CEO Update: Mentally healthy women, mentally healthy society

Mentally healthy women, mentally healthy society

‘A gender equal world can be healthier, wealthier and more harmonious - so what’s not great about that?’ asks the International Women’s Day 2020 campaign. If asked, would anyone really disagree with how great that would be?

We know that women are overrepresented when it comes to common mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety. And according to this Australian Psychological Society article, ‘structural social determinants outweigh both intrinsic biological and individual psychological factors in explaining gender differences in rates of depression.’ 

There is not some inherent biological factor that makes women more prone to mental health concerns. It is social factors.

Improving the social circumstances of women is crucial in improving their mental health, and it is not a big leap to say that improving women’s mental health will go a long way to improving our whole society’s mental health and wellbeing. 

The International Women’s Day theme for 2020 is #EachforEqual, promoting the idea of ‘Collective Individualism’ or where our individual actions, conversations, behaviours and mindsets have an impact on our larger society. Mental Health Australia’s vision ‘Mentally healthy people, mentally healthy communities’ captures this exact sentiment. 

There is no special trick to working towards gender equality — what is good for women is likely good for everyone in our community, and this couldn’t be truer than when it comes to women’s mental health. 

As the above APS article concludes:

Mental health cannot be realised without justice, equality of human rights, inclusion of all, fairness of opportunity, and access to adequate resources on which to live… 

I want to acknowledge that the above statement applies to a whole range of marginalised people, such as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, and CALD peoples, people with disability, those living below the poverty line, LGBTIQ+ folk, and many, many more. We still have a long way to go to bring true social equality to our society.

This International Women’s Day (Sunday 8 March), I will be reflecting on how privileged I feel to work in an organisation with such strong representation of women on the staff and the Board, and to be welcoming a female CEO next month. To see the incredible contributions women can make, when given equality of opportunity, and the benefits to an organisation as a whole when all employees feel respected and valued. 

Kind regards,

Melanie Cantwell
Acting CEO


Embrace Multicultural Mental Health News

The Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (the Framework) is a free, nationally available online resource which allows organisations and individual practitioners to evaluate and enhance their cultural responsiveness. It has been mapped against national standards to help you meet your existing requirements, with access to a wide range of support and resources. 

Embrace Multicultural Mental Health (the Embrace Project) has been holding free workshops around Australia across 2019-2020 to support implementation of the Framework by mental health services, Primary Health Networks, individual practitioners and others. The workshops provide an overview of the Framework and explore how it can be tailored to best meet your needs and the needs of your local community.

Workshops for 2019 have now ended. Remaining workshop dates for 2020 are listed below: 

  • NTMercure Darwin Airport Resort, Marrara, 26 March 2020

Please click here to register for a workshop near you. 

Darwin will be the final Workshop for 2020, but please stay tuned for news of our next webinar.


Mental Health News

LivingWorks announces appointment of suicide prevention sector leader

LivingWorks is delighted to announce that suicide prevention sector leader, Marc Bryant, will be joining the Australian team this month in a national business development role.

Read more

Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak

Infectious disease outbreaks, like the current coronavirus (Covid 19), can be scary and can affect our mental health. While it is important to stay informed, there are also many things we can do to support and manage our wellbeing during such times. 

Read more 

AASW urges Commonwealth Government to commit to continue funding 

The Commonwealth government must commit to maintaining the Equal Remuneration Order Supplementation funding for the community sector, which was put in place in 2012. 

Read more 

Commissioners visit fire affected regions

The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements visited Adelaide Hills this week to observe firsthand the effects of the Black Summer bushfires and to speak with the local community.  

Read more 

Delivering the NDIS: Digital innovators to inform improvement of NDIS participant experience

The Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Stuart Robert, has this week released a discussion paper to inform development of a Digital Partnership Program (DPP) to make it easier for participants to connect and interact with providers.

Read more 



The Mental Health Australia office will be closed on Monday 9 March due to the Canberra Day public holiday, and will reopen on Tuesday 10 March.

On Tuesday, the Mental Health Australia staff will be celebrating International Women’s’ Day.

On Wednesday, the Mental Health Australia staff are very much looking forward to meeting our new CEO Leanne Beagley in Canberra.

On Thursday we are holding our first Members Policy Forum for the year at Old Parliament House in Canberra.

And on Friday, the Mental Health Australia Board will meet face-to-face in Canberra.


