CEO Update: Putting the gender conversation on our agenda

Putting the gender conversation on our agenda

Last week the team at Mental Health Australia gathered for some internal training to help initiate and inform a conversation we should all be having, if we’re not already.

A Gender Agenda, based in Canberra, spent a morning with Mental Health Australia staff facilitating a discussion that gave us an introduction into some of the challenges faced by people who identify as LGBTIQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender diverse, intersex and queer) or people who might be exploring their identity.

We know this is a conversation we all need to have, especially if things are to change. We know that reform is personal. And we know, thanks to our friends at the National LGBTI Health Alliance, the comparative statistics on LGBTIQ+ suicide rates are horrendous.

Compared to the general population, LGBTI people are more likely to attempt suicide in their lifetime, specifically:

  • LGBTI young people aged 16 to 27 are five times more likely
  • Transgender people aged 18 and over are nearly eleven times more likely
  • People with an Intersex variation aged 16 and over are nearly six times more likely
  • LGBT young people who experience abuse and harassment are even more likely to attempt suicide

Statistics for LGBTI Population

  • 16% of LGBTI young people aged 16 to 27 reported that they had attempted suicide
  • 35% of Transgender people aged 18 and over have attempted suicide in their lifetime
  • 19% of people with an Intersex variation aged 16 and over had attempted suicide on the basis of issues related to their Intersex status
  • 8% of Same-Gender Attracted and Gender Diverse young people between 14 and 21 years had attempted suicide, 18% had experienced verbal abuse, and 37% of those who experienced physical abuse

Statistics for General Population

  • 3.2% of people (4.4% females; 2.1% males) aged 16 and over have attempted suicide in their lifetime; 0.4% of general population (0.5% females; 0.3% males) in the last 12 months
  • 1.1% of people (1.7% females; 0.5% males) aged 16 to 24 have attempted suicide in the past 12 months

On behalf of Mental Health Australia I wanted to commend the work of A Gender Agenda, and thank them for their insight and informative approach to having this conversation.

More personally, I came away from the morning with a number of reflections:

  • Talking, even if we are sometimes uncertain of language or nuance, is better than silence. We all need to talk, and by doing so we can create the safe space others might need to talk
  • Asserting the rights and privileges of others diminishes no one, and uplifts us all.  Recognising that we all have a right to safety, and a right to inclusion and belonging, enriches us all, and costs us nothing
  • Much of our heteronormative culture is based on historic ignorance, indifference, indoctrination, and habit, and we all have the power to change that culture into something more inclusive
  • LGBTIQ+ communities are no more homogenous than other communities. LGBTIQ+ communities have similarities and differences, nuance, conflict and consensus, just like other communities 

In general, we at Mental Health Australia are richer for having this conversation and I hope we are creating an environment where our vocabulary is growing, and where we are more inclusive than we were previously.

I also hope these conversations will make our work on mental health reform more effective for communities who are amongst those who could benefit the most from effective and lasting change.

You, your family and friends, or your organisations could be ahead of us at Mental Health Australia, or you could be behind us. Wherever you are, I’d encourage you to have, or keep having the conversation, because that’s the start of real cultural change and reform.

Warm regards,

Frank Quinlan
Chief Executive Officer


All statistics and more information can be found here

National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum Meeting 

It was great to catch up with the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum in Adelaide last week, and to hear what they’re working on over the coming months. A special mention to our Consumer & Carer team at Mental Health Australia for organising the Forum meeting, and to the Forum representatives for their continued hard work and dedication.

Join the Mental Health Australia team

Mental Health Australia has an opportunity for a passionate Policy Officer to join our team in Canberra, on a full-time basis. Reporting to the Manager, Policy and Projects, you will be responsible for the drafting of policy documents and project materials. This will involve analysis of existing data sources to inform strategies, policy, and programs on a range of mental health issues in consultation with Mental Health Australia members and other relevant stakeholders.

