CEO Update: “Their culture will be a gift to their country”

“Their culture will be a gift to their country”

At a time of change, when we are looking for direction, clarity and certainty, what can we learn from those who have gone before us?

What can we learn from the fact that we as a country have come so far, over so many years, and most recently in the last few months have come together to help navigate our way through this pandemic?

And it’s that coming together that is interesting. Coming together for a common cause because it has so many parallels to what we as nation need to do to further reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and other Australians.

The last line of the 2017 Uluru Statement From the Heart says “We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.”

It is a call to action. A call to “walk with”… and such a welcoming invitation to come together.

From a mental health perspective, we can learn so much from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their culture, their customs and their sense of community. A connection that extends beyond a personal relationship with family and people, but also a relationship with fauna, flora, the land, and the past.

As has been explained to me, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander approaches to mental ill health are about connection and social and emotional wellbeing. It is holistic and community centered.

Several years ago I had the privilege of being part of a group of government representatives and Aboriginal community leaders and to hear from a group of young aboriginal people. These emerging leaders had prepared a presentation of what they wanted to see in terms of mental health support. They had workshopped the presentation and had together determined the one key element for their wellbeing: knowing who you are and where you belong.

In many ways this approach can be extremely instructive for us as a mental health ecosystem.

Thinking about mental wellbeing from an integrated social and emotional stance and understanding that where you belong can be incredibly positive, provides a framework for us all to move forward together.

When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.

2017 Uluru Statement From the Heart

At Mental Health Australia we recommit ourselves to acknowledging past trauma and imposed alienation within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and we assert our intention to walk together in reconciliation with the first Australians.

Warm regards

Leanne Beagley

Virtual Acknowledgement of Country

As part of the launch of National Reconciliation Week on Wednesday 27 May, Mental Health Australia took part in a virtual Acknowledgement of Country. It was great to see so many organisations participating in this Reconciliation Australia initiative. 


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. 

We are pleased to invite you to the second of a four-part webinar series in June 2020. The webinar will provide an in-depth look into Module 2 of the Framework: Developing Safe, Quality & Culturally Responsive Services.


  • When: Wednesday 3 June 2020
  • VIC, NSW, ACT, TAS & QLD2:00 pm
  • SA & NT1:30 pm
  • WA: 12:00 pm

Register here

Embrace CALD Consumers and Carers join “Look after your mental health, Australia” campaign

Some members of our CALD Mental Health Consumer and Carer Group have been sharing mental health advice as part of the Mental Health Australia Look after your mental health, Australia campaign, encouraging all Australians to prioritise mental health at this time. Watch below for Jennie’s tips, and check out our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter channels for more!


Mental Health News

Additional $20 million for mental health and suicide prevention research

The Australian Government is providing more than $20 million additional funding for research to improve mental health care and reduce suicide rates in Australia. Mental health and suicide prevention remains one of the Government’s highest priorities.

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National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health survey 2018-19

More than four in 10 (46%) people had at least one chronic condition that posed a significant health problem in 2018-19, up from 40% in 2012-13. The proportion of people with asthma in remote areas (9%) was around half the proportion for people living in non-remote areas (17%). More than one in 10 people aged two years and over reported having anxiety (17%) or depression (13%).

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Mental Health First Aid training for medical students

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, says medical students across Australia will soon receive basic mental health first aid training to ensure they can recognise and respond to the extra stresses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Don’t wait! is the simple message from the President of the peak psychiatry body

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) is urging everyone to seek professional advice for any mental or physical health issues if they aren’t feeling well. 

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RACGP urges patients to reach out to their GP for any mental health issues

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has welcomed the Federal Government’s latest investment in mental health and suicide prevention research and reminded patients to talk to their GP if they have concerns about their mental health.

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More research needed before psychedelics get the green light

Whilst there is emerging evidence for the use of psychedelic therapies in the treatment of mental illnesses, there is still a way to go before it will be considered a safe and effective practice says the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP).

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More time to design a better mental health system for Victoria

The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System has been granted a three-month extension on the delivery of its final report due to the impacts of coronavirus, ensuring the Commission has the time it needs to engage with Victorians.

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On Monday, the Mental Health Australia (virtual) office will be closed for the Reconciliation Day public holiday. We will reopen again at 9am on Tuesday 2nd June.

On Tuesday morning I look forward to a briefing from the National Mental Health Commission on the Vision 2030 Advisory Committee. I will be participating in my first Vision 2030 Advisory Committee meeting via zoom in the afternoon.

