CEO Update: Show support and phone a friend in Melbourne

Show support and phone a friend in Melbourne

As a proud Victorian, living outside of the state, I think it’s time we all phoned a friend in Melbourne this weekend, just to check in and say hi, see how they’re going and offer some support. It’s the least we can do.

Melbourne is my home. My three daughters and my parents live there and while I’ve enjoyed my move to Canberra over last couple of months, my head and my heart are in Melbourne. Especially at the moment, as family, friends and many, many more come to terms with a hugely disappointing but entirely necessary return to lockdown.

In March when the entire country went into lockdown there was definitely a sense of us all ‘being in this together’. There was camaraderie and collaboration as we learned new ways of staying connected online, and solace that we were all finding our feet in the new world of a pandemic at the same time.

This week the national camaraderie appears to have faded and people’s discouragement and exhaustion have been laid bare, especially in Melbourne’s north and west where I have made my home for many years.

Scenes at shopping centres, outside public housing high rise estates, and now on state borders and at airports, have shown the worst of human behaviour. And at best, hundreds of thousands of Victorians are probably feeling very discouraged at the moment, looking ahead to another 40 days of lockdown. On top of this, the most vulnerable communities have experienced racially based negativity and alienation.

This is a time to pull together, not pull down our neighbours and our wider community.

In short, we are with you Melbourne and just like the nation has increased its focus on looking out for the mental health and wellbeing of all people, we have to do the same for our Victorian friends, family and more.

As well as personally helping those we know in a small way by staying in touch, we have to continue to advocate for those we don’t know.

And that advocacy starts with the many Victorians who have been marginalised this week as the ABC has so clearly highlighted - Melbourne residents in coronavirus hard lockdown fear for health impacts in public housing towers

We also have to use our voice and skills as a mental health ecosystem to keep tackling the increased need and demand on services the pandemic continues to throw at us.

A role former Prime Minister and now Beyond Blue Chair Julia Gillard has been playing of late as part of our ‘Look After Your Mental Health Australia’ campaign.

To hear of mental health experts being deployed to the public housing towers is a great start, and a clear acknowledgement that we are tackling these issues head on, but it’s what happens at a community level that really endures and will help people through this next wave of lockdowns and beyond.

Which is why when I read this story about GPs stepping up as Melbourne locks down’ it reminded me of the many passionate people on the ground willing and able to help.

Just like Glenroy GP Dr Fady Abdou, who told Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) magazine newsGP that ‘supporting your community is part of general practice.’

‘If you can offer support – even if it’s not medical – you are doing your job as a GP,’ Dr Abdou told newsGP.

Dr Abdou’s story of outreach is a lovely reminder of true community spirit and service at a time when the people of Melbourne really need it.

Have a good weekend, and don’t forget to phone a friend in Melbourne if you can.

Leanne Beagley

Watch Part 1 of Julia Gillard’s ‘Heads Up With Adam Hills’ for Look after your mental health, Australia

Part 2 below


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. 

Watch this space for updates on further workshops and webinars for 2020.

MyAus COVID-19: A new multilingual mobile app

Migration Council Australia has co-developed a multilingual mobile app for Australia’s CALD communities about COVID-19, its impact and available support. The MyAus COVID-19 pp allows users to browse articles, search for topics, view short animations with helpful summaries, and find useful tips and contacts to help adjusting during COVID-19. MyAus COVID-19 is free and available in 25 languages.

Read more


Mental Health News

Local organisations receive funding to support veterans’ health and wellbeing

Twenty-eight local organisations that provide activities to boost the health and wellbeing of veterans and their families across Australia were this week announced as recipients of the Veteran and Community Grants (V&CG) program.

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New Chief Medical Officer, Mental Health, WA

Mental Health Minister Roger Cook says Dr Sophie Davison has been appointed as Western Australia’s first Chief Medical Officer, Mental Health. 

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Psychiatrists deeply concerned by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicides

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) Victorian Branch has expressed deep concern for the findings outlined in the recent report on suicides of Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by the Coroners Court of Victoria.

