CEO Update: An emotional week, and an organisation in very good hands

An emotional week, and an organisation in very good hands

It has certainly been quite an emotional week. So many friends and colleagues have taken the time to send good wishes and messages of support, as I prepare to make my way to the new role at the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia.

After eight and a half years, my last day at Mental Health Australia will be Friday October 11th. We are all working to make the transition as smooth as possible.

After October 11th, Mental Health Australia’s long serving Deputy CEO Melanie Cantwell will act in the position of CEO while the search for a permanent replacement is conducted.

Melanie is known to many of you, and as someone who has been active in delivering our program of work for many years, Mel is already taking on many of her new responsibilities.

Mel also enjoys the support of an active Board, including Chair Robyn Kruk, and a team of staff who are all dedicated to implementing our work program.  

Harry Lovelock is leading the Policy and Projects Team, Kylie Wake the Consumer and Carer Programs, and Lach Searle the Communications and External Relations Team ahead of a very busy period of events.

Not least of these events will be the release of the Charter 2020: Time To Fix Mental Health, and the joint letter to the Prime Minister, which now has more than 100 signatories. This will send a powerful message that ultimately the sector is united and ready to embrace and support the once in a generation opportunity for reform the Productivity Commission will create.

Ahead of a busy time for all of us in the sector, with many mental health month, week and day activities planned, see below a list of key dates for Mental Health Australia events which you might like to add to your diary over the coming weeks:

Thursday 10 October – World Mental Health Day
Thursday 31 October – Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health – Draft Report released
Monday 25 November – Mental Health Australia AGM in Canberra
Monday 25 November – Grace Groom Memorial Oration in Canberra, to be delivered by Productivity Commissioner Stephen King, Tickets on Sale NOW
Tuesday 26 November – Mental Health Australia Members Policy Forum – Parliament House Canberra, 9:00am to 4:00pm

To aid the transition during this busy time we have established a new email address: which you may like to add to your contact list and again.

I can assure you Mental Health Australia is in very good hands, as the team continues their work to advance the mental health of all Australians.

Warm regards,

Frank Quinlan
Chief Executive Officer 

UPDATE on Charter 2020: Time To Fix Mental Health

Firstly, thank you again to the now 101 organisations who have signed our Charter 2020: Time To Fix Mental Health. 

Ahead of World Mental Health Day and then the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health releasing their Draft Report on Thursday 31 October, this Charter will become an important platform from which to advocate for implementation of the Inquiry and lasting mental health reform.

For those organisations who still wish to sign onto the Charter 2020: Time To Fix Mental Health, we can now look to include you in the second phase of this advocacy activity, and at 101 signatories to date, what a great message it would send to see more organisations support this sector wide initiative.

To sign on to Charter 2020: Time To Fix Mental Health please contact 

To see the full Charter 2020: Time To Fix Mental Health please click here.

Submission to the Senate Inquiry into Centrelink’s compliance program

Last week, Mental Health Australia made a submission to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry into Centrelink’s compliance program. Mental Health Australia’s submission reinforced the significant impact of the compliance program for the many Centrelink customers who are living with mental illness, and argued the efficiencies of greater reliance on automated data matching processes should not come at the expense of vulnerable people our social security system exists to support. Mental Health Australia called for greater safeguards for Centrelink customers, and again urged the Department of Human Services to engage in genuine consultation with mental health consumers and carers in the design and delivery of its compliance processes, to avoid causing further harm and undue distress.

Read the submission here

Productivity Commission update

The Commission will seek further information and feedback following the release of the draft report on 31 October 2019. The Productivity Commission is advising that they will hold public hearings on the following dates, at the following locations:

  • 15 November - Canberra
  • 18-19 November - Melbourne
  • 20 November - Perth
  • 21 November - Geraldton
  • 25-26 November - Sydney
  • 28 November - Broken Hill
  • 2 December - Rockhampton
  • 3 December - Brisbane
  • 9 December - Launceston

Adelaide and Darwin public hearings will be held at dates to be advised in early 2020. Please note registrations to attend or participate in the hearings is not open yet. 

Read more


World Mental Health Day News

The 2019 World Mental Health Day campaign is officially underway! 

