CEO Update from Mental Health Australia: Mental health reform requires a unified and coordinated approach


As we near the election and reflect on the key issues raised so far throughout the campaign (cost of living, climate change, and the housing crisis) we lament the lack of vision the major parties have when it comes to mental health reform.

In recent years, funding for mental health services has been like having some puzzle pieces of a jigsaw but no picture that shows where these pieces fit into the landscape.

While we acknowledge and welcome these investments, service delivery will remain a fragmented and inequitable system unless the incoming government commits to a long term vision on mental health reform that is informed by the advice and recommendations available to them from Mental Health Australia and others in the sector.        

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we know from the Global Health Services Monitor that Australians saw mental health as the biggest health problem facing our country. In 2021, mental health increased in prominence more than other health concern internationally, and Australians were still much more likely than the global average to cite mental health as a top health concern – being the third most likely country of the 30 surveyed to say mental health was a top concern.

So it is surprising when we think that a plan to improve mental health service delivery could be an election winner that neither major political party has committed to a comprehensive and actionable mental health vision and investment plan.

Look at what happened with Australia’s railway system. With colonies left to devise their own rail system, the country ended up with three completely different rail gauges – a logistical nightmare for rail transport across the continent. It would be 94 years after federation before the states and territories were joined by a standard gauge. It goes to show that while solid reform takes time, a unified approach makes it much easier to get from A to B.

As we watch state and territory governments announce investments in their health and mental health systems, we hope the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Agreement lives up to its name and will see all levels of government working with the same unified approach to get better outcomes for those living with mental ill health.    

Whomever seeks to lead our country must recognise what a high priority Australians place on mental health and wellbeing. They must honour the engagement and advice by and from the sector including those with lived experience. They must seek to address gaps and reform the system so that people can access the support they need, when and where they need it.

Earlier this week we released media statements on the NDIS and stigma and discrimination to complement other statements on the cost of living and climate change that highlight the impact of these issues on people with a mental illness. We will continue to advocate for mental health as the key election issue and urge all Australians to vote with mental health in mind. 

We encourage our members to use our election campaign materials to engage with local candidates and advocate for a unified approach to mental health reform.

We have also uploaded new resources to our website, which can be used to share across social media to keep the conversation going – every election issue impacts our mental health.

Have a great weekend,

Harry Lovelock

A/g CEO, Mental Health Australia

Next Week

On Tuesday Leanne Beagley is back from leave and has a planning day with the Embrace Multicultural Mental Health Project team; followed by a CALD strategy refresh with the NDIA

On Wednesday Leanne will meet with the National Mental Health Commission in the morning, and attend the Embrace Alliance meeting in the afternoon. 

On Thursday, Leanne and Harry will meet with the University of Sydney.

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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.


Highlights from the 2022 Issues and Opportunities Workshop

Last week was the Annual Issues Workshop. An opportunity for those whom Mental Health Australia supports as leaders in the lived experience mental health community to come together for two days of inspiration and change. 

We asked participants to send us their favourite quotes from the workshop, here’s a snippet:

“Don’t burn a bridge, just shut it down and renovate.” 

“Our journey is individually unique, but is our common link and unites us to challenge and shape a new future for others.” 

“Living, lived and livid experience.” 

We’ll be sharing more top quotes on the MHA social media channels, so keep an eye out if you follow us, and don’t be afraid to add quotes of your own. 

Featured Members

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Since 1993, MIEACT has been the leading local provider of evidence-informed programs, increasing mental health literacy, promoting early intervention, and addressing stigma to empower people to seek help early, should they need it.

Job Vacancies

Eating Disorder Practitioner

Eating Disorders Queensland (EDQ) is seeking an Eating Disorder Practitioner (Social Work, Counsellor,  Psychologist) for a 30 hour a week contract.

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Cooking Volunteers

EDQ is seeking cooking volunteers to assist with providing meals that meet adequacy standards for those recovering from an eating disorder.

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Mental Health News

The NDIS must be more user-friendly for people with psychosocial disability

Since the inception of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Mental Health Australia has advocated for improvements to NDIS assessment and service provision to better meet the needs of people with psychosocial disability. Ahead of the Federal Election, Mental Health Australia is reminding both major parties, and all candidates, that the NDIS needs to be more user friendly, and more supportive of those with psychosocial disability.

Read more

We must stamp out stigma and discrimination if we are to improve our mental health

As polling day for the 2022 Federal Election draws near, Mental Health Australia is reminding the major parties, and all candidates, of the importance to address all forms of stigma and discrimination when it comes to the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians. Mental Health Australia’s CEO Dr Leanne Beagley says that policies and politics that have the potential to discriminate and create further stigmatising practices, also have the potential to impact the mental health of many Australians.

