CEO Update - Ushering in a new support approach for NDIS participants with psychosocial disability

 CEO Update, Mental Health Australia


Speaking frankly...                                       

Ushering in a new support approach for NDIS participants with psychosocial disability


Today marks the culmination of some very important work we’ve been undertaking, alongside some of our member organisations, for almost a year.

We are very pleased to release the final report of the Optimising Psychosocial Support Project; a ground breaking project aimed at improving NDIS support for participants with psychosocial disability.

The report, available on our website today, provides a rich and valuable evidence base with enormous potential to augment the NDIA’s work to deliver effective individualised support to assist participants with psychosocial disability towards ‘an optimal state of personal, social and emotional wellbeing’.

Recognising the significant amount of valuable expertise and experience within the community managed mental health sector, the project aimed to bridge the gap between evidence and practice in the NDIS psychosocial support approach, and to explore how NDIS psychosocial support services can be better aligned to the needs of this cohort.

For the first time, the project assembled service level data from across a range of community based mental health programs, as well as academic literature and expert consumer and carer opinion, to give a picture of how people with severe mental illness were supported in ‘pre NDIS’ programs. 

The project is significant because it fills a gap in the evidence and provides expert knowledge to inform what many in the sector have been advocating for some time: better support for people with psychosocial disability into the future under the NDIS.

Affirming our view, a recent statement from the NDIA CEO also recognises there is room for improvement in the NDIS approach to psychosocial disability. It is our hope that this report – a readymade source of evidence that brings together a range of data and expertise – can help to shape these improvements.

One of the key achievements of the project was to reach consensus on 30 proposed new support items for inclusion in the NDIS Price Guide and recommendations to amend 28 existing support items to better reflect the support needs of people with psychosocial disability.

The project was an initiative of a partnership between Aftercare, Flourish Australia, the Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia, Mind Australia, Neami National, New Horizons, Star Health and Wellways. These Project Partners provided funding, as well as significant in-kind input in the form of service-level data, expertise, and governance. The National Mental Health Commission provided additional grant funding. 

Consumers and carers provided expert advice and were also involved in the governance of the project. 

The project was delivered by David McGrath consultants, and managed by Mental Health Australia on behalf of the Project Partners.

The project report, and more information about the project, can be found at 

Warm regards,

Frank Quinlan

Chief Executive Officer

Tickets to the 2018 Grace Groom Memorial Oration selling fast

This year's Grace Groom Memorial Oration on Monday 26 November at the National Gallery of Australia will be presented by journalist and prominent media personality, Tracey Spicer.

Tracey is an ambassador for Dying with Dignity, ActionAid, World Vision, Purple Our World, the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Full Stop Foundation, Cancer Council NSW, SISTER2sister, and the Learning Potential Fund at QUT. In 2018, she was honoured with an Order of Australia for her work as an ambassador for charitable and social welfare groups.

Tickets for this year's Oration are selling fast. Members and friends of Mental Health Australia are reminded to book their tickets soon to secure a place at this year's event.


Notice of Annual General Meeting 2018

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Mental Health Australia Ltd will be held at the James O Fairfax Theatre at the National Gallery of Australia on Monday 26 November at 6:00pm.

Thank you to all members who have already RSVP’d for the AGM. It is not too late to advise your attendance or apology to or (02) 6285 3100.

If you are unable to attend the AGM please send your completed proxy vote form to Melanie Cantwell by 5.00pm AEDST Thursday 22 November 2018.

Members should arrive for registration at 5.45pm.

Next Week

On Monday I will be participating in a National Disability Strategy Reform Steering Group teleconference run by the Department of Social Services.

On Thursday, participants from the Australian Mental Health Leaders Fellowship (AMHLF) will join me on a tour of Parliament House, followed by a meeting with members of our policy team.


Prime Minister must guarantee NDIS funding

The peak body for disability service providers will seek urgent clarification from the Government about future funding for the NDIS. NDS CEO, Chris Tanti, said disability service providers would be seeking reassurance from the Prime Minister that the NDIS would remain fully funded for Australians with disability. Mr Tanti said the disability sector needs certainty about NDIS funding if it is to continue plan for the growth needed under the scheme.(FED) 

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New school-based program to support children's mental health

A new school-based mental health program that aims to give teachers the tools to help students manage their mental health will be launched today following a $98.6 million investment from the Morrison Government. The program, Be You, will be delivered by beyondblue in partnership with headspace and Early Childhood Australia. Minister for Health Greg Hunt said the program will provide Australian teachers with the skills and resources to be able to teach students how to manage their mental health and wellbeing, build resilience, and support the mental wellbeing of other students. 

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Member Profiles

Ostara Australia is a national not-for-profit organisation that works closely with the Australian Government, member organisations, communities and employers to place people disadvantaged through age, health, disability or cultural background into sustainable employment. Their holistic approach is to address both the vocational and non-vocational barriers faced by disadvantaged job seekers. As such, they deliver personalised employment services, whilst also working in collaboration with countless community and welfare organisations to help job seekers with any mental, cultural or emotional challenges.

Website is external) 



Act-Belong-Commit, Mentally Healthy WA, is a community-based health promotion campaign that encourages people to take action to improve their mental health and wellbeing. This evidence-based campaign was developed primarily from research undertaken by Curtin University into people’s perceptions of mental health and the behaviours they believed protected and promoted good mental health. Following a successful pilot phase in six regional communities in Western Australian (2005–2007), the campaign was expanded state-wide.

Website - is external)


NSW Mental Health Peer Workers' Forum 2018

The NSW Consumer Peer Workers’ Forum is an annual event that provides targeted professional development to the mental health public consumer workforce. This forum is hosted by Being Mental Health & Wellbeing Consumer Advisory Group in collaboration with the NSW Mental Health Consumer Peer Workers Council. The Forum will take place on Monday 12 november at 9:00am in Sydney.

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PANDA Week was established by PANDA in 2005 to increase the community’s understanding of perinatal anxiety and depression and reduce stigma. This year's theme '‘I Wish I Knew’ captures the shock and surprise many new parents experience to find how challenging becoming a parent can be. PANDA will be sharing real ‘I wish I knew’ stories and information to show that this illness is serious and complex but that it is also temporary and treatable. 

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Mental health and gender diversity: Implications for service delivery

Over recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the visibility of transgender and gender diverse people. There has also been growing awareness of the issues faced by these communities, along with some of the common challenges and/or barriers when accessing support services. This November, the Mental Health Community Coalition of the ACT (MHCCACT) will host a subsidised training opportunity for members to learn about the latest research, community experiences, mental health implications and legal obligations. This workshop will take place on Thursday 15 November 2018.

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