CEO Update: A year in review

A year in review

As we race towards the end of the year, the team at Mental Health Australia celebrated the festive season early last week with our annual staff party, and what a year to celebrate. It was a lovely, sunny afternoon – and a chance to thank the staff for their efforts and achievements over this past 12 months.

After the busyness of our recent Board meeting, Annual General Meeting, Grace Groom Memorial Oration and November Members Policy Forum, it was also a nice afternoon to stop and reflect on some of our successes this year. 

A year full of highlights, from launching the Embrace Multicultural Mental Health Project to breaking a Guinness World Record on World Mental Health Day. 

In my mind on of our biggest achievements for members and the sector in 2019, actually looks ahead to 2020 and that is Charter 2020 – Time To Fix Mental Health and the nine principles through which to dissect and prosecute the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health.

So it is worth repeating them again to reminding ourselves of what we are trying to achieve:

  • Strike a new National Agreement for Mental Health
  • Build a mental health system that is truly person centred
  • Address the root causes of mental health issues
  • Invest in early intervention and prevention
  • Provide integrated, comprehensive support services and programs
  • Expand community based mental health care
  • Support workforce development
  • Build an accountable and responsive system

To have more than 110 organisational signatories agreeing to a broad suite of needs and reforms for mental health is a clear platform for change, and following the workshop at our recent Members Policy Forum we are looking forward to collating further feedback into our next submission to the Productivity Commission by 23 January 2020.

A consistent achievement, and one of which I am continually proud, is the constant work of day-to-day advocacy to advance mental health reform for consumers and carers. An achievement all of you can also celebrate as the year comes to a close.

Of course, there have been other highlights for this year. But rather than list them all, why not take a look for yourself at the year that was for Mental Health Australia, including the 2019 Federal Budget and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s commitment to mental health and suicide prevention.

Kind regards,

Melanie Cantwell
Acting CEO

Make a submission to the Productivity Commission now

The Productivity Commission invites interested people and organisations to make a written submission. If you have something brief to say, you may want to make a comment rather than producing a submission. Comments may be used by the Commission to inform its final report. An issues paper was produced to assist participants in preparing a submission to the public inquiry. It outlined a range of issues about which the Commission sought information. 

Opportunity for further comment is now sought on the Draft Report. Submissions are due by Thursday 23 January 2020.

Make a comment

Read the issues paper 

Read more

Productivity Commission hearings

The Productivity Commission will seek further information and feedback following the release of the draft report on 31 October 2019.

Adelaide and Darwin public hearings will be held at dates to be advised in early 2020. Please note registrations to attend or participate in the hearings is not open yet. 

Read more


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: 

  • Canberra, ACT: 26 February, 2020
  • Perth, WA: 5 March 2020
  • Darwin, NT: 26 March 2020

Please click here to register for a workshop near you. 


Mental Health News

Beyond Blue and HIA continue mental health push

Beyond Blue and the Housing Industry Association have extended their partnership to continue supporting the mental health of people working in the residential building industry.  

Read more 

Upskilling workforce key to driving down suicide rate

Suicide Prevention Australia has welcomed this week’s joint announcement by Commonwealth and NSW Government to address regional workforce and mental health issues, while calling for a broader focus on upskilling the suicide prevention workforce as a whole. 

Read more 

Australia’s future doctors deeply disappointed by Medevac repeal

Medical students have called on the Federal Government to ensure that the physical and mental health and wellbeing of asylum seekers in offshore detention is protected, following the repeal of the Medevac legislation. 

Read more

Not OK: one in five young jobseekers in Australia long-term unemployed

Nearly one in five unemployed young people have been out of work for a year or more, according to a disturbing new report out this week. 

Read more 

$13.5 million for new research to improve Indigenous health

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, says up to $13.5 million in health and medical research grants over three years is available for Indigenous-led projects to drive improvements in outcomes for four key health challenges.

Read more 

Funding cuts silence Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women

The Federal Government’s decision to cut funding to the National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services Forum (National FVPLS) from June 30, 2020 will remove Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s voices from the national stage.

Read more



On Monday, Director of External Relations Lachlan Searle will be taking part in a Reducing Stigma and Discrimination Working Group teleconference.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Harry Lovelock – Director, Policy and Projects and Ingrid Hatfield, Acting Senior Policy Officer will be in Sydney attending a range of meetings including with the National Mental Health Commission, a discussion with Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA) and Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia (MIFA), and an NDIA workshop focused on a conceptual approach to inform PSD recovery framework.

