Weekly CEO Update from Mental Health Australia: Is there a vacuum right now in the reform process for the mental health system?

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Yesterday was the last meeting of the Mental Health Information Strategy Standing Committee (MHISSC). Originally chaired by Dr Aaron Groves and then by Dr Grant Sara MHISSC has been a collaborative forum that successfully brought together data experts with state government, PHNs, people with lived experience, carers and peak mental health organisations to inform and drive improvements to mental health information and data collection initiatives. Losing this meeting will be a loss to the sector, unless…

Early this year the Safety and Quality Partnerships Standing Committee led by Dr Murry Wright also held its last meeting after providing a forum for people with lived experience, carers, state and national stakeholders to inform national mental health initiatives. Again, losing this meeting and such an important forum for leadership is concerning, unless…

Other key leadership meetings, the National Mental Health Expert Advisory Group and the National Review of Mental Health Policy have also not met since the onset of the pandemic.

The Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan is nearing its end as is the 10 year COAG National Mental Health Roadmap. The Vision 2030 Roadmap is yet to be released.

So here we are, after years of inquiries and reviews that provide a plethora of recommendations and direction along with massive investments by the Australian and Victorian governments in mental health without sector-wide oversight and input, no lived experience or sector engagement, no implementation plan and no infrastructure to support delivery and outcomes. 

Am I worried? Yes, I am. Because while we are observing the dissolution of trusted structures, we are yet to see any replacements and new leadership fora.  

There is a sense of being in a vacuum.

One of the key principles of Mental Health Australia’s Charter 2020 is the development of a National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Agreement to address the fragmentation caused by poor clarity of the roles and responsibilities of national, state and territory governments. 

This was also recommended by the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health and was widely welcomed when announced by the Prime Minister in October last year to be finalised by November 2021. 

However, we are now four months away from that delivery date and there is no news on how the National Agreement is progressing. 

There has been no formal process of consultation or engagement with people with lived experience, their carers and broader sector stakeholders in its development. 

And at the same time those formal structures we have relied on to date to support the implementation of government policy agendas are being closed off. One by one.

We expect that the forthcoming National Agreement will provide a comprehensive model that holds all governments to account without ambiguity, which includes processes and structures that build participation of those for whom the services are designed and that have very real engagement with sector leaders and experts in relation to proper and informed implementation. 

Have a good weekend.

 

Leanne Beagley
CEO

NEXT WEEK

On Monday we have a Board Governance sub-committee meeting and I have the first meeting of a new working group for the National Rural and Remote Mental Health Strategy.
On Wednesday I have a National Workforce Strategy meeting and on Thursday I am meeting with Roger Perry from the Bevington Group.
On Friday I have the Child Mental Health Working Group for the National Initial Assessment and Referral for Mental Healthcare.

 

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Member Profiles

 

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Mental Health Professionals Network
MHPN is a federally funded, not-for-profit organisation established in 2008 to support and enhance a more interdisciplinary approach to primary mental health care service delivery in Australia. The activities of MHPN are anchored on the premise that collaborative mental healthcare is enhanced if practitioners from the relevant disciplines can connect regularly, resulting in greater consultation and collaboration, more targeted referrals, and improved outcomes for people with mental health conditions. MHPN promotes collaborative care through two platforms: face-to-face interdisciplinary mental health practitioner network meetings and an online professional development webinar program, both of which have been shown through evidence-based evaluations to improve practitioners’ attitudes and practice regarding interdisciplinary care.


Brisbane North PHN
Brisbane North PHN: Our vision is a community where good health is available for everyone. We work with others to create and deliver the best possible health and community care system for the people of our region.  We are one of 31 Primary Health Networks across Australia.  We support clinicians and communities in Brisbane’s northern suburbs, Moreton Bay Regional Council and parts of Somerset Regional Council.  Our region covers approximately 4100 km2 of urban, regional and rural areas, with a population of over one million.  Our key objectives are to:  * increase the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services for patients—particularly those at risk of poor health outcomes * improve coordination of care to ensure patients receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

 

Embrace Multicultural Mental Health News

Look after your mental health during COVID-19

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can talk to a trained counsellor any time by calling the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Line: 1800 512 348. For a free telephone interpreter, call 131 450. Posters available in 37 languages:

ArabicArmenianAssyrianBanglaBurmeseCroatianDariDinkaEnglish,

FarsiFrenchItalianJapaneseKhmerKoreanKurdish-KurmanjiLaoMacedonianMongolian

NepaliPolishPortuguesePunjabiRussianSimplified ChineseSerbianSpanish,

SwahiliTamilTraditional ChineseThaiTurkishUrdu and Vietnamese.