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Mental health concern for those in ‘hard lockdown’

With around 3,000 of Melbourne’s residents will be locked in nine public housing estates for at least five days due to a coronavirus outbreak the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatry (RANZCP) Victorian Branch is urging the government to provide mental health support for these vulnerable communities.

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Free suicide prevention training for the veteran community

Support for veteran health and wellbeing has been strengthened with the introduction of a free online suicide prevention training program, delivered in partnership with Open Arms - Veterans & Families Counselling and the Returned and Services League of Australia. 

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Gidget House Manly opens and NSW Deputy Premier announces $1 million commitment to support perinatal mental health for expectant and new parents during COVID-19

This week, while officially opening Gidget House Manly (NSW), NSW Deputy Premier, the Hon John Barilaro MP and the Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women, the Hon Bronnie Taylor MLC, announced a $1 million commitment to Gidget Foundation Australia to continue its support of the perinatal mental health of expectant and new parents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Report offers solutions to address emerging areas of suicide risk following COVID-19

Suicide Prevention Australia and Wesley Mission are calling on government to provide increased support to Australians experiencing distress following the COVID-19 pandemic. Titled Reducing distress in the community following the COVID-19 pandemic, the new white paper highlights broader social and economic factors causing distress in the community: stepping away from a mental health specific approach. 

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$4.5 million for Indigenous Health website

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, says the Australian Government will provide almost $4.5 million to Edith Cowan University in Western Australia to continue support for its Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet website and associated resources.

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Stress and finances worse off during pandemic

Almost one in two Australians, 47 per cent, say they are more stressed because of the COVID-19 crisis, according to new data from The Australian National University (ANU). 

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On Tuesday I’m looking forward to meeting with the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia while on Wednesday I’ll be taking part in a National Safety and Quality Community Mental Health Service Standards – Advisory Group Meeting.

On Wednesday I will also be giving evidence to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety on the mental health service needs of older Australians.

On Thursday I’ll be meeting with Occupational Therapy Australia in the morning and then taking part in a discussion about the NBN and Mental Health in the afternoon, and in a Consultation with the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

On Friday I’ll be meeting Prof Frances Kay Lambkin and Alison Calear from the Society for Mental Health Research.


Member Profiles

Relationships Australia is a leading provider of relationship support services for individuals, families and communities. They aim to support all people in Australia to achieve positive and respectful relationships. They are a community-based, not-for-profit Australian organisation with no religious affiliations. Their services are for all members of the community, regardless of religious belief, age, gender, sexual orientation, lifestyle choice, cultural background or economic circumstances.
Relationships Australia offer services around the country that include counselling, family dispute resolution (mediation) and a range of family and community support and education programs.
They are a federation of service providers in each Australian state and territory and have a national office based in Canberra.
Website - Twitter

Care Connect is a not-for-profit home care services organisation that has been providing aged care services at home, for over 20 years. Their expertise is providing the right advice and guidance for home care, and then finding and managing the right home care services to help people at home with day-to-day activities. Those activities can range from gardening or cleaning out the fridge, to joining an exercise group or seeing the grandkids play sport. They have no vested interest other than people’s wellbeing. They are not connected to a residential aged care provider or any religious organisations. They’re completely independent. They only employ independent Client Advisers with extensive experience in home care who provide genuine, independent home care advice. Care Connect have the largest network of trusted services providers nationally, offering people full peace of mind and the widest range of home care services in Australia.
Website - Facebook - Twitter - 



Reimagine your life, your recovery, your community - A resource for people living in rural & remote areas is a website to help people living with mental health conditions to access the NDIS. The NDIS can support you with daily activities, managing the household, study, travelling to appointments, organising health supports and feeling connected to your community.

The website offers clear information for people in rural and remote areas, to help prepare an NDIS application.

The Rural and Remote Hub includes step-by-step guides and helpful checklists, with information about NDIS terms, GP involvement, mental health, psychosocial disability and they type of supports that are available.

Read more

Part two of Julia Gillard’s ‘Heads Up With Adam Hills’ for Look after your mental health, Australia

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