MHCA CEO's Weekly Update - 9 May

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This Week

National Mental Health Leaders Project

The MHCA is very excited to be working with the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC) to support the development of existing consumer and carer mental health leaders and the next generation of leaders. This week Kylie Wake, Director of Consumer and Carer Programs, and I attended the first workshop for the eleven participants chosen to be part of the leadership program in 2014. At the two and a half day residential workshop, participants were introduced to each other and the program, shared experiences, and heard from guest presenters (including myself, Commission representatives and the Co-Chairs of the NMHCCF) about a range of topics, including leadership, communication and influence, and the mental health landscape. Group dinners and even a ghost tour were also included in the workshop, and participants embraced all activities with energy and enthusiasm. The workshop was the first part of the project, and participants will have a range of mentoring and development opportunities throughout 2014. I’m looking forward to working with and supporting this new group of mental health leaders in 2014 and into the future.

Welfare System Review

On Monday Josh Fear, Director of Policy and Projects, attended a meeting between a range of peak bodies and Kevin Andrews, the Minister for Social Services, to discuss the Government’s approach to reforming the welfare system. We anticipate that Tuesday’s Budget is unlikely to include substantial measures relating to the Disability Support Pension, with these decisions likely to be be deferred pending the outcomes of the McClure Review into the welfare system. The report from the first phase of that Review is likely to be released in the next few weeks with a short window for stakeholders to contribute their perspectives. We will of course keep you updated as more information comes to hand.

NDIS Organisational Readiness Workshop

On Thursday Josh attended the Queensland Alliance’s workshop to promote the readiness of service providers to adapt to the NDIS. The MHCA is working with state peaks and National Disability Services to deliver similar workshops in each state and territory, with events to be held in Sydney, Canberra and Adelaide in the near future.

Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance Meeting

Communications Director Chris Wagner attended the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance meeting in Sydney on Thursday. The meeting discussed a range of issues and included an update from beyondblue on progress with their upcoming campaign ‘heads up’. The campaign will be launched on 20 May and is aimed a driving traffic to the ‘heads up’ website, where businesses can find information on dealing with mental health in the workplace, as well as register their organisation’s commitment to having mentally healthy employees. Keep an eye out for more information about this important campaign in the coming weeks.

Filming for World Mental Health Day

Chris spent the afternoon on Thursday filming a segment with Australian comedian Felicity Ward for her documentary ‘Felicity goes Mad’. The documentary will air on ABC2 on the 7th of October and will directly support the Mental Health Begins with Me campaign. As part of the show, Felicity will be encouraging people to make a mental health promise at the site and her own promise can be seen at the bottom of this email. You can help by going to and making a promise, even if you’ve made one before!
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National Mental Health Commission’s Review

A quick reminder that although the call for submissions to support the NMHC’s Review are now closed, ongoing contributions from the non-government sector are still welcome. At this stage the Commission is interested in receiving your input on two things. Firstly, your organisation’s ‘Top 5’ issues in relation to the terms of reference for the Review, e.g. duplication, red tape, rural and remote issues, ATSI concerns, workforce, evidence and research. Secondly the Commission would also like to hear about any mental health programme or service evaluation or review your organisation may have undertaken or participated in. The Commission is interested to see the range of evidence that may be available locally, but doesn’t get seen more broadly by the system. All contributions can be sent via email or you can visit the website for more details. Read More

International No Diet Day

This week saw the celebration of International No Diet Day. Our friends at The Butterfly Foundation urged all Australians to stop and examine the real dangers of dieting. Butterfly are holding a range of workshops across the country over the coming months to tackle this important issue. For full details and booking details please visit the website. More Info

National Suicide Prevention Conference - early bird registration closing soon

Early bird registration rates for the upcoming National Suicide Prevention Conference are closing on 19 May. Don’t miss your opportunity to attend this fantastic event, being held in Perth from 23-26 July. Details on two pre-conference workshops plus the official program for the entire event can be found on the website. Read more

Postvention Australia 2014 Conference

The annual Postvention Australia Conference will be held in Sydney from 5-7 June. This year’s theme is ‘Pathways to Hope and Healing’. The conference will bring together those bereaved by suicide and individuals/organisations working in the field of suicide postvention. Visit the website for full details. Read more

LGBTI Mental Health Conference

The National LGBTI Health Alliance invites you to participate in the MindOUT! Mental Health Conference, being held in Sydney from 26-27 June. With the theme Courageous Voices: Seeds of Hope and Transformation, the conference will focus on the enablers as well as the barriers that individuals encounter in coming to the point of being able to acknowledge and affirm their sexuality and/or gender identity. Full details are available on the website. Read more

Seclusion and Restraint Project Survey

A reminder that the NMHC is calling for participants to take part in their Seclusion and Restraint Project survey. The project is looking at best practice in reducing and eliminating the use of seclusion and restraint in relation to mental health issues and identifying good practice treatment approaches. Mental health consumers, their families, friends and supporters as well as practitioners and other service providers are invited to participate in the survey. Read more

Intentional self-harm and suicidal behaviour in children

The National Children’s Commissioner is examining how children and young people under 18 years can be better protected from intentional self-harm and suicidal behaviour. Submissions are being sought from interested individuals, government, private, and non-government organisations on the key issues. Submissions are due by Monday 2 June and full details are available on the website. Read more

The Man without a Name - ABC documentary

You may have seen a recent edition of ABC Radio National’s current affairs program Background Briefing that featured a story on the abuse of mental health consumers. The program ‘The Man without a Name’ discusses the legal rights of a man currently being held in a forensic hospital. The program raises many legal and ethical issues and can be downloaded as a podcast from the ABC website. Read more

National Palliative Care Week: 25-31 May 2014

Palliative Care Australia is holding an event on 29 May in the Great Hall at Parliament House, Canberra. The day includes a breakfast, which is the official launch of National Palliative Care Week, followed by an education forum for anyone with a professional interest in palliative care. The day will also be webcast online for anyone who is not able to attend in person. Registration details are available on the website. Download

2014 Mind Colloquium Series

The Mind Colloquium Series is conducted in collaboration with Mind Australia, VICSERV and the Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne. The series facilitates the presentation of ideas and research findings relevant to Mind and the community managed mental health sector in general. The next colloquium will be held on 20 May. For full details please visit the website. Read more

beyondblue National Roadshow: Take 1 Step

Over the next 18 months the beyondblue Roadshow will run a range of community events and activities in each of Australia’s 61 Medicare Local regions. ‘Take 1 Step’ aims to encourage people tune in to their mental health, open up and talk about any problems they might have, and take action early to get appropriate support. For more information please visit the website. Read more

Why hasn’t the mental health of Australians improved? Public policy lecture

Despite two decades of investment in improving mental health services, the mental health of Australians has not improved. This year’s Peter Karmel lecture in public policy argues that we have used a one-pronged approach to improving mental health, where a two-pronged one is required. The lecture will be delivered by Professor Anthony Jorm and will be held at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra on 10 June. Full details are available from the website. Read more

Warm regards


Frank Quinlan
Chief Executive Officer

T: 02 6285 3100  |  M: 0409 655 460
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