Weekly CEO Update: Let’s align our voices across the jurisdictional boundaries and work together

Last year through the challenges of responding to the global pandemic, we were confronted in a new way by the intersecting challenges of working across levels of government. A new National Cabinet was formed and former governance structures were dissolved and are in process of being reformed.

As we know, in Australia the three levels of government work together to provide us with the services we need. The federal Parliament makes laws for the whole of Australia. The six state and two mainland territory parliaments make laws for their state or territory. And over 500 local councils make local laws (by-laws) for their region or district. 

When it comes to heath care the federal Parliament takes care of payments to doctors and primary care providers, and pharmaceuticals, and the state and territory parliaments administer hospitals. As Mental Health Australia has indicated previously, this divide has effectively left us without a comprehensive community mental health system. 

The Productivity Commission in its landmark 2020 Inquiry into Mental Health Final Report (PC Report) recommends:

“As a priority reform, a whole-of-government commitment to a new national mental health strategy. This strategy should comprehensively integrate the roles played by health and non-health sectors, identifying (in collaboration with consumer, carer and cultural diversity representatives) necessary action by not just health agencies, but also by relevant non-health agencies in the Commonwealth and the States and Territories” 

We are advised in the PC Report that “To reform Australia’s mental health system we need to reform the way our governments manage that system.” 

This collaborative leadership at a national level should respond actively to the innovation and local reforms emerging at a state level. 

Just this year we have seen the Queensland Mental Health Commission commencing the work for a new Queensland mental health consumer peak representative organisation to be operational in the first half of 2021. We have seen the Western Australia government announce the appointment of an independent Chair to lead a new taskforce for children and adolescents.
The NSW Aboriginal Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2020-2025 was released and supports and assists NSW Health services in delivering respectful and appropriate mental health services in partnership with Aboriginal services, people and communities. 

And the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System will release its final report soon, with wide-ranging recommendations that we expect will address local gaps and issues we know are challenges across Australia, not just in Victoria. 

Now more than ever we need to align our voices across the jurisdictional boundaries and work together as stakeholders — whether state- and territory-based or nationally focused — to hear each other, to celebrate innovation and expand good ideas, and build on sound evidence of what works to change lives for people with mental illness.

It is no longer ok to stand back and leave “them” (whoever they are) to solve the problems we all share, whether at a national, state, or local level. 

At Mental Health Australia we will step in and inform and support integrated national planning across government jurisdictions, working with our state-based members, and if we can, helping them work with their local member organisations. 

We encourage you to do the same.

Have a good weekend.

Leanne Beagley

2021-22 Pre-Budget Submission - Click Here To Read



On Monday I am looking forward to attending the TheMHS online conference.

On Tuesday I will be meeting with Dr Ruth Vine, Deputy Chief Medical Officer and also the Mental Health team at the Department of Health kicking off our regular meetings for 2021.

On Wednesday we have a meeting to progress our thinking in how Mental Health Australia will build on and continue to add value as the national peak to our members.

On Thursday we have the Mental Health Australia Video Forum on Housing, in partnership with Mind Australia and AHURI.

On Friday we will be meeting with the Society for Mental Health Research team.


Member Benefits and Profiles

Communicate your news or upcoming events to more than 5,000 people in the mental health ecosystem weekly.

Mental Health Australia members are invited to send us news, announcements, events or other notices for inclusion in the Weekly CEO Update newsletter. To do so, simply fill out this form by COB each Wednesday for your notice to appear in the newsletter the following Friday.

Member Profiles


batyr Australia Limited
batyr is a for purpose organisation that focuses on preventative education in the area of youth mental health. batyr provides programs that train young people to speak about their personal experience with mental ill health and start a conversation in their community. batyr takes these speakers into schools, universities and corporate arenas to continue this conversation around mental health. The programs engage, educate and empower the audience to learn from the experiences of others and to reach out to the great services around them.

Mentis Assist
Mentis Assist is one of Victoria’s primary not-for-profit, non-government, community managed mental health service providers supporting people with mental illness and psychiatric disabilities. With a 30 year history in the provision of high quality mental health support in the Southern/ Bayside/ peninsula region and more recently in the areas of Casey and Cardinia, they have supported thousands of people from all walks of life as they achieve their goals. Mentis Assist supports individuals and their families, offering a range of services including one on one outreach and in office support, service and care co-ordination, group activities, family support and a suite of training and meaningful activity options.


Embrace Multicultural Mental Health News

The Department of Health has developed and translated a number of communication resources for multicultural communities with information on the national COVID-19 vaccines rollout. Resources include social media materials; videos and radio announcements; posters; and an editorial by Adjunct Professor John Skerritt, from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), explaining the TGA process for assessing and approving COVID-19 vaccines and ensuring COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective for the public. We would appreciate your support in disseminating these resources through your networks to reach multicultural communities.


