CEO Update: Grand Final week comes early for mental health

Grand Final week comes early for mental health

As a proud Victorian it’s hard not to think in AFL terms, and for me the excitement that seems to be building for our mental health sector at the moment, is akin to a Grand Final week and the Melbourne Cup all rolled into one. 

Why the anticipation?

Because the mental health of our nation has never had so much profile and, to be direct, has never needed it more. Because more and more people are talking about how best to look after their own mental health, and the wellbeing of our communities, as we all continue to deal with the changes, uncertainty and anxiety that ensues.

As a nation we have led the world in looking after our physical health during this pandemic, and all governments are already starting to put the scaffolding in place to do the same with our mental health.

Scaffolding like Vision 2030, the Productivity Commission Inquiry, the Victorian Royal Commission, the increased scalability and evolution of improved telehealth services since the pandemic began. New initiatives and increased funding to help lines and the Victorian mental health hubs, increased awareness, and increased action. All due to the increased need as a result of not just the pandemic, but the situation we were already in before March this year. Situations where mental health services and solutions were already stretched and challenging to access.

So why am I excited this week?

Because on Tuesday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will hand down the Federal Budget, where we know the physical and mental health of our nation will be at the forefront. And then, four days later on Saturday 10 October, the world will celebrate World Mental Health Day, where our theme is encouraging everyone to “Look after your mental health, Australia.”

From a Budget in the middle of a pandemic, to our one day of the year to advocate for mental health awareness and reform, there is no doubt people will be talking about mental health.  

And I’m sure that when we can safely look back on this pandemic, and look at what we’ve learned and been able to achieve, we’ll see that it was a catalyst for positive change in our mental health ecosystem.

It has to be.

A catalyst for increased profile and huge reductions in stigma around mental health. As well as improvements and initiatives in our mental health service access and delivery, policy development, and engagement with those with experience of living with mental illness and those who love or care for them.

So in a year that we’ll never forget… mental health day, week and month are a good reminder that true generational reform is coming for our mental health ecosystem. In fact, in some parts of the system it’s already happening. We just have to embrace it, and steer it in the right direction.

That’s why I’m excited.

Oh, and Go CATS!

Have a good weekend.

Leanne Beagley

Submission to National Preventive Health Strategy

Mental Health Australia has submitted a response to the Department of Health’s Consultation Paper on the development a National Preventive Health Strategy, calling for greater inclusion of mental health. In our submission Mental Health Australia argued that given the high impact of mental ill-health in Australia, the importance of prevention for reducing this impact, the inherent interconnectedness of mental and physical health, and the need to integrate mental and physical health responses, the Australian Government must give further consideration to mental health in development of the National Preventive Health Strategy. Mental Health Australia called for mental health experts to be included in the Steering Committee, an additional working group to be held focusing on mental health - as one of the top priorities identified through the public survey informing the Strategy, and for the Strategy to be aligned with other significant mental health reform frameworks currently being developed.

Read the full submission

Submission regarding National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention Bill

This week Mental Health Australia and Suicide Prevention Australia provided a joint submission to the Attorney General’s consultation regarding the legislation to establish a National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention. We believe if passed, this legislation will set in place a unique structure that will drive accountability, transparency and systemic change to prevent suicide among our serving Australia Defence Force members and veterans. In our submission we identified areas where the role of the Commissioner may be strengthened, including: working with other national and jurisdictional bodies to improve data collection, prioritising strategies to mitigate the challenges veterans face in transition to civilian life, and ensuring anyone bereaved by suicide (including other defence or veteran personnel) have access to postvention support.

Read the full submission



Monday is a public holiday in Canberra with the Mental Health Australia office closed ahead of what will then be a big week for all.

On Tuesday, I have a meeting to progress the work on the National Mental Health Workforce Strategy and then I’m looking forward to my first Federal Budget as the CEO of Mental Health Australia, where later that night the Policy Team will be pulling together our Budget Summary to distribute to members and stakeholders.

On Wednesday morning we’ll all be pouring through Budget papers again as well as starting to prepare for some World Mental Health Day activity.

On Thursday I will be chairing an on-line session “Trends in Mental Health” with Christine Morgan, CEO of the National Mental Health Commission as a guest speaker along with Prof Maree Teeson and Prof John McGrath, while on Friday I’ll be attending an Australian National University Wellbeing panel discussion to raise awareness for World Mental Health Day and help continue to break down barriers and stigma often associated with seeking support.

Saturday 10 October is World Mental Health Day where we would encourage all to make a mental health promise. Find out more at


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 final webinar of a four-part series in October 2020.

The webinar will provide an in-depth look into Service Module 4 of the Framework: Building a Culutrally Responsive Workforce. This module looks at the policies and practices needed to help build a strong and culturally responsive mental health workforce across Australia.


