CEO Update: Too important to fail

Too important to fail

When Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt asked Australia to walk with him this week, it was another important next step towards a First People’s ‘voice’ in the constitution. ‘Too important to fail…’

Marking NAIDOC week and celebrating over 60,000 years of history, Minister Wyatt’s speech at the National Press Club on Wednesday echoed themes from the 2017 Uluru Statement - Voice, Treaty, Truth. 

In his own words:

“The concept of the Voice in the Uluru Statement from the Heart is not a singular voice. I perceive it as a cry to all tiers of government to stop and listen to the voices of Indigenous Australians at all levels, who want to be heard by those who make the decisions that impact on their lives.”

He was also quick to highlight just how important it is for the process that the ‘voice’ and recognition be ready, and right, saying:

“It’s too important in the scheme of Australian society, particularly for Indigenous Australians. To lose a referendum because we hadn’t done our work properly would be a major setback for at least 10 or 20 years.”

“I would rather gain something within two terms of government than to wait another 20 or 30 years before the next referendum. Often when you get burned on an issue, as we’ve seen with the republican referendum, people didn’t vote for it, so it’s never got a guernsey again. And I don’t want to be in that situation.”

Minister Wyatt’s speech is well worth a read, and it’s a debate Australia needs to have, and needs to resolve if we are to truly thrive as a nation, and build accepting, thriving and healthy communities and acknowledge our true identity.

And we don’t we have to look too far for a good example of integrating indigenous identity into that of thriving culture and country. Our Kiwi neighbours got the jump on this concept a long time ago. 

In New Zealand, the Treaty of Waitangi governs the relationship between Māori - and everyone else, and ensures the rights of both Māori and Pakeha (non-Māori) are protected. It is a document that is now celebrated and strongly influences New Zealand’s system of Government, but also the nation’s identity. It was also signed nearly 200 years ago in 1840.  

Identity… an interesting word to consider from all aspects. The identity of an individual, of a community, of a country, of a culture. 

And a concept also under the microscope of our newly minted Governor General David Hurley, suggesting Australia is an ‘unfinished product’ and that he vows to put community first. So much so that his first words after being sworn in were in the Ngunnawal language, the traditional owners of Canberra, and his first official trip as GG was to Aurukun, an Indigenous community on the coast of far north Queensland.

So just like the current Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health is far ‘too important to fail’, so too is ensuring a First Peoples ‘voice’ in the constitution. 

Two key objectives, layered and linked in so many ways.

Warm regards,

Frank Quinlan
Chief Executive Officer


Submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health

This week, Mental Health Australia’s second submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health was made available on the Productivity Commission and Mental Health Australia websites. 

In order to ensure the Productivity Commission’s recommendations represent world class care, it is important for the Productivity Commission to draw on international examples of good practice. This second submission from Mental Health Australia provides a targeted global evidence review of innovative and best practice service delivery models, emphasising key learnings in relation to the following three themes: 

  • the suite and mix of mental health services
  • enabling systems and structures
  • addressing the social determinants of mental health.

The submission includes short summaries of specific initiatives from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Japan and Italy.

To read the full submission, please click here.

Embrace Multicultural Mental Health 

I am proud to share that the National Multicultural Mental Health Project announced a new name, logo and re-developed website this week. The project’s new name is Embrace Multicultural Mental Health (the Embrace Project) and I encourage you to visit the new website at

The new website contains an updated and redeveloped Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (the Framework). The Framework is a free, nationally available, online resource which allows mental health services, practitioners and Primary Health Networks to assess and enhance their cultural responsiveness.

Together, the new website and Framework are intended to provide a hub of information, resources and support for communities and services working to improve mental health and wellbeing in our multicultural country.

There are initial resources available on the website now, with resources to be regularly updated going forward. There is also a button on the website where you can provide any feedback. 

I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has contributed to the project’s extensive consultation and development process, including our Alliance partners FECCA and NEDA as well as our CALD Mental Health Consumer and Carer Group, Stakeholder Group and Framework Steering Group. I would also like to acknowledge the valuable legacy of work in Australia over a number of decades, upon which the Embrace Project builds. 

The Embrace Project will be officially launched in August 2019.


Mental Health News

Making suicide prevention a national priority

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, says providing greater support for all Australians needing mental health and suicide prevention services is a key priority of his Government. “Suicide takes far too many Australians, devastating families and local communities. One life lost to suicide is one too many, which is why my Government is working towards a zero suicide goal. I am therefore pleased to announce the appointment of Christine Morgan as our new National Suicide Prevention Adviser to support this priority.”

Christine is known to many of us, and was a longstanding member of the Mental Health Australia Board before taking up her current roles. We look forward to working together on these new challenges!

