CEO Update from Mental Health Australia: Celebrating a Big Week

Older couple looking out at the ocean

National Carers Week is in the middle of Mental Health Month. This year’s theme for National Carers Week is ‘Millions of Reason to Care’, aiming to highlight the continuous work of more than 2.65 million carers around the country. 

Carers who were caring well before the pandemic, and carers who have maintained that care, and their own self-care, through the most difficult of challenges. 

Challenges that have led to a disconnection in access to services, access to additional support and access to time and space away from their caring duties, especially while many have been living in lockdown for extended periods.

Earlier this week Carers Australia CEO, Liz Callaghan said in a media release that “No two caring responsibilities are the same” highlighting not only the individual nature of caring, but also the challenges we all face in ensuring carers have a voice in the development of systemic policy and services to support their work.

I join with Liz and many across Australia to celebrate carers and encourage you to do the same.

It has been well documented that even before the effects of the pandemic, unpaid carers were estimated to be providing 2.2 billion hours of unpaid care annually in Australia – over 42 million hours every single week. The replacement value of that care was estimated at almost $78 billion, or almost $1.5 billion every week. 

This week we also saw the launch of a National Children’s Mental Health Strategy and we now have a very welcome framework for improving responses to children and families where there are mental health concerns.

In my journey, I have met many parents with such children, who would never think of themselves as ‘carers’. They are parents. They care and they are parents, and so we also celebrate them and recognise the challenges they face, especially where children are troubled and family stress is high. 

At Mental Health Australia one of our key priorities for the next three years is to champion an effective national voice for mental health people including children living with mental health issues and those who love and care for them to create a system that is truly person-led.

This means working together to build the opportunities to impact on how the mental health ecosystem is developed and reformed and to advocate for increased awareness, access and recognition. 

We celebrate with honour those who care for others this week. Look after yourselves too – take care. 
 


Leanne Beagley
CEO


National Survey on the Impact of COVID-19 on the Mental Health of Australian Residential Aged Care Residents and Staff

Mental Health Australia was part of a consortium with Swinburne University that undertook research into the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of Residential Aged Care residents and staff. The research found elevated levels of anxiety and feelings of loneliness resulting from reduced family visits and recreational outings and constant news coverage. It recommended increased access to counselling and training for staff in mental health.


Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide

The national group of Primary Health Networks invite healthcare practitioners and commissioned providers with experience in mental health and/or with ADF and ex-ADF members to participate in a  survey to inform response to the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide. The survey is open until 29 October.

In addition, Mental Health Australia will provide a submission to this Royal Commission, following consultation with members. Please contact policy@mhaustralia.org if you would like to be involved.


 

Image of a person, bird, and flower superimposed over the shape outline of Australia.

October is Mental Health Month

You can still make a #MentalHealthPromise via the Look after your mental health, Australia website. And catch up on some great video tips our partners, comedians, athletes, and others have made for looking after your mental health.

Happiness on the horizon: mental health and wellbeing of healthcare professionals revealed

New research from Mental Health Australia has revealed how healthcare professionals have been faring on the frontline, and how support from family and friends remains crucial to their wellbeing. According to the research results, 74% of healthcare professionals said restrictions resulting from COVID-19 outbreaks have had a negative impact on their mental health and wellbeing. Of the respondents, 86% said that working in healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the amount of stress and pressure they experience in the workplace. However, the majority (58%) said they were feeling more positive about the future and felt they were better able to cope now, compared to working under pandemic conditions last year. Read more.

Jam Pakt — Indigenous Radio Program a highlight this Mental Health Month

Jam Pakt is a one-hour entertainment-driven radio program designed specifically for Indigenous audiences across the country, delivered to a network of 269 Indigenous markets/stations across Australia. The show during Mental Health Month was dedicated to promoting World Mental Health Day and the idea of Looking Up, Looking Out for each other and Looking Forward to #LookAfterYourMentalHealthAustralia and featured The Hon Ken Wyatt MP, Troy Cassar Daley, Shari Sebbens, Shellie Morris, Joe Williams, Hunter Page-Lochard, Dr Clinton Schultz, and more. Catch up with Jonzy and the mob here.


