Some very exciting news my friends…
After more than 8 years as CEO I will be leaving Mental Health Australia to take on a new challenge as the Federation Executive Director of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia.
I have loved my time with Mental Health Australia, and leaving is not without considerable sadness. The wisdom, advice, support, encouragement and friendship of so many of you have all been part of that journey. We have fought the good fight for mental health together, and while there is still more to be done, I feel the time has come to allow another take up the challenge.
I am also genuinely excited about the opportunity that my new role with the Royal Flying Doctors will bring. Supporting the health and welfare of Australians living in rural and remote Australia, and advocating for better health outcomes will not take me far away from mental health, but will also take me to some new and exciting places where I hope I can make a worthwhile contribution.
My last day with Mental Health Australia will be World Mental Health Day on October 10th, and I will take up the new gig on November 15th.
I am pleased to be leaving Mental Health Australia in the hands of a great team, which will be led ably by Deputy CEO Melanie Cantwell while the Board’s search for a new CEO commences.
I look forward to reflecting further on my time in a sector so deeply committed to improving the lives of all Australians, in a role that brought me into regular contact with such wonderful people. But for the moment I am pleased to be passing on this important news.
Thanks to all who have been part of my journey so far, I look forward to the next chapter in life’s truly excellent adventure!
Chief Executive Officer
UPDATE on Charter 2020: Time To Fix Mental Health
Firstly, thank you again to the now 96 organisations who have signed our Charter 2020: Time To Fix Mental Health.
Ahead of World Mental Health Day and then the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health releasing their Draft Report in late October or early November, this Charter will become an important platform from which to advocate for implementation of the Inquiry and lasting mental health reform.
As I mentioned last week, we had intended to present our Joint Letter and Charter 2020 to the Prime Minister during Parliament this week, but between the announcement of my departure, and the Prime Minister’s travel schedule to the US to visit President Trump meant we needed to change our plans.
The revised plan now is to maximise impact by launching the Charter 2020 during mental health month and the next sitting of Parliament in mid-October, when there will be an increased focus on mental health reform and the release of the upcoming Productivity Commission Inquiry Draft Report.
In the meantime, all signatories to the Charter will receive hard copies in the post, as well as further talking points and briefing notes in the coming weeks. Thank you again for your contribution to this important document.
For those organisations who still wish to sign onto the Charter 2020: Time To Fix Mental Health, we can now look to include you in the second phase of this advocacy activity, and at 96 signatories to date, what a great message it would send to see more than 100 organisations support this sector wide initiative.
To sign on to Charter 2020: Time To Fix Mental Health please contact Lachlan.Searle@mhaustralia.org
To see the full Charter 2020: Time To Fix Mental Health please click here.
Submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Adequacy of Newstart
Late last week, Mental Health Australia made a submission to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry into the Adequacy of Newstart and related payments and alternative mechanisms to determine the level of income support payments in Australia. Mental Health Australia’s submission outlines the importance of income support in reducing the impacts of mental illness, given the strong association between experiences of mental ill-health and low income and unemployment. A fair and equitable income support system is fundamental in keeping people out of poverty and supporting the economic participation and social inclusion of all Australians.
Mental Health Australia’s submission urges the Committee to recommend that a mechanism be established to provide advice to government on what constitutes adequate payments to meet the costs of living and to ensure the rate of Newstart and related payments remain proportionate over time. In the meantime, Mental Health Australia also recommends that immediate relief is provided for Newstart recipients with a stop-gap increase to the payment while the review is conducted.
Read the full submission.