CEO's Weekly Update - 15 August
What a week!
Welcome to the new look CEO Update - as you can see it has been quite a week. In addition to the change of name, my presentation at the Future of Medicare Conference in Sydney generated some national media attention - bolstered by the ABC’s announcement of its “Mental as” campaign. It is encouraging to see this kind of national attention building as we approach November - when the National Mental Health Commission will report to Government on its review of mental health in Austalia.
This week we launched our new name - Mental Health Australia - and we have been delighted with the many positive messages that we received. Our new name simply reflects our longstanding role as the Commonwealth recognised peak for mental health in Australia. The change will not distract us from our important work as we will continue to advocate for systemic reform within the mental health arena, representing our members and facilitating a voice for individuals with a mental illness and for those who care for them.
On Monday and Tuesday Director of Policy and Projects Josh Fear attended the NDIS One Year On conference in Geelong. While many of us share concerns about how the NDIS will meet the needs of people with psychosocial disability, we also acknowledge the challenges that the National Disability Insurance Agency has overcome to implement a scheme with haste across the various trial sites. The Agency clearly wants to learn how they can do things better, and it is encouraging to hear public servants openly invite criticism to help them refine their approaches on the ground. I hope they also enjoy reflecting on what has been acheived to date!
As you may have seen this week, the ABC has announced plans to lead a significant discussion on mental health through comprehensive programing and content in the lead up to National Mental Health Week, 5-12 October 2014, helping facilitate a nationwide conversation on the topic. This initiative began following a meeting between Patrick McGorry and the ABC’s Managing Director Mark Scott. We are very excited to be working closely with the ABC throughout the coming months as their plans for the week unfold.
You may have heard an interview this week where I spoke to ABC Radio’s RN Breakfast Show host Fran Kelly about our recent submission to the National Mental Health Commission’s Review. If you missed it, please click on the button below to listen. We will continue to consult widely with our members and other key stakeholders in the lead up to the review’s release in November.
Do you need help with funding your next mental health or suicide themed conference? We might be able to help. Thanks to the Department of Health, we have a conferences funding program that provides grants of up to $20,000. The next funding round closes on 12 September so visit our website for the application details.
Walk to support mental health reform
On 4 October 2014, Queensland local Kirrily Moyler will be walking 50km to raise money for Mental Health Australia. Looking to support our work with systemic reform, Kirrily is passionate about creating change for the future and breaking down barriers in public perceptions about mental illness.
I will be at the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday for an address by the Social Determinants of Health Alliance.
The Mental Health Australia Governance Committee are meeting on Wednesday afternoon.
Also on Wednesday, Director of Communications, Chris Wagner will be meeting with the Mentally Health Workplace Alliance.
Victoria’s first mental health complaints commissioner announced
Victoria’s Mental Health Complaints Commissioner was officially launched this week by Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge. Launching the Commissioner and its office in Melbourne with Commissioner Lynne Coulson Barr, Ms Wooldridge said the new body is the first of its kind in Australia. The Mental Health Complaints Commissioner will assist people to speak up about their concerns, work with individuals to resolve complaints, help mental health services respond to issues and assist them in improving their services.
Up-skilling in psychological medicine - workshop weekend
After the success of the ‘Connecting Minds’ conference in Melbourne 2013, the ASPM, representing GPs and specialists with an interest in psychological medicine, and the RACGP, invite you to an interactive, skills based weekend - focussing on mental health issues in young people. There will also be two full day workshops including Black Dog’s ‘New interactive Program for the Diagnosis and Management of Bipolar Disorder’ and ‘The Weight Escape’, an ACT presentation from Prof Joseph Ciarrochi who specialises in Emotional Intelligence and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Full details are on the website.
PhD project opportunity - effects of puberty hormones on adolescent health
The ARCHER study, based at The University of Sydney, School of Rural Health Campus in Dubbo and Orange provides an excellent PhD opportunity to research in a fully recruited, established adolescent cohort in Dubbo and/or Orange. The ARCHER cohort study is generating a large amount of data in a number of different areas. The main aim of the current early adolescent study is to answer, for the first time, what are the true effects of puberty hormones on adolescent health, well-being and behaviour, and will it extend into mid-adolescence, where health trajectories and their determinants will be further studied. Full details are on the website.
Australian Healthcare Summit 2014
I will be addressing this year’s Australian Healthcare Summit, to be held on 15-16 October at the Grace Hotel in Sydney. Focusing on innovative models of care that form guidelines, industry reform, and policies. This year’s event includes presentations by Ministers, government departments, and all sectors of both public and private healthcare. There is also a significant focus on health priorities including: diabetes / obesity, ageing, mental health, Aboriginal health, and other major health priorities. It will also look at prevention versus cure strategies, and the role of new technology. For full details and to register, please visit the website.
Addictive Behaviours Conference - call for speakers
If you would like to present at The Australian & New Zealand Addiction Conference, abstract submissions are now being accepted. The Conference, being held on the Gold Coast in March 2015, will address the treatment and recovery of alcohol, other drugs and behavioural addictions.This is your opportunity to present and share your knowledge at the Conference whilst also connecting with like-minded professionals. Full details are available on the website.
TheMHS Conference - Perth
The TheMHS Conference is rapidly approaching, if you haven’t registered yet you are running out of time! The conference will be held from 26-29 August in Perth. I will be part of a panel discussion on the Friday, and a number of Mental health Australia staff will be attending. The conference is also an international mental health educational forum, attracting over 1000 mental health clinicians, managers, consumers, carers, researchers, educators and policy makers. Full details are available on the website.
NDIS evaluation - call for participants
A reminder that an independent evaluation of the NDIS trial is currently underway and is being led by a team at Flinders University. The evaluation will involve a range of studies with different groups of people. The team is currently looking to hear from people who have joined the NDIS as well as families and carers. Participants will be interviewed twice, once in 2014 and once in 2015, to discuss how the NDIS has affected their lives. If you would like to participate in the evaluation or to read more about it please visit the website.
World Suicide Prevention Day - 10 September
This year’s World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) on 10 September will be focussed on the theme ‘Suicide Prevention: One World Connected’. This seems a very appropriate theme as the world mourned Robin Williams death earlier this week. The theme reflects the fact that connections are important at several levels if we are to reduce suicides – at an individual level, cross support services, and cross country/countries. Find out about events happening on that day and add yours to the list at the WSPD website.
The Wellness Show - interactive seminar spots available
To be held at Sydney’s iconic Luna Park, The Wellness Show will be co-located with the 10th annual Happiness & Its Causes conference which is taking place next June. This is the world’s largest conference on human happiness and wellbeing and will feature keynote speaker His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The Wellness Show interactive seminars zone will be limited to just 16 sponsor presentations over the two exhibition days. If you target the wellness and healthcare industries, these sessions provide the perfect opportunity to promote your products or services. Each sponsor will be allocated a 20 minute product presentation on the expo floor.
Our National Voice: call for additional stories
Mental Health Carers ARAFMI Australia are calling for more stories for their ‘Our National Voice’ website. Our National Voice raises awareness of the experience of caring for a loved one with a mental illness. The website collates the many stories about the lived experience of carers, who are now able to express their point of view nationally and not feel isolated, unheard or misunderstood. If you would like to share your story, please visit the website for details.
Warm regards (from chilly Canberra!)
Chief Executive Officer