MHCA CEO's Weekly Update - 6 February

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This Week

National Mental Health Commission Review Terms of Reference

This week we saw the release of the terms of reference for the National Mental Health Commission’s review of the mental health system.

You may remember that when we proposed some terms of reference for a possible review before the election, we suggested that the review needed to balance short term action and long term planning. That is to say, “what can we do now that will advance our long term reform agenda?”

I think this remains the one of the main challenges for the review - especially in the light of the forthcoming budget, which seems to be shaping up to be very light on new spending initiatives.

A further challenge will be to bring the states and territories along for the journey.  We desperately need a considered look at how Commonwealth programs and state programs can be better integrated and coordinated.  We have already commenced a discussion with our state colleagues about how we might influence this part of the review.

We have also offered our assistance to the Commission as they commence their review, and will keep you posted regarding opportunities to have input. 

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Department of Finance and Regulation

This week I met with Mark Thoman, First Assistance Secretary of Social Policy Budget Group at the Department of Finance and Regulation.  This group is responsible for assessing and commenting on relevant Cabinet Submissions and proposals, including the Budget, and will clearly be busy with important work over the next few months! 

NDIS Capacity Building Project

Our NDIS capacity building team were very active this week. The Organisational Readiness and Workforce Working Group, the Assessment and Eligibility Working Group and the Project Advisory Group met by teleconference. Our thanks go to all the members of these groups for their valuable contributions at a time when some critical issues about scheme design and implementation are being discussed at national level and in launch sites.

Yesterday Josh Fear and Liz Ruck presented at a workshop in Hobart for service providers focusing on organisational readiness. The event was convened by the MHCA in partnership with the Mental Health Council of Tasmania and National Disability Services, and we hope to be part of similar workshops around the country in the coming weeks and months.

On Wednesday Josh also met with the National Disability Insurance Agency, to discuss the process of assessing participants’ eligibility and support needs, and with National Disability Services, with whom we hope to work closely on areas of mutual interest as the NDIS is rolled out
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Submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission

The MHCA has made a second submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry this week that focuses on the NDIS. The submission discusses our concerns around equal recognition for people with psychosocial disability through the NDIS, including in relation to scheme design, service quality and safeguards, and supported decision-making.

New member welcome!

We would like to welcome a new member to the MHCA family, the Richmond Fellowship Queensland. Many of you will be familiar with the wonderful work of this community-owned organisation and its work in supporting people with a lived experience of mental illness on their recovery journey. We look forward to working with the entire team from RFQ in the coming months.
More info

Mental Health Conferences Funding Program

The next funding round of the MHCA Mental Health Conferences Funding Program will open in March 2014, with applications closing on Friday 4 April.
Mental Health Conference Funding Program


My National Voice Website - call for contributions

Arafmi Australia are seeking stories from carers for their My National Voice website. The website raises awareness of carer issues through publishing personal stories online, and collating these stories for national advocacy initiatives. The website is currently under development and due for launch in mid 2014. Read More

Disability Support Pension and Welfare Review Online Forum

On Saturday 8 February, People With Disability Australia (PWDA) will be running an online social media forum to hear from anyone who will be affected by the current welfare review. The forum will run from noon to 4pm and PWDA board members will be asking what people with disability need and want from income support, talking about the DSP, the welfare system as a whole and its relationships with income, poverty and employment. Download

Collective Impact 2014: Convene, Immerse, Learn

Collective Impact 2014 Conference tickets have sold out but the good news is that conference organisers are now offering a series of collaborative workshops that will run in parallel with the main conference program. The workshops will help attendees deepen their knowledge and skills in specific areas of Collective Impact. The workshops will be held at the Novotel Sydney Central from 25-26 February. Download

National Suicide Prevention Conference - call for abstracts

The 2014 National Suicide Prevention Conference is now calling for abstracts and nominations for the LiFE Awards. This year’s conference will be held in Perth from 23-25 July and will focus on the theme: Many Communities, One Goal. Full details on the conference including the program and registration details are available on the website. Download

Eating disorders and obesity conference - call for presenters

Individuals and organisations are invited to submit an abstract for the inaugural Eating Disorders and Obesity Conference, to be held from 24-26 May at the Gold Coast, Queensland. The conference will encompass contemporary best practice, multidisciplinary care and research into the epidemiology, clinical manifestations and treatments relating to eating disorders and obesity. More Info

Fat Talk Free February - get on board

The Butterfly Foundation is currently running an awareness campaign - Fat Talk Free February. The aim of the campaign is to encourage the public to engage with friends, family and colleagues to end fat talk! Take action and get involved now to help change the conversation around body issues. Read more

Consumer guide to perinatal depression - Black Dog Institute

The Black Dog Institute has recently released a consumer guide to perinatal depression which contains intimate experiences from women matched with expert advice from leading researchers and clinicians. Overcoming Baby Blues features the personal stories from more than 200 women across the country. Read more

The National LGBTI Health Alliance - MindOUT! Training

As part of its MindOUT! training series, the National LGBTI Health Alliance will be presenting the Equal Not Same: Towards LGBTI Inclusive Practice Workshop across Australia. The workshop will define what is meant by inclusive practice for LGBTI people and put forward a rationale for the need for mainstream services to consider their responsiveness to LGBTI people. Read more

Warm regards


Frank Quinlan
Chief Executive Officer

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

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