The more organisations who commit to promoting awareness, the more we reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and play our part in creating a mentally healthy community. 

Looking to attend or host an event on Thursday 10 October? You can do this HERE

You can also make a #MentalHealthPromise. Choose from a pre-written promise or get creative and write your own! Then share the promise amongst your social networks.




Embrace Multicultural Mental Health News


Get involved - The Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia

Are you looking for ways to build the cultural responsiveness of your practice or service? Would you like to learn more about what tools and resources are available to support you?


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.


Embrace Multicultural Mental Health (the Embrace Project) will be holding free webinars and workshops around Australia across 2019-2020 to support implementation of the Framework by mental health services, Primary Health Networks, individual practitioners and others. The webinars and workshops will provide an overview of the Framework and explore how it can be tailored to best meet your needs and the needs of your local community. See upcoming dates and register to attend below.


Webinar: Tuesday 1 October 2019 at 12-1pm AEST. Please click here to register for this webinar.

Workshops: Tentative dates are listed below (to be confirmed with all states and territories). Please click here to register for a workshop.


Hobart, TAS: 14 October 2019
Melbourne, VIC: 23 October 2019
Sydney, NSW: 6 November 2019
Adelaide, SA: 19 November 2019
Brisbane, QLD: Early December 2019
Perth, WA: TBC February/March 2020
Darwin, NT: TBC February/March 2020
Canberra, ACT: TBC



Mental Health News

Beyond Blue announces new board directors

Beyond Blue has welcomed three new board directors and thanked two dedicated outgoing members for their service. From December, Indigenous leader Russell Taylor AM, experienced farmer Derek Schoen and Western Australia-based KPMG partner Denise McComish will join the Beyond Blue board. Their appointments follow the retirement at the 2019 annual general meeting of two of Beyond Blue’s long serving directors, Professor Steve Larkin and Deputy Chair Tim Marney.

ABS Causes of Death, Australia, 2018 report 

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, says the Morrison Government welcomes the release the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Causes of Death, Australia, 2018 report. The report notes the number of lives lost to suicide decreased by 82 from the previous year and suicide dropped one place to 14th leading cause of death overall. Even though the suicide rate dropped from 12.6 deaths per 100,000 people to 12.1, the only acceptable aim is to work towards zero. Suicide remained the leading cause of death among people 15-44 years of age, and the second leading cause of death among those 45-54 years of age, in 2018. 

Government seeks input into mental health and wellbeing strategy and national action plan

Veterans, their families, and the broader ex-service community are being asked to help shape the Veteran Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and National Action Plan as public consultation opened this week. Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester is encouraging those in the community to have their say and provide their ideas on how the Government can improve veterans’ mental health and wellbeing. 

The Safe Work Australia Review into WHS laws fails all workers

The Council of Small Business Organisations Australia has expressed alarm about a review of the model WHS laws commissioned by Safe Work Australia, calling the final report “dangerous” and demanding for it to be withdrawn. The report solely focusses on workers, giving zero consideration to the mental health of employers and the self-employed; and if its recommendations are followed, it could see employers sent to prison if one of their employees self-harms a result of a mental health condition.

Read more

National Mental Health Commission report makes recommendations to help improve mental health system 

The National Mental Health Commission this week released its National Report 2019 on Australia’s mental health and suicide prevention system, including recommendations to improve outcomes. 

Read more




On Wednesday, Harry Lovelock, Director – Policy and Projects will be participating in the next Optimising Psychosocial Supports Working Group meeting in Melbourne. 



Member Profiles

Catholic Health Australia is established for purposes of advancing health, social, and public welfare as the national advocate for the healing Ministry of the Catholic Church in Australia. By supporting the service capacity and promoting the Catholic identity of its members, it contributes to the fulfilment of the Mission of the Catholic Church. Through advocacy, Catholic Health Australia pursues direct benevolent relief of illness, direct benevolent relief of the needs of the aged, and direct benevolent relief of poverty as a social determinant of health.
Website Facebook Twitter