On Friday, I will be participating in the next Primary Health Care Reform Steering Group Meeting via videoconference.

I am also looking forward to speaking with more of our Member organisations throughout the course of the week.


Member Profiles

Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia (PANDA) is a specialist not-for-profit organisation that has helped tens of thousands of Australians get vital information and support for antenatal and postnatal depression for over 30 years. Vision: A community where perinatal depression and anxiety are recognised and the impact pn women, men and their families is minimised. Mission: To reduce the impact of perinatal anxiety and depression through information, awareness raising and services.

Website: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram:

The Anxiety Recovery Centre Victoria (ARCVic) is a state-wide, specialist mental health organisation, providing support, recovery and educational services to people and families living with anxiety disorders. They aim to support and equip people with knowledge and skills that will build resilience and recovery and reduce the impact of anxiety disorders.
Website Facebook Twitter



National Bushfire Recovery Agency: Launch of Recovery Connect

The National Bushfire Recovery Agency and Services Australia have launched a new website, Recovery Connect. Recovery Connect links the public to the available bushfire recovery services in their area. People can search for different types of assistance they may need – be it financial, emotional, accommodation, environmental, physical health, food and household supplies or support for their animals. They are then directed to a range of support services available in their area.  It’s all right there from the homepage. 

Recovery Connect is currently all about bushfire support, and will be developed in the future to include other disaster recovery services, such as for COVID-19 and drought.

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Mission Australia Youth Survey 2020

The Youth Survey is Australia’s largest annual survey of young people in Australia. The online survey is open to young people between the ages of 15 and 19. Taking part in the Youth Survey will help organisations, governments, schools and community groups advocate for policies and programs that support young people and help young people be heard.

But that’s not all! Participating schools and organisations that receive more than 100 responses (unless an alternative amount is agreed upon prior to data collection) are eligible to receive a complimentary, tailored report based on localised data. These reports detail key findings specific to your local area and compare them against state-level results. To get your school or organisation involved in the Youth Survey, visit our website to download all the relevant documents and forms. 

Young people can complete the survey here and clicking on the ‘Take the survey!’ button.

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Movember Conversations

Awareness about mental health is widespread, but guidance around how to have conversations can be hard to find. That’s why Movember has developed Movember Conversations, a new digital tool to help fill that knowledge gap and equip our community with the tools to have conversations with men who might be struggling.Movember aims to strengthen peer-to-peer support for men.Movember Conversations builds on this by offering a practical resource that teaches the skills to have meaningful, productive conversations with men who might be struggling.

Designed to empower those who want to support someone they care about, Movember Conversations isn’t about solving someone’s problems or being a psychologist – it’s simply about being a strong listener, a steady source of support, a good partner, friend or colleague. It’s intended to help people feel more confident, motivated and willing to support a friend or loved one by asking, listening and encouraging action to help change their world.

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RACGP - Have your say about healthcare delivery to people in Australia’s prisons

The RACGP is reviewing and updating its Standards for health services in Australian prisons.
You now have an opportunity to contribute to the quality and safety of healthcare delivery to people in prison as the RACGP releases its draft Standards for health services in Australian prisons (2nd edition) (Prison Standards) for public consultation.

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Prevention United webinars 

Prevention United has announced three new webinars as part of the series on how Australia can ‘flatten the curve’ of mental ill-health in the wake of COVID-19. New presenters include Georgie Harman from Beyond Blue, Professor Helen Christensen from Black Dog Institute, and Professor Maree Teesson from The Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use.

These sessions provide a range of expert views on the mental health and wellbeing impacts of coronavirus and discuss important ways that these impacts can be reduced through evidence-based promotion and prevention programs in the months and years ahead.

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WayAhead Small Steps webinar: Let’s talk about childhood anxiety

Join WayAhead on Facebook Live as they speak with Merrick, one of WayAhead’s Small Steps facilitators, to learn more about anxiety disorders in children. In this half-hour, lunchtime session on Tuesday 2nd of June, you’ll hear a little bit about what to look out for and how to provide support.

Small Steps is WayAhead’s tried and tested program developed for parents and teachers of primary school aged children to help them identify and address childhood anxiety disorders.The Small Steps webinar covers signs, symptoms, types and treatments for anxiety disorders in children, as well as touch on how to approach stressful current events, like the recent bushfires and the COVID-19 outbreak.

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mental health, reconciliation