This week, in light of World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10 and R U OK? Day on September 12, I asked Christine Morgan, CEO of the National Mental Health Commission and National Suicide Prevention Advisor to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, to write a guest blog. Thank you Christine for your thoughtful and passionate contribution, and for your tireless work in the mental health and suicide prevention sectors.
Stating that suicide is everybody’s business is easy to say
Next week marks World Suicide Prevention Day and R U OK?Day. Now more than ever it is important that we work together, across each community and across the whole of government, to prevent the distress and impacts that come with suicide.
With more than 3,000 people dying by suicide and a conservative estimate of 65,000 suicide attempts each year, the impacts are far reaching. Research tells us that more than 100 people are exposed to each death by suicide. That’s hundreds of thousands of Australians impacted each and every year.
Over the past three months I have been visiting communities across Australia and have heard about what is working and what our communities believe needs to change. I have also heard about the sadness and grief experienced by those who have lost a loved one to suicide and the frustration of those who are trying to navigate the current system of support.
Like many colleagues and community members who have worked tirelessly to communicate the importance of suicide prevention, I was pleased to see this issue elevated to the highest office in Australia recently, and privileged to be given the role of advising our Prime Minister. But, the promise of this appointment and the opportunity it brings should not be taken lightly, by me or anyone else who has dedicated their energy, knowledge, skills and lived expertise to this area.
In my view, there is a real opportunity for us to come together on this issue, but we must think more broadly than we have been. While it is easy to say that suicide prevention is every body’s business, it is harder to really achieve the kind of cross-government, cross-jurisdiction and whole of community response that is required. While our health services, community organisations and funded suicide prevention programs certainly have a critical role to play, we must consider the broad range of issues impacting on people’s lives and consider all of the touchpoints where we have an opportunity to make a positive difference.
We need to review our current approach and ensure that those who find themselves in despair get immediate and effective support – regardless of whether they are connected to the health services or not. But we also need to actively seek to understand and reduce the factors that contribute to despair and suicidal thoughts. This means looking towards the social determinants of suicide, and effective policy shifts as well as interventions that can reduce their impacts and address the root causes of these experiences. Recent research by the ABS showed that while many people who die by suicide experience mental illness, other health and psychosocial risk factors are also important. Things like past history of self-harm, alcohol and other drug problems, relationship issues, legal issues, unemployment, homelessness, disability, bullying, loss of a loved one and impacts of chronic health conditions.
It’s critical governments, services and the broader community come together to ensure an inclusive and proactive response to suicide. This is a big issue that requires a big response. Over the next fifteen months I will be working with government Ministers and departments, community leaders and those with diverse expertise to bring to the table to formulate advice to improve the co-ordination and delivery of a whole-of-government response to suicide and its impacts. I hope to engage with as many of you as possible over the next 15 months as we formulate that advice.
Chief Executive Officer of the National Mental Health Commission and National Suicide Prevention Advisor to Prime Minister Scott Morrison
If you would like to make contact with Christine Morgan, contact the National Suicide Prevention Taskforce on SP.Taskforce@health.gov.au.
Join the Mental Health Australia team!
We have an exciting opportunity for a passionate Senior Project and Engagement Officer to join the team in Canberra, on a full-time basis.
Reporting to the National Project Manager, you will be responsible for developing key relationships and engaging with state and territory mental health services, Primary Health Networks, and other multicultural mental health stakeholders. This position will promote and support implementation of the Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (the Framework) and other elements of the Embrace Multicultural Mental Health Project (Embrace Project).
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The 2019 World Mental Health Day campaign is officially underway!
The more organisations who commit to promoting awareness, the more we reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues and play our part in creating a mentally healthy community.
You can now order your FREE World Mental Health Day promotional material!
We are also excited to announce that once again, in partnership with Bunnings Warehouse, we will be trying to break the World Record for the ‘most people wearing high-visibility vests at a single venue’! This will be held in Townsville at Bunnings Fairfield Waters on World Mental Health Day - Thursday 10 October.
Visit 1010.org.au/townsville/ to find out more.
Ombudsman backs mental health support for small business owners
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell has praised Beyond Blue for supporting the mental health of small business owners. Beyond Blue has released a free online guide that provides business advisers, such as accountants, bookkeepers and industry association representatives, with practical tips about how to support their clients and members.
Health system falling short of meeting needs of refugees
James Cook University researchers say refugees are struggling with the Australian health system and too often end up resorting to family, friends, and word-of-mouth cures or traditional medicine. Michael Au, a sixth year medical student at JCU, led the study. He said refugees often arrive in Australia with high rates of both mental and physical health problems.