On Wednesday, Lachlan Searle will be in Melbourne attending a World Mental Health Day debrief and planning meeting.

On Friday, we will be wishing the WONDERFUL Emma Coughlan all the very best as she goes on maternity leave. Good luck Emma! 

The Mental Health Australia offices will be closed from the afternoon of the 20th, reopening on the 6th of January.


Member Profiles

The Mental Health Coalition of South Australia is the peak body for the non-government mental health sector in South Australia.
Vision - All South Australians affected by mental illness are receiving the support they need to live well in the community.
Mission - To influence the development, range and responsiveness of services to support people affected by mental illness by:
• Working to reduce stigma and increase an understanding of mental illness and its prevention
• Representing and working with the community mental health service sector (non government) to support people affected by mental illness
• Promoting and building the role of the community mental health service sector (non government).
Value Statement - We believe in the inherent value and dignity of each individual and the right to self-determination, citizenship and social justice.
Website - Facebook - Twitter - 

Mentis Assist is one of Victoria’s primary not-for-profit, non-government, community managed mental health service providers supporting people with mental illness and psychiatric disabilities. With a 30 year history in the provision of high quality mental health support in the Southern/ Bayside/ peninsula region and more recently in the areas of Casey and Cardinia, they have supported thousands of people from all walks of life as they achieve their goals. Mentis Assist supports individuals and their families, offering a range of services including one on one outreach and in office support, service and care co-ordination, group activities, family support and a suite of training and meaningful activity options. 

Website - Facebook - 



CMHA 3rd National NDIS and Mental Health Conference: call for abstracts

There is one week left to submit an abstract for the CMHA 3rd National NDIS and Mental Health Conference. The conference themes are:

  • Innovation
  • Interface
  • Human Rights and Social Equity
  • Lived Experience Workforce and Leadership

Submit your abstract here.

The conference will be held on March 30 and 31, 2020, at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

You can still register now for early-bird pricing.

Read more

Housing: the foundation for mental health

This AHURI one-day conference, presented in partnership with Mind Australia, draws on the joint Trajectories research project to examine the reciprocal links between the mental health and housing trajectories of individuals. The research offers new evidence on circuit breakers that can interrupt the downward trajectory in which many people find themselves.

The conference will be held on: Wed 19 Feb 2020, in Sydney

Read more


Apply now for an Innovation Research Grant 

Applications are currently open for round 3 of Suicide Prevention Australia’s Innovation Research Grants. The Innovation Research Grant provides up to $100,000 in funding for researchers at all stages of their career and supports research where the objectives are more exploratory in nature or more developmental in design. Applications close 23:59 (AEST) Friday 7 February 2020.

Read more

Have your say: Consultations on options for nationally-coordinated strategy to reduce stigma


Priority Area 6 of the 5th National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan involves the reduction of stigma towards people with mental illness that is poorly understood in the community.


A research team at the Centre for Mental Health, University of Melbourne has been funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health to conduct a research project that aims to identify, review and analyse available data on programs run by Australian organisations that focus on reducing stigma towards people with mental illness, with a particular focus on schizophrenia, psychosis, bipolar disorder and personality disorders.  This will assist with recommendations to inform national policy on the reduction of stigma and discrimination.


If your organisation runs anti-stigma programs and would like to participate, you will be asked to provide details about these programs. The survey will take approximately 20 minutes to complete. Our review of programs will inform future consultations on options for a nationally coordinated stigma-reduction strategy. 


To complete the survey, please copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser:


For more information, please contact Judith Wright on 03 9035 7543 or


Read more

Help the NSW government provide more employment opportunities for people with disability

The NSW Public Service Commission (PSC) is working to support the NSW public sector to provide an inclusive and accessible environment for all employees. We are working in partnership with Property NSW (PNSW) to develop an Accessible Office Design Guide to assist agencies in sourcing and designing office workspaces in an accessible way. Peak disability organisations in Australia are invited to provide comment on the draft Accessible Office Design Guide.

The draft Accessible Office Design Guide is on exhibition and open for comment. The Guide will be used by NSW public sector organisations in considering office fit-outs and refurbishments. The Guide is aimed at multiple user groups and audiences including designers, developers, asset owners and PNSW procurement to benchmark design performance against key accessibility and Universal Design criteria.

Comments close 24th January 2020.

Read more




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: 


mental health, community, policy, reform, bushfires, support