CEO Update: "Look after your mental health, Australia."

“Look after your mental health, Australia.”

This is the simple message we want to send out at this time.

There has been much talk of physical distancing this week, and social connection and wellbeing has never been more important as we all try to adjust to the many and ongoing changes in our lives.

That is why, this afternoon, Mental Health Australia commenced its social awareness and connection campaign to promote positive mental health and wellbeing during this time of heightened anxiety.

It seems hard to be socially connected right now, but we have already begun to see so many creative ways communities around the world are staying connected while keeping physically distant.

Over the next few weeks, we will be promoting a series of community-driven ideas to help people keep mentally well during this difficult time, and sharing the wonderful content so many of you have already begun producing.

The best way to follow the campaign and help us spread the message is to use the hashtag #LookAfterYourMentalHealthAustralia. 

As a start, here are five of the ideas we’ll be promoting:

  1. Stay active
    Exercise increases wellbeing and helps reduce symptoms of common mental health concerns. Your gym may have closed or your fitness groups may be cancelled, but that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise. Yoga, Pilates, HIIT routines can be done in a relatively small space and with no equipment. Have a search on the internet for free workout videos and guides.
  2. Eat well
    Eating a nutritious diet is great for both your physical and mental health. As much as possible, try and stick to a healthy diet despite changes to routine and environment. And supermarket availability.
  3. Connect with others
    Physical distancing is crucial right now, but social connection is more important than ever. Use technology to talk to your friends and family, using video chats to talk face-to-face where possible. Reach out to your neighbours and community. Share how you’re feeling, and invite others to share with you. 
  4. Limit coronavirus media consumption (and choose trusted sources)
    Choose how often you engage with news and social media about the coronavirus, and be sure to find news sources that are trustworthy and factual. It might help to add in some content that makes you laugh and feel comfortable wherever possible.
  5. Try and keep to a routine and make it fun
    Keep to a regular routine as much as possible, including exercise, sleep, daily chores, work, recreational activities and connecting with others… and make it fun where you can.

We will come through this.

Take care and stay safe.

Melanie Cantwell
Acting CEO

Mini Members Policy Forum webinar on the NDIS a success

It was great to literally ‘see’ more than 20 members and stakeholders on today’s Mini Members Policy Forum webinar via Zoom, and a special thanks to Gerry Naughtin from the NDIA for his informative presentation as always. Over the coming weeks we’ll look to continue to conduct these types of Mini Forums via Zoom for our members and stakeholders, and we look forward to seeing more of you all to help inform our policy discussions and the ongoing reform of mental health services at this time.


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

ReachOut provides free online mental health support to young Australians during Covid-19 pandemic 

ReachOut, Australia’s leading online youth mental health service, is providing free support 24/7 to young Australians during the COVID-19 outbreak to help them stay well when it comes to their mental health.

Read more

1800RESPECT will continue to operate during the Covid-19 health emergency

1800RESPECT will continue to operate during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) health emergency, and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Read more 

Connection and support through the coronavirus outbreak

Beyond Blue has developed a suite of online resources about coping with COVID-19 in response to rising community concern about the virus. Contacts about COVID-19 to the Beyond Blue Support Service are increasing and Beyond Blue’s online discussion forum about the virus is attracting unprecedented interest. 

Read more 

Temporary pause on new cashless debit card trial participants

The Morrison Government is placing a temporary pause on placing new eligible participants on to the Cashless Debit Card in all existing trial sites.

Read more 


Member Profiles

The National Rural Health Alliance is comprised of 34 national organisations. They are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of the 7 million people in rural and remote Australia. Their members include consumer groups (such as the Country Women’s Association of Australia), representation from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector, health professional organisations (representing doctors, nurses and midwives, allied health professionals, dentists, pharmacists, optometrists, paramedics, health students, chiropractors and health service managers) and service providers (such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service). Their large and diverse membership gives the NRHA a broad and authentic view of the interests of the people of rural and remote Australia. It works with a range of stakeholders to improve the health and wellbeing of those people by developing well-targeted, cost-effective, evidence-based solutions. The NRHA is a rich source of credible information and expertise, and stands ready to work with Government and Opposition on responses to current and emerging rural health issues.
Website - Facebook - Twitter - Instagram -

The Tully Support Centre (TSCis a recognised provider of high quality, accessible and inclusive support services, that acknowledges the uniqueness of their region and of the discrete communities that make up that region. The TSC undertake a social justice model of service delivery upholding the principles of collaboration, empowerment, equity, accessibility, valuing diversity and human rights. The TSC asserts that respectful, positive, targeted and individualised engagement is the foundation of good practice that promotes the safety, wellbeing and improved outcomes for individuals and families within the Cassowary Coast. The TSC also undertakes and supports a number of community development activities within the community.
Website - Facebook -…



Consumers Health Forum Conference: Change of date 

In view of the rapidly changing situation with the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting uncertainty around the duration of the outbreak and the length and extent of measures which will be required to control it, the Consumers Health Forum has made a decision to move the CHF Summit: Shifting Gears to 2021.

The Summit was planned for 2-3 September 2020, but will now be held on 18-19 March 2021. The venue will remain the same, the International Convention Centre in Sydney, and we will continue to develop an informative and innovative program.

Read more

Update from The Big Issue

In these uncertain times, The Big Issue have been seeking solace in stories of solidarity and community. They’ve seen an outpouring of compassion and generosity from their partners and friends, including messages of support and questions about how people can help the most vulnerable in our community.

At this stage they are continuing to publish their well known and much-loved regular magazine, but with the streets clearing and the challenges for those living on the margins who rely on selling The Big Issue increasing, they are now exploring new and innovative ways to support our workforce during this unsettling period.

Read more

SANE Our Turn to Speak survey closing in one week

The Our Turn to Speak survey will close in ONE WEEK on 31 March and SANE remains committed to hearing from as many Australian residents, aged 18 and over, who lives with schizophrenia, bipolar, personality disorder, OCD, PTSD, dissociative disorder, an eating disorder, or severe & treatment-resistant depression or anxiety.
As you can imagine, SANE had to make the difficult decision to suspend face-to-face interviews to keep their team and participants safe. Eligible people can still take the survey online or via phone by calling 1800 998 983.

Read more

A new world of work – and a time to stay creatively connected 

The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the way we live, including the way we work. The Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance is mindful of the impact this pandemic may have on you, your employees and your members, both now and into the future. In an unprecedented time for Australian workers and businesses, the Alliance have combined the expertise of member bodies to provide a list of resources that can support you and your workplace during this challenging time. They will continue to update this list and share resources we find helpful.

Read more


Our first (of many) Mental Health Australia
staff meetings over Zoom! this week… #AllSmiles

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mental health, pandemic, kindness