CEO Update: Making the most of new perspectives

Making the most of new perspectives

I am delighted to be sending you my first Weekly CEO Update and making a connection with you, our members, stakeholders and friends of Mental Health Australia. It is an absolute privilege to be here in this role, at this time, and with this team, to take things forward with you.   

This week I have been thinking about perspective. 

Have you noticed how one’s perspective changes the view and the understanding of a situation? 

The physical distancing we have all been experiencing has modified our perspectives on our homes, on our work and on our relationships. We are seeing colleagues, friends and family on screens not across the table. We are filtering our understanding of community and connection through a new lens. We are learning new things about the experience of physical isolation, particularly the impact on mental health. 

For me, after working in clinical and community mental health settings, in government and in primary health care over 30 years, there is already a new perspective as part of Mental Health Australia and that’s exciting. 

This week the National Mental Health Commission has been developing a mental health plan responding to the COVID-19 pandemic for the Australian Government to consider with the states and territories as part of the National Cabinet agenda. This plan, and the new perspective in which it is being developed, could become a blueprint for future pandemic responses and is an opportunity for us all. 

On Wednesday we facilitated a mini Members Policy Forum webinar with National Mental Health Commission CEO Christine Morgan and it was great to have some 30 representatives from the mental health and suicide prevention sector involved. 

Despite short time frames and busy diaries, the opportunity to provide a range of perspectives on the next steps for government in responding to what we are learning about the impact of the pandemic, has triggered important feedback from members. We will compile this feedback and provide it to the Commission later today. Our submission will be built on the agreed directions embodied in Charter 2020, noting that this was already a well-informed platform for the sector.  

Finally and importantly, this week at Mental Health Australia the Board, team and I thanked Melanie Cantwell for her great work as Acting CEO as she passed the baton. I have been delighted to meet the team and begin to hear about the work they are doing and we will do together. 

I am looking forward to connecting with members over the next few weeks and months, and to hearing from you about the issues and challenges in the mental health sector from your perspective.   

Warm regards,

Leanne Beagley

Leanne shares some tips on how to “Look after your mental health, Australia”

Senate committee inquiring into the Adequacy of Newstart

This week the Senate committee inquiring into the Adequacy of Newstart has released their report, recommending that once the Coronavirus Supplement is phased out, the Australian Government increase the JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance and Parenting Payment rates to ensure that recipients do not live in poverty.

The committee recommends Australia’s income support system be underpinned by a series of principles including that social security is a human right that aims to reduce poverty, is an investment in people and that respect and dignity of the individual is at the heart of the social security system.

As you may remember, as part of our submission late last year Mental Health Australia urged the Committee to recommend Newstart and other income support payments be set independently at a level to meet reasonable costs of living to support economic and social participation, and we welcome these new recommendations.

Read the report


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. 

On 8 April, the Embrace Project held a webinar with 116 participants from across Australia on the Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia discussing Module 1: Planning Strategically to Meet Multicultural Community Needs. Watch the webinar here!

Stay tuned for upcoming webinars, with the next one being held on Wednesday 3 June.

We look forward to staying connected with you to improve mental health services for CALD communities across Australia.


Mental Health News

Hidden threat from Covid-19 is long-term mental health issues

Australia’s mental health system will need to be prepared to deal with long-term mental health issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Read more

NDIS Covid-19 update

This week the Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the Hon Stuart Robert MP, announced three changes to help NDIS participants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more

$2.5m YOUTHe launched for national approach to mental health

As the national urgency of suicide prevention becomes a central focus for Australia’s health system, the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre has launched YOUTHe, a five-year Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) in suicide prevention for young people.

Read more 

RACGP’s message to Royal Commission: GPs need more support during natual disasters

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ (RACGP) has called on government to ensure GPs are front and centre when natural disasters such as bushfires strike.

Read more 

Digital solutions for dementia care

Telehealth delivery of dementia care in the home can be as effective as face-to-face home visit services if carers and recipients take advantage of the technologies available, Australian researchers say. 

Read more 

A new COVID-19 study support hub to support the mental health and wellbeing of students across Australia

ReachOut have fast-tracked the launch of this year’s study support resources, with a new COVID-19 study support hub, that is tailored to the specific needs of students right now.

