CEO Update: A joint statement to make the 2021 Census count

A joint statement to make the 2021 Census count

As we continue to gather signatories for our own Joint Letter to the Prime Minister and Charter 2020 ‘Time To Fix Mental Health’ ahead of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health releasing its Draft Report in the coming months, we were extremely pleased to be able to join with many of our colleagues this week to sign another joint statement of clear importance.

Mental Health Australia is one of 40 or so organisations to sign the National LGBTI Health Alliance’s joint statement on the inclusion of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status in the 2021 Census of Population and Housing, a statement which will help influence what we as a nation count at the 2021 Census.

At Mental Health Australia, we agree whole heartedly with the National LGBTI Health Alliance that ‘asking appropriate questions on sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status in the Census is crucial in fostering an evidence-informed environment for health and economic policy service planning and understanding health and social service utilisation.’

Like us, you will be all to aware that our collective failure to properly address the rights and needs of people in LGBTI communites and populations causes untold harm which can show itself in mental illness and suicide. 

Just like the Productivity Commission is looking at evidence and data on how best to structure and deliver lasting mental health reform, meaningful and appropriate collection of data is a significant and necessary step towards addressing the disproportionate rates of mental health issues in LGBTI communities.

In advocacy and social policy, the collective voice has great power. It shows unity of purpose and clarity on key issues for politicians and governments alike. 

Congratulations to the National LGBTI Health Alliance for undertaking this process to unite the sector, and we hope you’ll join us in signing and sharing this joint statement.

Read the joint statement here.

Warm regards,

Frank Quinlan
Chief Executive Officer

Sign the Joint Letter to the Prime Minister and
Time To Fix Mental Health - Charter 2020

Thank you to the 50 or so organisations that have already signed our Joint Letter to the Prime Minister and ‘Time To Fix Mental Health - Charter 2020’, as listed below.

The letter is deliberately free of Mental Health Australia letterhead and branding to highlight our collaboration, and with the ‘Time To Fix Mental Health – Charter 2020’, it will become the basis for our advocacy campaign over the coming months, ahead of the release of the Productivity Commission Inquiry Draft Report in November.

As always, adding more voices to our shared consensus and collaboration is welcomed. If your organisation has an interest in mental health advocacy, reform and services, and would like to join the consensus statement or find out more about the Joint Letter or ‘Time To Fix Mental Health - Charter 2020’ please email

We hope to present the Prime Minister with the joint letter during the next sitting of the Parliament.

Final Report: Health professionals, psychosocial disability and NDIS access

This week Mental Health Australia published the final report of a project identifying how health professionals can be better supported to assist consumers with psychosocial disability to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The project involved analysis and consultation with our member health professional organisations, and culminated in this report providing advice to the Department of Social Services (DSS) and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

The report outlines barriers health professionals face in supporting people with psychosocial disability to access the NDIS, particularly regarding lack of information and clarity around eligibility criteria and the role of health professions in supporting applications for the NDIS. The report provides recommendations to improve the pathways from health services to the NDIS, including clarifying these roles and expectations through clear information to health professionals and increasing the NDIA’s engagement with health profession experts.

Please click here to read the full submission.

Webinar – The Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia

You are warmly invited to join the first webinar for Embrace Multicultural Mental Health (the Embrace Project), happening on Tuesday 1 October 2019 at 12-1pm AEST.

The webinar will provide an overview of the Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (the Framework) , which is a free, nationally available, online resource that allows organisations and individual practitioners to evaluate and enhance their cultural responsiveness.

The Framework has recently been redeveloped into a series of modules and self-reflection tools, and mapped against national standards to help organisations meet their existing requirements.

This webinar will explore how mental health services, Primary Health Networks, individual practitioners and others can use the Framework to support their work with multicultural communities. 

There will be time available for questions and friendly discussion.

Please click here to register


Mental Health News

Investment in health surveys, mental health and prevention is money well spent

‘The $90 million Intergenerational Health and Mental Health Study announced last week by Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, is a great boost to reforming our health system for better value and affordability for patients and for the nation’, said Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven. 

Read more

$100 million in community grants to empower people with disability

The Morrison Government has announced $100 million in funding for programs aimed at empowering people with disability across Australia to be independent and engage fully in social, economic and community life. 

Read more

Economic modelling research released will help workplaces, schools and communities make informed decisions

This week the National Mental Health Commission has released economic modelling which shows that investing in mental health prevention initiatives yields positive returns. Analysis indicates that prevention interventions targeted to workplaces, schools and specific members of the community including new mothers and older persons can bring economic benefit. 

Read more

New guidelines to improve assessments of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people presenting to hospital with self-harm and suicidal thoughts

The Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies), commissioned by the Centre for Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention (CBPATSISP) have developed evidence-based Guidelines for best practice psychosocial assessment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people presenting to hospital with self-harm and suicidal thoughts to improve the quality of care and outcomes for people presenting with suicidal thoughts and behaviours. 

Read more 

Younger veterans’ mental wellbeing the focus of grants round

Projects focused on mental health support for younger veterans will be prioritised in the next round of the Supporting Younger Veterans grants program. Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester said the Supporting Younger Veterans grants help younger veterans and their families as they leave the Australian Defence Force and transition into civilian life.