Read more about the job description here


Mental Health News

Paramedics need better care for accumulated stress 

Paramedics are not receiving enough help to overcome psychological injuries caused by accumulated traumas they confront in their work - with Flinders University researchers identifying them as the forgotten profession within the healthcare system. A review commissioned by the Ambulance Employees Association (AEA) wanted to assess how the impact of emergency medical service work affects paramedics’ psychological, physical and social well-being - and the results don’t paint a pleasant picture.

Read more

Australian athletes take mental health message to the outback

The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) is partnering with Lifeline Broken Hill to enable Australian athletes to spread the message of health and wellbeing in the outback. ‘How’z Ya Mate’ is a local campaign with an emphasis on the social, emotional and physical wellbeing of men in the far western NSW town and surrounds.

Read More 

$400,000 for suicide prevention research 

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, says the Morrison Government is investing $400,000 in four innovation research grants to find new ways to protect people at risk of suicide and interventions to prevent suicide. Funding will be provided through the Government’s $12 million National Suicide Prevention Research Fund (NSPRF), for projects which support bold ideas to prevent suicide in Australia.

Read More

Veterans’ Health Week to focus on mental health

Supporting the mental health and wellbeing of veterans will be the key focus for this years’ Veterans’ Health Week to be held from 26 October to 3 November 2019. Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel, Darren Chester said supporting veterans’ health was a top priority for the Government and Veteran Health Week was just one opportunity for veteran and community organisations to get involved.

Read More

NDIS full scheme agreement for Victoria

The Commonwealth and Victoria governments have reached enduring arrangements for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Victoria. Minister for Families and Social Services and Acting Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Anne Ruston, said this was another significant milestone for the rollout of the NDIS across Australia.

Read More

Assistance dogs-in-training to support our veterans 

The assistance dog trial helping veterans who suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is under way in Victoria and showing positive signs during the initial phases. The Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel, Darren Chester, met with La Trobe University and the Centre for Service and Therapy Dogs Australia (CSTDA) to talk about the progress of the $2 million assistance dog trial funded by the Australian Government, and how the fostered dogs and veterans are finding the experience. 

Read More



On Wednesday, Mental Health Australia is hosting a Communications Catch Up in Canberra for Members, which is a briefing for Communications and Marketing staff from the mental health and suicide prevention sector.

Also on Wednesday, Harry Lovelock, Director of Policy and Projects will be attending a Mental Health & Life Insurance Roundtable hosted by the Financial Services Council in Sydney.

On Thursday, Mental Health Australia’s Governance Committee will be meeting via teleconference, and Harry Lovelock will be in Sydney attending the Mental Health Information Strategy Standing Committee (MHISSC) and National Mental Health Performance Subcommittee National performance reporting Workshop, followed by the next MHISSC meeting on Friday.


Member Profiles

Aftercare is a NDIS registered provider and Australia’s longest serving mental health organisation, supporting people with mental health issues to lead fulfilling, independent lives.
Mission - To enhance the social and emotional wellbeing of our clients through our belief in social justice and our commitment to collaborative learning and recovery
Values - Respect, Integrity, Leadership, Professionalism, Fairness
Objectives - To help people who are, or have been, experiencing mental illness or have intellectual disabilities - To help their families - To promote a better understanding in the community of mental illness and intellectual disability
Website  Facebook - Aftercare Australia Twitter - @aftercareAU  Instagram –

Brisbane North PHN supports clinicians and communities in Brisbane’s northern suburbs, Moreton Bay Regional Council and parts of Somerset Regional Council. It covers approximately 4,100 km2 of urban, regional and rural areas, with a population of over 900,000. The Federal Government announced the establishment of 31 Primary Health Networks to replace the national network of Medicare Locals in 2015. The Government selected successful PHNs through an open and competitive process, including the Brisbane North PHN. The key objectives of the Brisbane North PHN are:
• increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services for patients, particularly those at risk of poor health outcomes; and
• improving coordination of care to ensure patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time.
Website - Facebook Twitter -



Refugee Week 2019 

Refugee Week is Australia’s peak annual activity to raise awareness about the issues affecting refugees and celebrate the positive contributions made by refugees to Australian society. Originally celebrated in 1986, Refugee Week coincides with World Refugee Day (20 June). 

Refugee week ends on Saturday 22 June. With only a couple of days left, share how you will #standwithrefugees this year on social media to help raise awareness. 

