CEO Update: In this together

In this together

We have been reflecting on the theme of National Reconciliation Week #InThisTogether and I have deeply appreciated the leadership this notion provides. 

There have been a number of opportunities this year to be reminded of the enormous impact we can have when we combine our efforts towards a shared goal. The bushfire crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic have galvanised our focus, as do special days set aside to draw attention to aspects of our community life together.

Today is World Environment Day, raising global awareness of the need to care for our planet – and indeed we are in this together too. Having just submitted our response to the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee Inquiry into lessons to be learned in relation to the Australian bushfire season 2019-2020, we are reminded poignantly of the impacts of climate change.

As we noted in our submission, climate change is a public health and mental health threat. We saw this acutely during the 2019/20 bushfire season, which devastated regional, rural, and remote communities throughout Australia.

Our preparedness and response to natural crises as a nation is largely within our control. Our ability to utilise resources to equip communities with the tools they need to build resilience and develop coping mechanisms is largely within our control.

We are indeed in this together. 

The mental health sector is acutely aware that regional, rural, and remote communities have historically had lower access to mental health services, due to a variety of factors including stigma, inadequate service capacity, and insufficient workforce capacity. I have spoken with many of you who are part of organisations dedicated to working together to address this long before these bushfires and COVID-19.

The bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic do not have much in common. But both the impacts and responses have included a significant emphasis on mental health. This is one sign that we are, I believe, seeing a shift in focus when our nation responds to national emergencies. We should be proud as a nation that our governments have together taken steps to develop a specific mental health response to the pandemic.

However, the floods, drought, bushfires, this COVID-19 pandemic – such issues are never isolated and they come into an Australian context that was well past ready for mental health reform. The impacts become multi-layered. The events are connected to, and complicated by, each other. As such, our preparation and response has to be consistent. We are in this together and the community context and social determinants of health must frame all policy responses to crises our nation faces.

As we noted in our submission, and as applies even more so during this pandemic, effective cross-governmental relationships with shared responsibility and accountability will underpin the success of disaster recovery and planning. We are committed to working towards this goal together.

Warm regards

Leanne Beagley

Mental Health Australia’s submission to Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee Inquiry into lessons to be learned in relation to the Australian bushfire season 2019-2020

Mental Health Australia is pleased to contribute to the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee Inquiry into lessons to be learned in relation to the Australian bushfire season 2019-2020 (the Inquiry). This submission has a specific focus on responding to section (h) of the Terms of Reference, which refer to “an examination of the physical and mental health impacts of bushfires on the population, and the Federal Government’s response to those impacts.” This submission primarily focuses on mental health impacts of the bushfires, with related commentary on physical health impacts due to the interrelated nature of physical and mental health.

Read the full submission

We welcome Liz Callaghan to her role as the new CEO for Carers Australia  

Liz Callaghan has been announced as the new CEO of Carers Australia. Ms Callaghan was a Director in the Aged Care Royal Commission Taskforce in the Department of Health’s Ageing and Aged Care Group. Mental Health Australia welcomes this appointment and looks forward to working closely with Liz into the future.

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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. 

Watch this space for updates on further workshops and webinars for 2020.

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

RACGP calls for GPs to put on their crazy socks to tackle mental health stigma

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is encouraging GPs to put on their ‘crazy socks’ to fight mental health stigma on Crazy Socks 4 Docs day on Friday 5th June.

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Major funding boost to explore the health impacts of recent bushfires

Researchers from the University of Newcastle, Hunter Medical Research Institute and Hunter New England Health have excelled in the latest round of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding, attracting more than $860,000 to analyse the physiological and mental health effects of hazardous bushfire smoke. 

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More than $1 million in mental health support for younger veterans

Support for the mental health needs of younger veterans has this week received a boost with more than $1 million in grants or eight projects which will be delivered by ex-service organisations (ESOs) and other veteran community organisations.

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AMSA welcomes funding for medical student mental health

Medical students have congratulated the Federal Government’s decision this week to fund Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Australia to upskill medical students to provide support to peers. 

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Millennial mental health toll spikes during COVID

There has been a spike in severe psychological distress in young Australian adults under 35, according to new analysis from The Australian National University (ANU). 

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Retailers welcome a national campaign to promote inclusivity in the workplace

The National Retail Association (NRA) has joined forces with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to launch the Ready and Able project. This project was devised to assist employers develop inclusive hiring practices, with resources and information to encourage employing a person with a disability. 

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Gidget Foundation Australia more connected than ever

Gidget Foundation Australia has moved all support services to telehealth and developed a new range of online resources in response to escalating concerns about the emotional impact of COVID-19 on expectant and new parents.

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NDIA Annual Price Review 

Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Stuart Robert, announced the findings of the Annual Price Review and new Price Guide this week. 

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The Mental Health Australia virtual office will be closed on Monday 8 June for the Queen’s Birthday public holiday. We will be back online again on Tuesday 9th June.

I am looking forward to catching up with more of our voting and non-voting member organisations throughout the week.

On Wednesday, the Embrace team will be hosting the next Embrace Consumer and Carer meeting via webinar.

On Thursday I will be meeting with Mark Roddam, First Assistant Secretary, Department of Health. Harry Lovelock, Director of Policy and Projects and I will be participating in the next National Mental Health Sector Reference Group meeting via videoconference.