 Read more

We can’t put a positive spin on the housing crisis

Anglicare Australia is calling for a national plan to tackle the housing affordability crisis. This echoes calls made by the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors. “Housing in Australia is broken. Anglicare Australia’s research shows that affordability has been plummeting for the last ten years. That’s why more Australians are homeless and at risk of homelessness than ever before. And it’s why capital city mayors have been calling for action.” said Anglicare Australia Acting Executive Director Roland Manderson.

Read More

Commission CEO named as National Suicide Prevention Adviser to the Prime Minister

The National Mental Health Commission welcomes the appointment of its CEO, Christine Morgan, to the new role of National Suicide Prevention Adviser to report directly to the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison. The Commission Chair, Lucy Brogden AM, said this appointment recognises the tragic impact suicide is having across Australian communities, and the focus required to ensure that current and future initiatives, and expertise in suicide prevention, is drawn upon to reduce and prevent the devastating number of suicide deaths in Australia. 

Future of the NDIS secured for Queenslanders

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) reached a major milestone recently with Queensland joining six other states and territories with full scheme agreements. Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Stuart Robert, said the Queensland agreement represents the Morrison Government’s priority in delivering the NDIS for an estimated 500,000 Australians with disability through the NDIS over the next five years. 

Read More

Mental health and suicide prevention a welcome national priority for veterans

Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester has welcomed the appointment of Christine Morgan as the new National Suicide Prevention Adviser. “When it comes to veteran suicide, the only acceptable number for me is zero - the only acceptable number for the Australian people is zero,” Mr Chester said. “This Government is committed to putting veterans and their families first, and Ms Morgan’s appointment is another step forward in our continued focus on mental health and suicide, particularly for those most at risk.” 

Read More

Royal Commission a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for system change

Victoria Legal Aid has recommended significant reform to mental health and justice systems that are failing people experiencing mental health issues, in its submission to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. Louise Glanville, CEO of Victoria Legal Aid, says the submission draws on our experience working across the mental health system and other related systems.

Read More



On Monday I will be catching up with Chris Barrie, Chair of PTSD Australia New Zealand and FearLess Outreach.

On Thursday I will be in Melbourne attending a Disability Services Workshop hosted by Commissioners from the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect & Exploitation of People with Disability.


Member Profiles


The Australian Clinical Psychology Association (ACPA) recognises the requirement for clinical psychology in Australia to meet the highest contemporary, internationally recognised standards and actively works to achieve this for the benefit of the public and our members. ACPA provides and promotes ongoing training and learning of best practices within clinical psychology and other mental health professions to enhance services provided to the public. ACPA advocates to government, professional and academic organisations, other health professions, and the public about standards of mental health practice, and aims to promote to these bodies the benefits provided by the expertise of qualified clinical psychologists.

Website -

CatholicCare NT is a not-for-profit organisation, providing counselling services and programs to individuals, couples, families, children groups, schools and agencies across the Northern Territory. They provide counselling and other support services in Darwin, Katherine, Alice Springs, Ltyentye Apurte, Finke, Titjikala, Tennant Creek, APY Lands, Nauiyu, Palmerston, Tiwi and Wadeye. CatholicCare NT is a social services agency of the Catholic Diocese of Darwin. And, is a member of Catholic Social Services Australia (CSSA), a national body representing the Catholic social services sector. Funding for their services is provided by both the Australian and Northern Territory governments.
Website - Facebook -



Head to Health survey now open

Head to Health are always looking for ways to improve people’s experience. They would love to hear from you! The survey is anonymous and takes anywhere from 2-10 minutes to complete (depending on how much detail you want to provide). They’re keen to learn about: 

  • Your experience using Head to Health
  • Any features, services or topics you would like to see on Head to Health

If you know of anyone else who might have recent experience with Head to Health, please send the link on. The more the merrier!

Complete the survey now.

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Opportunity for young people: Orygen Youth Advisory and Youth Research Councils 2019-2021 - Recruiting now

If you’re a young person aged 17-25 years with a lived experience of mental ill-health, have a passion for advocating and promoting mental health needs of young people or are perhaps a keen researcher, then Orygen would love to hear from you. 

Apply now for the Youth Advisory Council (YAC) or the Youth Research Council.

What is involved?

  • Commit to a two year council membership
  • Attend and actively participate in nine monthly online meetings per year
  • Attend two face-to-face meetings in Melbourne per year (all costs covered by Orygen) 
  • Participate in partnership and co-design opportunities and projects related to the work of Orygen 
  • Participate in council led projects and initiatives

Applications are due 5pm Sunday 21 July.

Read more

FearLess National Conference on PTSD

With upwards of a million people in Australia suffering it, and upwards of 3 million people living with people experiencing PTSD on a daily basis, PTSD is a national problem which requires a national response. 

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



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