Weekly CEO Update from Mental Health Australia: Looking out for the youngest of the young people

Image of a smiling baby

Understanding and advocating for mental health reform across the lifespan is a huge challenge for us all, especially when it comes to data and evidence.

The Australia Talks National Survey this week revealed that one in five young people say they are struggling with their mental health.

The ABC notes that there had been a decline in the whole population’s mental health since the last survey in 2019. Of those aged 18-24, 52% of respondents said that their mental health had worsened since the pandemic started.

These issues pre-date the pandemic though. Many of us in the mental health ecosystem have been well aware of the mental health issues facing young people for decades.

We’re also aware that ‘young people’ doesn’t just include those aged 18-24. If the survey were able to collect similar data from those other ‘young’ people — the 25% of Australians aged 0-18 — it is likely we would see a similar trend.  

The babies, the toddlers, the pre-schoolers, the primary schoolers, the high schoolers have mental health concerns too. These young people — especially those at the younger end of the ‘young’ —  are growing up in a world where the idea of a global pandemic is now normal and will be the number one catalyst for how their future unfolds.

This group especially deserves our focus during this week, Infant Mental Health Awareness Week, where the theme is encouraging us all to keep babies in mind when we think about children and young people’s mental health.

A potential policy and service delivery gap is often referred to as the baby blind spot when it comes to thinking about children and young people and their mental health.

At the youngest end of the “young people” debate, we know that the first three years of life are the most critical when it comes to brain development. 

We know that those formative years and the experiences babies have with their parents and caregivers, are crucial to setting good foundations. A baby’s early attachment to their primary caregiver provides the foundation for future emotional relationships by providing the base for other learning. We know that babies and children learn best when they feel safe, calm, protected and nurtured by caregivers.

And as Chair of the Australian Association For Infant Mental Health, Dr Nicole Milburn said recently:

We need to place babies at the forefront of the mental-health ecosystem. Babies experience anxiety, stress, worry and depression. But we can help babies get off to a great start in life by observing the health of the relationships around them and their environments.

So this week, and all of the others if I’m honest, we all need to take into consideration those other young people who need our advocacy, support and strategic thinking to get the best start in life.

The youngest of the young people.

Have a good weekend.

Leanne Beagley


On Tuesday I am delighted to join with a range of others at a national Carer Policy Forum.

On Wednesday I am meeting with Liz Callaghan, CEO of Carers Australia. I also have our regular meeting with Mark Roddam and his team at the Department of Health. In the afternoon I will be at the official Launch of the Manual of Resources in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention.

On Thursday Harry Lovelock will be attending the Stakeholder Advisory Committee meeting at the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority on our behalf.

On Friday I am looking forward to a workshop in Melbourne with other CEOs, being hosted by the Independent Advisory Council of the NDIA about the proposed Scheme Reforms. Lachlan Searle will represent us at the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities COVID-19 Health Advisory Group meeting.


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.

Job opportunity

Beyond Blue is looking for a Policy and Advocacy Adviser, Suicide Prevention to join the Melbourne team and lead the implementation of Beyond Blue’s policy reform agenda and advocacy activities, focused on suicide prevention. This great role combines policy development, advocacy activities and stakeholder engagement, and is part of a dynamic and fun team. Find more information here.

Member Profiles

Lived Experience Australia
Lived Experience Australia was formed in 2002, is a company limited by guarantee and is the national representative organisation for mental health consumers and carers with a strong focus on the private sector. We have State Advisory Forums in all Australian states and the ACT and make a difference in systemic advocacy by being informed about issues facing people with mental ill-health, their families and carers. We use our lived experience perspectives to influence mental health policy, planning and decision making at local, state and national levels and have developed a number of resources to support advocacy and clinician e-learning tools.     

Anglicare Tasmania Inc
Anglicare TAS: Mental health is for everyone. We all have to face challenges in life.  People who have good mental health are more likely to be able to cope with the ups and downs. Our mental health is made up of our psychological, emotional and social wellbeing. This means it affects how we feel, think and behave each day. Our mental health also contributes to our decision-making process, how we cope with stress and how we relate to others in our lives.  Anglicare has a number of services to support people who are affected by mental health issues.


Embrace Multicultural Mental Health News

Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia Workshops: UPDATED INFORMATION

Due to recent travel changes, we have needed to move our proposed face-to-face workshops in Sydney and Brisbane to online webinars. The webinars will continue to be held on the previously set dates, Wednesday 16 June for Sydney and Tuesday 22 June for Brisbane with the changed time of 9:30am-11:30am. We will endeavour to make these online webinars as productive as we can, and we plan to hold future face-to-face workshops towards the latter half of the year. 

Zoom details for webinars:
Meeting link:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/9329429856
Meeting ID: 932 942 9856
Passcode: 123

COVID-19 vaccine information for multicultural audiences

The Department of Health’s stakeholder kit includes translated campaign key messages and links to campaign creative including videos, radio files, posters, social media content and images, and sample EDM/website content for multicultural audiences.