Member Profiles

Mind Australia Limited is one of the country’s leading community-managed specialist mental health service providers. They have been supporting people dealing with the day-to-day impacts of mental illness, as well as their families, friends and carers for 40 years. This year, they will support more than 19,000 Australians on their personal recovery journeys across Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, and Western Australia. Mind is a registered NDIS provider. 
Website - Facebook - Twitter -  

Star Health is a leading not-for-profit provider of primary health and community services in the inner south of Melbourne and surrounds. Operating from a social model of health, we provide a comprehensive range of holistic, wrap-around services including mental health, GP, dental, allied health, alcohol and other drugs, Indigenous health, aged care, homelessness and family violence. In working towards our vision of Health and wellbeing for all, Star Health has a strong focus on social justice, and specialist expertise in engaging, supporting and advocating for our most vulnerable community members. We engage in community building and health promotion activities to build the health and wellbeing of our local communities.
Website: Facebook Twitter:



Lifeline Australia: Holding Onto Hope podcast

Holding onto Hope is a podcast series from Lifeline Australia, in which people who have come through the darkness of suicidality share the connection that gave them hope to continue living. Each participant shares their story with the aim of helping those who are struggling and those who may be supporting them.

Please note that suicidality and its contributing factors are discussed and may have a triggering effect. 

Read more

2020 Resilient Australia Awards

Businesses are invited to submit for the 2020 Resilient Australia Awards. The awards promote shared responsibility for resilience and celebrate initiatives that make communities safer and better prepared for disasters and emergencies.

The awards include a dedicated business category, where social enterprises and private organisations have been consistently represented in submissions for their role in driving innovation and collaboration.

Submissions are open until 18 May in every state and territory for six categories: community, government, business, school, local government and photography. State and territory winners will be considered for national awards to be presented at a national ceremony later in the year.

Read more

Seniors Staying Social Grants: Apply now

Seniors Staying Social Grants will provide organisations across NSW a share of $600,000 in one-off grants for locally driven projects that aim to make communities more inclusive for older people and to help older people connect with each other and enable them to develop quality relationships. 

Seniors Staying Social Grants are now open. Applications close on 19 April 2020. Information on the grants can be found here

Seniors Staying Social Grants are for projects which are:

  • Delivered locally and community driven
  • Able to attract and sustain participation from older people
  • Value for money
  • Self-sustainable after initial grant funding

The opportunity is open to local government and non-government community organisations in NSW.  Applications are open and will close on 19 April 2020.

Queries can be emailed to Please include Seniors Staying Social in the subject line.

Read more & apply

Mental Health Victoria Mental health across the lifespan 2020 conference: Program now available

Mental Health Victoria is delighted to present the finalised program for their Mental health across the lifespan 2020 conference.

Click here to view the program 

Details: Mental Health across the Lifespan 2020 Conference, 17-18 March 2020, Melbourne

Register here

Read more

SURVEY EXTENDED: Investigating the impact of NDIS market settings on participants with a psychosocial disability and providers

The type of providers, workforce and nature of supports traditionally provided to people with a psychosocial disability is evolving under the NDIS.This project will determine if differential market settings are needed to ensure providers are able to respond effectively, safely and viably to the unique needs of NDIS participants with a psychosocial disability.

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services is leading this work in partnership with other states and territories, the Commonwealth Government, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

Have your say by completing the workforce and provider surveys. The workforce and provider surveys, developed for support workers, team leaders/supervisors and provider managers, will gather information on market trends, issues and impacts on the delivery of NDIS supports to participants with a psychosocial disability.

  • Workforce survey: This survey should be completed by workers providing direct support to NDIS participants with a psychosocial disability, and team leaders/supervisors of workers providing direct support to NDIS participants with a psychosocial disability.
  • Provider survey: This survey should be completed by provider managers and above, for example area managers.

Only one representative from each provider is required to complete this survey. 

Read more

LiFE Award nominations now open

Do you know someone who is doing incredible work for suicide prevention? Nominate them for a LiFE Award today!

Held annually, the LiFE Awards are the premier event in the suicide prevention sector to acknowledge and pay tribute to those on the frontline, putting their hearts and souls into their work.

There are a variety of categories for both individuals and organisations.

Nominations close 13 March 2020 and the recipients will be awarded at the National Suicide Prevention Conference on 22 July 2020 in Canberra.

Click here to nominate someone today.

Read more

National Medical Workforce Strategy: Survey 

This survey forms part of the Department’s stakeholder engagement approach to ensure that consumers, the medical workforce and their colleagues and consumers have the opportunity to contribute to the solutions and approaches that will be included in the final National Medical Workforce Strategy.

Based on earlier rounds of consultations and the views of the profession, there are currently 50 potential solutions being considered for inclusion in the strategy which are listed in the pre-read documentation below. This list needs to be prioritised to ensure the solutions most likely to have an impact and have wide-ranging benefits are selected for inclusion in the strategy.

The Department is conducting this consultation to ensure the medical workforce has their say on what solutions they think will benefit their patients, themselves, their colleagues and result in a stronger health workforce.

Read more and take the survey




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mental health, women, social justice, equality