CEO Update from Mental Health Australia: The problem is not going away

Person standing in front of apartment building.

Everybody needs a home. 

Increasingly many people don’t have one. 

And people with mental illness are disproportionally affected.

This week one of our members, NEAMI, along with the Centre for Social Impact and The Australian Alliance to End Homelessness launched a new report, Ending Homelessness in Australia: An evidence and policy deep dive. The Report presents evidence from the largest community-based database on rough sleeping and homelessness in Australia.

The Report showed that the prevalence of long-term serious medical conditions and diagnosed mental health conditions among people experiencing homelessness were significantly higher than those seen across the general population. The majority of rough sleepers reported both chronic medical conditions and diagnosed mental health conditions. 

Mental Health Australia congratulates the team and welcomes the report which puts forward a five-step national plan to end homelessness.

We know how important housing security is to people’s mental health and in particular through the research conducted by MIND Australia and the Australian Housing and Research Institute we know how integral housing is to maintaining wellness for people with serious mental illness.

Yet they continue to slip through a system that is failing to meet even the needs of the most vulnerable.

I can still remember seeing the tears of pain from a mother with lived experience talking about her experience of abuse, stigma and discrimination in her search for a safe place for herself and her child. The data doesn’t really show the suffering that a lack of this most basic of human needs is causing.

The report calls for a national housing and homelessness strategy that includes commonwealth investment in public housing infrastructure. And it calls for targeting prevention and early intervention programs to reduce the entry into homelessness. 

Both of these actions must be part of any future mental health and suicide prevention framework for reform. 

This is something we are still waiting for. 

The need for housing unites many sectors: homelessness, disability, mental health, family violence amongst many others who know that housing and in particular supported housing as critical to recovery, social participation and a fulfilling life.

This report also reminds us that there is something very powerful that comes from the connections people make to work together on shared issues of endeavour and expertise. 

Mental Health Australia is keen to see such partnerships develop and thrive. It’s about people coming together with a shared mind on very real and urgent priorities. I would personally like to thank these groups for their leadership and vision.


Dr Leanne Beagley
CEO


A Message regarding the Religious Discrimination Bill debates in federal Parliament

In light of the Religious Discrimination Bill debates in Parliament this week, Mental Health Australia recognises many in our community are feeling distressed, anxious and drained. We conveyed our concern about this risk in our submission to the Committee in December.
We stand as allies with our LGBTIQ+ friends, friends with disability, and all communities. 
Everybody deserves to be treated with respect and dignity – it is crucial for our mental health. We see you, we hear you and we care about you. You are not alone.
We encourage anyone experiencing distress in this time to call Qlife on 1800 184 527 or chat online or Lifeline on 13 11 14, Text 0477 13 11 14 or chat online.

NEXT WEEK

On Tuesday we have a meeting with Suicide Prevention Australia.
On Wednesday I have an Expert Advisory Group meeting with OT Australia.
On Thursday I will attend an event with the Parliamentary Friends of Dementia
On Friday I have a meeting with a group of other CEOs to discuss leadership and resilience; and later an all-day Forum hosted by the Minister for Disability, Senator Linda Reynolds to discuss the NDIS Cultural and Linguistic Diversity Strategy.


National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum Website and Psychosocial Disability Publication Launch

Invite to the NMHCCF Website and Psychosocial Disability Publication Launch. The text is a shortened version of the caption below. Image of two mobile phones showing the NMHCCF website and publication.

The National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum (NMHCCF) is a combined national voice for mental health consumers and carers. We listen, learn, influence and advocate in matters of mental health reform.

The NMHCCF is inviting you to its Website and Psychosocial Disability Publication Launch.
This is an opportunity to learn more about the NMHCCF’s work, its new website, and also its collaborative process towards transformational change in Australia’s mental health system.

Hear from NMHCCF members on their reflections of psychosocial disability and reform agendas, and ask your questions to a panel of lived experience experts.

