MHCA CEO's Weekly Update - 28 February

Mental Health Council of Australia Header

This Week

MHCA Board meeting - time for action

The MCHA Board met for two days earlier this week, and concentrated its thinking on the current review of mental health being conducted by the National Mental Health Commission.  David Butt and Georgie Harman from the Commission met with Board members to discuss the review and how the MHCA might contribute to it.  It is clear that the timing of this review creates a rare but brief opportunity to have a direct impact on the new Commonealth Government’s emerging agenda for mental health.

You will recall that last year the MHCA had identified the need to co-design the best mental health system in the world as the key strategic priority for the year ahead.  Given the urgency of the reveiw, the Board has decided to accellerate that process dramatically in order to inform the review and we will apply all our resources to that task.

To this end we will be working over the next month or so to do some intensive work on this model, leading to some clear recommendations for changes in government policy and for specific actions that could be taken to advance that vision.

After all the consultations that we did last year on indicators and targets for mental health, we think we have a good starting place.  We are curently contracting some high level consulting support, and re-directing the work of the policy team, in order to get this substantial piece of work completed quickly.

I will post more about this work next week, but for the moment I invite members who might be in a position to immediately invest in your organisation’s time or money into this important and urgent work to contact me directly at 

Government’s drought package

The MHCA this week welcomed the government’s new drought assistance package, specifically the focus on increasing mental health services across regional and remote Australia. While there is much more to be done, it was encouraging to see the government recognise the importance of mental health alongside financial relief.  Our full media release on this issue can be downloaded from the website.

Not for Profit Steering Committee

Today I attended the first meeting of the Not for Profit Steering Committee hosted by the Department of Finance here in Canberra.  This work continues some work that was commenced under the previous government that aims to reduce the red-tape too often associated with Commonwealth Grants.

The first meeting focussed on the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act which will come into effect from July 1st this year.  The group are also doing work around Commonwealth Grants - including issuing guidance for Commonwealth Departments who are making grants to non-profit organisaitons.  They are currently updating their www site and I will post links to this work when they are available.  

Gay is OK Day

Congratulations to the students of Hawker College in the ACT who responded to an incident of bullying and harrassment by organising “Gay is OK Day” at the school.  I was delighted to be the guest speaker for their first event to talk about celebrating diversity and mental health.

Mental Health Consumer Peak Organisation Project Update

The project to establish a new National Mental Health Consumer Peak Organisation continues to move ahead at full steam, and I will meet with the Consumer Reference Group next week. Following the recent consultation over the draft constitution, work is proceeding to incorporate feedback into the document. Advertising for directors to join the inaugural Board will soon take place, I will update you on the details of this process in coming weeks. A full wrap-up of current activities is available in the latest communique from the Consumer Reference Group.
Read more

Presentation to the Associations Forum

MHCA Board Chair Jennifer Westacott presented to the Associations Forum’s 9th Annual CEO Symposium. Jennifer discussed the impact of mental health in our communities, the national reform agenda and called on all CEOs to make mental health a focus in their workplaces. It may be an interesting commentary on current awareness that the CEOs present gave this presentation the highest rating of the whole conference. To read Jennifer’s full speech please visit our website.
Read more



Mindscapes Festival - calling all film makers

Mindscapes Festival is calling all film makers! Have you made a short film about mental illness? Would you like to make one? Mindscapes Festival will be holding a short film festival on 8 October in Canberra focused around the lived experience. They are looking for short films to screen on the night. More details are available from the Mental Health Community Coalition ACT’s website. Read More

Connecting Minds Conference - call for abstracts

The Australian Society for Psychological Medicine, in conjunction with the RACGP Psychological Medicine Network, will be co-hosting the Connecting Minds Conference in Byron Bay from 12-14 September this year. Abstracts are now open and full details are available at the website. More Info

NIDAC and NACCHO survey on amphetamine-type substance abuse

Do you work in primary health, AOD, mental health, or another health-related field? Do you have contact with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander clients? The National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee (NIDAC) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) invite you to take a survey on the use of amphetamine-type substances (such as ‘speed’ and ‘ice’) among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. There is little data available about the use of these drugs and related problems and the survey results will be used to inform policy advice to governments. The survey will take just 5-10 minutes to complete and all responses are confidential and anonymous. The survey will be open for responses until midnight on Friday, April 11, 2014 and can be accessed here. Read more

Short course in suicide prevention

The University of Sydney’s Brain & Mind Research Institute is offering a short course in Suicide Prevention for professionals in health and human services. Facilitated by former MHCA CEO Professor John Mendoza, the course gives participants an introduction to the latest knowledge in research and practice in suicide and suicide prevention in Australia, and practical skills for responding to people at risk of suicide. The course will be held over 5 days starting on Saturday 15 March. Read more

Find a social worker

The Australian Association of Social Workers has an online advanced search directory to locate social workers in your area. ‘Find a Social Worker’, allows referring professionals and the wider public to search for social workers (who are members of the AASW and accountable to the AASW Code of Ethics). The directory can search for social workers by experience with particular client groups, expertise in particular field of practice, and or by location. To find a social worker please visit the AASW website. Read more

National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Awards now open

Nominations are now open for the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Awards. These Awards provide an opportunity for recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working in the alcohol and other drug field and appreciation of their contribution in reducing the harmful effects of alcohol and other drugs among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Nominations close at midnight on Sunday 20 April and the winners will be announced during the 3rd NIDAC Conference on 4-6 June. Read more

No 2 Bullying Conference - register now

The Australian No 2 Bullying Conference will be held at QT Hotel, Surfers Paradise from 6-8 April. The Conference will examine bullying and what can be done about it in  a range of contexts including schools, families, workplaces and cyberspace. The Conference is being hosted by the Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association and full details including the program and registration details are available on the website. Download

NSW Youth Week Forum - Minding our Mental Health

Nominations are now open for young people between the ages of 15 and 25 to apply to attend the NSW Youth Week Forum Minding Our Mental Health which will be held at NSW Parliament House on Tuesday 1 April to kick off Youth Week 2014. If you are, or know a young person would be interested in applying please hurry as entries close on Monday 3 March. Full details are available on the website. Download

Primary Mental Health Care Conference

Don’t forget to register for the Primary Mental Health Care Conference being held in Canberra on 21-22 March. This year’s conference will focus on the provision of health care that truly integrates physical and mental health and ways in which this can be achieved in primary health care. Download

AMA Awards 2014 - call for nominations

The Australian Medical Association is currently calling for entries for their 2014 awards. Nominations are due by 28 March 2014 and award categories include the AMA Excellence in Healthcare Award, Women in Medicine Award, Women’s Health Award, Men’s Health Award and a Youth Health Award. Full details are available on the website. Download

Warm regards


Frank Quinlan
Chief Executive Officer

T: 02 6285 3100  |  M: 0409 655 460
E:  |  W:

Mental health begins with me!

Rate this article: 
Newsletter, board

© 2024 Mental Health Australia All rights reserved.