Thanks Frank

Thanks Frank

A great summary of the issues facing our sector


Douglas Holmes

On Thu, 15 Mar 2018 at 5:00 pm, Frank Quinlan <frank.quinlan@mhaustralia.org> wrote:
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Speaking frankly…

Let’s get serious about funding co-design

Today I spent the morning in Melbourne with the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum.

The Forum brings together consumer and carer representatives from every state and territory, and consumer and carer representatives from a number of national consumer and carer organisations and groups.

It is a twice-annual meeting, and I am always enriched by the exchange. I had an opportunity to hear the priorities of the group first hand, and give an account of Mental Health Australia’s observations and priorities for the immediate future.

It appears to me that the consumer and carer movements currently face challenges on many fronts.

For instance, the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum is only funded to meet face-to-face twice a year. That puts a lot of pressure on the group to make the most of their limited opportunities to achieve influence, in an environment where expectations are very high. There is so much to do, and the burden falls to so few.

In addition, the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum has not received any increase in funding for 10 years! In this time, the Forum’s operational funding has only increased in line with inflation, despite steadily increasing demand for their participation and engagement in national mental health reform.

Even further, the funding the group receives is a paltry sum – the annual Commonwealth contribution to the group is less than what the Commonwealth spent on a 30 second TV commercial during last year’s Grand Final. And they are being asked to ‘co-design’ a mental health system that sees the Commonwealth Government spend in the order of $10 billion annually. The miss-match is obvious.

If the structures and processes that underpinned a group like the Forum were stronger, some of these barriers could be mitigated – but they are not. Groups that feed into the Forum’s deliberations at state and territory, and national level are similarly underfunded, or worse non-existent! For instance, there is still no national peak body for consumers. Two years after recommending action there is still no systematic representation of CALD populations. Groups representing carers, LGBTIQ+ communities, Indigenous populations and others are all underfunded and overstretched.

Confounding these challenges, I also observe that there is a generational change occurring in consumer and carer representation. The origins of large sections of these movements grew out of the fierce advocacy that overturned traditional institutional care. The consumer movement in particular was active in triggering the deinstitutionalisation of much of the mental health system. While we can still discuss whether this process is complete, and whether all the community supports required to replace institutions have ever been properly established, it leaves a consumer movement today that has not been exposed to the same level of institutionalisation, and in many cases do not identify as clearly as ‘mental health consumers’.

Some (though not all) would argue that we are all consumers, and that most of us are also carers, as all of us will experience mental health issues in ourselves or in others at some stage in our life time.

All of this is really just a long way of saying that if we are serious about co-design we need to get serious about funding and supporting consumer and carer representation. We made this case in our pre-Budget submission. We need to keep making the case until the resources provided for consumers and carers to represent their views, match the scale of the task they are asked to undertake.

Warm regards


Frank Quinlan
Chief Executive Officer

National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum – Executive Committee

Today’s National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum meeting is the first for the newly elected NMHCCF Executive Committee and the start of their two-year term. I would like to congratulate all on their continued work, and I look forward to working closely with the new NMHCCF Executive, and all members, to improve the lives of people living with mental health issues and their carers.

NMHCCF 2018-2020 Executive Committee

Consumer Co-Chair Lorraine Powell
Carer Co-Chair Emma Donaldson
Deputy Consumer Co-Chair Lyn English
Deputy Carer Co-Chair Elida Meadows
Consumer Ordinary member Jan West
Carer Ordinary member Katrina Clarke
To stay updated on the important work of the NMHCCF, please visit their website http://www.nmhccf.org.au

National Disability Insurance Scheme psychosocial pathway workshop in Townsville

CEO update readers will know that the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has engaged Mental Health Australia to hold consultation workshops on the design of a tailored National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) pathway for people with psychosocial disability. The pathway refers to the experience participants have from their first interaction to their ongoing engagement with the NDIS. Mental Health Australia has already held workshops on this issue in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth and we are pleased to announce one additional workshop to be held in Townsville on Friday, 20 April 2018.

The workshops have focussed on the experience of people with psychosocial disability who are participants in the national NDIS and their carers. Service providers and peak bodies are also encouraged to RSVP, however please note that every attempt is being made to privilege the voice of people with psychosocial disability and their carers and families through this process.

Workshop details
Location: Rydges, Southbank Townsville
Date: Friday, 20 April 2018
Time: 10am-3pm

RSVP: Please RSVP via email to Anthea.Doran@ndis.gov.au with the following:

your name
whether you are:
an NDIS participant
a carer or family member of someone who is an NDIS participant
an NDIS service provider
if you are an NDIS participant whether you would prefer the NDIA contact you directly or through another person (e.g. a carer, support worker etc…)
whether you will require your support worker to attend with you
any dietary or accessibility requirements.
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) will contact the potential workshop participant to advise whether a place has been secured.

When a close shave is a good thing – World’s Greatest Shave

There are so many fantastic causes and campaigns in the not-for-profit sector and this year the World’s Greatest Shave for the Leukaemia Foundation is celebrating 20 years. And here at Mental Health Australia, we’re celebrating our colleague Kylie Wake – Director of Consumer and Carer Programs – who plans to enjoy a close shave this weekend. To support Kylie and her quest to help beat blood cancer – click on the link below. And for those who know Kylie, I will try and get a photo for next week (if Kylie is up for it!).

