CEO Update: Our five focus areas for the October Federal Budget

Our five focus areas for the October Federal Budget

The physical health of our nation has never seen such focus, such investment and such speed of action as we’ve seen in 2020. Over the last six months, federal, state and territory governments have prioritised, and invested in the physical health of all, and rightly so.

As a result of the pandemic, the economic health of our nation and the mental health and wellbeing of many, has taken a big hit, but again, staunch government focus, investment and action is helping there too, and helped to ensure Australia is at the forefront of dealing with the current and emerging issues.

We are leading the world, but nevertheless, the COVID-19 pandemic remains an ongoing national and international threat posing significant loss of life and ongoing morbidity, loss of employment, severe negative economic impact and reduced social connectedness and mental wellbeing.

And the end is not in sight.

In a year of unprecedented government spending, including many welcome investments in mental health services over the last six months, it’s important we narrow our focus to look at what further investments are needed and what will work now, to help meet the increased need and enable further care and recovery over the coming months and years.

Investments, as with all government funded initiatives, should be subject to routine evaluation and impact monitoring with a focus on delivering outcomes for the Australian population, including people who live with mental illness and those who love and care for them.    

As such we have just submitted an Addendum to our original Pre-Budget Submission (provided in February 2020), focusing on Government investment in the mental health of the Australian community in the context of the pandemic.

The Addendum is informed buy what we have heard from you, our members and stakeholders and outlines five key area of focus and investment, with actions for each.

Financial support - As an effective economic and mental health intervention, JobKeeper should be reviewed and extended to mitigate the worst economic and mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic

Housing solutions for people experiencing homelessness - The Australian Government should co-invest with state and territory jurisdictions in social housing, and housing support, for people with mental health issues to address homelessness and to create jobs.

Continuation of expanded telehealth - Telehealth services for people experiencing mental health issues should continue to be funded and should be expanded to include residential aged care facilities during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. These services should be located within a model of care as determined by the relevant mental health professions, according to clear standards, they should be low cost to the consumer and include a system of accountability for safety and quality.

Support for mental health carers - The Australian Government should ensure mental health carers’ issues are elevated to the level they deserve through a national strategy for mental health carers. This would help to ensure a coordinated approach which centres carers’ needs in policy decisions.

System Governance - As the national peak body of the mental health sector, Mental Health Australia is included as a member on any future committee structure overseeing the design, delivery and accountability of mental health programs in Australia.

With the Federal Budget to be handed down on Tuesday 6 October - four days before World Mental Health Day on Saturday 10 October – there has never been a more important Federal Budget to focus on the mental health of our nation now, and into the future.

Have a good weekend.

Leanne Beagley
CEO

 

NEXT WEEK

On Monday, I am looking forward to our joint webinar with the Consumer Health Forum, with myself and CHF CEO Leanne Wells co-chairing. So far there are 350 registrants! You can register here. 

Also on Monday, I will be attending the second National Workplace Initiative Digital Workshop with representatives of the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance.

On Tuesday, I will be meeting with Pain Australia CEO, Carol Bennett.

On Wednesday I will be meeting with the National Disability and Carers Alliance via teleconference, attending the National Press Club to hear Sam Moysten and Jo-An Atkinson speak about “Mental Wealth” and then with member organisation CEOs in the afternoon. 

On Thursday I have a CEO Forum with the NDIA on the new Independent Assessments.

On Friday I am meeting with more member CEOs.

 

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. 

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

Landmark reforms to deliver on the promise of Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme

Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Stuart Robert this week announced the most substantial package of reforms to the NDIS since its establishment. The package includes implementation of the Australian Government’s Response to the 2019 Independent Review of the NDIS Act (Tune Review) and the new NDIS Participant Service Guarantee. These reforms will help deliver on the promise of the NDIS - to provide people with a permanent and significant disability true choice and control over a flexible support package to achieve their goals.

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Online mental health support for small business

The Morrison Government has invested an additional $3.1 million to expand mental health and wellbeing services available through the Ahead for Business initiative to ensure small business owners and their staff can access support and resources.

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Legislation introduced to help prevent veteran suicides

Attorney-General, Christian Porter, has introduced legislation to establish the new office of the National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention, and invited public feedback through a four-week consultation process.

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COVID-19: Funding boost to help domestic violence victims as pandemic continues

NSW domestic and family violence services experiencing increased demand as a result of COVID-19 can now apply for a share of $9 million in Federal Government funding. Attorney General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Mark Speakman said the COVID-19 Sexual, Domestic and Family Violence Grant program aimed to ensure more victim-survivors can access the support and services they need at this crucial time.

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Demand for study stress support skyrockets due to COVID-19

Since COVID-19 restrictions were first put in place (16 March 2020) to 31 July 2020, almost 28,000 people sought help for study stress via ReachOut.com, a 250 per cent increase year on year.

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More funding needed: the reality of our mental health system

The sad stories told in this week’s Four Corners segment Please Don’t Judge are a part of a much deeper and system-wide problem says the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP).