Toby from Headpsace on Mental Health – Bilingual Videos

International student, Toby from Headspace speaks about taking care of your mental health in these video resources, available in two languages: Cantonese and English.

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

$11m for NSW youth living with a complex mental illness

A successful mental health program that supports young people living with severe and complex mental illnesses will receive an extra $11 million from the NSW Government. Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said the Youth Community Living Supports Services (YCLSS) program will be funded for another five years to give more 16-24 year-olds a sense of confidence and independence. 

Read more


Family, domestic and sexual violence: A perspective from the future

A unique webinar explored Australia’s ‘shadow pandemic’ of family, domestic and sexual violence. In the webinar, four extraordinary speakers envisaged a vastly improved and holistic approach to survivor- centred health and trauma recovery in 2031. Psychiatrist Dr Karen Williams; Sally Stevenson AM, General Manager of the Illawarra Women’s Health Centre; First Nations frontline domestic violence worker, Ash Johnstone, and Accountability Matters Project’s Lula Dembele reflected on the decisions that had been taken, the resources that had been allocated, and approaches that had been adopted.

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Report shows impact of pandemic on young Australians

Shadow Minister for Youth, Amanda Rishworth, says Mission Australia Report, Young Voices of the Pandemic, highlights the severe impacts the pandemic has had on young Australians. In particular, it points to the serious impact that long periods of lockdown have had on the education, sense of isolation and mental health of young people. This is evidenced by the disproportionate impacts reportedly felt by young Victorians, who were hit particularly hard by the pandemic in 2020.

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$1 million boost delivers perinatal mental health pilot programs for mums and dads in WA

Mental Health Minister Stephen Dawson has today announced more than $1 million to launch new perinatal pilot programs for vulnerable Western Australian parents. Perinatal mental health services are important to promote confidence and emotional wellbeing for new and experienced parents around the time of the birth of a new child. The funding of seven new pilot programs will deliver services tailored to individual community needs, addressing service gaps which have been identified in the metropolitan area and the South-West. 

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Dietitians Australia: better access to nutrition care for mental health needed

Failing to provide better access for Australians to seek nutrition support will only further exacerbate mental illness. That’s one of the key messages highlighted by Dietitians Australia at today’s hearing for the Select Committee Inquiry into Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. Presenting to the committee, Dietitians Australia President Tara Diversi and leading mental health Accredited Practising Dietitians (APDs) Professor Tracy Burrows and Dr Tetyana Rocks called for nutrition care to be elevated in mental health services.

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Creating mentally healthy pharmacies

Community pharmacies are the most accessible health destination in Australia and as a result are often the first place patients go to when they need help to maintain their health, their mental health, and their overall wellbeing. However, frontline health provision can bring about heightened levels of pressure for pharmacy staff. To help address this, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s Pharmacy Business & Career Network Podcast channel has produced a special podcast called Creating Mentally Health Pharmacies. The podcast features Christine Morgan, Chief Executive Officer of the National Mental Health Commission and National Suicide Prevention Adviser to the Prime Minister.

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Reminders 

Youth Health Forum National Summit 

Youth health consumers aged 18 to 30 are coming together from across the country to discuss the big issues for young people’s health on 15 September. This national summit is the place where youth health advocates, youth health service providers, thought leaders and organisations can develop co-designed solutions.There will be panels and conversations with Australia’s leading experts, moderated and led by young health consumers. There will be workshops on effective co-design; engaging with governmental stakeholders, and facilitated networking between passionate youth advocates and organisations engaging with the issues they care about. Early bird ticket prices are available until 1 September.

Free tickets for National Conversation on PTSD 2021

In recognition of the difficult time for many individuals, FearLess has made the decision to offer free registration to any Australian wishing to attend the National Conversation on PTSD 2021 – an online event taking place 24-25 August. You can register for the National Conversation here.

COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Alert

The Department of Health has issued its next COVID-19 vaccination – Disability Provider Alert 26 July 2021. This provider alert along with other resources and information about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is available from a regularly updated web page for disability service providers on the Department of Health website. Regularly updated information is also available on the following Department of Health webpages: Information for people with disability about COVID-19 vaccines, COVID-19 vaccine information for disability workers.

Inclusion of people with lived experience of mental ill health in the Census

The Census Stakeholder Toolkit includes a range of links to materials that members may find helpful for ensuring that everyone is included in the upcoming Census. Relevant resources include an Easy Read version of the Guide to the Census 2021, text for newsletters, and information on supports available to complete the Census. People can also get face-to-face assistance for completing the Census at a hub near them. A video is also available on participating in the Census for those experiencing homelessness.

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