 Read more



On Tuesday afternoon I will be heading to Adelaide for the next meeting of the Australian National Advisory Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ANACAD). This meeting will be held over two days, Wednesday and Thursday.

Harry Lovelock, Director – Policy and Projects will be in Darwin next week, attending the National Housing Conference, meeting with the Northern Territory Mental Health Coalition, and attending the launch of Top End House, TeamHEALTH’s new mental health facility.

The Mental Health Australia FARM Committee will be meeting via teleconference on Wednesday

And on Friday, I will be back in Canberra participating in a panel event at the Department of the Treasury, discussing Mental Resilience in the Workplace.


Member Profiles

Beyond Blue – Vision, Values and Mission
Three million Australians are currently experiencing anxiety or depression. Every day, nearly eight people take their own lives. Because this affects all of us, Beyond Blue is equipping everyone in Australia with the knowledge and skills to protect their own mental health. They are giving people the confidence to support those around them, and making anxiety, depression and suicide part of everyday conversations. And as well as tackling stigma, prejudice and discrimination, Beyond Blue is breaking down the barriers that prevent people from speaking up and reaching out.
Website Facebook Twitter Instagram

Consumers of Mental Health WA (CoMHWA) is WA’s peak body for individuals with a lived experience of mental health distress. We are working for a world where people with lived experience of mental health issues are self-directed, self-empowered, respected and connected to community.
Web: Twitter: @CoMHWA_  Facebook: Consumers of Mental Health WA



Speech Pathology Week- ‘Communicating With Confidence’

Individuals with communication disability are at a significantly greater risk of developing social, emotional and/or behavioural difficulties, including mental illnesses, than the general population. So, speech pathologists are an important part of the mental health team. 

Next week is Speech Pathology Week (25-31 August). The theme in 2019 is “Communicating with Confidence”.

You can help take part by: 

  • Watching and promoting Speech Pathology Australia’s Speech Pathology Week videos
  • Following @speechpathaus on social media and tagging #SPweek

Further, Speech Pathology Australia has collaborated with Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, to present a series of free webinars. Each webinar is presented by a member of Speech Pathology Australia with extensive experience working in child and youth mental health services. The webinars are not intended only for a speech pathology audience.


Mental Health Matters Awards

WayAhead - Mental Health Association NSW invites you to join them at this year’s Mental Health Matters Awards. The awards acknowledge individuals and organisations for their outstanding work giving support to consumers, carers and the wider community and helping to destigmatise mental health.

The event will be held on Friday 27 September, from 11:30am-2:30pm, at the Shang Gri La Hotel Sydney. The event will be emceed by broadcaster Holger Brockmann.


World Suicide Prevention Day 2019 Northern Territory Community Event

The Northern Territory Mental Health Coalition will be holding a community event for World Suicide Prevention Day on Tuesday 10 September at Raintree Park (The Mall) from 10am - 2pm

If you are interested and would like to hold a stall, please contact Jane Blunden on 0488 027 184.


This Is My Brave Australia seeking ACT-based volunteers

TIMBA is looking for volunteer Listeners for their Listening Post project. The Listening Post is a simple endeavour. TIMBA will pop up in a public area with a volunteer listener for anyone one to sit, have a chat, tell their story if they want. It is a very informal opportunity for someone to connect to their community. 

From September 16 they will be at the Tuggeranong Community Centre for a week, then for a week in October they will be running Listening Post pop-ups in various libraries throughout the ACT in partnership with Libraries ACT.  So if you have 3 hours to spare every few weeks (weekdays and weekends) and are a good listener (and like having a chat) and have or are interested in obtaining a Working With Vulnerable People card then contact TIMBA at

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The Hocking Fellowship Program 2019-2020

Facilitated by the Anne Deveson Research Centre (ADRC) , a SANE Australia initiative, the Hocking Fellowship Program was established in honour of the late Barbara Hocking OAM. Barbara worked tirelessly to improve the wellbeing of Australians living with complex mental health issues.

The Hocking Fellowship Program provides opportunities for recipients to undertake an investigative project into their preferred area of interest within the field of complex mental health. 

The 2019–2020 Program has been expanded to include two grants:

Applications for the Hocking Fellowship Program will be open until 23:59 AEST on Sunday, 15 September 2019.
Read more  

Expression of interest: LGBTI Royal Commission Advisory Group

Expressions of interest are being sought from key LGBTI representative bodies, researchers and elders to form an LGBTI Royal Commission Advisory Group. The National LGBTI Health Alliance is being funded to hold nation-wide consultations with LGBTI elders and older people, their families, friends, carers, allies and representative bodies to gather information, stories and evidence, both positive and negative, to inform our response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. The Advisory Group will consist of 10 – 12 people.

The role of the Advisory Group is to:

  • Provide information and advice
  • Review submissions
  • Plan consultations and response to the Interim Report from the Royal Commission due on 31 October 2019
  • Utilise their expertise in ensuring key needs and issues are included
  • Develop draft policy options and proposals in response to recommendations from the Royal Commission

Please send your EOI to Heath Reed, National Coordinator of Stakeholder Engagement:

Read more  


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