Perspectives - May/June 2015

Welcome to the May/June 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 examines the implications from the release of the National Mental Health Commission’s Review into Mental Health Programmes and Services, as well as the 2015 Federal Budget, and what this means for the mental health sector.

We also have articles from our members, including a discussion about ways to engage carers and service providers to discuss the National Disability Insurance Scheme; the need for improved coverage of mental health services in rural and remote areas; an in-depth article about the role of nutrition in the origin and treatment of mental illness; a piece about creating better mental health outcomes for young people in out of home care; and a feature from Transcultural Mental Health Services about the challenges around the responsibility of care regarding state-wide roles and functions.

Other content from Mental Health Australia includes a discussion about the problems of scope regarding mental illness in the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

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 @

Time for action on mental health

Feature Story By Frank Quinlan, CEO, Mental Health Australia

It’s been a busy month in the political space in relation to mental health. Over the last month we’ve had the release of the National Mental Health Commission’s Review into Programmes and Services, as well as the 2015 Federal Budget. While the Budget had very little to say about mental health, the release of the Review spells out the issues and also possible solutions for change, and provides a clear pathway to reform.

2015 Federal Budget Summary

By Mental Health Australia

Read our wrap up of all the key measures in the 2015 Federal Budget. The summary includes a written summary and a video with key highlights on all the relevant health measures outlined this year.

Every Australian Counts

By Mental Health Australia

The development of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is overwhelmingly a positive direction for healthcare in Australia. It has great potential to improve the lives of people with psychosocial disability associated with mental illness. However, if we are to meet the needs of these people it is absolutely crucial that we take action now to get the broad architecture of the scheme right.

Social Services Legislation Amendment

By Mental Health Australia

Our submission into the Social Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 calls for the Bill to be rejected in its current state, as it further entrenches systemic discrimination against people with a mental illness.

From our Members

Coffee, cake and cloth: Finding meaningful engagement with carers in an NDIS trial site

By Dr Doris Kordes, Mental Health Carer Policy Officer, Carers Australia

This year, the Mental Health Carers Voice program has started hosting monthly drop-in sessions to provide carers with an avenue for sharing and exchanging information about the National Disability Insurance Scheme, which commenced in the ACT on 1 July 2014. This article explores a method of engaging with carers that has been trialled by Carers ACT’s Mental Health Carers Voice program since January 2015. While the trial period is still in its early days, evidence suggests that monthly drop-in sessions are valuable for carers, service providers and policy makers.

Mental health in the bush: Issues arising from the Mental Health Commission’s Review of Mental Health Programs and Services

By Dr Anne-marie Boxall, Senior Policy Adviser, National Rural Health Alliance

While the number of people with mental and behavioural problems is similar across the nation – around 20 per cent – suicide rates are 66 per cent higher in country areas than they are in the cities. This suggests that the mental health of people in rural and remote areas is a major issue (despite the prevalence data) and should be given special consideration by governments.

Transcultural Mental Health Services at the cross roads

By Transcultural Mental Health Representatives from the, MHiMA Executive

For the past twenty years Transcultural Mental Health Services (TMHS) have been at the forefront in frontline mental health services addressing the significant disparities in access and quality of care received by people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds in Australia. This article explores the challenges around responsibility of care regarding state-wide roles and functions in an ever changing health policy context.

The Ripple Project: Better mental health outcomes for young people in out of home care

By Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Excellence in Youth Mental Health

The Ripple Project is a 5-year study funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council. It aims to develop an innovative, systematic and affordable approach to improving mental health for young people aged 12‐17 years living in ‘out of home care’, including those from Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse communities. With such a high proportion of young people in out of home care experiencing difficulties, carers and residential care workers will be helped in providing good quality and emotionally attuned care if they have access to advice and support from skilled mental health practitioners.

Mental health: New horizons in nutrition research and dietetic practice

By Karen Charlton, Associate Professor, School of Medicine, University of Wollongong

The role of nutrition in both the origin and the management of mental health disorders is a rapidly growing area of research. Mental health disorders can be seen through the lens of a lifecourse perspective, which requires an integrated approach to management of exposure to risk factors, the delivery of preventive interventions, and the treatment of symptomatic disease. This article explores how nutrition is important across each of these domains.

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

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