CEO Update: A home is integral to one’s mental health

A home is integral to one’s mental health

As that memorable line in the movie ‘The Castle’ so simply reminds us all… “It’s not a house, it’s a home.”

And having a place to call home is integral to one’s mental health. 

The opportunity to be a Guest Speaker at today’s Parity Magazine launch for The Council to Homeless Persons, and hearing from fellow leaders and those with lived experience, has reaffirmed just how intertwined housing instability, homelessness and mental illness are.

To directly impact on the social determinants of mental health we need to be specific and name and tackle them accordingly. And it’s no secret that homelessness is a very significant social determinant. 

We know that housing instability leads to systemic disadvantages and circumstances that mean some people are far more likely to experience severe psychological distress than others.

Traditionally, we have tried to address these different needs through distinct programs and service models. For people with lived experience of mental illness and housing insecurity, it has always been clear that these challenges and helpful responses are inherently interconnected.   

Our service approaches, research and policy are finally catching up to this, and our governments need to as well. 

Historically the inherent interconnectedness of housing security and mental wellbeing is clear from the data, and while the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a huge disruption to service provision, it has also ignited different and creative opportunities to respond and re-engage, like the provision of hotel accommodation for people sleeping rough in our larger cities.

The challenge now is to re-shape and improve our service systems to better support those in search of a home, and those in need of mental health services.

Increasing access to appropriate housing and integrated mental health and housing supports is the key to tackling this problem – as is building an understanding in the service system of the inter-linked challenges of homelessness and mental illness.

If we can do this, we will ultimately address people’s basic need for a place to call home and, following that, a community to feel part of.

Have a good weekend.

Leanne Beagley

Farewell Vivienne Miller, and congratulations to Jane Austin

Mental Health Australia adds our thanks and farewell to outgoing Executive Director of The Mental Health Services Learning Network, Vivienne Miller. Viv has been a stalwart leader of the sector, tirelessly advocating for mental health consumers and overseeing significant growth of TheMHS. We wish Viv all the best with her retirement and hope to cross paths in the future in her capacity as TheMHS Board Member. We congratulate Jane Austin on her appointment as the new Executive Director and look forward to continue working closely with TheMHS under her leadership. 


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. 

Watch this space for updates on further workshops and webinars for 2020.

MyAus COVID-19: A new multilingual mobile app

Migration Council Australia has co-developed a multilingual mobile app for Australia’s CALD communities about COVID-19, its impact and available support. The MyAus COVID-19 pp allows users to browse articles, search for topics, view short animations with helpful summaries, and find useful tips and contacts to help adjusting during COVID-19. MyAus COVID-19 is free and available in 25 languages.

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Mental Health News

National Disability Research Partnership paves the way for further improvements to disability policy

The Australian Government has this week announced the launch of the National Disability Research Partnership, led by the Melbourne Disability Institute at the University of Melbourne. 

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National Disability Research Partnership welcome but needs to include carers

The National Carer Network and Carers Australia welcomes this week’s announcement of a National Disability Research Partnership.

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Easing COVID-19 restrictions: Relationships Australia survey results highlight effects on people’s relationships and mental health

New research launched this week by Relationships Australia reveals that people across the country are divided in opinion about the effects of easing COVID-19 restrictions, on their close relationships and mental health. 

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Aged Care Royal Commission hearings to resume in July

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety will resume hearings next month after a break to protect hearing participants and staff during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Pharmacy agreement updated but not upgraded

Australian patients and taxpayers will contribute more than $25 billion over five years under the new Community Pharmacy Agreement yet consumers have little effective say in this central part of the health system.

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Young Aussies, digital industry and Australian Government partner to counter hate, racism

A partnership between the Australian Government and the digital industry will see 80 young changemakers connect for an immersive virtual youth summit to counter hate and extremism at DIGI Engage: Bridging divides in isolation and beyond, over two half-days this week. 

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On Monday I’m meeting with Shadow Minister for Health the Hon Chris Bowen MP in Sydney, and then taking part in a National Mental Health Consumer and Carers Forum Workshop in the afternoon.