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Keeping our promises with five more Orange Doors to open

Premier, Daniel Andrews, says the Victorian Government is supporting more women and children escape family violence with the rollout of the Orange Door Network in an additional five areas of the state, as we continue to implement all the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

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Member Profiles

The Society for Mental Health Research (formerly known as the Australasian Society for Psychiatric Research, ASPR) is an Incorporated Association, registered as a health promotion charity with DGR status. The Society aims to prevent mental illness by:

  • Arranging a multidisciplinary Australasian forum for presentation and discussion of psychiatric and mental health research;
  • supporting and assisting mental health research, and researchers;
  • assisting mental health researchers to be informed about research developments;
  • facilitating networking, sharing of information and collaboration between researchers of different disciplines of psychiatric and mental health research;
  • assisting education, training and raising awareness of mental health issues, particularly developments arising from research; and
  • encourage and support the inclusion of psychiatric and mental health issues in the development of health policies, funding and services.

Website www.smhr.org.au Facebook www.facebook.com/societyformentalhealthresearch Twitter www.twitter.com/smhr


The Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health (CRRMH), an initiative of the University of Newcastle, conducts high quality research and delivers evidence-based programs to improve the mental health and wellbeing of rural and remote residents in NSW. The Centre focuses on: the promotion of good mental health and the prevention of mental illness; developing the mental health system to better meet the needs of people living in rural and remote regions; and understanding and responding to rural suicide. CRRMH also works in partnership with Aboriginal communities to reduce Aboriginal suicide and suicide related behaviour. 
Website - www.crrmh.com.au/

 

Reminders 

Suicide Prevention Australia: Connect 2020

Connect 2020 is Suicide Prevention Australia’s webinar series. The webinar series connects thought leaders and innovators to share ideas and support our vision of a world without suicide.

The webinars will explore a range of topics including mentally healthy workplaces, mens’ health, carers and postvention.

Attendees at all eight webinars will receive an official certificate of completion.

Read more


People with Disabilities WA State Conference

People with Disabilities WA invites you to join them for the Inaugural State Conference on 19-20 November 2020. The conference is delivered in partnership with the Department of Communities and will be opened by Hon. Minister Stephen Dawson MLC, Minister for Environment, Disability Services and Electoral Affairs. With the theme “Celebrating Self-Advocacy” this will be WA’s first conference led exclusively by people with disabilities.

This conference welcomes everyone, including people who identify as having a disability or mental health issue; carers, family and friends; service providers and community sector professionals; educators; health workers and the wider community.

Earlybird registrations close 31 August, so book now before prices rise!

Read more


2020 Review of the Disability Standards for Education 2005 - Early Childhood Consultation

As part of the Review of the Standards, the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment is looking at how well the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 is known and applied in early childhood education and care.

They want to hear from anyone with an interest in making sure children with disability can access and participate in early childhood education and care.

They are particularly interested in the experiences and views of families and carers, advocates and educators. Your feedback will help them understand how well understood and applied the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 is in early childhood education and care.

The public consultations will run until 25 September 2020.

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Satellite Connect

A FREE program for young people 17-23yrs (approx) who have a parent/carer with a mental illness. 

Satellite Connect provides opportunities for young people to be heard and the power of their experiences to be shared through a supported and positive platform. 

Through our 6-week program, participants will: 

  • meet, interact and collaborate with others who may share similar experiences

  • learn to empower and support others to collaborate, share and connect with one another

  • explore and practice professional and personal development and leadership skills such as confidence building, public speaking, facilitation, mentoring and tools for self-care and self-compassion

  • access an extensive range of resources that support the learnings

  • discover ongoing opportunities to strengthen skills and connections

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OT Mental Health Forum 2020

REGISTRATION EARLY BIRD CLOSES 9 SEPTEMBERNO EXTENSIONS!

Registration for the OT Mental Health Forum is now open for both face to face and online participation. Early bird registration is closing on Wednesday 9 September  so register today to take advantage of the discounts. 

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Young Carer Bursary

2021 Applications Closing Soon!  Do you or someone you know provide unpaid care and support to a family member or a friend? There are over 235,500 unpaid young carers aged 25 years and under in Australia, so there’s a good chance that we all know a young carer.

The bursary enables young carers to return to, or continue their education. There are 1,000 bursaries to the value of $3,000 available each year.

Young carers across Australia can apply from: 28th July until 8th September.

Read more


COVID-19 & Gender Equality Survey 

The Australian Gender Equality Council (AGEC) have partnered with the University of Queensland and the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on men’s and women’s careers.

The purpose of this research project is to gain a clear understanding of the COVID-19 environment and its potential impact upon women’s ongoing career progression through a shift in the division of domestic labour as well as disparate effects upon women in different working environments.

If you would like to support this important project, we encourage you to participate in the research which involves a ten minute survey. 

The survey results will:

  • inform a report outlining the impact of COVID-19 on the ongoing working lives of men and women 

  • assist in providing recommendations to organisations and policy suggestions to state and federal government.  

Read more


Ahead for Business new digital hub is now live!

Everymind is pleased to announce the official launch of the new Ahead for Business digital hub which supports small business owners and those that support them to take action on their own mental health and wellbeing.

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