The launch will take place on 21 February 2022, 2pm-3pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time (11am AWST, 1.30pm ACDT, 1pm AEST, 12.30pm ACST).

Register in advance for this meeting.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


Work with us!

Mental Health Australia is seeking a Director, Corporate Services. Reporting to the CEO, this multi-faceted part-time position plays a vital role in the successful operations of Mental Health Australia. Find out more about the role.

Embrace Multicultural Mental Health News

Translated information on testing for COVID-19, and for people who test positive for COVID-19

These fact sheets, developed by the Department of Health, contain important information on the types of tests available in Australia and when to get tested, and information for people who test positive for COVID-19 or are close contacts. There’s also further information for people who contract COVID-19 including guidance on symptoms, when to call an ambulance, and how to isolate. 

The fact sheets are available in 63 languages:

Getting tested for COVID-19

Information for people who test positive for COVID-19, or are close contacts

What to expect when you have COVID-19

Expression of Interest open for Primary Health Networks: Embedding the “Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia” with PHNs

The Embrace Multicultural Mental Health Project (the Embrace Project) is committed to providing support to Primary Health Networks (PHNs) to work effectively with multicultural communities across Australia and improve the cultural responsiveness of mental health services.

The Embrace Project is seeking Expressions of Interest from PHNs to Embed the “Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia”

This opportunity will allow your PHN to:

  • Map and work with multicultural communities and organisations
  • Utilise a comprehensive structure to plan, implement and evaluate effective multicultural mental health interventions
  • Work with commissioned services to build multicultural mental health capacity
  • Benefit from resources, best practice and specialised knowledge in multicultural mental health
  • Build a tailored organisational approach to multicultural mental health

The EOI is open from 2:00pm (AEDT) Tuesday 8 February 2022 and closes at 9:00am (AEDT) Monday 28 February 2022.

PHNs are invited to submit an EOI application. For more information on the EOI and how to apply please view the following documents:
Primary Health Network Request for Expression of Interest – includes application form
Embrace Project Fact Sheet

Primary Health Network Expression of Interest Webinar

To assist in the EOI process, the Embrace Project team invites PHNs to a 1-hour information webinar.
The webinar will also showcase how PHNs have implemented the Framework in the past.

Date: Wednesday 16 February 2022
Time: 2:00pm - 3:00pm (AEDT)
PHNs can register here for the Zoom webinar

If you have any questions please contact the Embrace Project team by email on multicultural@mhaustralia.org

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).

 
 

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 Vacancy

OzHelp is seeking a Marketing and Design Coordinator to join their team. They are looking for someone with a passion for content creation to help develop compelling campaigns and raise their brand profile amongst high risk and hard to reach workers and industries.


Member Profiles

 

Rural & Remote Mental Health logo

Rural & Remote Mental Health
Rural and Remote Mental Health (RRMH): For over 12 years now, Rural and Remote Mental Health (RRMH) has been delivering mental health programs and services to people living and working in rural and remote Australia. RRMH champions proactive and preventative initiatives for rural and remote communities. They demonstrate a commitment to practical outcomes by focusing on early intervention, the identification of problems on the horizon and the prevention of them where possible. Their three key programs are: • Resource Minds – for the mining, quarrying, resources and remote construction sector • Deadly Thinking – for Indigenous communities • Rural Minds – for agricultural and farming communities.


Micah Projects logo

Micah Projects
Micah Projects is a not-for-profit organisation committed to providing services and opportunities in the community to create justice and respond to injustice. We engage with people experiencing adversity due to poverty, homelessness, mental illness, domestic violence, disability and all forms of discrimination. Micah Projects works to break down barriers that exclude people from housing, healthcare, employment, meaningful connections, and to give people a voice. We assist and support each individual or family including children, to resolve crisis, break social isolation, have a home, access health and community services, and build community. Micah Projects provides a range of support and advocacy services to individuals and families according to their needs and capacity. We acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia (First Peoples) as the traditional owners of this land and support the right of Indigenous people to self-determination and cultural expression. The Queensland Government supports Micah Projects in our mission to build community and break social isolation through funding agreements for the provision of services in the community.  

