CEO Update from Mental Health Australia: Celebrating International Day of People with Disability

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International Day of People with Disability is next week, on Friday 3 December. It’s an important day to celebrate the contributions and achievements of people with disability.

This year’s theme is: “Leadership and Participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world”.

This theme resonates with our strategic goals at Mental Health Australia to promote a national voice for people with lived experience of mental ill-health and those who love and care for them. Lived experience participation and leadership is vital to building the mental health system we need: one that’s truly person-led.

Although their strides have not always been fully recognised, lived experience leaders have accomplished so much. Waves of advocacy have exposed abuses in the mental health system, called for greater human rights protection, promoted the idea of recovery, challenged stereotypes and assumptions about mental ill-health held by those within the system and the general public, and have built resources for peer-based care and grassroots supports.

As we celebrate International Day of People with Disability, we also acknowledge the work that still needs to be done to support our communities. One area Mental Health Australia has been active in is advocating for the rights of people with psychosocial disability to be recognised and better reflected in National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) policy.

One of our recent policy submissions highlights concerns regarding insufficient availability of psychosocial supports outside the NDIS; interface and boundary issues between the NDIS and clinical mental health, employment and housing service systems; and points to ongoing reforms required to improve the delivery of recovery-oriented psychosocial support services through the NDIS.

More broadly, we all need to work together to remove barriers for the 4.4 million Australians with disability so that everyone can participate and feel included in our community. For those looking to become allies, you can educate yourself on disability and ableism. Learn about why accessibility is so important and what you can do to make your organisation and community more accessible. This TED talk by the incredible, late Stella Young is a good place to start.

We encourage everyone to get involved and join the celebration. Together, we can all take action to challenge stereotypes, remove barriers and promote inclusive and respectful attitudes and behaviours in our community.

Have a great weekend.

Dr Leanne Beagley

National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum (NMHCCF) and the National PHN Mental Health Lived Experience Engagement Network (MHLEEN) partner with Yale University to run a transformational leadership development program

The NMHCCF and MHLEEN, through their jointly funded Leadership Program, are partnering with the Yale University Program for Recovery and Community Health (PRCH) to support up to 15 emerging leaders with a lived experience of recovery of mental health to participate in the LET(s)LEAD Academy, a transformational leadership development program. Candidates will have personal lived experience of mental health distress and recovery and are making positive changes in their community or sector or be interested in transformational change.

The virtual course, facilitated by instructors from PRCH, Department of School of Medicine, Yale and guest facilitators throughout Australia, will run from February 2022 – November 2022. The first phase of the course consists of 10-weekly online seminars that cover concepts such as developing a personal vision, transformational change, appreciative inquiry, strategy, and change management.

In the second phase of the course, participants will be matched with the mentorship of a community leader nationally or internationally according to a self-chosen piece of work contributing to the lived experience sector. It is intended that after course completion, participants will provide lived experience transformational leadership within their organisation and within the mental health Lived Experience (Peer) workforce sector within Australia.

Further information and applications forms are available via the NMHCCF website or here.


As with the last few weeks, I will continue to talk with members of Mental Health Australia about what is top of mind for them. Thank you to the 70 who have already made the time to talk – it has been both wonderfully instructive and deeply humbling.

On Monday we are so looking forward to bringing our whole team together in Canberra in person and on Tuesday we will doing some workplace training together.

On Wednesday I am looking forward to attending the Launch of Lived Experience (Peer) Workforce Development Guidelines.

On Thursday I will be speaking with the Board of the ACT Primary Health Network and later with the Australian Council of Trade Unions team on mental health impacts in workplaces.

On Friday I have a meeting with the Disability and Carer Alliance, and later I have the Department of Health CALD Advisory Group meeting - this one focused on COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 5-11 years.


Member Benefits, Jobs and Profiles

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Mental Health Australia members are invited to send us news, announcements, job vacancies, events or other notices for inclusion in the Weekly CEO Update newsletter. To do so, simply fill out this form by COB each Wednesday for your notice to appear in the newsletter the following Friday.

Job Vacancy

Eating Disorders QLD is seeking an independent contractor (Social Worker/ Psychologist/ Counsellor) to join their team. The Eating Disorder Social Worker/ Psychologist/ Counsellor provides therapeutic services to people with a range of eating disorders who have either have a Mental Health/Eating Disorder Plan billed under Medicare or an NDIS funding package. To apply, please send a resume, cover letter and response to the Key Selection Criteria to

Member Profiles


Queensland Alliance for Mental Health logo

Queensland Alliance for Mental Health
Queensland Alliance for Mental Health reforms, promotes and drives community mental wellbeing service delivery for all Queenslanders, through its influence and collaboration with its membership and its strategic partners.

JobCo Employment Services Inc
JobCo. Employment Services Inc. is a community based not-for-profit employment service provider which has been delivering a comprehensive range of employment solutions to employers and jobseekers in the Melbourne and metropolitan region since 1994. JobCo’s mission is to ensure that any person seeking employment services, training, counselling or support is assisted. For all clients they will provide a unique and individual experience of service where people feel listened to and supported in overcoming barriers, achieving equality and meaningful inclusion into their local community. Their values are reflected both in the services they provide and in the investment of staff from a broad range of disciplines and cultural backgrounds.