Read more
Next Week

On Monday, Directory of Policy and Projects Josh Fear will be in Sydney participating in a roundtable with the Financial Services Council.

On Tuesday, I’m looking forward to hosting our Members Policy Forum at Parliament House in Canberra with more than 80 members and stakeholders set to attend the day.

On Wednesday, we are having our first Mental Health Australia face-to-face Board meeting for the year in Canberra.

Also on Wednesday, Josh will be heading to Sydney to speak at the Financial Services Council Life Insurance Conference, and will be heading to Melbourne to talk NDIS on Thursday.

Mental Health Australia Member Profiles


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.
Website http://www.batyr.com.au Facebook http://www.facebook.com/batyraus Twitter twitter.com/batyraus Instagram http://www.instagram.com/batyraus


The Australian Society for Psychological Medicine started out as the Australian College of Psychological Medicine in 1998. The College was formed by a group of doctors with a special interest in psychological medicine. The name was changed to Society instead of College in 2011, to reflect their desire to focus on providing support to members and to forge links with relevant training colleges. The ASPM now has members in every state and territory and membership is also open to doctors in New Zealand.
Website – http://www.aspm.org.au Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/Australian-Society-for-Psychological-Medicine


National Close the Gap Day 2018

To mark National Close the Gap Day 2018, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health Ltd (NATSILMH) are launching two important documents for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention.

The first is NATSILMH’s Health in Culture – Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration Implementation Guide. This a comprehensive guide for governments and organisations across the mental health system to implementing the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration as required by Article 12.3 of the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.

The second is NATSILMH’s Health in Culture – Policy Concordance. The value of the Policy Concordance is that it will now be possible to ascertain what documents as diverse as the Fifth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, the Social and Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Framework, the Cultural Respect Framework, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan and the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration, among many others, require of Australian governments, PHNs and the mental health system overall.

Read more

Close the Gap: Implement Indigenous mental health framework

The Australian Psychological Society (APS) says bipartisan, long-term commitment to fund and implement the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People’s Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing 2017-2023 is needed to address Australia’s ongoing Indigenous mental-health and suicide crisis. Serious psychological distress, self-harm and suicide are reported in Indigenous communities at more than double the rate of other Australians.

Read more
Dedicated mental health training for undergraduate nurses

The Australian Government is strengthening its commitment to Australia’s health workforce by providing $128,000 to deliver mental health course materials in undergraduate nursing degrees. The Minister for Rural Health, Senator Bridget McKenzie said the funding would be provided to the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses to undertake the Improving Mental Health Content in Undergraduate Nursing project.

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Government announce new services for carers

The Australian Government announced funding of an additional $85.6 million over four years for the introduction of new services for carers. The new funding of $85.6 million is in addition to the existing funding provided by the Department of Social Services for carer supports and services. The additional funding will provide carers with access to new early-intervention supports and services that are proven to improve carers well-being and long term outcomes. These new services form part of the Integrated Carer Support Service (ICSS).

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Blow Bubbles for Bipolar – World Bipolar Day – March 30

Bipolar Australia believes that every person who has Bipolar Disorder should know that the condition can be diagnosed, treated, and well managed. But too many of the 568,000 Australians with this serious, life-long condition never hear that good news. This World Bipolar Day, help them end the silence surrounding Bipolar Disorder by taking a few minutes to Blow Bubbles for Bipolar with your colleagues, friends, and family.

Getting involved is simple!

Purchase some bubble mix and wands from a toy store near you. If you want some inspiration, click here for a list of bubble toys available from Big W.
Get a crowd together. Organise a place and time for your fellow bubble blowers to get together on March 30. If you want Bipolar Australia to help you publicise your event, please email us at bubbles@bipolaraustralia.org.au.
Enjoy yourself! Blow some bubbles, and raise some awareness in your local community. And don’t forget to post a photo to your favourite social media platform with the hashtag #BipolarBubbles!
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Sane Australia’s Topic Tuesday – 20 March – Mindfulness

Sane Australia will continue their Topic Tuesday sessions later this month starting on Tuesday 20 March with the topic – How can I be mindful when I have a mindFULL?

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Wesley LifeForce – Suicide Memorial Services

Losing a loved one to suicide is a sorrow unlike any other, but you are not alone. Each year, Wesley LifeForce hold memorial services in various locations for those affected by suicide to come together in a spirit of comfort and hope. See below for a list of locations and dates.
• Brisbane – Thursday 19 April
• Darwin – Thursday, 6 September
• Sydney – Thursday 13 September
• Newcastle region – Thursday 4 October
• North Queensland – Thursday, 18 October
• Adelaide – Saturday 17 November

Read more

Shifting the dial on suicide prevention: new settings, new player – 8 May

United Synergies and ConNetica are pleased to announce a one-day forum on suicide prevention on Tuesday 8 May in Noosa, Queensland. This forum will explore and present some of the innovative ways activities can be used to support those experiencing or impacted by exposure to suicide.

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Metro North Health Forum – June 19 in Brisbane

Now in its fifth year, the annual Metro North Health Forum hosted by Metro North Hospital and Health Service and Brisbane North PHN will be held on 19 June 2018 at the Royal International Convention Centre in Bowen Hills. Focused on “Connecting for the future”, the forum will build on our history of partnership. It will connect and engage providers and consumers in driving a reform agenda across; healthcare for older people, mental health, alcohol and other drugs and the interface between hospital and primary care.
Read more

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Published by Douglas Holmes

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