Funding for organisations to support veteran community
Veterans and their families across Australia will be better supported thanks to more than $875,000 in community grants aimed at improving veteran health and wellbeing. Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester said 68 projects will receive funding under the Veteran and Community Grants (V&CG) and Men’s Health Peer Education (MHPE) programs.
Multilingual Hub breaks down language barriers for people with disability
People born in a non-English speaking country have similar rates of disability as other Australians but are about half as likely to receive formal assistance. Settlement Services International (SSI) has drawn on its expertise in working with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities to address the need for culturally competent entry points to the disability service system to help marginalised groups gain access. The national Multilingual Disability Hub is a multilingual hotline and website providing relevant and easily accessible information on disability and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in 14 languages.
New report shows economic benefit of improving social inclusion
The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) welcomes the release of a new report which demonstrates that improving social inclusion could generate a $12.7 billion boost annually to the Australian economy. The Deloitte Access Economics report, titled The Economic Benefits of Improving Social Inclusion, quantifies how greater social inclusion could lead to better employment and health outcomes, increased workplace productivity, and reduced the cost of social services.
On Monday, I will be meeting with Valerie Spencer, Assistant Secretary, Department of Health, to discuss Psychosocial Support.
Also on Monday, the policy team will be meeting with the Australian Bureau of Statistics to discuss mental health.
On Tuesday, Harry Lovelock, Lachlan Searle and I will be attending the Parliamentary Friends of Suicide Prevention, World Suicide Prevention Day Breakfast at Parliament House.
Also on Tuesday we will be having a teleconference with our Alliance partners FECCA and NEDA and I will be attending the Pharmacy Guild of Australia Parliamentary Dinner.
On Wednesday morning, Harry Lovelock and I will be participating in a teleconference with David Tune to discuss the current review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 and developing a new legislated Participant Service Guarantee.
On Wednesday afternoon Harry and I will be meeting with Ursula Stephens, CEO and Brenton Prosser, Director, Research from Catholic Social Services Australia. Following this I will be attending an event called In Their Sights, the dark arts of digital alcohol marketing which will be looking at today’s changing digital marketing landscape.
On Friday I will be meeting with Ron de Jong of Grand Pacific Health, and also attending the Pharmacy Guild Corporate Luncheon.
Blue Knot Foundation, formerly known as Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA), is the leading national organisation working to improve the lives of 5 million Australian adults who have experienced childhood trauma and abuse. Blue Knot Foundation helps adults who have experienced trauma in childhood recover. This includes people who have experienced child abuse in all its forms, neglect, domestic violence in childhood and other adverse childhood events. Childhood trauma affects an estimated 5 million Australian adults. Many struggle day to day with their self-esteem, relationships as well as their mental and physical health. Research has established that people who have experienced severe early trauma can recover. And when parents have worked through their trauma their children do better too.
Website https://www.blueknot.org.au/ Facebook www.facebook.com/BlueKnotFoundation/ Twitter https://twitter.com/BlueKnotOrg
Converge International is owned by an Australian not-for-profit company, proudly serving Australian and global organisations. Founded in 1960, they are one of the most experienced corporate mental health care providers in Australia. Converge specialise in psychology and mental health. They help you develop a healthy culture and provide support and intervention in sensitive situations.
Website - www.convergeinternational.com.au
$100 million in grants to empower people with disability
The NDIA’s Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) program is giving you the opportunity to share in $100 million in funding over three years to build programs aimed at empowering people with disability to be independent and engage fully in social, economic and community life.
Through the Individual Capacity Building grant round, which opened on 19 August, the NDIS will provide funding for two activity types:
- Individual Capacity Building: Activities that focus on increasing the knowledge, skills and confidence of people with disability to set and achieve their goals. For example: peer support, mentoring and skills building programs.
- Organisational Capacity Building: Activities that focus on building the capacity of organisations run by or for people with disabilities, their families and carers. For example: professional development for Board, staff and/or volunteers, leadership training and coaching etc.
This round is targeted at organisations run by and for people with disability, their families and carers, as well as organisations led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities, or LGBTIQA+ communities.
Applications are now open, so if you think you have a suitable idea or program, submit your application by Monday 30 September 2019 via the Community Grants Hub website.
Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention: Community Forum for World Suicide Prevention Day
Guest Speakers/Presentations include:
- Identifying subgroups of self-harm: Implications for assessment and treatment: Professor Ella Arensman, Scientific Director, National Suicide Research Foundation (NSRF), Research Professor, School of Public Health, University College Cork, Ireland.
- Using the media as a force for good in suicide prevention: Professor Jane Pirkis, Director, Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne.
- PROTECT: Relational Safety based Suicide Prevention Training Frameworks: Dr Manaan Kar Ray, Director, Mental Health, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Addiction and Mental Health Services Metro South Health.
