CEO Update: Time to hear from consumers, carers, members, and stakeholders

Time to hear from consumers, carers, members, and stakeholders

With March just around the corner, the team at Mental Health Australia is currently busy preparing for a month of engagement with consumers, carers, members, and key stakeholders. 

The aim of the engagement activities is first and foremost to listen, but also to plan and help inform our advocacy efforts for the year ahead. 

The meetings and consultations scheduled for March alone (as listed below) will make sure we make the most of the many projects we undertake for and with members and stakeholders in 2020, as well as capitalise on the release of Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health, and the National Mental Health Commission’s Vision 2030.

In addition to these face-to-face opportunities to engage, we are also asking members to have their say via our 2020 Member Feedback survey (which closes next Friday 21 February).

We are also updating our sector-wide communications contact list to enhance communications and the sharing of campaign ideas and activities throughout the sector. 

In short, it’s a productive and busy time of the year, and this week I am pleased to announce that Productivity Commissioner Dr Stephen King will be available to present and answer questions at our Members Policy Forum at Old Parliament House on Thursday 12 March 2020.

For members and key stakeholders interested in attending the event please register here.

In addition to the Members Policy Forum, Mental Health Australia will also hold and support a further eight events throughout March 2020, engaging with consumers, carers, and key project stakeholders.

The Embrace Multicultural Mental Health Project will hold workshops in Perth, Canberra and Darwin as well as a two-day consumer and carer meeting in Canberra.

The consumer and carer team will support the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum to hold a co-design workshop and face-to-face meeting in Melbourne, while the Mental Health Australia board will also meet following the Members Policy Forum.

As you’ll see from the list below, it’s a busy time for Mental Health Australia, but a key time to hear from you and plan for our advocacy and reform efforts for the year ahead.

As always, the offer is open to get in touch directly if you have issues you want us to know, or ideas about what your peak body can do for you.

Upcoming Events in March 
Thurs 5 Mar - 9:00am – 5:00pm - Embrace Framework Workshop, Perth
Thurs 12 Mar - 9:00am – 4:00pm - Members Policy Forum, Old Parliament House, Canberra
Fri 13 Mar - 9.00am – 4.00pm - face-to-face Board meeting, Canberra
Mon 16 Mar - 9:00am – 5:00pm - NMHCCF Co-Design Workshop, Park Royal, Melbourne 
Tues 17 Mar and Wed 18 Mar - NMHCCF face-to-face meeting, Park Royal, Melbourne 
Wed 18 Mar - 9:00am – 5:00pm - Embrace Stakeholder meeting, Canberra
Thurs 19 Mar - 9:00am – 5:00pm - Embrace Consumers & Carers meeting, Canberra
Fri 20 Mar - 9:00am – 5:00pm - Embrace Consumers & Carers meeting, Canberra
Fri 26 Mar - 9:00am – 5:00pm - Embrace Framework Workshop, Darwin

Kind regards,

Melanie Cantwell
Acting CEO

2020 Orders of Australia recognising mental health advocates

Congratulations to this year’s Order of Australia recipients for contributions to mental health and the community. Each year, more and more professionals, community advocates and consumers and carers are being recognised, with more than 17 having made contributions to the mental health of our communities.

Amongst the awards announced by the Governor-General and Chancellor of the Order of Australia, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), Lyn English AM was acknowledged for her advocacy and support for consumers and carers while journalist and patron of Mental Health Australia Peter Overton AM was also awarded.

Again congratulations to all recipients listed below for their contribution to mentally healthy communities and mentally healthy people. For a full list of recipients click here.


The Honourable Chief Justice Catherine Ena HOLMES, QLD
For eminent service to the judiciary, notably to criminal, administrative, and mental health law, and to the community of Queensland.

Ms Judith Margaret CROSS, Lockleys SA
For significant service to community health through social welfare organisations.

Emeritus Professor Brendan CROTTY, VIC
For significant service to health education, and to the community.

Mr Carl John DOWD, Toorak VIC
For significant service to the community through philanthropic endeavours.

Mrs Wendy DOWD, Toorak VIC
For significant service to the community through philanthropic endeavours.

Ms Lynette Gwenyth ENGLISH, Findon SA
For significant service to mental health and consumer support organisations.

For significant service to psychology as a researcher, educator and adviser.

Mr Peter John OVERTON,
Willoughby NSW 2068 For significant service to the broadcast media, and to the community.


The late Ms Eve BARRATT, Mount Gambier SA
For service to the community through social welfare organisations.

Mrs Judy Charlotte BURKE, Daw Park SA
For service to community health.

Mrs Thelma June BRYAN, Westcourt QLD
For service to youth, and to swimming.

Dr Ian Melvyn CHUNG, Sans Souci NSW
For service to the law, to medicine, and to the community.

Rabbi Dr Jeffrey COHEN, Vaucluse NSW
For service to community health, and to interfaith organisations.

Dr Lynne Maree COULSON BARR, Melbourne VIC
For service to community mental health.

Mr Tony HUMPHREY, Cremorne NSW
For service to community health through suicide prevention organisations.

Ms Sandy JEFFS, Christmas Hills VIC
For service to mental health organisations.

Mrs Kay Frances LANE, The Hill NSW
For service to music, and to education.

Ms Jillian LANGE-MOHR, Leopold VIC
For service to education.


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. 

Embrace Multicultural Mental Health (the Embrace Project) has been holding free workshops around Australia across 2019-2020 to support implementation of the Framework by mental health services, Primary Health Networks, individual practitioners and others. The workshops provide an overview of the Framework and explore how it can be tailored to best meet your needs and the needs of your local community.

