CEO Update: Stop! Collaborate and listen...

I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say “We have too many small businesses in Australia!” Or… “We would all be better off if all those small businesses, frequently family operated, would only merge into much larger, more efficient operations.”

Small business is frequently a driver for innovation and focus. Microsoft began as a two person operation in a small garage, Nike as a one-man pursuit. Here in Australia, there are hundreds of stories of small businesses that have grown to deliver to the nation, and the world. Boost Juice anyone?

Small businesses evolve and expand when the niche market they identify grows and matures. Small businesses do well when they listen to their market, and respond accordingly.

Some stick their knitting, their area of expertise, just like my mechanic, whose skill and exclusive focus on a single make and model of 4WDr has made him sought-after. And made for a successful small family business, not to mention a memorable safe journey to Lake Eyre and back for me last week. A successful small businessman, providing a specific service to a specific need.

When it comes to mental health and suicide prevention, many of our Members who were once startups and are still small, do exactly that. They listen, and they evolve to the needs of their market. And we know that ‘market’ is not small, and sadly that it’s growing.

So why do we often hear people say “We have too many non-government organisations?” and more specifically, “We have too many mental health organisations?”…

Why do we hear that “We would all be better off if those, frequently niche, operations would only merge into much larger, more efficient businesses.”

For me, and for many in the sector, it’s an argument that is fundamentally flawed and uninformed.

Just as in small business, small and diverse mental health organisations are frequently drivers of innovation, and are able to operate in niche ‘markets’ with expert knowledge gleaned from deep personal experience.

Organisations that have grown from passionate ideas and the basic premise to help people seek, find and receive help. Think Batyr, Beyond Blue, R U OK?, Reachout, the Butterfly Foundation, new-comers like The Fly Program… and many more.

This week, Mental Health Australia welcomed Communications and Marketing experts from around 30 of our Member organisations to a networking event in Canberra.

It was a mixture of organisations large and small, with many operating in niche ‘markets’ delivering finely tuned messages to very specific audiences. Audiences that when combined outnumber the AFL and NRL together.

It was a chance to share ideas about some of the rich and innovative approaches taken to communications, by organisations frequently operating on small budgets (even no budgets at all!). 

Organisations built on the rich experience and deep passion of founders with lived experience in a specific part of the diverse mental health ‘market place’. And clearly diversity does not mean inefficiency. As these organisations are getting results.

Together in the mental health and suicide prevention sector, we are all well placed to collaborate and insist that the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health is not “just another inquiry”, and if the appetite for genuine reform amongst the organisations gathered in Canberra this week is any indication… It’s time to fix mental health.

As an example, I can walk into almost any small business in the country, even most of the stands at our local market, and make an electronic payment. If I am buying food I know it will generally be safe because the small business will be operating according to uniform food handling standards. There are systems in place that unite the diverse range of small businesses into a single, safe, productive service and functioning economy.

So why can’t we guarantee there are systems in place to unite the diverse range of mental health and suicide prevention services to ensure productivity, clarity and most importantly… safety.

If we could do that… then that is real reform.

And real, lasting reform has to be the primary outcome of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health.

Warm regards,

Frank Quinlan
Chief Executive Officer


Mental Health Australia Communications Catch Up

On Wednesday we had our inaugural Communications Catch Up with multiple Communications and Marketing staff from the mental health and suicide prevention sector. It was a great day of collaboration and networking, with some exciting guest presenters. Thank you to everyone who attended and shared their campaigns and strategies for the year. 

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

$5.7m investment builds NDIS provider capacity

Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Stuart Robert, has announced ten organisations will receive a share of $5.7 million to develop practical tools and resources to help NDIS providers meet their important regulatory requirements. These grants are the first under the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission’s new four-year $17.6 million investment in building capacity amongst NDIS providers.

Read more

Spotlight on a new approach to psychology

 A new approach to mental health will be on display at a James Cook University conference later this week. JCU psychology lecturer Raquel Peel is helping to organise the conference, which begins tomorrow. She said it will focus on the practice of ‘positive psychology’. “Broadly speaking, positive psychology uses a strength-based approach rather than a deficit or ill health approach to look at individual’s behaviours. It focuses on how to encourage optimal human functioning and flourishing….”

Read More 

Children to get faster access to NDIS supports

Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Stuart Robert, has announced a plan to resolve delays and backlogs for children with disability in accessing Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) supports through the NDIS. Early intervention aims to reduce the impact of a child’s impairment on their functional capacity by providing support at the earliest possible stage.
Read More

Greens call for urgent overhaul of approaches to youth justice

The Australian Greens are calling for State and Federal Governments Australia wide to urgently work to overhaul approaches to youth justice, including legislating to raise the criminal age of responsibility to 14 years old.

