CEO Update: Has there ever been a more important time for vision and mental health reform?

Has there ever been a more important time for vision and mental health reform?

In a week where we’ve all welcomed increased and much needed investment in a range of services, especially tele-health, as well as a new #InThisTogether campaign, the coronavirus pandemic has become a catalyst for drastic change, and our mental health system is in no way immune to such change.

To hear of huge increases in calls to support hotlines around the country, and enormous demands on Government services such as Centrelink and the NDIS, it’s hard not think that the one in five Australians who are affected by mental illness annually will, sadly, be a much higher figure in 2020, and potentially beyond.

That’s why now is such a crucial time for a clear vision and strategy for national mental health reform, a vision that capitalises on investments made at this time of need.

More critical than we all realised when drafting submissions for the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health only last year and earlier this year.

The time for a clear vision for our mental health system has never been more important. What we do today, and this year, will help shape the next decade or more, in many ways.

What we do well, under difficult circumstances especially in relation to service provision and reform, will enable us to rebound and rebuild from the coronavirus pandemic.

As we know, the National Mental Health Commission has been working on Vision 2030 as a long-term blueprint for a successful, connected, and well-functioning mental health and suicide prevention system that meets the needs of all Australians.

Which means as a sector we have a good head start, and this vision, coupled with consultation and co-design, has the potential to deliver more now than what was previously imagined.

At Mental Health Australia we’re looking forward to assisting the Commission to further develop the vision and blueprint as part of its Advisory Committee over the months to come.

I’m delighted to have the opportunity to share the most recent version of Vision 2030 with our members and stakeholders. 

As the Commission outlines below, there is an upcoming formal consultation process we can all participate in and we can each play a part in realising a mental health system of the future that is resilient to community disasters, whether they be fire, flood, or pandemic.

Kind regards,

Melanie Cantwell
Acting CEO

Update from the National Mental Health Commission - What’s next for the Vision 2030 Roadmap? 

During 2020, the Vision 2030 project will develop an implementation Roadmap which addresses the specific policies, programs, investments and requirements to enable sustainable change, moving from the current state to the system proposed. 

Consultation and stakeholder engagement are critical to the effective development and implementation of the Roadmap. The project seeks to incorporate as wide a range of experience as possible when developing evidence-based responses to mental health and psychosocial wellbeing. 

Content for the Roadmap will be developed and refined based on consultation and advisory at critical points in the development timeline. The NMHC will be working to integrate the findings of other mental health reform activities including the Productivity Commission Inquiry into mental health care, Medicare Benefits Schedule Review, National Suicide Prevention Adviser into the Vision 2030 Roadmap.

The NMHC has established an Advisory Committee for the development of the Vision 2030 roadmap with the purpose of providing advice in terms of the scope, development and content of the Vision 2030 roadmap. The Advisory Committee is comprised of members representing expertise and experience in areas relevant to the Vision 2030 Roadmap. Mental Health Australia will be represented on this Advisory Committee. 

In addition to the Advisory Committee, the NMHC continue to consult with and provide project updates to stakeholders and will undertake a structured written consultation process on the Roadmap Key Concepts in May 2020. 

You can find a copy of the most recent version of the Blueprint on the NMHC’s website. 

Please note this report was prepared to inform the National Mental Health Commission’s consultations as part of the Vision 2030 project. It is not a published document and may not reflect the content of any final Vision 2030; Blueprint for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention products. This version was produced in March 2020. Any questions or requests related to the use of this document should be directed to the NMHC:

For more information on the work of the NMHC including updates on the progress of the Vision 2030 project and opportunities to participate in any upcoming formal consultation processes, please go to the Commission’s website and sign up for their newsletter. 

Mental Health Australia welcomes $74 million boost to mental health services

Mental Health Australia welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement of an additional $74 million boost to mental health services and support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Acting CEO Melanie Cantwell said the increased funding will help meet the ever growing demand on services during this difficult and unprecedented time, as well as expanding proven programs.

Read the full media release


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 will be hosting our first webinar for 2020 in April, on Module 1 of the Framework. 


  • When: Wednesday 8 April 2020
  • VIC, NSW, ACT, TAS & QLD2:00 pm
  • SA & NT1:30 pm
  • WA: 12:00 pm

Register here


Mental Health News

National Mental Health Commission launches the #InThisTogether campaign

The Commission is encouraging Australians to embrace the global call of #InThisTogether, and has worked closely with mental health organisations across the country and experts in the field to develop a set of practical tips to support our mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19. 

Read more

Suicide Prevention Australia calls for action to reduce distress in the wake of Covid-19

Suicide Prevention Australia is calling on the government to fund support for gig workers, sole operators, and people at risk of financial stress during the COVID-19 crisis.

Read more 

headspace welcomes $1.1 billion package by Government

headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation welcomes the $1.1 billion package announced by the Federal Government this week which includes expanded Medicare-subsidised telehealth services for all Australians, vital for all young people wanting to access mental health services via headspace during COVID-19. 