  • When: Wednesday 14 October 2020
  • VIC, NSW, ACT & TAS: 2:00 pm
  • SA: 1:30pm
  • NT: 12:30 pm
  • WA: 11:00 pm
  • QLD: 1:00pm

Register here


Mental Health News

New website for suicide and self-harm monitoring

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) together with the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC), this week released a website which is part of Australia’s first suicide and self-harm monitoring system to support the national goal of working towards zero suicides.

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A new white paper from Black Dog Institute to help governments take immediate action on suicide

Black Dog Institute is pleased to present a white paper which shares critical insights from emerging research and lived experience evidence that explores contemporary issues and offers innovative responses.

Read more

Beyond Blue small business mental health initiative a life-saver: Ombudsman

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has praised Beyond Blue for its latest initiative to support the mental health of small business owners. Beyond Blue has this week launched a free online training course to help small business advisers provide mental health support to small business owners impacted by the COVID crisis.

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Open Arms greeted in Mount Pleasant Western Australia

Veterans and their families in Perth now have easier access to Open Arms - Veterans & Families Counselling (Open Arms) with the Applecross office relocating to a more centrally located Mount Pleasant address - 37 Reynolds Road.  Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said the new office offered additional space for a growing workforce, which meant more services and support for veterans and their families in Perth and the surrounding region.

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Australia Post partners with Beyond Blue to champion mental health

At a time when mental health and wellbeing has never been more important, Australia Post and Beyond Blue have formed a national partnership to help Australians stay mentally well and build stronger, more connected communities.

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Deputy Premier James Merlino named as new Victorian Minister for Mental Health

Deputy Premier James Merlino has been named to replace Martin Foley as Minister for Mental Health in Victoria. The Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC) said ‘We’re extremely excited by this replacement, hoping that mental health will take a real priority in our state’s government.’

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Joint statement - Victorian restrictions

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, and Health Minister, Greg Hunt, said easing restrictions in Victoria in a COVIDsafe way is vitally important so that more Victorians can get back to work and resume their normal lives. 

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Member Profiles

Together with industry partners, SuperFriend designs and delivers mental health and wellbeing initiatives that enable workplaces to thrive. Their online and in-person mental health training, resources and research is used in workplaces Australia wide, and they advocate for system change through involvement in Government and industry working groups.  SuperFriend’s vision is for an Australia where all workplaces are mentally healthy.

Eating Disorders Queensland
Eating Disorders Queensland is a statewide, community-based not-for-profit organisation. We provide community support and treatment services for individuals and families living with and recovering from eating disorders, their carers and loved ones. By the sharing of recovery wisdom we aim to involve people with a lived experience, carers and family members and loved ones. We promote positive body image and prevention of eating disorders. Therapeutic interventions for individuals living with eating disorders and carer coaching/ support families/key support and friends are also offered.



Tell Us Why You Care: National Carers Week

Help raise awareness this National Carers Week by visiting the National Carers Week website and telling us why you care. National Carers Week 2020 runs from 11 – 17 October and is a time to recognise and celebrate Australia’s 2.65 million unpaid carers and all they do.

This year we’re asking all unpaid carers to Tell Us Why You Care so that we can highlight the realities of caring and help build a carer-friendly Australia. We also ask all non-carers, businesses
and organisations to Tell Us Why You Care about unpaid carers and show your support. By painting an authentic picture of caring in Australia, we will raise awareness of the incredible contribution that unpaid carers make to our nation.

1-in-8 Australians provide unpaid care and support to family members or friends with a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness, an alcohol or other drug issue or who are frail aged. Unpaid carers make an enormous contribution to our community as well as our economy and National Carers Week gives everyone a chance to show their appreciation.

Visit for more information on how you can Tell Us Why You Care and Get Involved with this year’s campaign – whether that be hosting a physical or digital event, or making a buzz on social media, spreading the word through your social media channels by using the hashtags #Carers2020 and #WhyWeCare

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National Carers Week - Share Your Story

This National Carers Week Caring Fairly wants to hear from you! Raising awareness is a vital step in growing community support and creating positive change for carers. We know that right now many people in the community don’t know what it’s like to be carer. To help change this Caring Fairly is asking carers to share their experiences so they can amplify their stories and make sure their voices are heard. Will you share your story today?  

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GROW Australia: Odd Socks Day

GROW Australia’s Odd Socks Day this coming Friday 9 October is an important opportunity to show people struggling with their mental health in these challenging times that they are not alone. When you wear odd socks you’ll be helping raise awareness of mental health issues and help to stamp out the stigma around mental ill-health. By wearing a pair of Odd Socks you’re on your way to starting the conversation about mental wellbeing and how everyone can have an odd day.

