CEO Update - Unity, advocacy and action... the opportunity is now

Unity, advocacy and action… the opportunity is now

‘Disunity is death’… a political saying we’ve all heard before.

It’s universally considered a wise strategy for politicians on the same side, even when they disagree, to set their differences aside to pursue a higher political goal.

On both sides of politics, we hardly ever hear of the debates that are conducted ‘Cabinet in Confidence’, and only really hear the party line that emerges from those debates.

A unified party line. 

In the mental health sector, there is often a view that we are ‘fragmented’ and that we struggle to agree on a ‘party’ line. I don’t think this is true.

Like anywhere else in life, people in mental health, stakeholders frequently argue for their particular part of the puzzle, or advocate to fill a particular gap in the system. A gap that is close to their experience. Gaps that all need action. I do not think this arguing for action and advocacy is the same as being ‘fragmented’.
Amongst the thousands of mental health stakeholders who read this message today, would anyone argue that the system shouldn’t be ‘person centred’?

Would anyone argue that we shouldn’t be addressing the social determinants of mental health as an urgent priority? Would anyone argue that we do not need to intervene earlier?  

Would anyone argue that we do not need to offer support that addresses the whole of a person’s life experience and circumstances: housing, employment, relationships, and trauma?

Would anyone argue that we should not be expanding the role of peer workers and supporting carers? 

Would there be anyone suggesting there are not gaps in our current support offerings? Anyone arguing against more community based interventions and doing all we can to reduce hospitalisations and acute care? 

Anyone who thinks that our current intergovernmental arrangements for governance and funding are just what the country needs?

I think NOT. We are on the same side. We are not fragmented. This is unity.

So how can we use our unity to argue and advocate for the common good in mental health reform?

The Productivity Commission is currently conducting an inquiry into mental health in Australia and investigating many things, including:

  • “examining the effectiveness of current programs and initiatives across all jurisdictions to improve mental health, suicide prevention and participation, including by governments, employers and professional groups.”

So what can we do?

We can work together to ensure all governments, state, territory and Commonwealth have no choice but to implement and fund the recommendations set out by the Productivity Commission Inquiry when they are released in mid-2020. 

To achieve this goal, Mental Health Australia is proposing we ‘the mental health sector’ do four things together:

  1. build a new, unified alliance to advance our goal; including consumers and carers, NGOs and other organisations, stakeholders, employers, everyone
  2. mobilise members of parliaments across the country to support and advance our cause
  3. coordinate the advocacy we are doing at state and territory level with the advocacy we are doing at the Commonwealth level
  4. and, empower local communities to talk to local members of parliaments across the country to demand they support our goal of having the Productivity Commission’s recommendations implemented.

The Productivity Commission Inquiry into mental health gives us a once in a generation opportunity to act. Let’s not let this moment pass.

Let’s mobilise our unity, join together for a common goal and advocate and argue for real and lasting action

Warm regards,

Frank Quinlan
Chief Executive Officer


2019 Annual Issues and Opportunities Workshop

On Thursday and Friday we were pleased to host national mental health consumer and carer leaders in Melbourne for the Annual Issues and Opportunities Workshop. This event brought together members of the National Register, the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum (NMHCCF) and the CALD Mental Health Consumer and Carer Group. Through workshop sessions, participants discussed the current mental health policy landscape and met with key stakeholders, exploring and embracing the theme “Uniting Our Voices – people, policy and purpose.” 

The National Multicultural Mental Health Project Team was also pleased to meet with the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Mental Health Consumer and Carer Group in Melbourne earlier in the week. Once again, it was an energised and passionate meeting, as the Group continues their important role in providing advice to the Project on mental health promotion, suicide prevention and improving services in our multicultural society. 

NDIS Psychosocial Stream

Regular readers will already know that Mental Health Australia has begun work with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to improve the pathway to accessing psychosocial support under the National Disability Insurance Scheme. This work is a follow up to the consultations undertaken by Mental Health Australia last year that resulted in a range of recommendations that were provided to the NDIA in the NDIS Psychosocial Disability Pathway Report. The NDIA and Mental Health Australia have established a small working group (including a mental health consumer, service providers, and government officials).

This week Mental Health Australia hosted the second working group meeting at our offices in Canberra. The group held very positive discussions around: 

  • designing elements of the scheme that would better respond to the episodic nature of psychosocial disability
  • understanding what type of activity the NDIA could undertake to better support people with psychosocial disability to prepare to access the scheme.

Mental Health Australia is encouraged by the NDIA’s genuine engagement in this process and looks forward to communicating with the sector about the group’s deliberations as more concrete information becomes available.


Mental Health News

Early Childhood Australia urges action on child poverty and educational disadvantage

ECA congratulates the re-elected Liberal-National Coalition Government, and urges Prime Minister Scott Morrison to harness his majority in the Australian Parliament to take action on reducing child poverty and educational disadvantage. “As Australia’s peak advocacy organisation for children from birth to eight years, ECA believes that the time has come for national action on child poverty and educational disadvantage”, said ECA CEO Samantha Page. 

Read More 

Amnesty International: Morrison Government must act on human rights

Following the election of The Coalition to form the next Federal Government, Amnesty International Australia National Director, Claire Mallinson, said: “Amnesty International congratulates Prime Minister Scott Morrison on his 2019 election victory. The Morrison government is now in an ideal position to ensure people and their human rights are at the core of policy making decisions that benefit all of society.” 

