CEO Update from Mental Health Australia: We’re here, we see you

Mother holding a baby and smiling

When I was a new mum, the most important person to me outside my little family was Judy. She was the local maternal and child health nurse. She was wise and experienced. She was busy. She saw lots of babies, toddlers and parents every day. 

But amongst all that, she saw me, and she saw us.

My memory is that she had an amazing way of personally connecting through the ebbs and flows of what was such an intense experience. I will never forget how important that connection was. We looked forward to seeing her each week because she listened, she responded, and she cared.

I always look back at our early parenting time with great joy despite it being so overwhelming. And with quiet thanks to Judy.

And I think of it when we come to Perinatal Mental Health Week in November each year, an important time to stop and think about the needs of very young families. 

1 in 5 new mums and 1 in 10 new dads or non-birth parents experience perinatal depression and anxiety, which is 100,000 Australians each year.

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

If you know a new or expectant parent there are many ways to offer support. It can be hard to know where to start. One idea is to simply ask “How they are going?” and then listen. Really listen. And if they need extra help, assist them to find it. The earlier the intervention the better the outcome for everyone in the family.

Collaboration is at the heart of this important week. So, we are proud to be working together especially with Mental Health Australia members PANDA and the Gidget Foundation and uniting to ensure that expectant and new parents know… We’re here, we see you.

Have a good 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 a 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.

A thank-you to frontline workers

Frontline workers through the community, health and mental health sectors have been working tirelessly to keep us all safe. Frontline workers have had to adapt to riskier workplaces, quickly learn new skills, put in greater time commitments, and face overwhelming situations with resourcefulness and compassion. This is life-saving, complex work that has allowed us to move through what has been a difficult time for everybody. Mental Health Australia would like to express our utmost appreciation for frontline workers, their expertise, and their kindness as we all learn to navigate this new “COVID normal”.

DVERT: statement of support for Final Proposal Report

Mental Health Australia has contributed to the development of a proposal from the Domestic Violence Economic Recovery Taskforce, outlining key actions for the Australian Government to prevent economic abuse and support the economic recovery of domestic and family violence victim-survivors and their children. We know that experience of family and domestic violence is associated with increased risk of mental illness, and that many of the key actions to support the economic recovery of victim-survivors would also support mental health and wellbeing. Mental Health Australia has commended the proposal to the Australian Government.

Advice to the National Mental Health Commission on the National Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Strategy

In October 2021 Mental Health Australia held a Members Policy Hub with members and mental health consumers and carers on Reducing Stigma and Discrimination. This Members Policy Hub resulted in Advice to the National Mental Health Commission on the development of the National Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Strategy. The Advice welcomes the National Mental Health Commission’s focus on structural stigma and discrimination but notes that this should not come at the expense of consideration about reducing self or social stigma. The advice also welcomes the draft Guiding Principles developed by the NMHC to develop the Strategy and provides recommendations about how best to approach each of them. 

Read the full advice to the National Mental Health Commission on the National Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Strategy.


All week I am continuing to meet with Mental Health Australia members and am very grateful for the time they are giving me to catch up with what’s ‘top of mind’ right now.

In addition, on Monday I am doing a presentation for a group of NSW TAFE students entitled “Violets are Blue”; there is a Taskforce Meeting of the National Mental Health Workforce Strategy group and I am meeting with Scope to discuss lived experience leadership.

On Tuesday we will be participating in MIFA’s Biannual Conference and on Wednesday I am meeting with a couple of Primary Health Network mental health leaders. 

On Thursday we have a Mental Health Australia Board meeting and on Friday I am meeting with a peer group of Canberra CEOs and then we have a meeting with the NDIA regarding the refresh of their CALD strategy.


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.

Member Profiles


Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA)
PANDA – Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia is the national lead organisation supporting and representing expecting and new parents and their families across Australia to understand and recover from perinatal anxiety and depression, a serious and potentially devastating illness that affects around 100,000 Australian families every year. PANDA operates Australia’s only National Helpline that supports expecting and new parents right across the country affected by perinatal mental illness. We also provide two websites with crucial information and advice for expecting and new parents, including a free online Mental Health Checklist for Expecting and New Parents, a self-screening tool for people to assess their wellbeing and seek professional support if necessary. PANDA also strives to raise awareness and reduce stigma in the community so anyone affected by perinatal mental illness can understand what is happening to them and can seek support.     

FearLess Outreach
FearLess is a charity that works with people living with the consequences of post traumatic stress (often referred to as PTSD). We also help family members in any way affected by it. Our members come from all walks of life including those living with PTSD and their families or people who want to do their bit to make the lives of people living with post traumatic stress more enjoyable and fulfilling. Our work complements the activities of other community-based organisations and government agencies that provide services to people with post traumatic stress.


