CEO Update - The three questions we will ask at our Parliamentary Advocacy Day next Tuesday

 CEO Update, Mental Health Australia


Speaking frankly...                                       

The three questions we will ask at our Parliamentary Advocacy Day next Tuesday

Asking for three things… that’s what we plan to do next Tuesday when Mental Health Australia Members and delegates descend on Parliament House for the 2018 Parliamentary Advocacy Day.

Three things to expand and reorient mental health reform, all with the overarching principles of consumer and carer engagement and co-design.

Three things that the entire sector can support, advocate for, and demonstrate with evidence as we head towards a Federal Election and the Productivity Commission Inquiry into role of mental health in the Australian economy.

Three things to ask for… and the timing of this year’s Parliamentary Advocacy Day couldn’t be better. 

Meeting with the Minister for Health the Hon Greg Hunt MP, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Shadow Minister for Mental Health Julie Collins, and many more MPs and Senators is the perfect opportunity to set the agenda for mental health reform ahead of a Federal Election next year.

The perfect opportunity to ask our three questions.

Firstly, we will be asking the major parties to prepare standalone mental health policies as part of their 2019 election platforms and we will assess these policies ahead of the election. We are not looking for a glad bag of random funding announcements. We are looking for major parties to articulate their plans for systematically increasing investment in mental health services and programs over the coming decade, along with plans to address the social determinants of mental health.

Secondly, we will be asking for urgent commitments to address the major gaps that are opening up in psychosocial support and community based mental health as the NDIS is rolled out, and as related programs are being wound back. As we know, nearly 800,000 Australians report experiencing serious mental illness each year. Estimates suggest some 300,000 would benefit from individualised supports. However, only 64,000 will receive supports through the NDIS. The current investments in ‘continuity of support’, new psychosocial support measures, and state-based community mental health, are inadequate to meet this demand. This issue continues to require urgent attention from policy- makers.

Thirdly, rather than waiting for the Productivity Commission's report in 18 months’ time, we will be asking for continued investment in programs and services that are supported by evidence. The KPMG and Mental Health Australia Report Investing to Saveprovides an excellent starting point for this investment, with well documented initiatives - supported by the very best international evidence - with enormous potential to provide substantial return on investment to governments and the community.

So in summary, and potentially, as preparation for politicians and staffers that may even read this email, here are our three asks to take to the Parliamentary Advocacy Day next Tuesday.

Three things, that’s all we ask.

Warm regards,

Frank Quinlan

Chief Executive Officer


Come and work for Mental Health Australia

We have an opportunity for a passionate Administration and Project Officer (NMHCCF/ National Register) to join our team in Canberra on a full-time basis. The successful candidate will be responsible for providing admin and project support to the National Mental Health Consumer & Carer Forum (NMHCCF) and National Register of Mental Health Consumer and Carer Representatives.

To be considered for this role you must have demonstrated experience in providing administration and project support requiring a high degree of judgment, initiative, confidentiality and sensitivity.

Visit the webpage for more information and the Position Description.

Next Week

On Monday, the Mental Health Australia Board will be meeting at our office in Canberra. Following this, I will catch up with some of the state and territory mental health peak bodies. 

After meetings at our office, we will head to the National Gallery of Australia for our Annual General Meeting, and the event of the year, the Grace Groom Memorial Oration. Tracey Spicer OAM, journalist and media personality, much credited for advancing the #metoo movement in Australia, will be delivering the Oration this year, on The mental health impacts of gender inequality in Australia.

On Tuesday, I will be at Parliament House with Mental Health Australia Member Delegates for our Parliamentary Advocacy Day and Members Policy Forum. 

Belinda Highmore, Acting Director of Policy and Projects, will attend the Mental Health Expert Reference Panel in Melbourne on Thursday. This Panel was set up to monitor progress on the implementation of the Fifth National Mental Health Suicide Prevention Plan.

I will also be in Melbourne at the end of the week to attend the Launch of beyondblue’s National Mental Health and Wellbeing Study of Police and Emergency Services, and meetings with several of our Member organisations in the state.

We are also pleased to be hosting two participants from the Australian Mental Health Leaders Fellowship (AMHLF) in the office for the duration of next week.


Improved NDIS planning for people with complex support needs

Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services, Sarah Henderson, last Friday announced the commencement of the rollout of a new National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Complex Support Needs Pathway. The new Complex Support Needs Pathway will provide specialised support for participants living with a disability who have many different challenges impacting on their lives such as mental health issues, incarceration or homelessness, and need a higher level of specialised supports in their plan.

Ms Henderson said the new pathway has been developed following extensive consultation and engagement with participants, families, carers and sector representatives.

This is a development we will be following closely!

Read more

$10 million in grants to boost NDIS jobs and market

Organisations with innovative ideas to improve the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) workforce are being invited to apply for a share of $10 million in funding to expand the NDIS workforce and services. Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher, and Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services Sarah Henderson, have opened applications for the first round of the Jobs and Market Fund (JMF) grants. JMF is part of a Liberal-National Government investment of $45.6m to drive NDIS jobs and market growth. 

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My Health Record privacy measures pass the Senate

Minister for Health the Hon Greg Hunt MP says the Government has successfully passed important privacy measures relating to My Health Record through the Senate. Measures include tougher penalties for those that misuse the system, strengthened provisions to safeguard against domestic violence, prohibiting employers from requesting and using health information, and that no health information or de-identified data be released to insurers. The Senate has also passed amendments that law enforcement agencies can only access a person’s My Health Record with a warrant or court order.

The Government also announced an extended opt-out period for Australians. The opt-out period will be extended until 31 January 2019. 

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Member Profiles

The Private Mental Health Consumer Carer Network is dedicated to effective consumer and carer participation as the driving force in all elements of change in private sector mental health services. The Network was formed in 2002 to promote the interests of members of the community requiring private mental health services. The Network is an integral part of key policy and decision-making processes affecting many Australians. The Network provides a strong voice for consumers, their families and the community. In sharing the experience of mental health problems, the Network addresses common issues and encourages people to seek help.  




Open Minds delivers mental health, disability and employment supports and they are a registered NDIS provider. Their team works to enhance mental health and wellbeing by delivering a range of tailored options focused on the individual needs of each person. This includes supports streams encompassing your life, your job, your health, your home and your community. At the heart of what they do is a commitment to working alongside individuals and focusing on their strengths to enable personal achievement and recovery.



Free Mental Health First Aid training workshops in Sydney

Lifeline is running a series of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) workshops in November and December in Sydney. As a result of the feasibility study into a Chinese language, Lifeline is now offering FREE Mental Health First Aid training to members of the Chinese Australian community. Visit the website for dates and locations. Your support in either/or attending or circulating the information through your networks would be greatly appreciated.

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2019 TheMHS Summer Forum

The next TheMHS Summer Forum will take place in Sydney from 28 February to 1 March 2019. The Forum topic is Community Mental Health Systems: Human Rights and Services and features international and domestic speakers like Professor Pat McGorry and Professor Maree Teesson. To register, visit 

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Parliamentary Advocacy Day, policy, NDIS, investment

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