NEXT WEEK

On Monday I am looking forward to attending the Mental Wealth Initiative (MWI) launch at the Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney.

On Tuesday I am attending a government workshop to look at aligning regulatory frameworks between aged care, disability and veterans care sectors. Later in the day, I am joining with SA state peak Executive Director Geoff Harris to meet with the South Australian Chief Psychiatrist to discuss our Advice to Governments for the National Plan for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.

On Wednesday I have a meeting with Simon Cottrell (Primary Care) from the Department of Health and later with Leanne Wells (Consumer Health Forum) and Gabrielle O’Kane (Rural Health Alliance). 

On Thursday I have a briefing from the NDIA on their Annual Financial Sustainability Report.

On Friday I have an Expert Advisory Committee for the Initial Assessment and Referral Project and I will also be delighted to attend the Launch of the Suicide Prevention Strategy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders at Gaya Dhuwi.

 

Member Benefits, Jobs and Profiles

Communicate your news, job vacancies, 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, job vacancies, 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

 

Orygen
Orygen: Leading the revolution in youth mental health. We believe that all young people deserve to grow into adulthood with optimal mental health. Everything we do is focused on that outcome.  Most mental health disorders begin between the early teens to the mid-20s. One in five young people will have experienced a depressive episode by the time they turn 18. We believe in treating early and focusing on recovery. Pioneering reform to deliver real-world practical solutions. Never settling for anything less than what young people need and deserve. Our research is world-leading, impactful and creates change.


Converge International Ltd
Converge International: With over 60 years’ experience, Converge International is one of Australia’s largest and most trusted providers of EAP, critical incident, and wellbeing services. Today we support over 2 million Australians through our extensive network of customers spanning all industries and sectors. This depth of expertise enables us to share proven insights into the world of workplace behaviour, mental health and wellbeing that build mental fitness for employees and reduce people risk for organisations.  

 

Embrace Multicultural Mental Health News

CALD Mental Health Consumer and Carer Group: recruiting now!

The Embrace Project is looking for applicants from across Australia who are passionate about multicultural mental health and ready to contribute to the next phase of the project to achieve real change.  

As part of the national consumer and carer group you will: 

  • provide insight into multicultural mental health, particularly the views and interests of diverse mental health consumers and carers  
  • offer solutions and strategies for improving the outcomes for all people who are living with mental health issues and their carers 
  • assist in project implementation and ensuring meaningful project outcomes 
  • support the distribution of national approaches 
  • provide links to local multicultural communities 
  • review communication and other documents 
  • and so much more 

Members will be offered sitting fees for their participation and all travel and accommodation expenses associated with attending meetings, will be paid for by Mental Health Australia.

To apply, either complete the online form or download the application form available here and submit by 11.45pm AEST 7 November 2021

Successful applicants will be requested to attend the next virtual meeting in early December. 
 

This week members of the Embrace team met with the Executive Officer at the Centre for Muslim wellbeing

The Centre for Muslim Wellbeing (CMW) is a community organisation that aims to increase the wellbeing of Muslim communities, starting with a focus on mental health and social connection and ultimately building flourishing individuals and vibrant communities across the nation. CMW will achieve this through focusing on prevention and early intervention, raising awareness around the issues of mental health and social isolation within the community and ensuring community members have the support they need before they get to crisis

CMW deliver a range of mental health awareness workshops that have been developed by psychologists in consultation with the community. They provide easy-to-digest information on high prevalence disorders, information about the roles of various mental health professionals in supporting recovery, address barriers Muslim community members face in understanding this issue and access to supports, and practical strategies participants can employ to enhance their wellbeing. 

CMW has also been growing its culturally responsive practitioner list which includes allied health professionals and practitioners that are culturally intelligent and represent the diversity of the community.

As part of its digital strategy, CMW has been providing a number of online offerings focusing on different aspects of health and wellbeing such as ‘Be-Well’, a video series featuring insights, resources and coping skills from leading wellbeing practitioners, users and community influencers that are part of the growing CMW Network to support the community. It will shortly be launching its new website which will be a digital information hub for the community to access support and improve their mental health literacy with culturally informed content.  