 

Mental Health News

Lifeline’s crisis text service goes 24/7 to help more Australians

Supported with $1.5 million in Morrison Government funding, Lifeline has launched a 24/7 crisis text service to expand its support for Australians struggling with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Australians are reaching out to Lifeline’s crisis support and suicide prevention services in record numbers, hitting more than 3700 calls in one day last month. The Lifeline Crisis Support Text Service is now available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via confidential text message to 0477 13 11 14. Following a few questions via text, Australians are connected to a trained Lifeline crisis supporter. 


Tackling stigma with messages of hope as Covid-19 set to have a lasting impact on the mental health of youth

In its fourth year, Youth Insearch’s End Youth Suicide Week campaign is encouraging Australians to defy the stigma associated with mental health and start open conversations about suicide among friends, families and communities, to spread hope and save lives. Half of mental health disorders first emerge by the age of 14, and 75 per cent by the age of 24, with suicide remaining the biggest killer of Australians aged between 15-24 years. Youth Insearch is Australia’s most effective peer-led youth trauma recovery organisation working to change these statistics.


NDIS Quarterly Report: NDIS now supporting more than half a million Australians

The National Disability Insurance Scheme’s (NDIS) latest Quarterly Report has marked a major milestone, with the world-first insurance scheme now transforming the lives of more than 500,000 Australians living with significant and permanent disability. Minister for the NDIS, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, said the Scheme is now providing disability-related support to 502,413 participants across the country. Around 220,000 people previously received supports from state, territory and commonwealth schemes, and around 280,000 people are now receiving supports for the very first time.


Boost for mental health at work (NSW)

The NSW Government has granted more than $350,000 to eight organisations undertaking initiatives to boost mental health in the workplace. Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government Victor Dominello said the recipients of the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) Recovery Boost grants would use the funding to help people recover at work and reduce the stigma around mental health. “The Recovery Boost grants will allow these organisations to implement bespoke initiatives that will help prevent mental illness or aid recovery,” Mr Dominello said.


Problematic levels of loneliness widespread in many countries

Loneliness, at a problematic level, is widespread in many countries, finds a University of Sydney led analysis of evidence from 2000 to 2019 across 113 countries and territories. The findings, published in The BMJ, identify important data gaps, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, and substantial geographical variation in loneliness, with northern European countries consistently showing lower levels compared with other regions. While in recent years there has been an increase in research in this area in Australia, a lack of comparable data on loneliness did not allow for comparison with other countries. This highlights the need for Australia to approach loneliness as a public health issue and for extensive long-term surveillance to assess how widespread it is, especially given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Statement on new TikTok community guidelines around eating disorder content

Melissa Wilton, Head of Communications and Engagement at Butterfly Foundation, says: “it’s encouraging to see TikTok, arguably the most influential social media platform right now, taking proactive steps to ban unsafe and triggering content. It’s a step in the right direction, helping to make the experience on the platform a positive one. A lot more work needs to be done in this space and Butterfly continues to collaborate with social media organisations, including TikTok, to ensure policies are developed to keep people safe online. Social media, when used correctly, has the potential to create so many positive outcomes - from education and connection to raising awareness and removing stigma around eating disorders and body image issues.”

 

Reminders 

New resources for Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has released new resources for consumers and health service organisations to provide quick-reference summaries of the seven healthcare rights. The Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights (the Charter) provides consumers, their families, carers and health service organisations with a shared understanding of healthcare rights. For consumers, the new easy-to-read flyer might be included in welcome packs when they are admitted into hospital or for a day procedure. It describes what to expect when receiving healthcare, and is useful to help patients have conversations with their clinicians about healthcare rights. For health service organisations, the flyer shares clear information summarising the key responsibilities of health services in upholding consumer rights. The Commission has previously released a suite of supportive resources on the Charter including a comprehensive guide for consumers, an animation, audio resources, translations into 19 community languages, and Braille, Auslan and Easy English versions.

