CEO Update: Community, calm and caution

Community, calm and caution

As our first Members Policy Forum (MPF) of the year wrapped up yesterday evening, our attention quickly turned to today’s Board meeting and the new challenges ahead of planning and hosting events during what is clearly a difficult and anxious time for many in our community.

Firstly can I say that to have more than 70 delegates in attendance at yesterday’s MPF at Old Parliament House was fantastic, and extremely productive and informing for our ongoing advocacy efforts in 2020.

To hear from the National Mental Health Commission, National Bushfire Recovery Agency, National Mental Health Workforce Strategy Taskforce, Productivity Commission, and National Disability Insurance Agency, highlighted a busy and constructive day, as well the opportunity for our members and stakeholders to meet our incoming CEO Dr Leanne Beagley.

The overarching word of the day was community.

We talked about community supports, we talked about accidental counselling in bushfire-affected communities. We talked about how people need to stay and train in their communities if we are to solve the workforce problems we know exist. 

And we talked about how ultimately mental health and wellbeing needs a whole of community approach.

All fitting discussion points when you consider our vision at Mental Health Australia for some time now has been mentally healthy people, mentally healthy communitiesAnd we talked about the importance of community, on a day when the World Health Organisation announced coronavirus (Covid-19) had become a global pandemic, and serious concern for our community.

At our Board meeting this morning, and having monitored expert advice from the Australian Government Department of Health and World Health Organisation we talked about being calm for our community, but also about being cautious.

And being cautious means we have postponed some of the larger forums and meetings planned for next week, including a National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum co-design workshop in Melbourne, and Embrace Multicultural Mental Health Project meetings in Canberra and Darwin.

These events are particularly important to our consumer and carer engagement for the year ahead, and help inform reform and change in our sector, which of course means they will rescheduled when possible. But as of today, we have been cautious to care for our community.

Next week, we’ll look to restructure some of our future events and engagement opportunities – including tele/video conferencing, and webinars, as well as it being business as usual.

And as the day-to-day operations of Mental Health Australia continue we look forward to working with our members, stakeholders and mental health community on our ongoing advocacy and reform efforts over the coming months.

Finally, here are some good reminders from our friends at Beyond Blue about how to look after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak.

Kind regards,

Melanie Cantwell
Acting CEO

Postponed Events in March

Mon 16 Mar - NMHCCF Co-Design Workshop, Park Royal, Melbourne

Postponed – To be rescheduled to a later date.

Tues 17-18 Mar - NMHCCF Face-to-Face meeting, Park Royal, Melbourne

Postponed – To be rescheduled to a later date.

Wed 18 Mar - Embrace Stakeholder meeting, Canberra

Postponed – Webinar/Tele/Video-Conference or Online Forum TBC

Thurs 19-20 Mar - Embrace Consumers & Carers meeting, Canberra

Postponed – To be rescheduled to a later date.

Fri 26 Mar - Embrace Framework Workshop, Darwin

Postponed – To be rescheduled to a later date.


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. 


Mental Health News

New CEO of Services Australia

Minister for Government Services, Stuart Robert, announced the appointment of Ms Rebecca Skinner as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Services Australia, commencing Monday 16 March 2020.

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$2.4 billion health plan to fight COVID-19

The Australian Government has unveiled a comprehensive $2.4 billion health package to protect all Australians, including vulnerable groups such as the elderly, those with chronic conditions and Indigenous communities, from the coronavirus (COVID-19).

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GPs get behind parkrun to counter rising chronic health problems

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is launching a new initiative to encourage GPs around Australia to prescribe parkrun as a remedy for patients with chronic health problems.

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Housing projects and Newstart increase needed to boost the economy

Anglicare Australia has called on cabinet to include action on Newstart and social housing in its stimulus package.

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Royal Commission hearing to continue investigating education

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability will continue its investigation into education at a public hearing in Brisbane. 

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Member Profiles

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHOis a living embodiment of the aspirations of Aboriginal communities and their struggle for self-determination. NACCHO is the national peak body representing 143 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) across the country on Aboriginal health and wellbeing issues. It has a history stretching back to a meeting in Albury in 1974. In 1997, the Federal Government funded NACCHO to establish a Secretariat in Canberra which greatly increased the capacity of Aboriginal Peoples involved in ACCHSs to participate in national health policy development. An Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service is a primary health care service initiated and operated by the local Aboriginal community to deliver holistic, comprehensive, and culturally appropriate health care to the community which controls it, through a locally elected Board of Management.
Website - Facebook - Twitter - 

Tandem is the Victorian peak body representing families and carers of people living with mental health issues.
Mission - To ensure that the importance of the contribution, expertise, experiences and needs of families and other carers is recognised and that these needs are addressed.
Vision - Families and other carers of people with mental health issues will be partners in treatment, and service delivery, planning, research and evaluation. The lived experience of families and other carers will be key drivers of policy and program formation at both the individual and systemic level.
Website - Facebook - 



CMHA 3rd National NDIS and Mental Health Conference

The CMHA 3rd National NDIS and Mental Health Conference program has been released. This conference will define the future of NDIS and psychosocial services and must not be missed.

The conference will be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre, 30 March to 31 March 2020. 

Read more

Our Turn to Speak survey

Our Turn to Speak is a national survey that seeks to understand the life experiences of people living with severe and complex mental health issues in Australia.

SANE Australia would love to hear from any Australian resident, aged 18 and over, who has been living with a complex mental health issue like schizophrenia, bipolar, a personality disorder, OCD, or a trauma-related disorder during the last 12 months. 

You can take the survey here.

Participants who would prefer to complete the survey via phone interview, can also book online or call: 1800 998 983

Read more

Centre for Cultural Ethnicity & Health: Workshops 

Due to popular demand, CEH’s flagship Health Literacy, Cultural Competence & Language services workshops are back at the CEH community Centre at 23 Lennox St Richmond VIC. The first in the Health Literacy series will be Plain Language & Written Communication held on Wednesday 25th March from 9 am -12:30 pm. 

Who should come: Health Literacy & written communication training for writers & communicators, general staff, executives, senior managers. Anyone who writes for clients, customers & the public generally. Health Literacy change agents. 

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TheMHS Conference 2020: Early bird registrations now open

Early bird registrations for the Mental Health Services Conference in WA are now open. The conference theme is Balancing the System, and will be held at the Perth Conference and Exhibition Centre from August 25-28.

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Final Call: Last Chance to Register for Scholarships

Women currently working in the health care sector have a final opportunity to register their interest in a scholarship worth up to $5,000 to support participation in an accredited leadership development program.

It is unsure when this funding will be available again, and the registration deadline has been extended until April 3.

Read more



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mental health, women, social justice, equality