CEO Update from Mental Health Australia: From one big month to another…

three people standing in front of a giant clock.

It’s almost November, that time we tend to ask ourselves, “where did the year go?”

October brought a flurry of activity for Mental Health Australia. Our Mental Health Month campaign included calendars of daily ideas for supporting wellbeing, and over 1500 individuals promised to look after their own or others’ mental health.

Our 60+ partners, comedians, actors, and athletes contributed to dozens of videos offering mental health tips.

We undertook a massive survey about how health professionals are coping, helped deliver a mental health radio program to 269 Indigenous markets and stations across Australia, and we held or contributed to multiple webinars and forums on the subject of mental health.

We made daily social media posts tagged #LookAfterYourMentalHealthAustralia, an augmented reality galah to encourage people to “look up”, and found many new friends and followers along the way.

On top of all this, Mental Health Australia continued to deliver all the activity that makes up our core work: policy submissions, members forums, facilitating the work of the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum and the National Register of Mental Health Consumer and Carer Representatives, supporting CALD mental health through the Embrace Project, and important ongoing board and corporate business that keeps us running. We also brought on three new team members in October.

But no, we aren’t resting just because Mental Health Month is over. In fact, November will bring another big month, and then some long-awaited face-to-face events in December.

The big-ticket item is the new National Agreement on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention which is due this month. This is an Agreement that promises to be a systemic, whole-of-governments reform focused on creating a coordinated, person-centred mental health system. You can read our advice to governments for this Agreement, and next week, we will be hosting a webinar on “Progress of reform and implementation of budget initiatives” for members, featuring representatives from the Department of Health.

In addition to this, we’ll start to prepare activities for the upcoming federal election which means I’m looking forward to connecting with members individually over the coming weeks, and we’ll look at our submission for the next Budget. This will involve reflecting on, and advocating for, what we and the entire mental health ecosystem sees as priorities for reform for the Australian mental health system.

Oh, and we’ll be preparing for another busy month: December. We have three big events on 8 and 9 December. All of these events will be in-person in Canberra, and via Zoom, as we enter this new world of hybrid events. Hybrid events give us the opportunity to expand our reach beyond those who can make it to Canberra while also allowing for in-person interactions.

On 8 December, we’ll be holding our Annual General Meeting, to be followed by the Grace Groom Oration. Everyone is welcome to join us for these.

The Grace Groom Memorial Oration was established in 2007 to honour the memory of Grace Groom, a former CEO of Mental Health Australia (then, the Mental Health Council of Australia). This year, excitingly, former Prime Minister of Australia, and current Chair of Beyond Blue, The Hon Julia Gillard AC will present the Oration at the National Gallery.

On 9 December, we’ll be holding our first in-person Members Policy Forum in 18 months at Old Parliament House. We’re looking forward to catching up with our members and the thoughtful conversations that always emerge at these valuable events. To find out more about all these activities keep an eye out for specific event emails or contact info@mhaustralia.org

Have a great weekend and thanks again to all who helped contribute to a really successful Mental Health Month.


Dr Leanne Beagley
CEO


International Equally Well Alliance Global Call to Action

Vaccinations against infectious diseases such as influenza, hepatitis, tuberculosis, and COVID-19 save lives and prevent hospital admissions. Yet around the world, people living with mental illness and substance use disorders are not routinely prioritised or targeted for vaccinations against these serious yet preventable illnesses. During mental health month, an international alliance of people living with mental illness, scientists, public health and community leaders, is calling for urgent action towards vaccine equity for people living with mental illness.

Mental Health Australia has signed the pledge to support the Global Call to Action on Equitable Vaccine Access. You can find out more through the webinar recording, and sign the Call to Action.


Submission to Inquiry into Provisions of GP and Primary Health Services to outer metropolitan, rural, and regional Australians

In September 2021, Mental Health Australia made a submission to the Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs Inquiry into the Provision of GP and primary health services to outer metropolitan, rural, and regional Australians. Mental Health Australia’s submission calls for equity of access to mental health support across the country and explains this will require multiple systemic interventions including but not limited to ensuring:

  • the workforce is in place to provide the right services
  • the funding structures incentivise the workforce to offer the right services in the right location 
  • services are integrated across physical and mental health 
  • adequate access to digital health services.