Embrace Multicultural Mental Health News

COVID-19 Vaccines booster doses

ATAGI recommends that people aged 18 years and over receive a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine six months after they complete their initial two-dose course. Receiving a booster dose will maintain individuals’ protection against COVID-19. Booster doses will be free and available to everyone in Australia aged 18 years and over. Getting a booster dose is not mandatory but it is recommended to maintain immunity against COVID-19. More information about booster doses, including which vaccine is being used for booster doses, is available on the Department of Health websiteTranslated resources are available here.

Embrace Australia logo (a rectangle with a light and dark purple cultural stripe pattern with "embrace" and stylised outline of the Australian continent in the lower right corner).


Mental Health News

Strategy and transformation expert named new headspace Board Chair

headspace, Australia’s National Youth Mental Health Foundation, has today announced the appointment of Mr Ben Shields as its new Board Chair. Mr Shields brings to the headspace Board twenty years’ experience in corporate strategy, strategy execution and transformation. His professional experience includes more than 10 years as Partner at consultancy firm Deloitte Australia and another five years as Managing Partner at Alchemy Growth, roles that have seen him work throughout Asia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Read more

PACFA takes action to build Indigenous Healing workforce

When Bundjalung and Jiman woman Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson called upon Australia’s peak body for counselling and psychotherapy to take real action to address the trauma of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) listened. PACFA, in association with our Indigenous-led College of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Practices, is proud to release Indigenous Healing Practice Training Standards which will strengthen and develop the Indigenous Healing workforce.

Read more

New art program to transform the lives of people with mental illness (VIC)

Victorians living with mental health issues are set to benefit from a transformative new arts program which offers creative expression and social connection for 35 beginner or accomplished artists. Delivered by SANE Australia’s dedicated arts centre, The Dax Centre, the Studio Dax program will enable people living with psychological trauma, neurodiversity, or mental health issues to participate in art workshops, work towards an exhibition or even sell their art at The Dax Centre.

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Beyond Blue’s Be You Bushfire Response Program finalist for national award

Beyond Blue’s Be You Bushfire Response Program has been nominated as a finalist for the 2021 Resilient Australia Mental Health and Wellbeing Award, with the winner set to be announced in Melbourne on Wednesday, 8 December. The Resilient Australia Awards are hosted by the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience (AIDR) and sponsored by the Australian Government in partnership with the states and territories, and celebrate and promote initiatives which foster community resilience to disasters and emergencies.

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Suicide prevention grants to double, focus on at-risk groups

The Morrison Government is increasing suicide prevention grants to organisations across the country to help reduce Australia’s suicide rate towards zero. Through the National Suicide Prevention Leadership and Support Program Grant Opportunity, $114 million will be available for national projects that will raise awareness of the impact of suicide and support Australians who are at risk. Specific vulnerable groups - including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, veterans, men, regional communities, and culturally and linguistically diverse communities - have been identified as the primary focus of the Grant Opportunity as these groups have higher rates of suicide than the general population.

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More support for Canberrans experiencing emotional distress (ACT)

The ACT will open its first Safe Haven tomorrow so Canberrans experiencing emotional distress, mental health concerns, isolation or loneliness can access support in a welcoming, community space. Minister for Mental Health Emma Davidson said this is a new service in Canberra’s mental health system and where people can seek support in a warm, safe, and non-clinical space. “The Safe Haven space will mean more access to mental health support in the community in a non-clinical environment. It will support people before they reach crisis point and offer an important alternative to the Emergency Department,” Minister Davidson said.

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Study into barriers to NDIA Access for people living with Psychosocial Disability

The University of Sydney is conducting a study about the NDIS and trying to understand what stops or makes it difficult for some people, to apply for the psychosocial disability stream of the NDIS. Those with lived experience of mental ill-health and have not been able to or have chosen not to apply for the NDIS, friends or family members and advocacy or service organisations aware of some reasons why people with mental ill-health or psychosocial disability haven’t applied for the NDIS are welcome to participate in the survey.

OzHelp’s Year in Review Event

OzHelp is holding a Year in Review event, an opportunity for the sector and stakeholders to learn more about OzHelp’s reach, impact and approach to suicide prevention on Friday 10 December, 11am-12pm AEDT. During this event, OzHelp will release its report: It’s tough out there: health and wellbeing, to prevent suicide, for hard to reach workers in high-risk industries. The report provides evidence to support a focus for suicide prevention on predominantly male, hard to reach workers in high-risk industries. You can register to attend in-person at East Hotel, Kingston, Canberra ACT, or online via Zoom.

COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Alert - 23 November 2021

The Department of Health has issued its next COVID-19 vaccination – Disability Provider Alert 23 November 2021. In this update you will find important information on the rights of NDIS participants to access the COVID-19 vaccine, mandatory vaccination for disability workers, third doses and booster doses, in-home vaccinations in QLD and Victoria, current vaccination hubs and the expansion of the National Coronavirus helpline. This provider alert along with other resources and information about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is available from a dedicated web page for disability service providers on the Department of Health website.

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