- Bereavement of suicide and sudden death: A prospective longitudinal study of family members in Australia: Dr Kairi Kolves, Principal Research Fellow, Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, Griffith University.
And many more!
Arrival from 8:00am, with the event commencing at 9:00am sharp.
Venue: The Greek Club, 29 Edmonstone Street, South Brisbane.
Read more and register
Mental Health Professionals Network free webinar
Free online professional development opportunity: Do you have what it takes to engage with Indigenous people?
- Thursday 19 September, 7.15pm – 8.30pm. Online from anywhere you have internet connection
- Suitable for clinicians/practicing professionals only.
Join our interdisciplinary panel of experts for a discussion about how best to support the mental health of Indigenous Australians.
Butterfly Foundation: Love Your Body Week + Survey
During ‘Love Your Body Week’, which runs nationally from 2nd - 8th September, Butterfly Foundation is dedicated to promoting the importance of body confidence and raising awareness about the severity of negative body image and eating disorders among Australians.
This year for LYBW, they are empowering Australians to ‘Be a Voice for Change’ by taking their 2019 BODY ESTEEM SURVEY. The survey invites Australians to share insights into the perceptions of their bodies and how this impacts their day to day life.
Small Business Wellbeing and Support
The Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business has launched a series of videos to raise awareness of tools and resources to help Australian small businesses. These videos feature four business coaches promoting the variety of ways small business operators can improve and maintain their wellbeing.
Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine 2020 Curriculum
The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) is launching the fifth edition of its Curriculum in late 2020. The revised Curriculum will inform the review and continued development of College training, education and assessment. Your feedback will help to ensure that the revised Curriculum is fit for purpose.
The revised Curriculum is available for review until Monday 30 September 2019.
For further information, please contact the ACRRM Standards and Accreditation Manager, Lynn Saul at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NDIA registered providers survey
The NDIA is issuing a survey to registered providers nationally, giving them the opportunity to share feedback about their satisfaction with the NDIA and level of confidence in the NDIS.
The NDIA is committed to working in partnership with providers to deliver the NDIS and enable the growth of a market of adequate size, quality and innovation.
The survey is being sent to NDIS registered providers, active and inactive, on Tuesday 3 September 2019 and should only take 10 minutes to complete. All responses are de-identified and confidential.
Mental Health Community Coalition ACT: NDIS Behaviour Support & Restrictive Practices - a half-day workshop
The NDIS Behaviour Support and Restrictive Practices workshop includes everything you need to know about the new NDIS Commission requirements for Behaviour Support and Restrictive Practices.
In this workshop, will be explored the new functions of the Commission as they relate to Behaviour Support and Restrictive Practices and map the changes you need to be aware of.
Read more and register
NSW Mental Health Commission: Living Well Survey
The Government’s ten year mental health strategy, Living Well, sets a direction to improve and reform mental health for all. At the halfway point in this decade long strategy, the NSW Mental Health Commission is looking back at the first five years to see how the reforms have progressed, in order to see where government should focus over the next five years.
The views of people with lived experience of mental health issues and caring, families and kinship groups, the mental health sector, and the wider community are essential in this work, which is why the NSW Mental Health Commission have created the online Living Well mid-term review survey.
By taking part in the survey, the NSW Mental Health Commission will be able to understand your issues and perspectives and provide the Minister for Mental Health with clear directions on the future priority areas for Living Well.
Your contributions are valuable, so please take a few minutes to fill in the survey and share it with your contacts, colleagues and networks so a strong community voice can inform this important work.
Mental Health Community Coalition ACT Quarterly Forum: ‘PACER’- a proposed new response to mental health crises
Join the AFP’s Sergeant Craig McPherson and Alex Tanzer, and Megan Davis, Quality and Patient Safety Officer with the ACT Ambulance Service in a FREE discussion of the proposed ‘PACER’ response to mental health emergencies in the ACT.
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Co-creation & Data Co-Op for Health and Wellbeing
Details: 25-26 September 2019 ; Henderson Room, Building 63, Eggleston Road, ANU, Acton
Co-creation is a powerful way to realise the true benefit of applying the perspectives, experiences and feedback from your stakeholders. We’re bringing together experts from service and social marketing, health systems engineering and data analytics to demonstrate the benefits of cross-discipline collaboration and data sharing for improving insight and management of real-world health and social problems.
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Western Australians Mental Health Conference 2019
Tickets are on NOW ON SALE for Western Australia’s largest mental health conference.
The Western Australian Mental Health Conference 2019 is brought to you by the Western Australian Association for Mental Health (WAAMH), with support from the Western Australian Mental Health Commission, to unite people with lived experience, carers, clinicians, physicians, corporate Australia and the general community to educate, collaborate, and share resources, perspectives and best practice.
Read more and register