Read More

New data finds more than half of Aussie kids experience cyberbullying

New data released this week from headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation reveals more than half of young Australians (53%) have experienced cyberbullying, indicating bullying in a digital context is prevalent among young people. Seventy per cent of young people with high and very high rates of psychological distress also said they’ve experienced cyberbullying, revealing a strong link between the event or events and the young person’s emotional state. 

Read More



On Monday I will be meeting with Nieves Murray and Kirsten Samuels from Suicide Prevention Australia.

On Tuesday, Parliament returns to Canberra for the first time since the May Election.

On Wednesday we’ll be following up on all the feedback from our Time To Fix Mental Health Member Survey to further progress our collaboration to make the most of the opportunities around the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health.

While on Friday I’ll be having a teleconference with the Miwatj Aboriginal Health Corporation.


Member Profiles


The Australian Association of Developmental Disability Medicine (AADDM) is an organisation of medical practitioners who specialise or have an interest in improving the health and function of the over 500,000 Australian children, adolescents and adults with ID. AADDM aims to improve the health of children, adolescents and adults with intellectual and developmental disability through professional development and advocacy. AADDM has been and continues to be a major contributor to government policy with a remarkable history of successful advocacy leading to widespread changes in healthcare delivery throughout Australia.
Website -


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 - 




‘We’re not talking so you can’: Triple M ‘No Talk Day’ for suicide prevention

Sometimes men feel like they can’t open up about what’s affecting them so they just don’t talk. With an average of six of the eight people who die by suicide every day being men, encouraging conversation is key.

This is why Monday 1 July is Triple M’s ‘No Talk Day’ where radio personalities won’t talk. They’re not talking so you can. From 6am to 6pm there will be no shows, no ads, no news or no traffic reports.

Instead, you will hear from people with lived experience and important messages from Beyond Blue about how to have a safe conversation about suicide, how to support a mate and where to seek support. Tune in to your local Triple M station in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

Read more

National Suicide Prevention Conference 

The 2019 National Suicide Prevention Conference will be held at the Pullman Albert Park in Melbourne, Victoria. Each year, the Conference is held in a different location as a way of focusing our attention on the contributions made in all parts of Australia towards the shared vision of a World Free of Suicide. This year’s theme is United In Action. The theme reflects the unique nature of the National Suicide Prevention Conference, which is highly regarded for its ability to bring people from a wide range of backgrounds and communities together. This unification enables delegates to learn from each other, network and have shared experiences.

Watch the promotional video below.
Read more


AASW Conference 2019 Challenging Inequality: Working together for a just society

AASW Conference 2019 Challenging Inequality: Working together for a just society will be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre, South Australia from 7-9 November 2019.

Topics will include poverty and social disadvantage, climate change and sustainability, human rights, Reconciliation, LGBTIQ rights, mental health, disability, family violence, trauma and abuse, children and youth, aged care, refugees and people seeking asylum, substance misuse and dependence and housing.
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

Mental Health Peer Work qualification - Expressions of interest

This is a call for expressions of interest from people with a lived experience of mental health issues who wish to gain national qualifications in the area of Mental Health Peer Work. This scholarship program is in partnership with Brisbane North PHN, Peer Participation in Mental Health Services (PPIMS) Network and TAFE QLD – East Coast.  Eligibility Criteria will apply.

Read more

Call for Presentation Proposals National Brain Injury Conference

People with a brain injury, their family members, researchers, clinicians, allied health professionals, service providers and policymakers are invited to submit a presentation proposal for the 7th National Brain Injury Conference which will be held in partnership with the Melbourne Disability Institute 28-29 October 2019.

Read more

Brisbane North PHN Survey: Interagency meeting review

Brisbane North PHN are seeking input on what type of interagency meetings you would like to attend in the Brisbane North region.
The previously sent out link to this survey was incorrect. Whoops!
Please take five minutes to have your say via this correct link:
This survey will close on Monday 15 July.

Read more

ANU Centre for Medical Research workshop on Classifying and Mapping Health, Psychosocial, and Disability Services

Mapping health, disability and social services can provide critical information to help us to make better informed decisions when planning health services. But how do we build and use these maps? 
A workshop on Classifying and Mapping Health, Psychosocial, and Disability Services is coming up on 25-26 July 2019 as an ANU Centre for Mental Health Research event in the 2019 Cross-College series on Health and Social Systems.

Read more 

Mental Health First Aid: Considerations when providing mental health first aid to an LGBTIQ+ person

Mental Health First Aid has provided some guidelines for considerations when providing mental health first aid to an LGBTQIA+ person. The guidelines describe how members of the public should tailor their approach when providing mental health first aid to an LGBTIQ+ person who may be developing a mental health problem, experiencing a worsening of an existing mental health problem or in a mental health crisis. The role of the mental health first aider is to assist the LGBTIQ+ person until appropriate professional help is received or the crisis resolves. 

The guidelines are freely available to download and use. 

Read more 


National Suicide Prevention Conference 2019: Video 

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.