You can read the full submission here.


 

Image of a person, bird, and flower superimposed over the shape outline of Australia.

October was Mental Health Month

However you can still make a #MentalHealthPromise via the Look after your mental health, Australia website. And catch up on some great video tips our partners, comedians, athletes, and others have made for looking after your mental health. Thanks to all for the continued support.


NEXT WEEK

On Monday and Tuesday I have a series of meetings with Melbourne-based stakeholders - in person! Hooray!

On Wednesday we have our members webinar with Department of Health Deputy Secretary Tania Rishniw and First Assistant Secretary Mark Roddam.

On Thursday I have a consultation with the Department of Health on the National Medicines Policy; then I will attend the launch of the election campaign for the National Disability Services and later have an alliance meeting with our partners for the Embrace Multicultural Mental Health Project, FECCA and NEDA.

On Friday I have my regular meeting with Christine Morgan and the senior team at the National Mental Health Commission.

 

Member Benefits, Jobs and Profiles

Communicate your news, job vacancies, or upcoming events to more than 5,000 people in the mental health ecosystem weekly.

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 vacancies

BEING – Mental Health Consumers is on the lookout for skilled, innovative and resourceful people who are passionate about social change and making a difference in peoples’ lives:

Peer Workforce Engagement Coordinator. Bring your project management and communications skills to this exciting role, where you’ll contribute to the development, implementation and evaluation of peer workforce programs in line with BEING – Mental Health Consumers’ values and purpose. Working closely with the community engagement and development team, you’ll also assist to establish and coordinate new and innovative community engagement initiatives.

BEING – Mental Health Consumers is also looking for a Peer Educator/Learning Advisor – BEING Leadership Academy (Part-time 12-months fixed-term contract) and Peer Educators – BEING Leadership Academy (Casual contract) to co-develop & deliver community education programs for people living with mental health issues.

More information about these and other available roles is available here.


Member Profiles

 

OzHelp Foundation
OzHelp Foundation is a leading provider of workplace wellbeing programs nationally, specialising in mental health and suicide prevention. Founded in 2001, after the suicide of a young Canberra apprentice, OzHelp now engages and supports approximately 40,000 people each year.


Employee Assistance Professional Assoc of Australasia
The Employee Assistance Professional Association of Australasia (EAPAA) is a National Professional Association with International Affiliation which aims to ensure the highest professional and ethical standards in EAP provision in Australasia. 

 

Embrace Multicultural Mental Health News

CALD Mental Health Consumer and Carer Group: recruiting now!

The Embrace Project is looking for participants from across Australia who are passionate about multicultural mental health and ready to contribute to the next phase of the project to achieve real change.
As part of the National Consumer and Carer Group you will:

  • Provide insight into multicultural mental health, particularly the views and interests of diverse mental health consumers and carers
  • offer solutions and strategies for improving the outcomes for all people who are living with mental health issues and their carers
  • assist in project implementation and ensuring meaningful project outcomes 
  • support the distribution of national approaches
  • provide links to local multicultural communities
  • review communication and other documents
  • and so much more

Group Members may be eligible for the payment of sitting fees and all travel and accommodation expenses associated with meeting attendance, will be paid for.

Memberships are limited, and to be considered, either complete the online form or download the expression of interest form available here and submit by 11.45pm AEST 7 November 2021.

Successful candidates will be requested to attend the next virtual meeting in early December.

The 2021 Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium 

The 2021 Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium will be held online from 3-5 and 8 November. Leanne Beagley will be a keynote speaker on Workforce challenges in rural and remote mental health and the place of systemic solutions. 

Additionally the Embrace Project Manager Ruth Das has been a Committee member for the symposium will present a paper on ways to ensure rural and remote mental health services are relevant to people from CALD backgrounds, and chair a number of sessions.

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 website. The Department of Health is in the process of updating all in-language guidance to reflect this recommendation. These resources will be published on the Department of Health website and shared with multicultural stakeholders.

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

New deal for staff as mental health reforms begin

Minister for Mental Health, James Merlino, says the Victorian Government has reached an in-principle agreement to deliver fairer pay and conditions for public sector mental health workers, who will be vital to Victoria’s unprecedented mental health system reform. The new enterprise agreement addresses recruitment and retention gaps identified by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, provides greater equality for nurses specialising in mental health care, and delivers a range of initiatives to promote gender equity among the workforce. 

