Perspectives - August 2014

Welcome to the August/September edition of Perspectives, our online magazine where we present ideas, essays, and articles about what is happening in the mental health space.

Headlining this edition, Mental Health Australia CEO Frank Quinlan takes an in-depth look at the issues surrounding Australia’s welfare system from a mental health perspective, as well as examining the impact of rock musician Gene Simmons’ comments on mental health, and the continuing issue of stigma.

We also have articles from our members, including a discussion on the benefits of personal experiences when advocating for mental health, discrimination for those experiencing Borderline Personality Disorder, how consumers and carers are finding support online, the stigma surrounding eating disorders, and more.

We also present policy submissions in this edition – our submission to the National Mental Health Commission’s Review of Existing Mental Health Programmes and Services, and our response to the Interim Report from the Reference Group on Welfare Reform. We hope you enjoy reading them.

Don’t forget, we are always looking for input from our members. If you have a perspective about mental health that you’d like to share, we want to hear from you. Contact us via

We’d also like you to engage with us. Do you have a comment on any of this month’s stories? Join the conversation on Twitter @

Complex problems require well thought out solutions

Feature Story By Frank Quinlan, CEO, Mental Health Australia

Welfare is currently the subject of heated debate. Everyone, it seems, has an opinion on who should receive welfare, when, how much and why. In this article, Mental Health Australia’s CEO discusses the key issues surrounding welfare reform in Australia.

Submission to the Welfare Review

By Mental Health Australia

This is joint submission from Mental Health Australia and the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum addresses and responds to what we believe are the key issues for the mental health sector (including consumers and carers) arising out the Interim Report by the Reference Group on Welfare Reform.

It’s not time to just Kiss and make up

By Frank Quinlan, CEO, Mental Health Australia

When Kiss front man Gene Simmons said depressed people and those contemplating suicide should go ahead and kill themselves he sparked a social media storm and was rightly, and universally condemned. Mental Health Australia’s CEO looks at the issues surrounding celebrities and how their statements can influence stigma.

Submission to the NHMC Review

By Mental Health Australia

This is Mental Health Australia’s third submission to the National Mental Health Commission’s current review of mental health programmes. Informed by detailed consultations with consumers and carers and other mental health stakeholders, it articulates our priorities to drive long term policy and systemic reform.

From our Members

Lunatics running the asylums? Well, we prefer different language these days, but why not?

By Indigo Daya, General Manager Carer and Consumer Advocacy and Leadership, Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria

Indigo Daya at Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria explains how her history of mental health issues and her experiences with the psychiatric system are vital to ensuring a quality and progressive approach to mental health advocacy.

Why is Australia afraid of Borderline Personality Disorder?

By Sonia Neale, Hocking Fellowship Award Recipient, Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria

A rising crisis and process of discrimination is largely being ignored in mental health within Australia. Hocking Fellowship Award Recipient Sonia Neale, discusses Borderline Personality Disorder and how it can be stigmatised and discriminated against within the mental health system itself.

Stigmas surrounding eating disorders - A devastating reality

By Christine Morgan, Chief Executive Officer, The Butterfly Foundation

Those who grapple with the devastating reality of an eating disorder also face the additional stress and challenges of serious stigma. Butterfly Foundation CEO Christine Morgan looks at the devastating impact of eating disorders on the Australian community.

Parliamentarians get hands-on with

By Michael Garnett, Director of Communications and Marketing, by Inspire Foundation

Young leaders from took Parliamentarians on a hands-on tour of e-mental health services at Parliament House in August. Director of Communications and Marketing, Michael Garnett takes us through this unique event co-hosted with the Parliamentary Friends of Youth Mental (PFYMH).

NDIS Workshop for Mental Health Peer Workers

By Petra Kallay, Community Education Co-ordinator, ACT Mental Health Consumer Network

In late 2013 the ACT Mental Health Consumer Network was funded under the DisabilityCare Australia Sector Development Grants, through the ACT NDIS Taskforce, to develop an education module for peer workers about the NDIS. Their Community Education Co-Ordinator Petra Kallay explains the program.

MLC Community Foundation - Supporting our Sector

By Luke Branagan, Manager, MLC Community Foundation, National Australia Bank

Since the establishment of the MLC Community Foundation, millions has been gifted to both enhance and establish mental health programs and services. In this article, their Manager, Luke Branagan, outlines a few of their latest contributions to the mental health sector.

Join the conversation!

By Jack Heath, Chief Executive Officer, SANE Australia

When a mental health issue first touches our lives we can often feel incredibly alone. Jack Heath, CEO of SANE Australia explains how the SANE Forums is bringing people together to share their own experiences of mental Illness to build resilience, offer advice, and create a community to show that they are not alone.

Please note: The views of the contributors are their own, rather than those of Mental Health Australia.

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