Read more



On Monday, the Mental Health Australia team will be completing an Indigenous Cultural Awareness Work Ready Course online, followed by a group Zoom discussion. 

On Tuesday, I will be joining Melanie Cantwell and Harry Lovelock on a teleconference with Mark Roddam, First Assistant Secretary, Department of Health

On Friday, Harry will be participating in a regular consultation with the NDIA on Psychosocial Disability and Covid-19, followed by the next National Mental Health Workforce Strategy Taskforce Meeting.


Member Profiles

On the Line is a professional social health business that provides counselling support, anywhere, any time. They are experts in men’s mental health, anger management, family violence (using and experiencing), healthy relationships, integrated wellbeing, mental health, chronic health conditions, problematic drug and alcohol abuse and suicide and trauma-informed practice for anyone affected by suicide.
Website: Twitter:

WISE are an Australian not-for-profit employment services provider with offices in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory. Their vision is: Inspire, transform and enable people to realise their potential. Their mission is: Empowering people to enrich the community.
Website: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram:



Introducing… Stride!

Aftercare are pleased to launch their new name and branding, Stride. 

Stride is a name that expresses their ambition – it’s a name that’s purposeful and shows awareness of the important role Stride plays in their clients’ recovery journey.

This is a big step forward for Stride, building on many years of specialisation to take them into an exciting new future for mental health. You can find out more about Stride’s new identity here.

Read more

Work with Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia

Established in late March 2020, Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia is the new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention national leadership body. It is governed and controlled by Indigenous experts and peak bodies working in these areas, promoting collective excellence in mental health care.

Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia are looking to establish its team as soon as possible. To apply for any of the employment opportunities below, please send applications to CEO Mr Tom Brideson at: by COB 18th of May.

Positions available:

  • Senior Research and Policy Officer (identified position)
  • Policy and Project Officer (two positions)
  • Communications Officer 
  • Office Administrator

Read more

Pandemic Kindness Movement: Spreading only kindness

The Pandemic Kindness Movement was created by clinicians across Australia, working together to support all health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have curated respected, evidence-informed resources and links to valuable services to support the wellbeing of the health workforce.

Read more

Applied Cultural Proficiency Workshop

The Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Clinical Academic Group is facilitating 2 online Applied Cultural Proficiency Workshop. Upcoming dates include:

  • 1st of May from 10:00am to 11:30am
  • 12th of May from 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Both sessions are repeat sessions. The purpose of these workshop are to support attendees to:

  • Identify an applied model of cultural competency to use in Indigenous health
  • Use a progressive model of health interaction within Indigenous peoples
  • Develop skills in engaging with Indigenous peoples

The workshops will be facilitated by the Research Lead of the AH&W CAG Aunty Kerrie Doyle. Once you register for the workshops you will receive a link to access the online workshops.

Read more

Webinar: JobKeeper for NFPs and charities

Western Australian Council of Social Service (WACOSS) is partnering with Linkwest and David Gilchrist (University of Western Australia) for a focused webinar on the applicability and accounting for JobKeeper payments for NFPs and charities.This one hour webinar from 11:00am, Friday 1 May, will cover the key elements and considerations for applying for the JobKeeper payments for NFPs and charities.

The decision has been made to give the NFP and charity sector the option to exclude government revenue from the JobKeeper turnover test. This will allow employing charities receiving revenue from government to use either their total turnover, or their turnover excluding government revenue, for the purposes of accessing eligibility for the JobKeeper payment.

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Mentally Healthy Covid-19 survey 

In a follow up to the Mentally Healthy 2020 study, Everymind together with Never Not Creative and UnLtd has today launched a survey to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the mental health and wellbeing of those working in the media, marketing and creative industries within Australia.

The Mentally Healthy COVID-19 survey is a short, five minute ‘pulse study’, which will compare the stress, depression and anxiety levels of professionals before and during the COVID-19 restrictions.

It will also assess at the key stressors and how the Depression, Anxiety & Stress Scale (DASS) score has shifted during this time.

Read more


Tom’s tips to “look after your mental health, Australia”


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