Read More

Young Australians confused about consent and control

The National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey (NCAS) Youth report released today by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) and VicHealth has found nearly a third of young men aged 16-24 years believe many women who’ve said they’d been raped had instead led the man on and then had regrets.

Read More



On Monday, the Mental Health Australia office will be closed due to the Reconciliation Day public holiday in Canberra. 

Tuesday sees me travelling to Darwin, to participate in meeting 2 of the Australian National Advisory Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ANACAD). This will be held over the 29th and 30th of May.

On Thursday the Mental Health Australia FARM committee will be meeting via teleconference. 

On Friday, Harry Lovelock - Director of Policy and Projects will be attending the NDIA CEO Forum in Melbourne, and Emma Coughlan - Manager of Policy and Projects will be attending the Better Mental Health Care in Rural Emergency Departments Face-to-Face meeting in Melbourne. 


Member Profiles

TheMHS Learning Network Inc. is an international learning network for improving mental health services in Australia and New Zealand. TheMHS Learning Network is a registered charity run by a volunteer Management Committee.
TheMHS events bring together people from across Australia and New Zealand to stimulate debates that challenge the boundaries of present knowledge and ideas about mental health care and mental health systems.
TheMHS Learning Network believes in promoting positive attitudes about mental health and mental illness.
Their forums foster the exchange of ideas, focus discussion on workforce development, and are a great place for networking and debate for professionals, consumers, families and carers, managers, researchers and policy-makers.
Website - Facebook - Twitter - 


The Australian Society for Psychological Medicine started out as the Australian College of Psychological Medicine in 1998. The College was formed by a group of doctors with a special interest in psychological medicine. The name was changed to Society instead of College in 2011, to reflect their desire to focus on providing support to members and to forge links with relevant training colleges. The ASPM now has members in every state and territory and membership is also open to doctors in New Zealand.
Website - Facebook -…



#MAYDAYS2019 - The Butterfly Foundation Campaign

MAYDAYS for Eating Disorders is Butterfly’s annual awareness and advocacy campaign which takes place nationally throughout the month of MAY. Each year, their campaign draws on the experiences of Australians to highlight key concerns relating to eating disorders, and calls for change! This year, Butterfly conducted a consultative survey asking Australians to share their experiences on caring for a loved one experiencing an eating disorder.

Check out the results of the survey here.

Learn more about the campaign and access resources to support it here.

Read more 

2nd Asia Pacific Conference on Integrated Care - Call for papers

The International Foundation of Integrated Care (IFIC) in partnership with The University of Newcastle, Centre for Rural & Remote Mental Health, Children’s Health Queensland, Central Coast Local Health District, The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association and Health Justice Australia brings the 2nd Asia Pacific Conference on Integrated Care will take place in Melbourne, Australia, from 11-13 November 2019. 
The scientific committee for this conference has been established from international experts who are leading in the field of integrated care policy and practice, and they are now accepting paper submissions on the science, knowledge and adoption of Integrated Care and specifically relating to the conference themes until Friday, 28 June. The paper should take the form of an abstract of not more than 500 words. Abstract Submission Guidelines are available to download from the conference website.
 All accepted abstracts will be published in the International Journal of Integrated Care (Impact Factor 1.837). Accepted abstract will appear in the programme as a formal oral presentation, workshop, oral poster or display poster, as deemed appropriate by the scientific committee. All accepted abstracts will compete for the annual IFIC Integrated Care Awards. 

Read more

Political Advisor position - Apply now

Employer: ACT Greens MLA
Work Type/s: Contract 
Classification/s: Mental Health & Counselling, Policy & Research.  Adviser Level 1 Upper - 3rd tier, $79,920, plus super and 9.5% loadings in lieu of overtime and Long Service Leave. 
Sector/s: ACT Government 
Location: Canberra & ACT
Applications close: 27 May, 2019

Read more 

Assistant Director (Mental Health) Policy Partnerships and Programs position - Apply now

Employer: ACT Health

Classification: Senior Officer Grade B
Position Number: 36476
Annual Salary: $123,227 - $138,723
Branch: Policy Partnerships and Programs
Section: Mental Health Policy
Vacancy Type: Permanent Full-time 
Closing Date: 30 May 2019 

Read more 

Speak Your Mind mental health campaign launch

The global mental health ‘Speak your mind’ campaign launched last week in Geneva at the World Economic Forum. As the Australian partner, Australians for Mental Health are supporting this campaign, in particular its social media efforts. Australians for Mental Health are calling on as many people as possible to share a ‘Speak your mind’ photo (below) on social media, tagging @gospeakyourmind and either @oz4mentalhealth (Twitter), @ausformentalhealth (Facebook) or @australiansformentalhealth (Instagram), with the hashtags #SpeakYourMind and #TimeToAct.
In addition, you can make a pledge to support the global campaign here.

To follow the campaign and learn more, visit:

Read more 


Watch the new animation from SANE on their online forums!

‘Speak your mind’ photo


Copyright © 2019 Mental Health Australia Ltd., All rights reserved.  | Join our mailing list

Contact Us:

Did you receive this email in error?
Unsubscribe from this list
Rate this article: 

© 2022 Mental Health Australia All rights reserved.