CEO Update from Mental Health Australia: Worries for many - climate and cost of living

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Worries for many - climate and cost of living

In the lead-up to the 2022 Federal Election, we’ve been delving into the issues that impact the mental health of Australians – that is, every election issue.

We know that mental health and money problems are often intricately linked.

When it comes to the cost of living in 2022, Australia is currently listed as the country with the 16th highest cost of living in the world. As we witnessed inflation exceed 5% this week, it is expected the RBA will start raising the interest rate as early as next week, with the flow on effect adding further pressure to households across the country.

The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System found a disproportionate number of people with mental health issues have a low income. The unsustainable cost of living combined with the high cost of mental health care is a major barrier to people accessing the care they need.

Mental Health Australia has consistently called for income support payment rates to be set at a level to meet reasonable costs of living – this is one of the most immediate actions an incoming government can take to address Australia’s mental health crisis.

As well as the cost of living high on our agenda, the ABC’s Vote Compass this week stated that more Australians mentioned climate change as their number one issue than any other topic.

Climate change is another issue adding to feelings of anxiety and instability across the country. We know Australians are three times more worried about climate change than they are about COVID-19.

We also know the impacts of climate change will exacerbate the social and economic inequalities that already exist. People experiencing financial or social disadvantage are impacted by climate change first, worse, and longest because they have access to fewer resources to cope, adapt and recover.

That said, there is hope if we act now. Mental Health Australia continues to call for decisive action on climate change. Governments – all levels of government – must develop national response coordination plans, work with affected communities, and increase the capacity of the mental health workforce to meet increasing need.

In addition to our 22-23 Federal Budget analysis, and our position statement on mental health and climate change, Mental Health Australia has produced a range of ISSUES BRIEFS as part of our election advocacy resources.

New ISSUES BRIEFS on the impacts of climate change and the rising cost of living on our collective mental health – and what the government of the day can do about them – can be found on our website.

Together, with Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit), we have also developed an ISSUES BRIEF on First Nations people, their culture and mental health. These resources and more can be found here.

As we approach 21 May, I commend these resources to you and your audiences as we encourage all Australians to vote with mental health in mind.

Have a great weekend.


Dr Leanne Beagley

CEO, Mental Health Australia


Next week 

My Diary next week

On Tuesday I will be catching up with the ABC team about their Anxiety Project and later meeting with Robert Hunt, CEO at Dieticians Australia. Then we will be meeting with the Department of Health team about our Embrace Multicultural Project.

On Thursday I am looking forward to meeting with the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum at their in person workshop in Melbourne.


Director Corporate Services

We’re looking for our next Director of Corporate Services. Reporting to the CEO, this multi-faceted part-time position plays a vital role in the successful operations of Mental Health Australia. This is a unique opportunity to become involved with an organisation dedicated to driving better mental health for all Australians.

Find out more or apply  


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Independent Community Living Australia 

Independent Community Living Australia (ICLA) supports people with mental health and psychosocial disabilities to live valued lives in their chosen communities. ICLA manages over 20 residential locations, providing long-term, secure, and affordable accommodation and support services for people who experience severe and complex mental health, and psychosocial disabilities.

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Flourish Australia

Flourish Australia supports people with a lived experience of a mental health issue to live, learn and work in the community. We strive to support people to find and create a home, find a job they love, make friends and have a sense of belonging in their local community, and to learn new things.


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Find out more.

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Read more.

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According to new analysis published by ACOSS, over 200,000 people have their income support payments suspended in a typical month. Nearly half of these suspensions are due to unrealistic job search targets.

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Suicide and self-harm monitoring brings together a variety of new and existing sources of data on suicide and self-harm in Australia. The reporting of suicide and self-harm statistics and information on the AIHW website represents one part of the Project. The AIHW website includes interactive data visualisations and geospatial mapping to illustrate and explore the statistics as well as text to assist with their interpretation and clarification of the limitations of the data.

Find out more.

Funding boost for youth suicide prevention

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Read more

Federal Budget misses the mark for people with severe and complex mental illness

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Read more.

ABC’s Anxiety Project

ABC News explores the issue of anxiety by speaking with Australians who experience it, examining the risk factors and talking to experts about how to minimise the impact on everyday life.

Watch on ABC iview.


  Mental Health Opportunities and Resources

On Monday 23rand Wednesday 25 May, join One Door Mental Health in their annual symposium to share the latest insights, promote inclusive behaviour and encourage a purposeful and meaningful life amongst the creative and passionate community living with schizophrenia.

Get tickets

What are the big issues having an impact on young people and their mental health – and how can policy make a difference?

Sign up for this online event and launch of the Orygen Institute to hear from a panel of experts discussing megatrends in youth mental health and why policy matters. 

This will be an online event Wednesday 4 May, 10am (AEST)

The Orygen Institute is a new initiative that will push the boundaries of current thinking to better understand the broader factors impacting young people’s mental health and to generate new ideas for policy development and change. 

 For more information and to register for the event, head to EventBrite.

Be part of TheMHS Sydney 2022

TheMHS is now accepting abstract submissions for TheMHS Sydney 2022 Conference! This year’s theme ‘Navigating complexity - embedding integration that makes a difference’ calls for better integration across services and sectors to improve mental health outcomes.  The Conference will bring together people from all areas of mental health services to share, learn and connect around this important theme for our times.

This is your opportunity to contribute ideas, collaborations, clinical and service innovations and research to this milestone conference. Submit an abstract for your chance to present at TheMHS Conference 2022. We’d love to receive your Abstract by the closing date for submissions on 13 May.

Please see our website for more in-depth information about the abstract submission process and requirements, or hit the button below to submit directly.

More information here.

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