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

New Mental Health Lived Experience Leadership

The Victorian Government has appointed its first Executive Director of Lived Experience to help build Victoria’s new mental health and wellbeing system, ensuring those with experience of the mental health system are at the centre of its reform. Mary O’Hagan, an internationally recognised lived experience executive and advocate will take on the leadership role after dedicating her passion and expertise to the lived experience movement for more than 35 years. She is also a former Mental Health Commissioner of New Zealand, where she advocated as a strong voice for change

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National minimum standards for counselling and psychotherapy welcome

The Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) has welcomed the Select Committee into Mental Health and Suicide Prevention’s recommendation that the Australian Government determine national minimum standards for counselling and psychotherapy. As the Australian peak body for counsellors and psychotherapists - and a self-regulating organisation for the profession - PACFA sets the highest minimum standards for membership. 

Read more

Mental health discrimination by insurers: new report calls for urgent ASIC investigation

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) should immediately investigate how life insurers treat people with past or current mental health conditions, in response to continuing widespread discrimination by life insurers. This is a key recommendation of Mental Health Discrimination in Insurance - which is the culmination of ten years of work by PIAC’s Mental Health and Insurance Project.

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ARHEN welcomes rural mental health recommendations

The Australian Rural Health Education Network (ARHEN) today welcomed the Final Report from the House Select Committee on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention and the recommendations to improve access to services for people in rural and remote Australia. The Committee recommended the Australian Government leverage the existing Australian Rural Health Education Network by providing funding for clinical placements in regional, rural and remote university clinics and using these clinics to trial multi-disciplinary, hybrid mental health hubs that integrate digital services and face to face services (recommendation 11).

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School psychologists suffer burnout, ongoing job insecurity amid youth mental health crisis

The mental health of NSW kids is at risk as school psychologists suffer a high rate of burnout amid worsening job insecurity. The need for better conditions comes as the Federal Government considers a recommendation to introduce a ratio of one psychologist per 500 students in schools. But the union is warning a lack of proper recognition of the psychologists’ qualifications in the education system is learning to a high churn in the workforce.

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New strategy to boost mental health at work

The Mental Health Strategy 2021-2024 outlines WorkSafe’s plan to prevent mental injury, build capacity for mentally healthy workplaces and support injured workers. Last year, WorkSafe received 3,518 new mental injury claims. The proportion of all new workplace injury claims that relate to a primary mental injury has grown from nine per cent in 2008, to 13 per cent in 2020. 

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Invitation to the launch of the National Lived Experience (Peer) Workforce Guidelines

The National Lived Experience (Peer) Workforce Development Guidelines are intended to strengthen understanding and collaboration across the mental health sector and beyond, contributing to more effective services and ultimately, better outcomes for people accessing services, their families, supporters and communities. They are the result of extensive consultation and a co-production process to ensure that national standards for Lived Experience workforce development are grounded in the expertise of lived experience. The launch will be held via Zoom on Wednesday, 1 December 2021 at 11am (AEDT). To attend the launch, please register your details.

In Conversation with ReachOut and ABC’s National Medical Reporter Sophie Scott

ReachOut hosted a LinkedIn Live with ABC’s National Medical Reporter, Sophie Scott and ReachOut’s Jackie Hallan and Janine Nelson on managing teens’ study stress and caring for their wellbeing as a parent. The conversation touched on the impact of Covid-19 on teens’ education, the impact of study stress on the mental health and wellbeing of teens, transitioning back to face-to-face learning, and practical strategies that can make a difference. View the LinkedIn Live.

Seeking Participants - New Suicide Support & Awareness Program Peer Support Groups

BEING – Mental Health Consumers is excited to announce the commencement of a new Suicide Support and Awareness Program commencing in Goulburn on 19 November 2021. The Suicide Support and Awareness Program (SSAP) is a peer support group program co-designed by, with, and for people living with mental health issues and suicidal crisis and/or thoughts across NSW. Each week participants will have the opportunity to explore different themes, guided by group facilitators who have been trained and supported, and bring their own experiences of living with mental health issues, and experiencing suicidal crisis and/or thoughts. Some of the topics include facing challenges and finding hope, mindfulness, exploring stigma, connection and community, and gratitude and reflection.

Consumer survey for improving patient info and consent in clinical trials

Medicines Australia are a member of CT:IQ (Clinical Trials: Impact & Quality,) who are a group of people with a common aim to get Australia thinking smarter about the design and conduct of clinical trials and research studies. CT:IQ is currently undertaking “The InFORMed Project” to simplify the experience of agreeing to participate in research. The project team are seeking opinions from consumers who have and have not participated in a research study. They are particularly interested in hearing from people whose needs may not be ideally represented by mainstream documentation. CT:IQ invite you to complete this 5-minute survey, closing 15 November.

Thinking Ahead: Mental Health project survey

Occupational Therapy Australia (OTA) are seeking responses to their survey, to help inform the Thinking Ahead: Mental Health project aimed developing an understanding of how OTA can support the OTs in mental health through advocacy, professional support, training and resources. The survey is for those who work as a mental health occupational therapist, or work as an occupational therapist in a role that supports a client with a mental health diagnosis or a co-occurring mental health issue

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