You can find more information about CMW on Facebook or Instagram.

Embrace Australia logo (a rectangle with a light and dark purple cultural stripe pattern with "embrace" and stylised outline of the Australian continent in the lower right corner).

 

Mental Health News

World Mental Health Week: Beyond Blue supports Australians during transition to living with COVID

For World Mental Health Week, Beyond Blue is promoting ways we can support our mental health and wellbeing during the shift towards living with COVID. As COVID restrictions begin easing across the country, Beyond Blue is reassuring people it may take time to regroup and adjust. You can find the resources at the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service, which is available 24/7 right around Australia, at no cost to users.

Read more


$5.15 million in scholarships to grow Australia’s mental health workforce

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said the federal government has established a $5.15 million scholarship program to grow and upskill the mental health and suicide prevention workforce to ensure that all Australians have access to high quality, affordable, person-centred mental health care when they need it. The Mental Health Nursing and Allied Health Scholarship Program was announced as part of the Morrison Government’s record $2.3 billion investment in mental health and suicide prevention in the 2021-22 Budget to attract, train and retain key mental health professionals and to address workforce pressures.

Read more


Australia launches world’s first Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy

The Morrison Government is launching the world’s first National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy. The Strategy provides a framework to guide the development of a comprehensive, integrated system of services to maintain and support the mental health and wellbeing of children aged 0-12 and their families. 

Read more


Children’s mental health strategy paving the way to a mental health rebuild

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has welcomed the National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy, recently launched by the Australian Government. Underpinned by eight principles, the strategy is a good first step toward addressing the mental health issues faced by children in Australia.

Read more


Small business owners benefit from Beyond Blue mental health coaching program

Small business owners across Australia have reported significant benefits after using an innovative mental health coaching program designed by Beyond Blue. The NewAccess for Small Business Owners program provides small business owners with practical skills to manage stress and get them back to feeling like themselves as they support their business and their employees. Eighty-two per cent of people surveyed after using the program said they felt more productive and able to address future business challenges, 91 per cent reported receiving the help that mattered to them and 93 per cent would recommend the program to other small business owners.

Read more


New mental health language guide released for Mental Health Month 

The language we use and the stories we tell about mental health can carry a sense of hope and possibility or they can reinforce stereotypes and low expectations. Despite the progress we have made as a community, stigma associated with mental health still exists and can be reflected in our language. The way we talk about mental health and the things we express publicly through the media, social media, in our homes and our workplaces can make a difference. To mark Mental Health Week 2021, Mental Health Coordinating Council is releasing a new Recovery Oriented Language Guide: Quick Reference tool to help all of us find the right words.

Read more


New resources from Spiritual Health Association

Spiritual Health Association is excited to release its latest resources in time for Spiritual Care Week (SCW) 24-30 October 2021.The theme for 2021 Spiritual Care Week is Advancing Spiritual Care Through Research. Research assists us to measure what good spiritual care does for patients, their families, and the interdisciplinary team within our health settings, and so allows spiritual care practitioners to be more efficient and strategic, creating leverage and advocacy towards the sustainability of the profession. The What is spirituality? What is spiritual care? posters aim to introduce and demystify the role of spiritual care and its benefits to patients, family members and organisations in an accessible and engaging way.

Read more


RANZCP new position statements released

Genuine engagement with the community is a cornerstone of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP). People with experience of mental illness, and their carers and families/whānau have unique expertise to help shape mental health policy and practice. Their needs, perspectives, concerns and values influence RANZCP decisions at all levels. 
Illustrating the RANZCP commitment to working with the community, the RANZCP Community Collaboration Committee has reviewed and updated two position statements:


Position Statement 62: Partnering with people with a lived experience
Position Statement 76: Partnering with carers in mental healthcare


New research shows spike in mental health impacts of study stress on Aussie students in 2021

New research by mental health organisation ReachOut shows a significant increase in the severity of study stress for young Australians this year, with approximately one third of students reporting that study stress is currently having a major impact on their mental and emotional wellbeing, up from 18 per cent in December 2020.Conducted in September 2021, the survey found that the number of young people reporting poor mental health or wellbeing as a result of study stress has doubled from 25 per cent in previous years to 56 per cent this year.

