Perspectives - June 2014

Editors Note

Welcome to the first edition of Perspectives!

This bi-monthly publication will provide a snapshot of different thoughts, ideas, policies and perspectives from the mental health sector in Australia, with articles provided by MHCA member organisations.

In this first edition, our feature article focuses on the NDIS and how critical it is to get the design of the scheme right in order to support those with a psychosocial disability. Our members have also contributed articles discussing a range of issues including suicide prevention in the LGBTIQ community, trauma informed care, the role of pharmacists in mental health, a ‘whole of community’ response to mental health, employment and education opportunities for young people and research priorities in psychosis.

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 @

Perspectives articleGetting the NDIS right for people with psychosocial disability

Feature Story By Frank Quinlan, CEO, Mental Health Council of Australia

The NDIS has a lot of potential to help Australians with disabilities by creating supports that allow them to fully participate in life as best they can. However, it is absolutely crucial we get the design of the scheme right first time and ensure no one is left behind.

From our Members

LGBTIQ and Suicide Prevention

By Alan Woodward, General Manager, Lifeline Research Foundation

LGBTIQ people have amongst the highest experiences of suicidality of any population in Australia. Same-gender attracted Australians are estimated to experience up to 14 times higher rates of attempted suicide than their heterosexual peers. However, the exact rates of deaths by suicide amongst LGBTIQ people are difficult to determine from conventional data sets.

Trauma informed practice

By Dr Cathy Kezelman, President, Adults Surviving Child Abuse

Becoming trauma informed necessitates a cultural and philosophical shift across every part of a given service and is applicable to all human and health service systems. Trauma informed systems understand the dynamics of traumatic stress as well as survivors in the context of their lives and the role of coping strategies.

Pharmacists’ role in mental health

By Grant Kardachi, National President, Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

Pharmacists meet and talk to people with mental health issues on a regular basis. To highlight the roles and responsibilities of pharmacists in mental health, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has released a Mental Health Framework which highlights and promotes the expertise of pharmacists and the roles they undertake as partners in mental health care. 

A ‘Whole of Community’ Response to Mental Health

By Mary-Anne Quilter, Projects Officer, Mental Illness Fellowship of Queensland

It is often said it takes a village to raise a child.  This sentiment that a community collectively provides the supports individuals need to live a meaningful and healthy life exists too for those living with mental illness. Knowing where to start, however, can be a sizeable stumbling block. 

NDIS: Risks to vision, mission, and the way we work

By Elizabeth Crowther, Chief Executive Officer and Laura Collister, General Manager, Rehabilitation Services, Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria

The introduction of the NDIS will transform the way the community managed mental health sector delivers services to people with a mental illness. These changes will challenge the capacity of agencies to deliver against their vision and mission, cause us to rethink our role in facilitating recovery, and threaten our alignment with evidence based practice.

Mentally healthy workplaces

By beyondblue and the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance

Business owners and leaders need to take the mental health of their employees just as seriously as they do their physical health and safety. To do this, beyondblue recently launched Heads Up, a joint initiative with the Mentally Health Workplace Alliance, to encourage Australian businesses to invest in and focus on promoting good mental health practices and policies in their workplaces.

Young people with mental illness need bridge to employment and education

By Associate Professor Eóin Killackey, Director of Psychosocial Research, Orygen Youth Health Research Centre

Navigating the transition to adult life, establishing an independent identity and secure lifestyle is a major challenge for all of us. An essential element of this pathway is the scaffolding that education and work provide. Completing education and getting a job is made much harder if mental ill-health emerges and particularly if more persistent and disabling forms of mental illness become entrenched.

Working with consumers & carers to identify research priorities in psychosis

By Susan Golley, Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia

Discussions about a common national mental health research agenda in Australia have been an important topic for key mental health scientists. As part of this discussion the Psychosis Australia Trust completed a study to investigate research priorities in psychosis from the perspective of people directly affected by mental illness. 


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

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