CEO Update: Now is the time to release the Productivity Commission report

Now is the time to release the Productivity Commission report

As the national Parliament prepares to sit in just over a week there has never been a more important time for the Government to consider the mental health of our nation, and release the Final Report from the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health.

The Final Report will guide us in setting the framework for improving the mental health of our communities, our people in tight lockdowns, our front line health professionals, our families dealing with despair as a result of loss through bushfire, flood, economic hardship, and death as a result of the virus.

In recent weeks, state and federal announcements of new funding initiatives in response to the coronavirus pandemic have been welcome and will target the increased need for services and support at a community level, especially in Victoria during this very challenging time.

The mental health impact of this pandemic is becoming evident and will create huge challenges for response, now and well into the future.

The impact of lost jobs, lost hope, lost personal connections and long periods of uncertainty for many, will only add to the already difficult challenges that our mental health ecosystem was tackling pre-pandemic.

If only there was a blueprint ready to go, to help meet this enormous challenge.

I believe there is. The Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health report has been more than 18 months in the making.

It is a report that has seen extensive expert input, wide consideration of the challenges, and broad respectful consultation.

We know this report looks at both the social and health benefits of improving our mental health system, as well as the governance and economic solutions that could see it thrive. 

The importance of its timing, and timely release, could never have been foreseen, but we need to see it now. The mental health ecosystem stands ready to advise on, and participate in, galvanizing the recommendations we have been instrumental in informing. And waiting for.

In other countries around the world, just like Australia, the mental health impacts of the pandemic have been clear for months and will continue to grow.

However we are fortunate in that we have a head start, as the Productivity Commission’s Final Report could well be the blueprint to guide us through, and then out of, the mental health pandemic we’re all facing.

Yes, this Final Report will land in a crowded space.

Yes, it will need to complement other bodies of work such as The Fifth National Plan for Mental Health & Suicide Prevention, Vision 2030, the National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan, and recommendations stemming from the Royal Commissions into the Victorian Mental Health SystemAged Care, and Disability.

And yes, navigating this crowded space will be the key challenge for the federal Government in crafting a response to the Final Report.

A report that has received so much consideration and consultation it only amplifies its magnitude and potential. A report we cannot wait any longer for, especially at such a critical time for the mental health of our nation.

And a report which needs to be released now.

Have a good weekend.

Leanne Beagley

Mental Health Australia rolls out NDIS Psychosocial Community Connectors program 

Mental Health Australia is delighted to announce our partner organisations who will deliver Community Connector services to support people with psychosocial disability to engage with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). 

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On Monday and Tuesday I’ll continue to catch up with some of our Members and stakeholders for more one-on-one conversations which have proved to be a great way to connect, especially during this time of distancing for many of us.

On Wednesday I’ll be attending the National Disability & Carers Alliance meeting as well as meeting to discuss the National Safety and Quality Community Mental Health Service Standards.

While on Friday we are all looking forward to hearing from Dr Ruth Vine in the eighth of our regular Mini Mental Health Australia Members Policy Forums via Webinar.


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. 

On Wednesday 5 August we held a webinar on Service Module 3 of the Framework: Working Together to Promote Mental Health in Multicultural Communities. This module explores effective engagement with multicultural communities and stakeholders, in addition to mental health promotion and suicide prevention in a multicultural context.

With over 80 participants, the webinar was highly productive and very interactive with lots of questions and comments from participants. 

Our next webinar will be held on Wednesday 14 October where we will be exploring Module 4: Building a Culturally Responsive Mental Health Workforce. Watch this space for registration details closer to the date.


Mental Health News

Crisis support boost for Victorians

The national peak body for suicide prevention welcomed this week’s announcement by the Victorian Government to expand the HOPE post-crisis aftercare service and significantly scale up support for people in crisis. 

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Mental health: a priority now and into the future

With stage 4 restrictions well underway in Victoria, it is vital that the focus is as strongly placed on the mental health and wellbeing of the community, as much as the physical health.

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AIHW: Deaths in Australia

Deaths data are a vital measure of a population’s health, and provides information on patterns of diseases that cause death, by population groups and over time. 

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NDIS update for Victoria

Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Stuart Robert, this week announced additional temporary measures for NDIS participants and providers in Victoria to ensure continuity of services in a COVIDSafe setting.

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Rural GPs psychological skills training helps patients impacted by bushfires, COVID-19

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is boosting the skills of GPs in rural and remote Australia so they can better help patients with mental health concerns.

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Fast tracked mental health support will save lives

Mental Health Victoria this week welcomed the additional $60 million in funding announced by the Victorian Government to expand community and clinical mental health services across the state. 

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New trauma guide to support people with disability

The Morrison Government is backing the development of a best-practice guide to better support people with disability who have experienced complex trauma.

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BHP foundation supports COVID-19 mental health think tank

The BHP Foundation is enabling the establishment of Australia’s first mental health think tank, a University of Sydney led initiative to stimulate bold thinking around a national response to the mental health impacts of COVID-19. 

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Member Profiles

For over 10 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

Website - Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - 

Centacare Catholic Diocese of Ballarat deliver an extensive range of social welfare and outreach services across the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat and the Western District of Victoria. They provide services that support individuals, families and communities empowering people to bring about positive change while building community capacity.
Vision - Life giving communities in a Just Society.
Mission - To provide services which empower people to live with choice and opportunity.
Website -



Equally Well webinar: Qld MHCC: Real Time, Real Services – Statewide Practice Change

The Queensland Mental Health Clinical Collaborative (Qld MHCC) is an initiative that brings together adult public mental health services, across Queensland, for statewide clinical practice improvement.

Based on collaborative methodology the MHCC supports clinicians to identify topics of statewide importance and work together to make practice improvements. This webinar will describe the approach of the Qld MHCC and use the current collaborative topic area of “physical health – smoking care” as a real time example to highlight the key components of the initiative.

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Butterfly campaign launch: Love Your Body Week for Schools 6th–12th September 2020

Love Your Body Week for Schools is Australia’s largest positive body image movement for young people. It invites all Australians working in primary and secondary schools and other youth and community organisations to come together to celebrate diversity and build body confidence in young people.

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SANE Forum August Topic Tuesdays

Lived experience forum details:

Managing your anxiety during uncertain times with special guest WayAhead // Tuesday 25th August 7pm - 8.30pm AEST
Anxiety is a normal and natural reaction everyone experiences from time to time. Anxiety can become a problem and develops into different types of anxiety disorders for many when it affects how they want to live their lives. With the right support, people can learn to manage their anxiety and live meaningful and fulfilling lives.

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Carers forum details:

Setting Boundaries as a Carer - Co-hosted by ARAFMI // Wednesday 26th August, 7 - 8.30pm AEST
Boundary setting is an important, albeit difficult, part of self-care when a loved one is living with complex mental health issues. This may be harder and more complex for some than others. This special event will share ideas on how we can set boundaries and look after our own mental health whilst caring for our loved ones. 

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#chatsafe: Orygen launches guidelines globally for talking safely online about suicide

Youth mental health organisation, Orygen has released guidelines globally to help young people communicate safely online about suicide. The guidelines, called #chatsafe: a young person’s guide for communicating safely online about suicide, were developed in partnership with young people and are now available in local languages for Brazil, Finland, Hong Kong, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, South Korea, Singapore, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The guidelines are aimed at supporting young people who might be responding to suicide risk or suicide-related content posted by others, for young people who might be looking for information or help for suicidal feelings, or for those who want to share online their own feelings and experiences with suicide.

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