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    A month ago today Prime Minister Scott Morrison released the Final Report of the much anticipated Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health where he “affirmed the government’s commitment to providing Australians with the mental health support they need, particularly in these challenging times.”;

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    The Flannel Flower was chosen as symbol for Mental Health Australia because like many native Australian plants, it needs to be adaptable and enduring in order to survive. Traits that certainly sum up how many of us have addressed the challenges of 2020. A unique year indeed, and a year where we’ve seen the momentum for mental health reform build like never before.

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    A few weeks ago I made a decision to return briefly from my home in Canberra to my other home in Melbourne to see my adult children. I was missing them.

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    Sadly it’s not hard to find stories, and lived experiences, of brave people who have been bereaved by suicide, or who have struggled with their own despair and suicidal thoughts. But it is always hard to hear them.

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    “There is so much we can do for people who have mental ill health” were the words straight from Productivity Commissioner Dr Stephen King to close our video webinar on Wednesday, and in my mind it signified the passing of the ball to us, the mental health ecosystem, to advocate with and for the findings from the Productivity Commission Report into Mental Health….

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    I really appreciate that in Australia, we are reminded to attend to particular aspects of life and community through the emergence of special days or weeks….

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    A colleague I know travels to Italy for Christmas every ‘even’ year. They travel to see relatives and friends, to immerse themselves in their culture, especially the food, and to introduce new family members to the ‘old’ country (their words, not mine)…

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    When the Australian Defence Force ( ADF ) established the COVID -19 Taskforce earlier this year to assist with the whole of Government response to the pandemic, it was on top of supporting many communities through the bushfires of last summer, and the regular operations that see thousands of men and women posted all over the world - from Afghanistan to Amberley – to serve us…..

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    In the past, I have spoken about the need to get specific when we discuss and call out social determinants that have an inter-play with mental ill-health and mental illness….

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    October is clearly a busy month for our mental health ecosystem, especially those advocating for reform and change. Throw in a Federal Budget and the intensity and need for advocacy only goes up a level or five….

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