CEO Update - Mental health is too important to debate

Anna Siddall

Mental health is too important to debate

No mention of mental health in this week’s final Leaders’ Debate.

With less than 10 days to go until the polls close, the last week of the election campaign promises to see a further flurry of announcements, ads and ad-hoc photo ops all over the nation. 

At the start of this campaign we undertook to keep you informed of all the mental health announcements and commentary, and we have certainly heard some talk about the importance of mental health to our nation ahead of this election. It’s clearly a topic that is often mentioned by many candidates including the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition.

Mental health is certainly an increasing part of the current political discourse and clearly part of social discourse. 

But for all the announcements so far, almost all are specific to certain communities and electorates, and are concerned with individual programs, rather than systemic mental health reform. The program announcements are welcome, but they do not constitute system wide solutions for both the short and long term. 

As a nation we are more and more prepared to not only talk about mental health, but to also look for community based solutions to improve our systems and service delivery. Improve things with and for those consumers and carers who need it most.

Beyond Saturday 18 May, whatever the result, we are still going to have a lot of work to do.

For me, that work starts with trying to harness the cross party recognition and rhetoric to achieve real mental health reform. To try to further unite politicians on all sides to achieve the common good.  

And that’s probably the reason mental health didn’t feature in this week’s debate. Because the debate on April 29 showed us it’s an issue that both parties agree on. There is no debate.

“…To ensure we continue to invest in the essential services… the mental health services in particular, taking on the biggest challenge I think we have; that is of youth suicide around this country.” 
Scott Morrison, Leaders’ Debate April 29 2019

“I respect Scott for more than just he’s a politician. I actually think on the topic of mental health, I’ve listened carefully to his words and I think he does have a view about that topic. I mean that’s a really important topic… on mental health, Scott, I reckon you’re doing good work and I look towards us working our policies more closely together.”
Bill Shorten, Leaders’ Debate April 29 2019

Our challenge now is to turn this ‘non-debate’ into clear agreement and unified action on lasting mental health reform.

Warm regards,


Frank Quinlan
Chief Executive Officer

                                                                                                                                               

Mental health announcements so far…

Next week we’ll drill down into the final few days of the campaign and how the major parties have responded to our 2019 Election Asks. For now, see below a summary of the many announcements so far.

Coalition
April 13: Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
“Our $503.1 million Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan is the largest suicide prevention strategy in Australia’s history. It will ensure that government activities are coordinated, services are delivered to young Australians at risk and support is available for friends and families.”
Plan focuses on:

  • Strengthening the headspace network,
  • Indigenous suicide prevention,
  • Early childhood and parenting support.

Policy: https://www.liberal.org.au/our-plan-youth-mental-h…

April 16: New headspace for Katoomba
“The Morrison Government will establish a new headspace in Katoomba to provide innovative mental health support for young Australians in the Blue Mountains.”
Release: https://www.liberal.org.au/latest-news/2019/04/16/… 

April 20: Strengthening Australia’s World-Class Health System
“The Morrison Government’s ‘Plan for Strengthening Australia’s World Class Health System’ will guarantee Medicare, deliver record bulk billing, an additional $31 billion for hospitals over the next five year agreement, $40 billion for new medicines and research backed by our $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund.”
The Liberal Health policy: https://www.liberal.org.au/our-plan-strengthening-… 

April 23: $2 million for the National LGBTI Health Alliance 
“The Morrison Government will provide an additional $2 million to the National LGBTI Health Alliance over two years for the peer support telephone and online support service, QLife.”
Release: https://www.liberal.org.au/latest-news/2019/04/23/… 

April 24: Northern Territory health plan
“Funding for Northern Territory public hospitals will triple from $152 million in 2012-13 to $306 million in 2019-20 and further to $467 million in 2024-25, under a new hospitals agreement. We are investing $4.1 billion in Indigenous health over four years, there is record bulk billing in the Northern Territory and more than 2000 new medicines have been subsidised through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.”
Release: https://www.liberal.org.au/latest-news/2019/04/24/… 

May 1: More support for older Australians 
“The Morrison Government will continue to prioritise better support for older Australians by investing in a new targeted research centre, funding a new program to combat loneliness while ensuring the aged care workforce meets growing demand in the future.”
Release: https://www.liberal.org.au/latest-news/2019/05/01/… 

May 4: Record investment into Queensland health services
“The Morrison Government is investing an additional $100 million to support south east Queensland patients with new cancer and mental health services and critical hospital infrastructure.”
Release: https://www.liberal.org.au/latest-news/2019/05/04/… 

May 8: National Action Plan to Improve the Health of Children and Young People
“The Liberal Government launched the first National Action Plan for the Health of Children and Young People 2020-2030 which will improve children and young people’s health by focusing on healthy upbringing, prevention, addressing risky behaviours and childhood mental health.”

