, and health care models that include partnership with young people and families.
Website - Facebook – Twitter

Since 2002, Women’s Information, Support and Housing In The North (WISHINhas been helping women in Melbourne’s north to create the life they deserve. WISHIN provide specialist support across two service systems: Homelessness and Family Violence. They support those experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness. Many of the women they work with experience housing crises due to family violence. They work with a Trauma Informed Practice to provide a holistic wrap around support which acknowledges the complexity of issues women and children face in their lives. Run by women, for women, WISHIN provides a safe, compassionate service for overcoming trauma and getting lives back on track.
Website -



Beyond Blue podcast: Not Alone with Marc Fennell

Beyond Blue has released a new podcast. ‘Not Alone’ is a series of six podcast episodes accessible from Google, iTunes and Spotify, as well as The first episode features a CFA volunteer who discusses their experience with the Black Saturday bushfires and how they learned to deal with the PTSD that followed.

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Be You: Resources for schools and early learning centres

Be You has developed resources to help educators respond to the mental health impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. 

Read more

Have your say about the first edition of the RACGP Standards for general practice residential aged care

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has released the draft of the RACGP Standards for general practice residential aged care (1st edition) (the Standards for GPRAC) for further consultation. They sought initial feedback from members and stakeholders during the first consultation held in late 2019. The comments received have been reviewed and incorporated (as appropriate) into the second draft.

The RACGP is seeking further member and stakeholder feedback on the Standards for GPRAC.

Read more

Disability Information Helpline for people with disability 

Do you have a question about coronavirus (COVID-19)? Do you need help because things have changed? You can contact the Disability Information Helpline to talk about your concerns in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19).

To contact the Disability Information Helpline, please call 1800 643 787. The Helpline is available Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm (AEST) and Saturday and Sunday 9am to 7pm (AEST). It’s not available on national public holidays.

If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can call the National Relay Service on 133 677. If you require support in another language you can use the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) free of charge by:

  • calling the Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787 and asking for an interpreter. The counsellor will make the arrangements, or 
  • calling TIS on 131 450 and asking to be connected to the Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787.

Click here for more information about the Disability Information Helpline, including Easy Read and Auslan resources about coronavirus.

Read more

Reimagine Stage 2 Zoom launch

This peer-led project centres around our resource, a free online resource to support people living with mental health conditions to access the NDIS. To share and improve, the project worked with communities across Australia, including people with lived experience of mental health conditions, their carers and support networks, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, LGBTIQA+ people and people living in rural and remote areas.

The launch will showcase the great work of the Peer Leaders and co-design groups. Contact Project Officer Rebecca Lewis or phone 02 9060 9636.

  • Friday 29 May, 9.30-10.30am  

Read more

Consumers Health Forum of Australia: Expression of Interest - Application to Host Virtual Consumer Discussions

The Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF) is offering consumers and carers from across Australia the opportunity to host and facilitate a virtual discussion with their local community on quality use of medicines and health literacy, including what consumers want/need to know about medicines as well as what encourages consumer adherence.

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Join Australia’s Health Panel to have your say on the COVIDSafe app

The Consumers Health Forum has just launched a survey on Australia’s Health Panel asking for consumer insights into the recently released COVIDSafe tracing app. As governments across the world grapple with how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, CHF believe it is more important than ever to ensure that the voice of the consumer is heard and helps to shape the Australian healthcare system.

The May 2020 Australia’s Health Panel survey is intended to get the first impressions and opinions of the Australian public on the COVIDSafe app now that clearer details about it are publicly known. To have your say, sign up or login to your account.

Read more

New Bipolar Booklet: Information for the Coronavirus Emergency

Bipolar Australia, in partnership with the MAX Foundation, has produced a new booklet which will help people affected by bipolar disorder, including families and carers, to cope more effectively during this difficult time.

“Staying Home with Bipolar: Information for the Coronavirus Emergency” is available to read for free on the Bipolar Australia website.

Read more


Peter Helliar’s tips to “look after your mental health, Australia”


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