City of Sydney Narratives Project

This week from Frank Quinlanf

NDIS Transition

Person Centred Care

Cultural Awareness Training

Dr Michael Gannon – Press Club Address

This Week

NDIS Transition

This week the hot topic seemed to be NDIS transition.  
During the week I met with Bruce Bonyhady, Chair of the NDIS, as part of our regular dialogue. As we have pointed out previously, even at full scheme the NDIS will remain just one part of a broader mental health system, and many people with support needs will continue to need mental health supports provided outside the NDIS. Ensuring there is smooth integration and coordination between the different service offerings and supports, is part of the challenge of transition. We are pleased to be working with the agency to address these challenges.
Later in the week I met with Felicity Hand, Deputy Secretary, Department of Social Services to address a similar range of issues. DSS are right in the middle of transition arrangements, as many of their mental health programs are being transitioned to the NDIS as we speak. (Providers in programs like Day to Day Living and PHAMS will have received communication from the Department this week outlining some of these arrangements).
This will be an active discussion in the months ahead, and I will keep you posted regarding progress.

 Person Centred Care

In addition to a Governance Committee meeting today, I also participated in a webinar discussing Person Centred Care, particularly as it relates to mental health.
It was a chance to showcase some of the previous work undertaken by the NMHCCF as they led the national debate with “Unravelling Psychosocial Disability”. It was also a chance to talk about some of the current NDIS Capacity Building Work, including the recently published work on supported decision making.
The webinar was hosted by our friends at the Mental Health Professionals network, and I will post a link once it becomes available. Thanks to Flinders University for the chance to participate, as part of their transition readiness program.
Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Education Program
This week I was pleased we were visited by Julie Moore, the Principal of Koorimunication for Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Education Program here at Mental Health Australia.
The program included discussion of history, cultural protocols and terminology, and the deeper meanings of Closing the Gap. We also had a strong focus on the meaning and impacts of social and emotional wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The day was a great opportunity for us to further develop our knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and was initiated as part of our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). It reflects Mental Health Australia’s deep and ongoing commitment to reconciliation in Australia, and to turning our good intentions into real actions.
Please click here to read more about Mental Health Australia’s RAP.
Throughout the day we also enjoyed catering from Bandu Catering, who we connected with through Supply Nation. Supply Nation is the leading directory of Indigenous businesses, and if you have not done so already we would encourage you to visit their website to find out more.

AMA President Dr Michael Gannon – Press Club Address

Mental Health Australia Policy and Projects Manager, Daniel Casey flew the flag for us when the new president of the AMA, Dr Michael Gannon addressed the National Press Club on Wednesday this week. His speech focused heavily on the Medicare freeze, and the importance of investing in general practice and providing certainty to public hospital funding.  
In the Q&A session, he was specifically asked about mental health funding. He recognized the burden of mental illness is growing, and that drug and alcohol use is a significant factor. He noted that the vast majority of mental health services are provided by GPs, rather than specialists, so any increase in investment in general practice and primary care would improve mental healthcare. He also urged the government to consult more with the AMA and clinicians on how to improve expenditure on mental health.
Mental health and wellbeing in mining industry
The Minerals Council of Australia has collaborated with the Centre for Resources Health and Safety at the University of Newcastle over a number of years to conduct important research into the mental health of employees in the mining industry.
The centre is calling for applications from researchers interested in a PhD scholarship as part of a team conducting further investigations into mental health in the mining industry. Further information is available here:

 Parliamentary news

Diabetes breakthrough part of $70m PBS medicines listings
As many as 20,000 Australians living with Type 2 diabetes will find it easier and cheaper to manage their condition every day thanks to the Turnbull Government subsidising another $70 million round of new revolutionary medicines that will also help save the lives of women with advanced cervical cancer.