  • The strategy will:
  • Improve health equity across populations
  • Empower parents to maximise healthy development
  • Tackle mental health and risky behaviours
  • Address chronic conditions and preventive health
  • Strengthen the health workforce.

https://www.liberal.org.au/latest-news/2019/05/08/…


Labor
April 17: Labor to invest in community mental health in Higgins
Labor announce $4 million investment in new Star Health Mental Health Community Hub in Prahran 
Release: https://www.pennywong.com.au/media-releases/labor-… 

April 18: Labor’s health plan for the NT
“A Shorten Labor Government will upgrade mental health facilities, fund the purchase of a new Careflight helicopter for Darwin Hospital, and fund major improvements to remote health services as part of a $92 million Northern Territory health package.”
Release: http://www.warrensnowdon.com/2019/04/18/labors-hea… 

April 23: Labor to establish headspace centre in Gilmore
Labor candidate for Gilmore, Fiona Philips, announced the plan for a headspace centre in Batemans Bay
Release: http://www.fionaphillips.com.au/labor_to_establish…  

April 27: Labor pledges $12 million for youth drug and alcohol treatment
“A Federal Labor investment of $12 million will enable the Ted Noffs Foundation to expand its drug and alcohol treatment services for young people.”
Release: http://www.tanyaplibersek.com/media_release_labor_… 

April 29: Labor will invest in specialist care for intellectual disability 
“A Shorten Labor Government will improve the health of people with intellectual disability with a $9.5 million investment to tailor health care to their needs.”
Release: https://www.catherineking.com.au/2019/04/29/labor-…  

May 4: Labor will boost resources for Kids Helpline
“A Shorten Labor Government will provide $6 million to Kids Helpline to ensure that children and young people across Australia can access 24/7 free national counselling and support services.”
Release: https://www.catherineking.com.au/2019/05/04/labor-will-boost-resources-for-kids-helpline/

May 5: Filling the gaps in our youth mental health system
“A Shorten Labor Government will invest nearly $200 million in headspace Plus – improving youth mental health services and ensuring young Australians don’t fall through the cracks in Australia’s mental health system.”
Release: https://www.nswlabor.org.au/filling_in_the_gaps_in_our_youth_mental_health_system

May 7: Labor will invest in mental health and suicide prevention reform
“A Shorten Labor Government will invest over $1 billion to drive vital mental health and suicide prevention reform.”
Media Release not available online

May 7: Labor will create Australia’s first national plan for eating disorders and body image research 
“A Shorten Labor Government will commit $20 million to create Australia’s first National Plan for Eating Disorders and Body Image Research.”
Media Release not available online


The Australian Greens
18 April: Greens launch transformative youth mental health policy

  • Make services effective, transparent and accessible 
  • Improve access to online services
  • Support young people to help other young people with peer to peer services through providing 1,000 places for peer to peer workers and opportunities for young people to train as peer workers through our free TAFE initiative. 
  • Improve services for young people in crisis by providing $250 million over four years in grant funding for community-based assertive outreach programs targeted at children and young people and improve access to face-to-face services by providing $25 million over the next four years for a trial of 50,000 children and young adults to each access 10 group sessions of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. 
  • Support young people in the workplace by expanding the Individual Placement and Support trial.
  • Reduce mental health stigma by investing $10 million in a youth mental health stigma strategy.

Full policy: https://greens.org.au/sites/default/files/2019-04/…
Release: https://rachel-siewert.greensmps.org.au/articles/g… 

23 April: Greens launch plan for universal mental health system

  • Make services effective, transparent and accessible. 
  • Fund prevention and early intervention through $500 million in funding over the next decade for communities to implement assertive outreach programs, providing $25 million for a four year trial of 50,000 children and young people to each access 10 group sessions of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and fund online Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for a total of one million users.
  • Support people with severe mental ill health by building a fully funded and adequately staffed NDIS and provide an additional $450 million for community psychosocial services. 
  • Build mentally healthy workplaces through providing $604 million over the decade for mental health workplace interventions in smaller businesses and $50 million per year for three years for mental health interventions in larger businesses and expanding the existing Individual Placement and Support trial.
  • Increase the numbers of peer workers by providing $166 million to fund a two-year national peer workforce trial with 1,000 places.
  • Reduce mental health stigma through an anti-stigma campaign involving those with lived experience.