Seeking Your Input to Better Support Children During COVID

If you are the parent, grandparent, or carer of a child or child between the ages of nine and seventeen, Australia’s National Children’s Commissioner, is inviting you to do a survey about how living through the past two years’ of COVID-19 has affected children’s mental health and wellbeing. There are two separate surveys – one for children and young people, and another for parents, grandparents or carers.

Disability Provider Alert – 2 February 2022

The Department of Health has issued its next COVID-19 vaccination – Disability provider alert 2 February 2022. In this update you will find information regarding new and upcoming vaccination hubs, booster doses via in-reach and other channels, webinar recordings, and information from the NDIA regarding pricing changes. 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. 

Continuity of Care Collaboration (CCC) video highlighting bowel cancer screening

It is recommended that Australians aged 50 and over participate in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) every two years. The test can be done at home and takes just 5 minutes. The CCC partnered with member Bowel Cancer Australia and the Department of Health to take broadcaster Anton Enus into a pathology lab where bowel cancer screening is performed. They created a video during the tour that will be to be widely shared on social media at midday this coming Sunday. You’re invited to share the video with your social networks. You can share the 3-minute version or 45-second version.

Epilepsy survey

UCB Australia and Epilepsy Action Australia are seeking individuals with epilepsy or primary caregivers to speak about their experiences with shortages of antiseizure medications, and switching between brands of the same antiseizure medication. If you are interested in being involved in this discussion, please take two minutes to complete this eligibility survey.

Rewarding, flexible opportunity to inspire hope and recovery in others (NSW)

Do you have experience facilitating peer support groups? Do you identify as living with mental health issues, and have your own personal experience of living with suicidal crisis and/or thoughts? A rewarding opportunity is available for experienced Peer Group Facilitators seeking paid, flexible work to use their skills and experiences to inspire hope and recovery for others. BEING - Mental Health Consumers is currently seeking experienced Peer Group Facilitators for our upcoming series of online Suicide Peer Support Groups. Facilitators guide group discussions around suicidal experiences and other forms of emotional distress, creating a safe and supportive environment for like-minded peers. This is a paid opportunity, starting from approximately 3-6 hours/week or more (subject to negotiation). Groups will run on a flexible timetable to suit participants and facilitators including weekdays, evenings, and weekend options. Sessions will be held via Zoom and facilitators will be provided with session content and materials, and regular support from BEING - Mental Health Consumers. For more information, questions and to submit your Expression of Interest, please contact ssap@being.org.au or 1300 234 640. More information is also available in this pdf.

Regional youth supported by wellbeing recovery initiative (NSW)

Councils, schools, not-for-profit organisations and Local Aboriginal Land Councils are encouraged to apply for grants to deliver projects that support recovery, boost resilience and support mental health and wellbeing for regional young people. Minister for Regional Youth Ben Franklin announced the $10.3 million Children and Young People Wellbeing Recovery Initiative that will help regional youth recover from the impacts of natural disasters and COVID-19. 

Sport clubs to be champions of mental wellbeing (NSW)

The NSW Government is calling on sporting organisations to step up and serve some ace ideas for delivering mental health and wellbeing activities as part of a $2.8 million Mental Health Sports program. Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said clubs can apply for grants of up to $150,000 from now until 6 March 2022 for activities that provide mental health, resilience and wellbeing benefits to individuals and groups across the State.

Participant Survey on Self-Management

The NDIS invites NDIS participants and their nominees to complete a short online survey to help better understand what benefits of self-management are most important to NDIS participants, the main challenges for NDIS participants who self-manage, the barriers stopping participants from choosing to self-manage their plans, and similar. All participant responses will be collected anonymously and have no impact on their NDIS funding. The survey will close at 5pm AEDT on Monday 14 March 2022.
 

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