I am in good company in Albury in November

Please join us at the 6th Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium, from the 12th – 14th November 2014 at the Commercial Club Albury, on the NSW and VIC border.

The 2014 program will present an opportunity for the growing Rural and Remote Mental Health community to engage in rich, open dialogue, to enable new connections and sharing.

You and your colleagues are invited to meet with like-minded, passionate, inquiring minds, as we deeply explore the challenges and opportunities facing Australian Rural Communities. The Symposium theme, The Practitioner’s Voice, seeks to give a voice to practitioners who are faced with the challenges of limited access to mental health services and support on a regular basis.

Whether you are a familiar face or a newcomer, come along and experience the personalities and contemporary thinking that uniquely define this symposium. Visit the Symposium website for more information or to register.
Meet our Keynote Speakers:

Mr David Butt, CEO, National Mental Health Commission

David Butt was appointed CEO of the National Mental Health Commission in January 2014. He was Deputy Secretary of the Australian Department of Health since August 2011, head of Rural and Regional Health Australia, and the Commonwealth’s first Chief Allied Health Officer.

David’s diverse roles at a system level have spanned the continuum of care, and have involved him in policy development, planning, purchasing, and providing services. He has had a long-standing commitment to and involvement in mental health policy and service delivery, both at a health systems level and in relation to specific programmes such as headspace, ATAPS, and community.

Ms Rebecca Graham, Executive Director, Mental Health, Country Health South Australia Local Health Network

Rebecca Graham is responsible directly to the Chief Executive Officer for the leadership of country mental health services and the mental health reform agenda for rural and remote South Australia. Previously, Rebecca was the Director of Mental Health Planning and Redevelopment, for the former Central Northern Adelaide Health Service.

Rebecca has experience in leading complex change and has been involved with both State-wide and National mental health policy development, providing high level advice to governments and senior officials.

Mr Douglas Holmes, Consumer Participation Coordinator, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney

Douglas Holmes is a full time resource with St Vincent’s Hospital, Inner City Health Program as the Consumer Participation Officer, where he attends numerous committees to help put forward consumers’ views on policy, service development and evaluation of the Alcohol & Drug and Mental Health Program.

Douglas is also a member of TAMHSS Secretariat, Honorary Secretary of The ARC Group NSW and a member of the NSW Clinical Advisory Council for NSW Health and TheMHS Emeritus Standing and TheMHS Consumer Forum Advisor.

Senator Fiona Nash, Assistant Minister for Health

Nationals Senator for NSW Fiona Nash was elected to the Australian Senate in 2004 and her term began on 1 July 2005. Senator Nash’s parliamentary roles include Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Water Resources and Conservation, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Education and is now the Assistant Minister for Health.

Senator Nash is committed to getting the best for her constituents in every avenue of daily life, from education to health, food security to safe environmental practices.

The wealth of opportunities that open up to people when they live outside major metropolitan centres became apparent to Sydney-raised Senator Nash when she moved to Bathurst to study at Mitchell College.

Mr Arthur Papakotsias, Chief Executive Officer, Neami National

Arthur has been Chief Executive Officer of Neami National for 23 years.

He sits as Chair of the Audit and Compliance Committee of the Mental Health Council of Australia, as well as the Chair of Housing Choices Australia.

From a background in Psychiatric Nursing and Psychiatric Disability Recovery Service management, Arthur is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and all state based mental health peak bodies.

Neami is an accredited, national, community managed provider of mental health rehabilitation, housing and support services. With deep recovery-focussed service knowledge, Arthur is very experienced with all aspects of management and service delivery of mental health services in Australia.

Professor David Perkins, Professor of Rural Health Research, Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, The University of Newcastle

Professor David Perkins is Professor of Rural Health Research at the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, The University of Newcastle. Previously, David was Director of the Centre for Remote Health Research at the Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health, University of Sydney.

His research includes narrative systematic reviews, rapid reviews, controlled trials, service evaluations, and a major rural mental health cohort study examining patterns and predictors of mental disorder in rural and remote settings.

Associate Professor Russell Roberts, National Chair, Alliance for Rural and Remote Mental Health

Russell is the National Chair of the Alliance for Rural and Remote Mental Health and a member of the NSW Mental Health Commission Advisory Council. He has served as Director of Mental Health for Western NSW, Director of Clinical Training at Griffith University (Qld), Head of School Health at Flinders University (SA), and as a Clinical Psychologist in rural Sth Aust.

His current research interests are in rural models of health service delivery and primary mental health care. Over the last 5 years he has led the commissioning of a $43 million mental health capital development program in Orange, including the workforce planning, recruitment and training of over 300 health staff in rural NSW.

Senator Penny Wright, The Greens
Senator Penny Wright was elected to the Senate at the 2010 Federal election and took her seat on July 1, 2011. As Greens spokesperson for Mental Health, Legal Affairs, Schools Education and Veterans’ Affairs, Senator Wright is passionate about her goal of a more inclusive Australia where all people can participate in their community and realise their full potential.

Penny’s former roles as a solicitor, university lecturer and deputy president of the Guardianship Board – in which she focused on areas such as tenancy law, mental health, social security, refugees and violence against women – all helped prepare her for her work in parliament.

Dr Joseph Dunn, Psychs on Bikes
Dr Dunn is a psychiatrist from Sydney.

He has been the Medical Superintendent of Northside Cremorne Clinic and is a clinical senior lecturer for the Deptartment of Psychiatry of the University of Sydney. Most of his work these days is in medicolegal psychiatry as an advisor to eight of Australia’s disability insurers.

In 2011, in the middle of what Joseph calls a “thoroughly enjoyable midlife crisis” he organised a few colleagues to ride motorbikes across the Nullarbor. That was the birth of “Psychs on Bikes” and in April 2012 Joe organised a charity motorbike ride from Perth to Sydney. Along the way the group decided to try to raise consciousness about the high rate of suicide in rural areas.
Symposium Secretariat, Sarah Jones
6th Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium
12 – 14 November 2014, Commercial Club, Albury

An initiative of the Australian & New Zealand Mental Health Association
Secretariat: PO Box 29, Nerang, QLD 4211
Ph: 07 5502 2068 M: 0403 762 892 Fax: 07 5527 3298
URL: http://anzmh.asn.au/rrmh/


  1. Greetings to my Australian friends, peers and colleagues. I wish you the best of success with this conference. I dream to visit Australia some day. I live in Salem, Massachusetts in the US and am very active in doing my part to make recovery and the concept of recovery as accessible to as many people as possible. I think it is great that this conference is focused on rural and remote areas of the country. What a great initiative!! I hope that some day we can collaborate on doing the good work we do together. I am also an author and with pride I am happy to share with you about my book ‘Better Days – A Mental Health Recovery Workbook’. This workbook is being embraced all of the USA and I hope that it will be embraced in the same way in Australia. For now I again wish you success with this conference and that I hope you all have better days. Sincerely, Craig


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