Full policy: https://greens.org.au/sites/default/files/2019-04/… 

Release: https://rachel-siewert.greensmps.org.au/articles/g… 

29 April: Greens call for Newstart and Youth Allowance raise
In response to Anglicare Australia’s Rental Affordability Snapshot, Greens release announcement calling for increase to Newstart and Youth Allowance
Release: https://rachel-siewert.greensmps.org.au/articles/a… 


Congratulations to new Suicide Prevention Australia Chair Angela Emslie
Congratulations to Angela Emslie, newly appointed Chair of Suicide Prevention Australia. We look forward to continuing to work with Suicide Prevention Australia under Angela’s leadership, and wish outgoing Chair Matthew Tukaki all the best for the future. 


COAG NDIS Quarterly Report 
The National Disability Agency has released the COAG NDIS Quarterly Report for the period January 1 to March 31, 2019. You can read the report here.

 

Mental Health Election News

Labor announces NDIS Future Fund

A Shorten Labor Government will establish a National Disability Insurance Scheme Future Fund - guaranteeing that every dollar budgeted for the NDIS, goes to the NDIS. Labor’s NDIS Future Fund will be a locked box - a budgeted guarantee to Australians with disability that the NDIS will be properly and fully funded.

Read More  


Labor will put people with disability and carers first

A Shorten Labor Government will improve services and support for carers, as well as invest in making Australia more accessible and inclusive. Almost one in five Australians identify as living with disability, and Labor believes the right support should be available for people, regardless of whether they are eligible for the NDIS. There are over 2.6 million carers in Australia whose contribution is valued at over $1 billion a week, but caring can be invisible work which is easily overlooked by government. A Shorten Labor Government will listen to people with disability and carers, and consider their rights and needs when making decisions across Government.

Read More 


Liberal: Keeping Australians safe online

The Morrison Government will crackdown on social media platforms and online predators and trolls in a new plan to protect children, families and the community. These new measures build on Australia’s world-leading protections, put in place by the Morrison Government. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said keeping Australians safe was his top priority. 

Read More


Greens call on major parties to deliver a plan for aged care

The Greens are calling on the major parties to present a comprehensive plan for the aged care sector before the 18th of May. “With the Royal Commission hearings during an election campaign the major parties should be called to account on what they have to offer older Australians and their families this election, but all we have seen is piecemeal offerings from both sides,” Australian Greens spokesperson on Ageing Senator Rachel Siewert said.

Read More


Labor: A fair go for First Australians

A Shorten Labor Government will deliver a fair go for First Nations people, with a comprehensive plan to close the gap and build a more reconciled Australia. Labor’s plan begins with giving First Nations people a bigger say in the issues that impact their lives: by delivering a Voice to parliament and seeking the support of the Australian people for it to be enshrined in the constitution. 

Read More


Liberal: Assistance dogs to boost veterans mental health

Australian Defence Force veterans will have access to highly trained assistance dogs, funded by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, following a decision by the Federal Government. Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said contracts were being finalised with several approved dog training organisations which would boost mental health support for hundreds of veterans suffering post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Read More


More health services for kids in regional and rural Australia  

The Liberal and Nationals Government will invest $19.7 million for Royal Far West (RFW) to expand their Telecare services, meaning allied health services like speech therapy, occupational therapy and psychology that aren’t available locally, can be delivered to more children in regional and rural Australia. 

Read More

 

NEXT WEEK

On Monday, Mental Health Australia and KPMG hosting Productivity Commissioners and a small group of experts in governmental governance and finance arrangements for a mental health forum in Sydney, 

On Tuesday, I will be in Melbourne participating in an ABC RN Life Matters broadcast on health policy. Following this I have teleconferences with both FECCA and NEDA to discuss the Multicultural Project workplan.

On Wednesday the Mental Health Australia Executive team will be holding our second planning session for the year.

On Thursday, team members from the Multicultural Mental Health Project and I are excited to be attending FECCA’s 40th anniversary celebration at Government House. 
 

 

Member Profiles


The Butterfly Foundation represents all people affected by eating disorders and negative body image – a person with the illness, their family and their friends. As a leading national voice in supporting their needs, Butterfly highlights the realities of seeking treatment for recovery, and advocates for improved services from both government and independent sources. Butterfly operates a National Eating Disorders Support Helpline that includes support over the phone, via email and online. The Helpline is staffed by trained counsellors experienced in assisting with eating disorders. It also provides a wide range of programs for service providers and recovery groups.
Website www.thebutterflyfoundation.org.au Facebook - www.facebook.com/thebutterflyfoundation Twitter - www.twitter.com/bfoundation Instagram - www.instagram.com/thebutterflyfoundation



Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation, (previously known as Camp Kookaburra) was founded in 2002 by Dianne Madden who through personal experience identified the lack of support for children living in a family affected by mental illness. The first camp was held with 16 kids. Today over 1100 kids are registered to the Kookaburra Kids program.
The Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation supports kids living in families affected by mental illness. The program provides recreational, educational camps and other activities, giving kids a break, in a fun, positive and safe environment. Kids have the opportunity to meet other kids in similar families and develop new friendships.
Website - www.kookaburrakids.org.au Facebook - www.facebook.com/kookaburrakidsfoundation Twitter - www.twitter.com/KookaburraKids Instagram: www.instagram.com/kookaburrakids


 

Reminders 

NDIA Annual Price Review consultation

The NDIS is inviting feedback on a number of important pricing and policy matters through the Annual Price Review Consultation until Sunday 26 May. Feedback is invited on any aspect of the current price control arrangements, and in particular: the eligibility criteria that should apply to the new Temporary Transformation Payment, and the price control arrangements for:

  • Therapy Assistants
  • provider travel
  • cancellations
  • group and centre-based supports.

Please submit your feedback by email to AnnualPricingReview@ndis.gov.au no later than midnight AEST on Sunday 26 May 2019. Submissions will be reviewed and will inform the recommendations to be considered by the NDIA Pricing Reference Group (PRG) and NDIA Board.

Read more 


MHCC Webinar: Supporting community connection for people with mental health conditions outside of a funded NDIS package

How can Community Workers, volunteers and peers support people living with mental health conditions to have a better life outside of a funded NDIS package? Please join the Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC) on May 29th 2019 at 10:30 AM AEST for a one-hour live webinar exploring this question. MHCC has received NSW ILC funding to co-design a Community Education Engagement Package (CEEP) for people that support people living with, or at risk of developing, a psychosocial disability or mental health condition outside of a funded NDIS package. MHCC will host the webinar in partnership with Being and Mental Health Carers NSW. 
Register here


Read more 


The Big Anxiety Festival - 27 September to 3 November

The Big Anxiety Festival, the largest mental health and arts festival in the world, returns in 2019 after the success of the inaugural Festival in 2017. The month-long biennial Sydney festival promotes mental health and wellbeing in exciting arts projects that combine science and creativity. Unlike any other arts festival, The Big Anxiety has a unique practical focus, harnessing creative expertise to improve our capacity to take care of ourselves and others. In 2019 the Festival’s focus is on Empathy and Stigma; Care and Healing; and Suicide Prevention.

Read more


FECCA Scholarship Program - Apply now

The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) is seeking applications for the Scholarship Program to attend, and actively participate in, the FECCA 2019 National Biennial Conference – Purpose. Leadership. Progress: FECCA: 40 years and beyond – in Hobart, TAS, on 9-11 October 2019.

Successful recipients will receive complimentary registration to attend the Conference. They will have access to all Conference sessions (excluding the Conference Dinner), explore issues of interest, discuss their emerging ideas with experienced actors in the sector, network, and establish connections for the future.
Read more


Eczema Awareness Week 13 - 19 May

Eczema Awareness Week which kicks off next week on May 13, to raise awareness of the stigma surrounding eczema, especially in children. To help eczema sufferers and educate the Australian public about the skin condition the Eczema Association of Australasia (EAA) is conducting free eczema pop-up clinics in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne during Eczema Awareness Week. These clinics will provide attendees with the opportunity to speak with medical professionals and EAA representatives about their eczema management.


Read more


National suicide prevention implementation strategy: have your say

As one part of making suicide prevention a priority, all governments have committed to drafting a new national suicide prevention strategy for Australia: the National suicide prevention implementation strategy. This new strategy is being drafted as one of the actions under the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, which was endorsed by all Health Ministers in August 2017. This consultation document sets out 21 Priority Actions that are proposed for inclusion in the strategy with the intention that all health ministers commit to work together to implement them over the first three years of this new strategy.
 

Your feedback is essential to ensuring the proposed 21 Priority Actions are the right ones.

Read more and provide your feedback 


Help shape the National Disability Strategy beyond 2020

Australian governments are asking people to help shape the future of Australian disability policy for 2020 and beyond. Ten years ago the launch of the first National Disability Strategy 2010-2020 (the Strategy) paved the way for how governments could help improve the lives of people with disability. At the end of 2020 the Strategy will end and all Australian governments are working together to develop a new strategy for beyond 2020. The strategy is for all Australians and we encourage people with disability, their families and carers to have their say on the priorities and actions of the next strategy.  

The first stage of consultation is from April to June 2019. 

All consultations are accessible for people with disability.

You can have your say through:
• a public survey (from mid-April)
• face-to-face community workshops in every state and territory (from 29 April)
• online forums (from mid-May).

Read more

 
 

 

 
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