On Tuesday I’ll be dialing into a meeting on Vision 2030 as well as continuing to catch up with members and stakeholders individually, while on Thursday I’m looking forward to an Alliance meeting for the Embrace Multicultural Mental Health Project with our friends at FECCA and NEDA.

On Friday I’ll be taking part in a Primary Care Reform Steering Committee meeting and participating in a further meeting on Vision 2030.


Member Profiles

R U OK?’s vision is a world where we’re all connected and are protected from suicide. Their mission is to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with people around them and support anyone struggling with life. R U OK?’s goals are to:

  1. Boost our confidence to meaningfully connect and ask about life’s ups and downs
  2. Nurture our sense of responsibility to regularly connect and support others
  3. Strengthen our sense of belonging because we know people are there for us
  4. Be relevant, strong and dynamic

Website Facebook Twitter Instagram - 

breakthru is a national not-for-profit organisation committed to empowering people to create their own futures. Through the provision of high-quality person-centric programs, they enable thousands of people every year to address mental health, employment, disability, homelessness and training needs. breakthru operates on the premise that everyone’s needs, preferences and aspirations are different. Their commitment to client choice and family inclusion is well demonstrated through their individualised services and person-centred principles. They have a specific focus on assisting those most in need and offer specialist programs for those facing the challenge of an intensive mental health illness, a disability or physical health issue, long-term unemployment, unmet education goals or homelessness. breakthru is proud to offer dedicated and culturally considered programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, refugee and migrant populations and other culturally and linguistically diverse groups. With over 20 years of demonstrated service to the community, breakthru offers quality programs in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.
Website - Facebook - Twitter - Instagram -



SANE Australia: Interactive new resource ‘You Are Not Alone’ 

SANE Australia launched a new evidence-based resource providing information and advice for people close to someone who has attempted suicide in all states and territories of Australia.
The ‘You are not alone’ website has been created by national mental health charity SANE Australia together with research partners University of New England and the University of Sydney. 

‘You are not alone’ gives information and tools to carers throughout the many stages of supporting someone who has attempted suicide, or who is at risk of doing so. The non-linear navigation allows people to find advice that is relevant to them at any time during their carer journey.

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Arafmi: Carer Coach

Carer Coach is a five module training series that Arafmi has developed to help mental health carers and the people they care for navigate the NDIS. Carer Coach is being delivered through face-to-face workshops, booklets and online.

Carer Coach brings together information from a range of quality NDIS resources relevant to mental health carers. This information has been combined with the invaluable knowledge Arafmi’s frontline workers have developed through supporting people through the NDIS process, to provide carers with accurate and easily accessible information.Carer Coach is free for anyone who cares for or about a friend or family member with a psychosocial disability who wants to learn more about the NDIS. It is specifically tailored to the unique needs and challenges of mental health carers and the people they care for.

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National Disability Services (NDS) - Zero Tolerance: Preventing Abuse, Neglect & Violence Towards People with Disability

A national webinar discussing the prevention of abuse, neglect and violence towards people with disability. An overview of the tools and resources available to providers through NDS’s Zero Tolerance Initiative and the Safer Services Toolkit will be discussed. This webinar is open to everyone who might like to attend. 


  • 30 June 2020, 11.00am-1.00pm
  • Online
  • Cost: Free

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Consumer Commission: Beyond COVID-19

Consumers Health Forum are establishing a new consumer-led thought leadership project on health policy after COVID.

  • Are you a health consumer with strong connections to your community?
  • Has the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on your health and wellbeing?
  • Do you have ideas about what health and wellbeing policy should look like in a post-COVID environment?
  • Would you like to contribute to a significant piece of consumer-led thought leadership policy work to set the agenda moving forward?
  • Are you able to participate in a series of online workshops and contribute feedback on these ideas over the next 6 months?

If this sounds like you, then CHF want you to be involved in the Consumer Commission: Beyond COVID-19. You could be one of 20-30 consumer leaders chosen to contribute views and ideas about the future of the Australian health and social care system

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mental health, homelessness, social determinants