Mental Health News

Australia Day Honours mental health advocates

Congratulations again to the following mental health advocates who were recognised in the Australia Day 2021 Honours List:

  • Ms Anne Gordon BURGESS - For significant service to mental health, to gender equality, and to older persons.
  • Mrs Norma Mary TRACEY - For significant service to mental health, and to Indigenous children and their families.
  • Mr Gordon BARRATT - For service to children with a disability and mental health issues, and their families.
  • Mrs Wendy CARVER - For service to community mental health.
  • Mr Peter Barry WICKING - For service to education, and to youth mental health
  • Ms Pamela Ann RUTLEDGE - For significant service to people living with disability or social vulnerability
  • Ms Samantha Joy MOSTYN - For distinguished service to business and sustainability, and to the community, through seminal contributions to a range of organisations, and to women.

Chair appointed to lead taskforce into public mental health services for children & adolescents

WA Mental Health Minister Roger Cook announced the appointment of an independent Chair to lead a new taskforce for children and adolescents. The taskforce will outline a comprehensive plan for a contemporary, world-class child and adolescent service operating model, incorporating best practice nationally and internationally. Ms Robyn Kruk AO has been appointed the independent Chair, commencing March 2021.

Read more

New project to get indigenous communities talking about gambling

A first-of-its-kind program launching today will help reduce gambling harm in Indigenous communities across NSW by creating a safe space online. The Talking About Gambling (TAG) project will be community driven and has been designed by experts at NSW Aboriginal Safe Gambling Service and The Australian National University (ANU), along with other research partners. According to Dr Megan Whitty, gambling is often referred to as the “hidden addiction” in Indigenous communities. But, starting an open and honest discussion can help break down some of the stigma so communities can identify if gambling is a problem, and how it could be addressed. 

Read more

Boost in support for veteran mental health

Mental health providers, social workers and community nursing providers who provide vital services to our veteran community are set to receive a boost in funding from the Australian Government with an increase in fees from today. Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said the Government committed $94.3 million in the Budget to increase fees paid to mental health, social work and community nursing providers, and ensure continued high quality care for our veterans and their families.

Read more

New resources on public mental health services in NSW

The Department of Developmental Disability Neuropsychiatry (3DN), UNSW Sydney, with support from the Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney and the NSW Ministry of Health, have developed a series of easy read information sheets providing information about finding and using mental health services in NSW. They are for people with intellectual disability and for those who prefer simple written information. These information sheets are free to access.

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Grants open to build community connection

ACT Minister for Mental Health and Assistant Minister for Families and Community Services, Emma Davidson has launched a new round of Community Connection grants to fund $98,200 for activities that support Canberrans to engage and connect with their communities and build a stronger sense of community. Funded by the ACT Government the grants provide up to $5,000 for community groups, organisations and individuals who wish to build and maintain community connection.

Read more



National Consensus Statement for borderline personality disorder

The Australian BPD Foundation is seeking support from organisations for it’s National Consensus Statement for BPD developed by, with and for people impacted by BPD after extensive consultation with those with lived experience and key stakeholder organisations. Our vision embraces a system of services that enables everyone impacted by borderline personality disorder (BPD to access compassionate, appropriate, and strengths-based supports, regardless of complexity and their personal background.

Find out more, and send the Australian BPD Foundation your logo and/or signature to show your support.

National Workforce Survey for Family, Parent and Child Mental Health: Help improve outcomes for children in Australia

In order to best meet the needs of the health, social and community services workers across a range of professions all over Australia, Emerging Minds, with its delivery partners, is conducting the national workforce survey for family, parent and child mental health. This survey is designed to inform the development of future funding initiatives and resources for all professionals working with an adult who might be a parent and/or with families or children. Emerging Minds auspice the National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health, funded by the Commonwealth Government, and need as many professional groups across Australia to participate.

Complete the survey by 28 February 2021, and enter for a chance to win an iPad.

Suicide Prevention Australia Symposium, 19-22 April 2021

The Suicide Prevention Australia Symposium 2021 presents a unique opportunity to bring the brightest minds together with the latest thinking to promote excellence in suicide prevention. This online event provides a gateway to unite suicide prevention experts to showcase evidence-based solutions and robust discussion, focused on solutions for saving lives.

Early bird registration closes 15 February 2021 and bursary applications close 5pm today, 5 February 2021.

Mandarin Talks: Public sector mental health challenges for 2021

On February 24, 1pm AEST, CEO of Mental Health Australia Leanne Beagley sits down with The Mandarin’s Chris Woods to discuss how the Australian public sector recovers from a traumatic year. From the stress of crisis planning to the impacts of working from home to the role of public leaders in managing PTSD, this is sure to be a crucial event amid what is, for some, ongoing mental trauma.

Book your tickets.

2021 Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Symposium 1: Putting it all together: Royal Commissions, Inquiries, Strategies & Vision 2030

Mental Health Victoria’s Symposium will feature discussions, panels and Q&A sessions, including talks by MHV Patron Prof Allan Fels AO, Prof Stephen P King, Presiding Commissioner of the Productivity Commission Inquiry, Christine Morgan, CEO of the National Mental Health Commission, Prof Patrick McGorry AO, Executive Director of Orygen, and Pam Anders, CEO of Mental Health Reform Victoria. Note that with the release of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System’s final report delayed due to the latest COVID-19 incidents in the state, the date of this Symposium has been changed to 1 and 2 March 2021.

View the program and register.



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