Read more


Mental health support for Tasmanian businesses

Tasmanians have demonstrated incredible resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is important for people to take the time to look after their wellbeing, including in the workplace. Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing Jeremy Rockliff said it is understandable, and could be quite common, for some people to be worried, concerned or uncertain as we move through the pandemic and consider what living with COVID-19 might look like.

Read more


Call for new advisers on mental health research 

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, says the Australian Government is calling on the nation’s best and brightest mental health researchers, clinicians, implementation experts, and consumer and carer representatives to help inform the future of research in this vital area. “Expressions of interest are invited for the next Expert Advisory Panel (EAP) for the Medical Research Future Fund’s Million Minds Mental Health Research Mission.  The Government is seeking a diverse panel with a range of skills and backgrounds to meet the objectives of the Million Minds Mission.  The Mission’s aim is to identify - through research - new approaches to prevent, detect, diagnose, treat, and recover from mental ill health.”

Read more


National Centre for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse to be driven by consortium of leading expert organisations

Blue Knot Foundation, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation (The Healing Foundation), and the Australian Childhood Foundation are honoured to have been selected by the Federal Government to establish and drive the new National Centre for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse. The partnership will commission critical research, raise community awareness, reduce stigma, and provide training to support improved responses to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse – and prevent it from occurring in the first place.

Read more


Mental health workforce survey to help drive change

Minister for Mental Health James Merlino says the Victorian Government is conducting a new survey to gain the valuable insights of frontline mental health workers - and delivering on a recommendation by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. A new workforce personnel survey has been sent out today to all mental health workers in public, community and private settings - inviting them to take part and give feedback on their experiences of working in the sector. The findings will allow the Government to hear directly from the people working on the ground - informing what is needed to attract, train, support and retain a stronger workforce for Victoria’s reformed mental health system.

Read more

 

Reminders 

How does your care fare? Survey

Equally Well in collaboration with Lived Experience Australia (LEA) and Flinders University is asking people with lived experience of mental illness and their families/carers about the discussions their mental health providers have regarding their physical health. Your responses will inform advocacy for holistic care for mental and physical health and wellbeing. The survey closes 18 November.

Perinatal Mental Health Week Partner Launch

Perinatal Mental Health Week is a time to raise awareness and come together to ensure that parents in need know that they are not alone. Following an extremely challenging few years, we are united in ensuring expectant and new parents know: We’re here, we see you. Many services and organisations work together for affected communities, and are invited to the virtual partner launch on Wednesday 3 November at 11am. Register your attendance to receive the Zoom link.

Disability Provider Alert - 25 October 2021

The Department of Health has issued its next COVID-19 vaccination – Disability Provider Alert 25 October 2021. 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.

National Digital Health Strategy survey

Today, Australians have access to telehealth, electronic prescriptions, My Health Record and more. What comes next is up to you. Now’s your chance to influence the future of digital health in Australia by taking part in a short, 15-minute survey. Your valuable input will help the Australian Government continue to evolve one of the best healthcare services in the world.

Expression of Interest (EOI) - Support the development of educational materials for the Mental Health Phase of Care (MHPoC)

In 2020, the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) undertook the Mental Health Phase of Care (MHPoC) Clinical Refinement Testing Project to test possible refinements to the MHPoC. A Final Report was published in July 2021 which outlined a number of recommendations including the need to develop a set of nationally consistent educational materials. IHPA has engaged training and education experts to assist with development of the educational materials, and intends to undertake a comprehensive consultation process with key stakeholders including mental health clinicians to provide content and direction. Expressions of Interest (EOI) are open until COB 12 November for mental health clinicians who are interested in participating in virtual workshops to develop the educational materials. If you are interested in the opportunity to assist IHPA or would like more information, please contact Jenny Shao, Manager Classification Development at jenny.shao@ihpa.gov.au or 02 8215 1155

OzHelp’s National Tradie Wellbeing Survey

OzHelp is a leading provider of health and wellbeing programs for hard-to-reach workers in high-risk industries. As part of our continuous quality improvement program, OzHelp has released its national Tradie Wellbeing Survey. This survey will assist OzHelp in supporting tradie mental health and wellbeing, including suicide prevention.

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