On Friday, Harry Lovelock, Director of Policy and Projects will be participating in the Digital Mental Health Advisory Group Meeting #7 via videoconference and I will be participating in the CEO Forum hosted by the NDIA.


Member Profiles

The mission of the Psychosis Australia Trust is to support organisational, investment, and policy capacity to carry out priority-driven research into schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder – with the aim of helping all those affected by these mental illnesses to live better lives now. Established to be an umbrella organisation and knowledge bank for research and services related to psychosis in Australia, the immediate goals of PAT are to:

  • Review current research programs and activities being carried out in Australia in relation to psychotic disorders, and developing an evidence-based approach to allocating priorities for further research;
  • Carry out research and research-related activities in relation to psychotic disorders;
  • Link the priorities of researchers with those of Australians who have the lived experience of psychosis, through our partnership with consumer and carer organisations across Australia; and
  • Promote and facilitate the translation of research into practice in relation to psychotic disorders – thereby reducing the burden of disease.

Website -

Australian Red Cross is building a better society based on people helping people. They save lives and support people before and after disasters strike. They work to alleviate suffering during wars and conflict and promote the laws of war. And they work to assist the most vulnerable community members – no matter their circumstances. They work with politicians, policy-makers, organisations and the public to improve the situation of the most vulnerable people in Australia and around the world. They advocate based on direct experience and evidence, and empower people to speak out and take action to improve their lives. They will always focus on the needs and perspectives of vulnerable people, in their areas of expertise. They are bound their Fundamental Principles of Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary service, Unity and Universality.

Website - Facebook - Twitter -




Women & Leadership Australia Connect

Women & Leadership Australia (WLA) has launched a brand new networking and learning hub called WLA Connect. The platform is designed for women to gather, network, share and learn about being a female leader in today’s working environment. Members are able to access events, learning materials and forums where they can collaborate with women from the health care sector and beyond.

This is an important developmental initiative for women across the country. Features of WLA Connect include:

  • A curated learning laboratory filled with leadership development content
  • Expert masterclasses on leadership theory and practice
  • Face-to-face and online networking events
  • Member led contributions and recommendations
  • Peer coaching, executive coaching and mentoring opportunities. 

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TheMHS Announcement: New Conference Dates

TheMHS have postponed their 2020 TheMHS Perth Conference due to the impact of COVID-19. They are pleased to confirm that they will be continuing as planned in February 2021 and are announcing the new dates: 9 - 12 February 2021.

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Reimagine your life, your healing, your community -

A step-by-step guide to the NDIS with information for First Nations people living with mental health concerns, their families, friends, supporters and communities. is a website designed by and for people with living with mental health concerns, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander communities, to support others with accessing the NDIS. Hear men’s yarning on the NDIS and women’s yarning on the NDIS in community languages Pitjantjara, Torres Straits Creole, Walpiri, Western Arrernte and also includes information for workers who support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are living with mental health concerns.

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Psychosocial recovery coach

A new support item called the psychosocial recovery coach (recovery coach) will be available for participants of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). This new support item has been developed in response to feedback on integrating recovery-oriented practice within the NDIS.

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International Journal of Care and Caring: Free access for June

The International Journal of Care and Caring (IJCC) is a new multidisciplinary journal designed to advance scholarship and debate in the important and expanding field of care and caring. For the month of June, the special issue of the Journal of Care and Caring is available for free.  

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Mental Health Month small grants 

WayAhead are now accepting applications for the Mental Health Monthsmall grants program. Grants are awarded to support communities, groups, and organisations to hold events and programs during Mental Health Month- October. Click here for all details, small grant starter kit, and links to application forms.

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Nominations are open for the 2020 Mental Health Matters Awards

The Mental Health Matters Awards recognise the achievements of individuals and organisations large and small who have worked to improve understanding, awareness, service provision and the general mental healthof our communities in NSW over the previous year.

The categories for 2020 are:

  • Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing Award
  • Mental Health Matters Youth Award
  • Mental Health Matters Community Initiative Award
  • Mental Health Matters Rainbow Inclusion Award - sponsored by ACON
  • Outstanding Achievement in Mental Health Promotion Award
  • Leadership through Lived Experience Award
  • WayAhead Workplaces Award
  • Mental Health Matters Media and the Arts Award - New category for 2020!

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Understanding Dissociation: Blue Knot guidelines for practitioners

Blue Knot has recently released a new set of guidelines for practitioners. It’s called: Practice Guidelines for Identifying and Treating Complex Trauma-Related Dissociation. It’s an important set of guidelines because dissociation is common. It is especially common for people who have experienced repeated early trauma, including abuse. It is also important because many practitioners don’t know how to recognise when a person is dissociating or how to respond.

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Beyond Blue ‘Not Alone’ podcast: Isolation

Beyond Blue’s first-ever podcast series, Not Alone is a podcast where everyday Australians talk about their mental health journey to help you with yours. In this episode of Not Alone, Cecile shares her story of isolation. It is an important perspective on the loneliness many of us feel when moving away from home, and the cultural stigma that can prevent someone from finding the support they need. With many people’s feelings of isolation and loneliness heightened during the coronavirus pandemic, Cecile’s journey in coping with these issues can be relatable for so many of us.

You can listen to this episode on the Beyond Blue website, or wherever you get your podcasts. 

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