New mental health unit nears completion in ACT

Construction of the ACT’s new secure mental health facility is on track to be completed at the end of the year with the fit-out of rooms underway. Minister for Health Simon Corbell toured the site this week and announced the name of the facility as Dhulwa Mental Health Unit. “When Dhulwa Mental Health Unit opens later this year it will include 10 acute beds for people with complex health needs and 15 rehabilitation beds,” Mr Corbell said. 
Earlier intervention set for major reform
More than 130,000 children, families and communities in NSW will benefit from reforms which promote increased early support to vulnerable families, Minister for Family and Community Services Brad Hazzard announced this week at the national conference of the Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies. Mr Hazzard said following extensive consultation, a directions paper now outlines a plan to reform the $150 million a year Targeted Early Intervention (TEI) program. 

Next Week

On Tuesday I will be meeting with the Department of Health as part of our regular dialogue.

On Friday, Director of Policy and Projects, Josh Fear will be attending an all-day meeting of the Digital Mental Health Advisory Committee in Canberra.


StandBy Response Service expanding
The StandBy Response Service was established by United Synergies in 2002, and has expanded as a national service working in 16 communities across Australia to assist people and communities affected by suicide. It is estimated that for every suicide more than 100 people are directly affected (approximately 25,350 Australians each year) making suicide bereavement a population health problem.
The National StandBy Response Service regularly contributes to the field of postvention nationally and internationally and is committed to building the knowledge and evidence base in the areas of suicide prevention, postvention and overall health and wellbeing.  

Speaker Presentations from National Suicide Prevention Conference

For all of those who attended the National Suicide Prevention Conference, held at the Hotel Realm in Canberra, 24-27 July 2016, access to speakers’ presentations is now available. They can be downloaded on the Conference app, under the speaker profiles. If you do not have the app installed on your phone, you can click here to access the app.

2016 Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium

There has never been a more exciting time to be involved in rural and remote mental health. Since the last symposium, five states and territories have released their mental health plans/strategies, the Commonwealth has committed to local solutions and autonomy, and the Fifth National Mental Health Plan shapes a strong focus on the importance of integration and leadership at the regional level.

Scholarship opportunities through Executive Ready

Women & Leadership Australia is offering $4,000 scholarships to female leaders across the country to support the nationwide launch of Executive Ready – WLA’s new flagship development program for mid to senior level managers.
Informed by the experiences of hundreds of talented and respected women across all industries, Executive Ready is a leadership accelerator designed to stretch participants and propel them towards executive level performance, behaviours and mindsets. Developed by the country’s foremost authority on women leaders and their unique needs, Executive Ready is for women who want to lead more confidently, transform the performance of their team and fully realise their future career/life potential.

Giving and volunteering in culturally and linguistically diverse and indigenous communities

The Department of Social Services, on behalf of the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership, recently commissioned a research report to better understand volunteering and giving within culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and Indigenous communities. The research provides some insights and case stories, highlighting the valuable contribution that migrants and refugees make to Australian community life.

Key findings include:

there is a gap in knowledge in this area
volunteering and giving are important drivers of social cohesion in Australia

the significant philanthropic and volunteering activity in CALD and Indigenous communities is often under-reported and poorly understood by mainstream organisations, policy makers and academics. 

Unpacking obstacles to suicide prevention

SANE Australia is delivering a new Suicide Prevention Workshop, available to mental health workers in Melbourne. Built on SANE’s Suicide Prevention and Recovery Guide, this 6-hour workshop encourages health professionals to reflect on their role in suicide prevention. To find out more visit the website

Discrimination stops with you

Subtle or ‘casual’ racism can be just as harmful as more obvious forms. Imagine not getting a job because of the way you look. How would you feel if you were watched in a shop or someone didn’t want to sit next to you on the bus? 
beyondblue’s Invisible Discriminator campaign highlights the impact of racism on the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
This campaign encourages everyone in Australia to do something about his or her behaviour. You can change this today. Click here to watch the video.

Warm regards,


Frank Quinlan

Chief Executive Officer

Mental Health Begins with Me!


P 02 6285 3100

9-11 Napier Close


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