FearLess Outreach is a charity that works with people living with the consequences of post traumatic stress (often referred to as PTSD). They also help family members in any way affected by it. Their members come from all walks of life including those living with PTSD and their families or people who want to do their bit to make the lives of people living with post traumatic stress more enjoyable and fulfilling. Their work complements the activities of other community-based organisations and government agencies that provide services to people with post traumatic stress. They have a growing national presence throughout both Australia and New Zealand, with the aim of having local representation in areas where there is a concentration of people who live with post-traumatic stress. FearLess Outreach is a community-owned and operated organisation that acts in an open and transparent manner. They are a not-for-profit, charitable subsidiary of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Australia and New Zealand Limited (PTSD-ANZ).
Website - Facebook -




Information about diversity in aged care hearing 

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety (Royal Commission) will be conducting a hearing in early October to inquire into diversity in aged care, and explore how an aged care system can be designed to meet the needs of all people, with a particular focus on: 

  • people with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds
  • people who identify as being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or intersex (LGBTI)
  • care leavers, being people who spent time in care as a child, including institutional and out of home care arrangements
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people (with a particular focus on people living in urban areas)
  • people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless
  • veterans

Date: Monday 7 October - Friday 11 October
Location: Commonwealth Law Courts Building, 305 William St, Melbourne VIC 3000 
Time: Commencing at 9:30am (AEST) on Monday 7 October 2019. Any changes to the time will be posted the night before the hearing is due to commence on the Royal Commission website.

Royal Commission hearings are open to the public although seating will be limited. Hearings will also be streamed live through the website.

Read more

National Mental Health Commission: Monitoring mental health and suicide prevention reform - National Report 2019

The mental health system in Australia is undergoing significant change. Reforms such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan (Fifth Plan), Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and activities in suicide prevention are all occurring simultaneously. These reforms are ambitious in their scope. They are also interrelated which adds to the complexity of their implementation, and it will take time before their implementation leads to sustained change for consumers and carers. 

Read more

ABS 2018 Causes of Death Data: Mindframe summary

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released its 2018 Causes of Death data. This release includes annual, national and state suicide information.

Mindframe has written a summary of the data, which can be accessed here.

Read more

National Amputee Awareness Week - October 4-11

Amputation can have a significant impact on a person’s mental and physical health and general wellbeing, as well as affect their ability to participate socially and economically. It can also impact on a person’s support network, such as informal carers. In Australia, there are around 9000 amputations per year, or 24 per day. 

National Amputee Awareness Week draws attention to the impact of limb loss within the Australian community and reminds all amputees that they are not alone. This is a week dedicated to celebrating Australians living with limb loss, raising awareness of this lifelong disability, reducing stigma that amputees face, and bringing the amputee community together to minimise social isolation. 

Read more 

ICIC20 – 20th International Conference on Integrated Care

The International Foundation of Integrated Care (IFIC) in partnership with the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Croatia, the City of Zagreb, Health Center Zagreb - Centar, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, University of Zagreb, Libertas International University and the Catholic University of Croatia are bringing the 20th International Conference on Integrated Care (ICIC20) will take place in Amadria Park Convention Centre, Šibenik, Croatia from 27-29 April 2020. The conference will bring together researchers, clinicians and managers from around the world who are engaged in the design and delivery of integrated health and social care.

The scientific committee for this conference has been established from international experts who are leading n the field of integrated care policy and practice, and they are now accepting paper submissions on the science, knowledge and adoption of Integrated Care and specifically relating to the conference themes until Friday, 11 October. The paper should take the form of an abstract of not more than 500 words. Abstract Submission Guidelines are available to download from the conference website.


Department of Home Affairs Fostering Integration Grants Now Open 

The Australian Government has announced a total of $2.3 million for the 2019-20 Fostering Integration Grants, for grants ranging from $5,000 to $60,000.The Fostering Integration Grants aim to facilitate the participation, integration and social cohesion of both newly arrived migrants and culturally diverse communities in Australia.

The intended outcome of the program is to contribute to an integrated and cohesive multicultural Australia where migrants can actively participate and feel welcome in the Australian society. To be eligible, organisations must be not-for-profit, legally registered in Australia and one of the following: 

  • Indigenous Corporation, 
  • Cooperative, 
  • Incorporated Association, 
  • Trustee on behalf of a Trust.




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