Read more 

People dependent on the Carer Payment also need the Coronavirus Supplement

Carers Australia has been receiving many representations from carers on the Carer Payment who are concerned and upset that their needs have not been sufficiently considered in income support measures which have been introduced to compensate for the impact of the coronavirus.

Read more 

Psychiatrists need more changes to address Covid-19 challenges 

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) welcomes the Australian Government’s changes announced this week to expand Medicare-subsidised telehealth services for more Australians. 

Read more 

Beyond Blue welcomes funding for new Covid-19 support service 

Beyond Blue welcomes the Australian Government’s $1.1 billion immediate investment in more telehealth, mental health and family supports for those affected by the coronavirus outbreak. As part of a $74 million mental health package, Beyond Blue will receive $10 million for a dedicated national mental health support service related the coronavirus outbreak.

Read more 

We need to include LGBTI communities: Government announces $1.1 billion package to boost relief

The National LGBTI Health Alliance welcomes the recent announcement of a $1.1 billion package to boost mental health services, domestic violence support, Medicare assistance for people at home and emergency food relief. However, the National LGBTI Health Alliance calls for specific funding allocation for peer-led LGBTI services, as a key part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Read more 

Reducing COVID-19 social isolation by expanding Grow’s online mental health groups

As we face uncertainty in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading mental health service provider Grow Australia is rapidly expanding its online mental health groups to ease the mental stress and anxiety of people facing social isolation and financial hardship.

Read more 



On Tuesday members of our policy team will be participating in a Rough Sleeping Responses to COVID-19 Forum webinar, a TC meeting with the Australian Digital Health Agency, and a Mental Health roundtable with the Financial Services Council.

On Wednesday, Harry Lovelock, Director of Policy and Projects will be participating in an NDIS market and psychosocial disability Sector Reference Group meeting via TC.

And on Thursday, Harry will be participating in a Disability Support Services Committee meeting hosted by the Department of Social Services.

The Mental Health Australia (virtual) office will be closed on Friday the 9th of April and Monday the 13th of April for the Easter long weekend, reopening on Tuesday 14th April.


Member Profiles

Mental Health Australia is pleased to welcome the following new members:

Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation aspire to be recognised as national experts in empowering young people to grow beyond the impacts of familial mental illness.


Eating Disorders Queensland’s mission statement is to facilitate hope and recovery for all people affected by eating disorders


Gidget Foundation Australia is a not for profit organisation supporting the emotional wellbeing of expectant and new parents to ensure that those in need receive timely, appropriate and supportive care.


Through a range of practical and proactive health and wellbeing programs and services, OzHelp empowers and supports employees to grow life skills and resilience, to engage in self-care, and to look out for each other, before there is a crisis.


Primary & Community Care Services (PCCS) is a local health organisation working to make it easier for people to access the health and community services they need. It’s about creating a smoother journey for everyone, including the people who deliver health and community services.




Mission Australia 2020 Youth Survey now open

The 2020 Youth Survey is now open! Mission Australia warmly invites you and your organisation to take part in the 2020 Mission Australia Youth Survey. They want to hear from as many young people as we can about what it is like growing up in Australia!


  • What: The Youth Survey is Australia’s largest annual survey of young people in Australia. The online survey is open to young people between the ages of 15 and 19.
  • Why: Taking part in the Youth Survey will help organisations, governments, schools and community groups advocate for policies and programs that support young people and help young people be heard. But that’s not all! Participating schools and organisations that receive more than 100 responses* are eligible to receive a complimentary, tailored report based on localised data. These reports detail key findings specific to your local area and compare them against state-level results. 
    *unless an alternative amount is agreed upon prior to data collection
  • How: To get your organisation involved in the Youth Survey, visit the website to download all the relevant documents and forms and/or help spread the word through your networks or on social media. 
  • Where: Young people can complete the survey by going to and clicking on the ‘Take the survey!’ button.

Read more

New MBS Information Available – Including Consumer Factsheet

With so many changes to the Medicare Benefits Scheme of late, be sure to stay on top things with a number of updated Fact Sheets now available online. Here’s a summary example of the Consumer Factsheet. 

Last updated: 30 March 2020

  • From 13 March 2020 to 30 September 2020, new temporary MBS telehealth items have been made available to help reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 and provide protection for patients and health care providers.  
  • The new items are available to GPs, medical practitioners, nurse practitioners, participating midwives, allied and mental health providers.
  • A service may only be provided by telehealth where it is safe and clinically appropriate to do so.
  • The new temporary MBS telehealth items must be bulk billed. 

Read more

Butterfly Foundation 2020 Maydays Survey

This year Butterfly Foundation is focusing on the barriers to accessing healthcare and other support for people living with an eating disorder and those who care for them. They would be grateful if you could take the time to complete this survey, if:

1. You currently or previously have suffered from an eating disorder, OR
2. You care for a loved one who currently or previously has suffered from an eating disorder

This survey is not designed to be completed by professionals who care for people suffering from eating disorders only in their workplace/ line of work, however valuable this work may be! 

Read more


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mental health, pandemic, kindness