Odd Socks Day was commenced by Grow in 2013 and now is celebrated on the Friday before Mental Health Week and World Mental Health Day. Each year, participation has grown so that now hundreds of thousands of people connect to Odd Socks Day. This year is going to be different because of social distancing requirements and changed workplace arrangements, but now more than ever a strong community response is needed to support the extra mental challenges faced by people impacted by COVID-19.

At the start of the introduction of physical distancing and lockdowns, many people locally took up the challenge to reduce social isolation in their local communities – from their balconies, driveways, over the phone or through social media. They were building community, helping people with mental health problems, who often feel isolated anyway, and those with emerging problems due to the pandemic, to build resilience and coping skills.

Odd Socks Day provides another great opportunity to participate and help build that caring and sharing community. Ways to participate include hosting a fundraising event at your school, office or with your friends – face to face or virtually.  Meet up, take a photo and then post it to social media – using #OSD2020

You can also purchase odd socks during October from Odd Sock Mob here who will donate a percentage to GROW for Odd Socks Day.

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National Digital Mental Health Framework

The Australian Government is leading the development of the Framework under the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan. The Framework aims to provide an integrated and strategic approach to digital mental health service delivery within the broader context of Australia’s mental health system. This objective includes defining optimal delivery of digital mental health services to:

  • improve service access
  • reduce duplication of effort and investment
  • embed these services in the broader mental health service system

The Department has engaged a consortium of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), The Good Things Foundation, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, and John Torous MD MBI, to scope and develop the Framework. The project will involve a current state assessment and national consultations with the view of delivering a final framework by June 2021. Consultations are due to commence in November and will run for several months. All consultations will be conducted in a COVID-safe way and mostly via virtual means.

The Department is encouraging you to share your views on the role of digital mental health in Australia, now and into the future. Please click here to learn about the project and engage with key contacts from PwC about this project.

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Consumers Health Forum: What’s the next Big Idea for Health?

Consumers Health Forum are inviting you to produce a video about your Big Idea for Health to screen at their 2021 Shifting Gears Virtual Summit to be held on March 18 -19 next year.

Create your video in an easy to use app called ‘Cinefly’ -  the winners will share their idea with ABC TV journalist Ellen Fanning* at a Big Idea Forum at the conference. 

The best ideas will also be promoted through CHF’s advocacy work, and on their social media channels.

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BPD Awareness Week

1- 8 October 2020

To celebrate BPD Awareness week, NEABPD Australia present two free webinars for familes and carers. Hear from our experienced Family Connections™ leaders as well as leading experts in the field of Borderline Personality Disorder.

Monday 5 October 7:30pm
What is Family Connections? The top 5 skills and how they can help you and your family.

Register here

Thursday 8 October 7:30pm
“The latest treatment options for BPD and coping strategies while waiting for treatment”

Register here

Barbara Dicker Oration 2020

Swinburne University of Technology and the Barbara Dicker Brain Sciences Foundation proudly present the ninth annual Barbara Dicker Oration, Dementia Care: A tech-enabled future.

Living with dementia is a deeply personal, challenging and complex experience not only for the person with the diagnosis but also for their loved ones, the community, and care providers. According to Dementia Australia, over a million people will receive a dementia diagnosis in Australia by 2058.

Can we push the frontiers of human-centred technology to reshape the future of dementia? Join eminent Australian Sir Gustav Nossal AC CBE FRS FAA, our new Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Pascale Quester, Chancellor Professor John Pollaers OAM and members of Swinburne’s research community for an important conversation, expertly moderated by ABC medical journalist Sophie Scott.

Date: Thursday 22 October 2020
Time: 4.00pm – 5.15pm
Venue: Webinar. A link to the webinar will be emailed to guests prior to the event.

RSVP is essential by Tuesday 20 October. Submit your questions to the panel through the registration page before this date.

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New online training to support small business advisers

On 30 September 2020 Beyond Blue launched a free online learning course – Mental wellbeing: support yourself and small businesses. This course is designed to help improve the mental health literacy of small business advisers and develop the ‘soft skills’ to have often difficult conversations with a client or customer.

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RANZCP Community Collaboration Committee - Seeking expressions of interest 

Expressions of interest for community members to join the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) Community Collaboration Committee (CCC) are now welcome.

The CCC is a dedicated and passionate group of psychiatrists and community members committed to developing policy, advice and standards of practice to support partnering with carers and family/whānau in mental health care. 
The Committee is made up of four psychiatrists (RANZCP Fellows) and eight community members who have lived experience: two carers and two consumers from Australia, and two carers and two consumers from New Zealand.

The Committee are currently seeking expressions of interest for the following positions on the Committee:
1 x Consumer from New Zealand 
1 x Carer from Australia
1 x Carer from New Zealand 
Applications close on Friday 16 October 2020. 

Read more


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