Read more

Invitation to the Australian Launch of LivingWorks Start

LivingWorks Australia invites you to attend the Australian Launch of LivingWorks Start, a new skills-based online suicide prevention program. This one hour webinar will be held on Tuesday 2 July 12.00pm AEST. Find out more and register to attend here

You are welcome to forward this invitation to your wider team and relevant stakeholders.

Read more

Consultation Paper on the Pricing Framework for Australian Public Hospital Services 2020-21 released for public comment

The Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) released its Consultation Paper on the Pricing Framework for Australian Public Hospital Services 2020-21 for public consultation. The Pricing Framework is fundamental to the National Health Reform Agreement and underpins the determination of the annual National Efficient Price and National Efficient Cost for Australian public hospital services.

Submissions can be emailed to or mailed to PO Box 483, Darlinghurst NSW 1300 by 5.00pm AEST, Monday 15 July 2019.

Read more

Work at the National LGBTI Health Alliance - two roles available

Opportunity to work at the National LGBTI Health Alliance to improve the health and wellbeing of LGBTI people and communities across Australia in one of the following two roles:

Operations and Compliance Manager
Reporting to the Executive Director and working closely with the Board of Governance, the Operations and Compliance Manager is responsible for leading the Alliance’s HR, finance, IT, membership, communications, legal / risk & compliance functions. Supporting the needs of the Alliance in a sustainable way, the key focus is continuous improvement by ensuring systems and processes are in place to support the coordinated and efficient management of the internal workings of the Alliance as well as legal and regulatory compliance.

Programs Coordination and Capacity Building Manager
Reporting to the Director Programs and Development and working closely with the Training and Education Coordinator the Programs Coordination and Capacity Building Manager is responsible for developing and managing the Alliance’s LGBTI health and wellbeing programs including, but not limited to, mental health and suicide prevention initiatives and ageing and aged care. The role is also responsible for the development of programs across the spectrum of LGBTI health and wellbeing.

Applications for both roles close 5pm EST 1st July 2019.

Read more

Be a presenter - WA Mental Health Conference call for abstracts

The Western Australian Association for Mental Health (WAAMH) invites you to submit an abstract for consideration to be presented as part of the official program at the Western Australian Mental Health Conference 2019. The conference will be held on Tuesday, 19 and Wednesday, 20 November at Hyatt Regency, Perth. The Conference theme is Strengthening our Community which reflects our vision of working together for the greater good of our whole community supporting holistic mental health and recovery.

Submissions close 10 July 2019.

Read more

WA Rural and Remote Mental Health Conference 2019 - call for content and earlybird registrations closing

The WA Rural and Remote Mental Health Conference 2019, is still seeking program submissions from people who would like to contribute to the Conference program. The conference will be held in October 2019, in Albany, and celebrating our theme “Moorditjabiny: Becoming Stronger”.

Professionals and consumers are invited to submit content proposals, but submissions close on 28 June. Click here for full details. Discounted earlybird registration closes 28 June.

Read more

The Mental Health Services Conference: Consumer Bursaries - Applications Open

TheMHS Learning Network would like to support consumers to attend the annual conference by offering a number of bursaries to the upcoming TheMHS Conference in Brisbane, Queensland this August. Successful applicants will have their airfares paid and receive complimentary conference registration for 4 days. 

Please review eligibility criteria on TheMHS website before applying. 

Read more 

FearLess National Conversation on PTSD: Register now

The National Conversation on PTSD will be held across three days from Wednesday 21st - Friday 23rd August 2019 at The Events Centre, Caloundra on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. The outcome-driven event seeks to initiate a national conversation on PTSD, exploring with participants how we can develop a community-owned and community-operated PTSD management protocol and what should be contained within it.

The program contains three main themes: the lived experience, the impact on families and an overview of current research and programs. 

Read more 


Copyright © 2019 Mental Health Australia Ltd., All rights reserved.  | Join our mailing list

Contact Us:

Did you receive this email in error?
Unsubscribe from this list
Rate this article: 

© 2022 Mental Health Australia All rights reserved.