Read more


Suicide and Self-harm monitoring website (new ambulance attendance data and social factors and deaths by suicide modelling)

This Australian Institute of Health and Welfare release includes new data relating to: ambulance attendances for suicide attempts, suicidal ideation, and self-injury, and a modelling study on the association between socioeconomic factors and deaths by suicide using the MADIP linked data asset. 

Read more


Mental health services in Australia

Mental health services in Australia describes the activity and characteristics of Australia’s health care and social care services accessed by people with a mental illness. This web report provides the most recent data available on the national response of the health and welfare system to the mental health care needs of Australians. Data are progressively published as it becomes available throughout the year.

Read more

 

Reminders 

Caring Fairly Videos - National Carers Week 2021

Caring Fairly is a grassroots movement for change advocating for the rights of unpaid carers across Australia. They have shared videos and messages encouraging Government to #MakeCareFair. You can support the campaign using the hashtag and following it on Twitter and Facebook. View the videos on the Caring Fairly YouTube channel.

ADHD Webinar - Finding and keeping work

The symptoms of ADHD cause functional impairments across several domains, including the workplace. Australian Society of Rehabilitation Counsellors (ASORC)’s presentation will include a brief overview of ADHD, typical challenges that occur in the workplace for those with the diagnosis, strengths associated with ADHD and how they can be leveraged by employers, appropriate workplace adjustments for ADHD, and disclosure and confidentiality in the workplace. It will be presented by Dr Michele Toner, OAM, PhD, PCC, PCAC via Zoom, 20 October, 12:00pm -1:00pm AEDT. $55 for non-members, $33 for ASORC, ARPA, CDAA,TAVRP and VRA UK Members, and $11 for ASORC Student Members. Register here.

Unstoppable Hour of Power

Today, the Unstoppable Hour of Power invites you to join them for an uplifting event that will inspire, motivate and excite you to spread positive vibes amongst your community. Hosted by Lifeline ACT CEO, Carrie-Ann Leeson and Kulture Break Founder, Francis Owusu, the event will see you dancing with multi-platinum performer, Timomatic, cooking with Head Chef, Jamie Gannon and joining in on the banter with Aussie favourites, Dave Hughes and Erin Molan. Register and join via Zoom at 4-5pm AEDST.

Public release of the Steering Group Report and commencement of 10 Year Plan consultation

The Consultation Draft of the Primary Health Care 10 Year Plan Care draws on input from consultations with individuals and organisations across the country from late 2019 to mid-2021. The plan represents a high-level response to the recommendations of the Primary Health Reform Steering Group which has been working since October 2019 on future directions for primary health care reform. The Government wants to hear from people and organisations with an interest in primary health care and in what a future-focused system can deliver under the Quadruple Aim to: Improve people’s experience of care; Improve the health of populations; Improve the cost-efficiency of the health system; Improve the work life of health care providers. Please note that Leanne has represented Mental Health Australia and the mental health perspective on the Steering Committee for this Strategy.

Equally Well webinar: Vaccination – achieving equity of access

Equally Well Australia will bring together an expert panel in a free webinar on Vaccination - Achieving Equity of Access, on Thursday, 21 October, 12-1pm, to explore solutions and share innovations about how they can work collectively to support personal agency for people living with mental illness in Australia. Register to join in the discussion with community leaders and public health experts and be part of helping breakdown the barriers to vaccination for people living with mental illness. 

Disability Provider Alert - 11 October 2021

The Department of Health has issued its next COVID-19 vaccination – Disability Provider 11 October 2021This provider alert along with other resources and information about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is available from a dedicated web page for disability service providers on the Department of Health website. 

Commonwealth Disability Vaccine Hubs

Commonwealth disability vaccination hubs are set up to vaccinate people with disability, their carers, and disability support workers.  You can find a list of these hubs here. There are also State and Territory run hubs in Victoria, Queensland, ACT, and Tasmania.

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