CEO Update from Mental Health Australia: Reality check


Reality check

This week I had the privilege of meeting with (many face to face and some online), and addressing the Annual Issues Workshop with those whom Mental Health Australia supports as leaders in the lived experience mental health community.

This year we again welcomed members of the Embrace Lived Experience Group, and look forward to their valuable contribution. In light of this year’s theme, ‘Building courage, strength and resilience to promote change,’ it was pertinent to reflect on the past year, and how things have changed since our last meeting. The COVID pandemic offered us a new appreciation of our home and work spaces, as many of us transitioned to new and more flexible ways of living and working. We became accustomed to seeing one another on screens, and the lines between home life and work became increasingly blurred for many. We know with greater certainty that inter-personal connection is paramount to protecting our mental health – we need to stay emotionally, physically and socially connected to support our mental health and wellbeing. Connecting with people outside of your family and friends is important for tackling Australia’s loneliness crisis. This means that neighbourhoods and informal supports matter. Research tells us that communities where people know each other have better mental health, are safer, and are more resilient.

The past few years have also driven home how critical the health, aged care and disability workforces are in supporting and caring for us, and for those we love. Australia’s healthcare workers still face extreme pressure from the demands on the health system, which leads to unsustainable stress and burnout. Frontline workers, and that includes peer workers, have been working tirelessly to keep us all safe – adapting to riskier workplaces, quickly learning new skills, and facing overwhelming situations with resourcefulness and compassion.

This is life-saving, complex work that has allowed us to move through what has been a once in a generation collective experience.

At the time of the last (2019) Workshop, the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Mental Health was underway. Handing down its report in November 2020, the Productivity Commission paid particular attention to people with lived experience in the development of this report, but the breadth and level of consultation, deep thinking, and planning with the sector at large was unprecedented.

Unfortunately, we are yet to see the recommendations adopted let alone implemented and hopes weighed heavily on the Federal Government’s National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Agreement. In 2021, Mental Health Australia working with its members and the NMHCCF and provided a comprehensive document “Advice to Government” in the absence of consultation with the mental health sector. Disappointingly, the National Agreement fundamentally fails to address almost all of the advice we provided. As we head into the 2022 Federal Election, it’s important to highlight just how much your vote and more importantly your contributions matter. The voice of lived experience votes too.

Mental Health Australia has developed a suite of resources, available at, including a four-step process to help those with lived experience write to your local member, Senator or candidate. Your letter can outline what it is you personally are looking for when it comes to mental health reform and access to services in your local area, and if shared with Mental Health Australia can add to the collective lived experience voice highlighting many pressing issues at a community level. Federal Elections are about local issues, for local candidates in local communities. Your lived experience voice can help highlight those local issues and needs for mental health services in your area and turn help the nation design a more inclusive and structured mental health system.

While we are currently not seeing the reform needed, we must draw on our strength and resilience to persevere. I’m looking forward to us seizing the opportunities we have ahead, and working together to lead change. On behalf of Mental Health Australia I sincerely thank you for your commitment and courage to driving change for yourselves and others with lived experience of mental ill health. I would like to acknowledge the members of the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum (NMHCCF), the Embrace Lived Experience Group and the National Register whose continued advocacy has elevated the voices of consumers and carers throughout Australia.

Have a great weekend.

Leanne Beagley signature

Dr Leanne Beagley

CEO, Mental Health Australia

Next week

I will be taking annual leave next week. Stepping into the role of Acting CEO will be Harry Lovelock.

Harry’s Diary next week

The Primary Health Care Reform Summit will be held on Wednesday.  

On Thursday,  the Mental Health Australia Board will meet via Zoom. In the afternoon, there is an ALIVE National Research Translation Centre in Mental Health Intersectoral Policy & Practice Committee meeting.


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The Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia

The Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (the Framework) is a free, nationally available online resource which has been developed to support Australian mental health services and organisations, Primary Health Networks and practitioners to evaluate and enhance their cultural responsiveness.

It is mapped against national standards to help organisations meet their existing requirements, and provides free access to a wide range of support and resources.

Visit the Embrace website to register for the Framework and find out more about how you can tailor the Framework to best meet your needs and the needs of your local community.

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CALD Assist

CALD Assist is a free communication app to support patient care. It helps health professionals communicate with patients with low English proficiency, in low risk/basic care interactions. Find out more information about CALD Assist in our factsheet.

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Lived Experience Australia

Lived Experience Australia was formed in 2002, is a company limited by guarantee and is the national representative organisation for mental health consumers and carers with a strong focus on the private sector.

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Mental Health Carers Australia

Mental Health Carers Australia is the only national advocacy group solely concerned with the well-being and promotion of the needs of families and carers supporting someone with mental ill health.


Mental Health News

COVID-19 Planning Resource for People with Disability

Updated COVID-19 person-centred emergency preparedness (PCEP) guides for people with disability have been published on Collaborating 4 Inclusion’s website. Easy Read and standard English versions are available.

Read more
Building Victoria’s mental health system from the ground up

It’s a reform that will take years to deliver, but the Victorian government is the next big steps to build a mental health system that works for every Victorian.

In the Victorian Budget 2022/23, funding of $1.3 billion for brand-new initiatives will build on last year’s record investment of $3.8 billion – investing $372 million in workforce initiatives and hiring more than 1,500 mental health workers – including 400 mental health nurses, 100 psychiatrists and 300 psychologists.

Read more
COVID-19 vaccination – Disability provider alert 4 May 2022

The Department of Health has issued its next COVID-19 vaccination – Disability provider alert 4 May 2022. This 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. This webpage is updated regularly. 

Read more
How do we create a more inclusive society for people with disability?

A research report commissioned by the Disability Royal Commission has found leadership by people with disability must be visible in order to change community attitudes and behaviour towards people with disability. The Changing community attitudes to improve inclusion of people with disability research report, released this week, identifies a range of approaches needed to promote greater inclusion of people with disability.

Read more
Update from the NDIS Mental Health Sector Reference Group

The first meeting of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Mental Health Sector Reference Group (NMHSRG) for 2022 was held on 5 April.

Read more
Boost to rural and regional healthcare welcome, but measures fall short

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has welcomed a suite of measures to boost rural and regional healthcare but warned that more support is needed to ensure the long-term viability of general practice care outside of our major cities.

Read more
$460 million overhaul of mental health care in Western Sydney

Western Sydney will soon be home to NSW’s largest mental health service, thanks to a $460 million investment by the NSW Government in a brand new modern mental health facility at Westmead Hospital Campus. This announcement complements the $700 million state-wide Mental Health Infrastructure Program.

Read more
Exercise physiology via telehealth for adults with depression

Black Dog Institute are conducting a small pilot trial, which aims to investigate the delivery of exercise physiology via telehealth for adults with depression. They’re inviting adults who have been diagnosed with depression and who are currently inactive, to take part in a five-week tailored exercise program, delivered by an accredited exercise physiologist via telehealth.

Read more

Mental Health Opportunities and Resources

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

On Monday 23rd and 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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