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

$36.4 million for mental health support in the NSW bush

Regional and Rural communities facing ongoing adversity in the wake of natural disasters will have access to more mental health support. NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor announced a $36.4m package for Response and Recovery Specialists across regional and rural NSW will be included in the 2021-22 NSW Budget. 

Read more

 $16.6 million federal investment for perinatal mental health services

The Australian Government is investing $16.6 million into nine new projects as part of the Perinatal Mental Health and Wellbeing Program. It is estimated that up to one in ten women experience depression while pregnant, and one in seven women in the year after birth. Men can also experience perinatal mental illness, with approximately one in ten expectant and new fathers experiencing depression, anxiety or other forms of emotional distress in the perinatal period. The $16.6 million, provided as part of the Emerging Priorities Grant Opportunity, will support innovative projects that address gaps in national perinatal mental health service delivery, education and training.

Read more

Free mental health workshops for parents and carers

Parents and carers will be able to book in for free mental health workshops hosted by headspace, thanks to a $1.2 million investment by the NSW Government. Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said the workshops will help parents and carers better understand the unique challenges facing young people and learn practical tips, strategies and skills to support them. “These sessions are for any parent or carer who is worried about their child and doesn’t know how to start a conversation about what’s going on in their lives,” said Mrs Taylor.

Read more

New hope for Australians with eating disorders

Wandi Nerida, which has opened this week, is Australia’s first specialist residential eating disorder recovery centre. The Australian Government has provided funding of $6 million for the establishment of the Centre, which will be operated by a subsidiary of the Butterfly Foundation. It has 13 beds with shared accommodation and has been purpose-built to create a home-like environment for participants.

Read more

Delivering the mental health support Victorians deserve

Acting Premier and Minister for Mental Health James Merlino, says Victorians will get the mental health support and care they need, with the Victorian Government to provide additional funding as demand for services increases during current restrictions. “Though they’re important and necessary, these temporary measures can affect the mental health and wellbeing of Victorians, including children and young people - which is why the Government will provide $9.57 million to meet increased demand.”

Read more




Butterfly’s Body Kind Online Survey

As we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, the Butterfly Foundation wants to hear from you about your experiences of social media use and how it may affect your beliefs about yourself and your body. The Body Kind Online survey only takes 15 minutes and the results will help Butterfly explore how we can be Body Kind to ourselves as well as Body Kind to others when we’re online.

Mental Health Victoria launches Psychosocial Learning Hub

Mental Health Victoria has launched the Psychosocial Learning Hub (PLH), a bespoke learning platform for NDIS workers who provide supports to people living with a psychosocial disability or mental ill-health. Co-designed with NDIS workers and comprehensively tested over the past year, the hub aims to provide affordable, flexible, targeted training, using micro-learning techniques designed to accommodate busy and mobile workers. Find more information and see the course calendar and registration details here.

Special access tickets available for mental health symposium

Mental Health Victoria’s next Symposium, Preparing for reform: Co-production, culture change and leadership, will be held online on 29 June. MHV has a limited number of free tickets available for people with lived experience of mental illness, their families and carers. Visit the event website and contact the organisers directly for more information.

IASP conference Lived Experience bursaries

The National Mental Health Commission is partnering with the International Association for Suicide Prevention, which is holding the World Congress for Suicide Prevention in the Gold Coast this September. It will be the first time the Congress has been held in Australia in 30 years. This partnership will make it possible for 150 people with lived experience of suicidal ideation, attempt or loss of a loved one to attend the conference. Bursaries are available and will include accommodation and travel costs for interstate participants. Applications close on 15 June.

Mental Health Victoria NDIS provider and worker workshops 

The Good Practice Psychosocial Support for NDIS Participants – Growing Workforce Capability project aims to build the capacity and capability of frontline workforces, their organisations, and sole providers to work with NDIS participants with psychosocial disability. As part of a national codesign approach, MHV will conduct a series of virtual events to hear from NDIS workers and providers. These workshops will contribute to our understanding of what good recovery-oriented practice looks like and how it can best be delivered in the NDIS. You can register now for the workshops, which will take place at 1-4pm on either Wednesday 30 June or Thursday 8 July.

Men’s Health Week Webinars

OzHelp is hosting two webinars on Thursday 17 June for Men’s Health Week. The first is at 10am, “Wellbeing in the Workplace: A male-friendly approach”, which will explore both the challenges and opportunities in managing psychological safety across high-risk, male-dominated workforces. Then at 2pm, “Male Suicide Prevention – Reaching men before the point of crisis” will discuss why seven out of the nine suicides each day are men, and what is being done to reach them.

Free phone counselling for carers

Carer Gateway supports Australians who care for a loved one with disability, mental health concern, chronic health or who is frail aged. CatholicCare Sydney manages the Gateway Phone Counselling Service and the Online Forum and would love for you to offer these free services to carers who may benefit from services they can access from the comfort of home. 

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