Workshops for 2019 have now ended. Workshop dates for 2020 are listed below: 

  • ACT: Hellenic Club of Canberra, Phillip, 26 February 2020
  • WATechnology Park Function Centre, Bentley, 4 March 2020
  • WATechnology Park Function Centre, Bentley, 5 March 2020
  • NTMercure Darwin Airport Resort, Marrara, 26 March 2020

Please click here to register for a workshop near you. 


Mental Health News

Mental health support for international students

Mental health support is available to international students who are impacted by the coronavirus and its effect on families, study plans and travel.

Read more 

Children’s Commissioner launches final report

Australia’s first Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell launched her final report this week- one of the most comprehensive assessments of children’s rights ever produced in Australia. The report makes clear that the mental health of Australian children is not being cared for sufficiently and that Governments must do more to ensure children’s wellbeing.

Read more 

Medical students call for action on mental health and workforce training

The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) is calling on the Federal Government to act on seven health and education priorities, including improving medical student mental health and strengthening medical training to meet future community need.

Read more 

NDIA Quarterly Report to COAG Disability Reform Council released

The NDIA’s Quarterly Report to the COAG Disability Reform Council (1 October 2019 – 31 December 2019) has been released this week. 

Read more 



Next Wednesday, Director of Policy and Projects Harry Lovelock will be attending a one day AHURI Conference, Housing: the foundation for mental health. Held in partnership with Mind Australia, in Sydney. 

On Thursday, Harry will also be at day 1 of TheMHS Summer Forum, Homelessness, Housing and Mental Health: Crises and Opportunities.

On Friday, Harry will be back in Melbourne participating in the Primary Health Care 10 Year Plan Mental Health Roundtable, and Policy Officer Katie Shoemark will attend day 2 of TheMHS Summer Forum.


Member Profiles

The Mental Health Professionals’ Network (MHPNis a unique initiative targeted at improving interdisciplinary mental health practice and collaborative care within Australia. They support primary mental health practitioners through local networks and their online professional development webinar program.
Website - Facebook - Twitter - 

Pathways SouthWest Inc 
is a professional, community based mental health service; they provide services and recovery support to people experiencing mental illness and those who care for them. The services they offer meet the West Australian Mental Health Outcomes and the National Standards on Mental Health. They have been positively evaluated by the Mental Health Commission of Western Australia. PURPOSE: Providing access to responsive, holistic services for consumers, carers, families and the community to reduce the impact of mental illness. VISION: Let mental health be seen … as any door is the right door for access and client-centred care. VALUES

  • Hope: Belief in the potential of individuals affected by mental illness to live life to the full
  • Courage: Ensuring mental health be seen
  • Respect: Acknowledging other opinions as having value
  • Humility: Willing to appreciate others
  • Responsibility: Everyone is responsible to commit to action towards our Purpose




Scholarships of up to $5,000 for current and aspiring female leaders

Scholarships of $2,000 to $5,000 are currently available to women working in the health care sector to help support their participation in a range of career building leadership development programs.
The initiative is providing junior through to executive managers with scholarships to support their growth and development. The scholarships assist with participation in one of three flagship development programs. The programs provide highly collaborative learning environments uniquely tailored to the needs of female leaders.

Find out more and register your interest by completing the Expression of Interest form here prior to Friday, March 20. 

Read more

Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs - training for mental health workers

Tuesday 25 February 2020 - Griffin Centre, Canberra city

The Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT (ATODA) will be hosting this alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) information & harm reduction training in collaboration with the Mental Health Community Coalition ACT. Expert ATOD trainer Annie Bleeker will provide one full-day training sessions on ATOD information and harm reduction that has been adapted specifically for workers in the mental health sector. 

Read more

SANE Australia: Better Off With You suicide prevention campaign

Better Off With You is a targeted suicide prevention campaign pilot running on the Northern Beaches for 6 weeks, from Monday 20 January until Friday 28 February 2020. The pilot is delivered by SANE Australia in partnership with Sydney North Primary Health Network (PHN), supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Health. Better Off With You aims to speak directly to people feeling suicidal, and seeks to challenge the perception that they are a burden on their family, friends and other people.

The pilot initiative was developed in consultation with local groups and those with lived experience, and includes a research component to ensure the campaign’s safety, measure impact and to inform future national suicide prevention activities.

Enquiries can be directed to

Read more

CMHA 3rd National NDIS and Mental Health Conference

The NDIS rollout is largely complete and now is the time to look forward as to what comes next. Community Mental Health Australia are pleased to announce their Third National NDIS and Mental Health Conference will be in partnership with the Mental Health Coalition of South Australia. It will be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre from March 30-31, 2020. Keynote speakers include Professor Mike Slade and Dr Louise Byrne. 

Register now for early bird pricing

Read more

Cultural responsiveness in action: training

Indigenous Allied Health Australia’s Cultural Responsive Training is highly interactive and centred on an Indigenous framework of Knowing Being and Doing, i.e. what do we need to know, be and do in order to be culturally responsive. In one full day participants will get the opportunity to be introduced to the capabilities as referred to in the IAHA Framework and unpack the action-oriented approaches to addressing cultural safety on a daily basis. Participants will walk away with a new awareness to their own cultural identity and an outline of commitment to making personal changes required to create a cultural safe environment for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples.

  • Location: Abode Hotel Function room, 10 Bowes Street, Woden ACT 2604 (P: (02) 6108 4958)
  • Date: Monday 16th March 2020, sign in from 8:00am
  • Workshop: 8:30am – 5:00pm; morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea are supplied throughout the day; all resources are available all you need to do is register your spot; certificate of attendance for the day.
  • Cost: $220 (incl gst) per person

Please email or phone (02) 6285 1010 to register your spot on the day and you cam be invoiced for your payment.

Read more


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