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Mental health nurses’ voices to lead

In this article celebrating International Nurses Day (12 May), we hear from ACMHN Board Directors Donna Hansen-Vella and Richard Lakeman about mental health nurse (MHN) leadership: what it looks like, why Australia needs it, and how to empower MHNs to lead more.

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Physicians and paediatricians want a plan for a greener health system

The election campaign continues to overlook some of the most significant challenges our country faces – addressing climate change and bolstering our healthcare system. The RACP is calling for major parties to commit to a national climate and health strategy to address emissions in the healthcare sector, and prepare the health system for the impacts of climate change on our population.

Read more

We can no longer ignore the link between climate change and mental health

Mental Health Australia is calling on both major parties and all candidates in the upcoming Federal Election to acknowledge and act on climate change. Mental Health Australia CEO Dr Leanne Beagley says climate change poses a clear and consistent threat to the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians, and the communities in which we live.

Read more

New education program focuses on communication challenges

For three quarters of adults living with a mental health disorder, symptoms started before 24 years of age. This is why early diagnosis and engagement with treatment are so important. A new educational program from NPS MedicineWise focuses on challenges to support the mental health of young people.

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Mental Health Opportunities and Resources

The 30th Annual Mental Health Service Awards of Australia and New Zealand deadline has been extended! 

 Award Entries now close June 2nd.

These prestigious Awards recognise excellence and achievement in mental health, showcasing work in research, evaluation, services and programs and wellbeing in the workplace. This is a great opportunity to share and showcase the work you and your organisation are doing in mental health. 

Winners are celebrated at a Special Awards Ceremony at TheMHS Conference in October, and receive a three day conference registration, financial support to attend an ‘in person’ conference, and recognition on TheMHS platforms. 

Find out more or enter now

Online Suicide Peer Support Groups

The BEING Suicide Support and Awareness Program is a six-week online Peer Support Group program co-designed by, with, and for people living with mental health issues and suicidal crisis and/or thoughts across NSW.

The groups are a trauma-informed, culturally safe space where conversations on suicidality can be explored along with the diversity of participants’ experiences.

Find out more or register

What have been your mental health challenges during COVID-19? 

Researchers from Monash University and the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum (NMHCCF) are seeking participants to complete a survey about Family experiences supporting people with mental health challenges during COVID-19 in Australia.

This is part of a co-designed research project that aims to understand family experiences – especially in relation to the impact of COVID-19 on caring responsibilities, unmet needs and levels of distress.  We welcome responses from all carers, family, friends and supporters, including those from diverse cultural backgrounds, age groups, and locations.

The research will be used to inform a report to the National Mental Health Commission, as well as policy advice to governments, non-government organisations and peak bodies, and to further future projects relating to the mental health of family carers. Please click the link below to participate. The survey will take about 30 minutes to complete.

 If you would like more information, please email

Take survey

Paid Participation Opportunity - Emerging Minds Developing ‘supporting the social and emotional wellbeing of children with higher weight’ e-learning course

Emerging Minds is developing an online course for practitioners about higher weight and mental health in childhood. The course will look at the many and varied factors that contribute to children’s experience of higher weight, and it will provide guidance on how practitioners can support the wellbeing of children with higher weight, key considerations to keep in mind, and strategies for applying these to their work with families in this context.

For this course, we would love to hear from parents or caregivers who have children who are living in larger bodies. Hearing from parents’ and caregivers’ will help practitioners to understand how to talk to children and their families who are in similar situations. Your experience would be invaluable in supporting the development of this course and related resources.

As a way of acknowledging and appreciating your time and contribution you will be paid $45 per hour. All additional costs associated with your involvement in the course, such as travel, or childcare costs will also be covered. 

Applications close on 25 May 2022.

If you would like to be involved, or have any further questions, please contact Bec Edser on 0438 163 287 or

NT Suicide Prevention Community Grants

The grants aim to empower non-government organisations and community members, who can apply for funding between $500 and $10,000 to raise awareness about suicide and suicide prevention. Applications will be considered for activities and projects that progress local actions in a number of areas, including addressing stigma and discrimination, building inclusive communities and strengthening community resilience, and reducing exposure to trauma (violence, sexual abuse, alcohol and drug use.

Applications close: 31 May 2022

Find out more

WA Mental Health Week 2022 Community Grants Program

Mental Health Week 2022 will run from 8 – 15 October and is coordinated by the Western Australian Association for Mental Health (WAAMH), with support from the WA Mental Health Commission.

This year’s theme is, ‘Where we live. How we live. What we’ve lived’, and grants are being offered across four areas: Events, Education, Experience, and Equipment.

Applications close: 30 June 2022

Find out more

Schizophrenia Awareness Week - One Door Mental Health Symposium Monday 23 & Wednesday 25 May

Join One Door Mental Health in their annual symposium to share the latest insights, promote inclusive behaviour and encourage a purposeful and meaningful life amongst the creative and passionate community living with schizophrenia.

Get tickets


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