Perspectives - March/April 2015

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

In this edition’s feature article, Mental Health Australia CEO Frank Quinlan outlines the success of the recent Mental Health Advocacy Day at Parliament House in Canberra, and examines how a united front can strengthen our sector and hopefully push for real reform at the national level.

We also have articles from our members, including a discussion about the need for early intervention in treating eating disorders; the continued importance of mental health nurses; why it’s time for tangible action on the many years of suicide research; and information about the Child Illness and Resilience Program, based on the idea of ‘family resilience’.

Other content from Mental Health Australia includes our submission to the Department of Social Services on the NDIS Framework for Information, Linkages and Capacity Building; Mental Health Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan, which is particularly timely on today’s Close the Gap Day; and Mental Health Australia’s work with the National Mental Health Commission on the National Future Leaders in Mental Health Project.

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 @

Mental Health Advocacy Day - ‘a watershed moment’

Feature Story By Frank Quinlan, CEO, Mental Health Australia

There was a strong sense of unity a month ago when representatives from across the mental health sector met with parliamentarians en masse for a day of advocacy surrounding mental health. Rather than speaking solely about local issues, representatives presented a cohesive message, united as one voice, calling for change in the way we approach the mental health system.

The delegates included leaders from mental health organisations, as well as consumer and carers. They presented three key messages to forty-seven Members and Senators from across the political spectrum, asking for clarity on the direction of mental health in Australia.

NDIS Framework for Information, Linkages and Capacity Building: Submission to the Department of Social Services

By Mental Health Australia

There is ongoing uncertainty on the design of the NDIS which is compounded by unresolved issues in the health, welfare and other systems. Here’s our submission which provides commentary on the recently released Framework for Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (formerly known as Tier 2).

Reconciliation Action Plan

By Mental Health Australia

As we celebrate today’s Close the Gap Day, we present our Reconciliation Action Plan which outlines our approach to create meaningful relationships, enhance respect and promote sustainable opportunities for reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people within our organisation and beyond.

Future Leaders in Mental Health Project

By Mental Health Australia

We have been working with the National Mental Health Commission to further develop consumer and carer mental health leaders. Through this project, individuals participated in a mentoring program which focussed on leadership development, and provided opportunities to contribute to the Commission’s work and national forums.

From our Members

Is mental health nursing really necessary?

By Adjunct Associate Professor Kim Ryan, CEO, the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses

These days, there are many more people working in the mental health space. We have seen a growth of psychologists doing work that was once the bastion of mental health nurses, while social workers and occupational therapists run therapeutic groups. We have community mental health teams made up of mental health nurses and allied health professionals, which once would have been all mental health nurses. With all this, are mental health nurses still necessary?

Not just another research question

By Susan Murray, CEO Suicide Prevention Australia

When it comes to research about suicide prevention, we know a lot. What we do not do well is implement what we already know. Susan Murray from Suicide Prevention Australia argues that all too often we just ask more research questions.

“Investing in Need” - Changing Australia’s commitment to investment in eating disorders

By Christine Morgan, CEO Butterfly Foundation

Early intervention is critical to the treatment of an eating disorder. Under the current system, in any given year, the majority of people with an eating disorder receive no treatment specifically for their condition. For those who receive ‘treatment as usual’, it is often expensive and ineffective.

The Child Illness and Resilience Program (CHiRP): Helping families cope with the challenges of childhood chronic illness

By Child, Youth & Wellbeing Team, Hunter Institute of Mental Health

Children living with chronic illness often have to manage symptoms and ongoing treatments that affect their health and lifestyle. Children and young people with chronic illness are also more likely to develop social, behavioural or mental health problems. However, some families feel they grow from the experience, with an ability to adjust in healthy ways – this is known as family resilience.

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

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