Weekly CEO Update: Embracing all that is good about Harmony Week and feeling at home

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I was born and brought up in Tanzania, East Africa where my parents worked as teachers.

When I moved to Australia at aged 12 I had a perspective on many things that was out of step with my peers’ experiences. 

It took me some time to feel ‘at home’. Australia had not been my home (unlike my parents who were ‘coming home’) and I often think about this personal transition, and what makes people feel at ‘home’ when working on our Embrace Multicultural Mental Health Project. 

Even more so when listening to the many stories of those with lived experience who have been so integral to the Embrace Project so far. 
Stories of trauma, stories of settlement in Australia, stories of stigma about mental health and mental illness, and stories of passion and drive to help improve our systems for those in their new communities, here in Australia.

Communities across the country where people are building new homes and opportunities for their families, and stories from consumers and carers with whom we spent two days with this week in Canberra as part of a workshop for the Embrace Project. Harmony Week was a fitting occasion to bring people together face-to-face.

As many of you know we are extremely proud and honoured to be delivering the Embrace Multicultural Mental Health Project nationally, side-by-side with our Alliance Partners the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Council of Australia (FECCA), and the National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA).
At a delivery level the Project’s key objectives are to:   

  • Increase participation of consumers and carers from CALD backgrounds in mental health services.
  • Improve outcomes for CALD mental health consumers, carers and their families.
  • Increase mental health awareness, knowledge and capacity in CALD communities.
  • Improve cultural responsiveness and diversity of the mental health workforce.

And for me, the underlying strength of what I’ve seen through the Embrace Project delivery over the last 12 months, is the passion and drive to improve the system at a community level and embed the need for cultural understanding within the system. 

Passion and drive that is being led by our consumer and carer group around the country, and a drive which is also at the heart of Mental Health Australia’s vision for mentally healthy communities.

Have a good weekend.

Leanne Beagley
CEO


 

On Monday our team has a staff day together working on our plans for the year ahead.

On Tuesday I have a Primary Health Reform Steering Group Meeting. 

On Wednesday morning there is a meeting of the National Disability and Carers Alliance and in the afternoon a meeting with AGPAL (Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited).

On Thursday I am meeting with NOUS.

 

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Carers Australia
Carers Australia is the national peak body representing Australia’s unpaid carers, advocating on their behalf to influence policies and services at a national level. It works collaboratively with partners and its member organisations, the Network of state and territory Carers Associations.


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Ruah Community Services
Ruah Community Services: Working in partnership, Ruah Community Services aim to empower and inspire their clients to achieve their personal aspirations. Vision – Flourishing communities through active participation and wellbeing of people with complex needs. Mission – Empowering vulnerable and disadvantaged people to create meaningful change in their lives through provision of quality support services. Values – Respect, Grassroots, Partnerships, Integrity, Creativity.

Select Committee On Mental Health And Suicide Prevention

This week the public hearing of the House of Representatives Select Committee on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention was declared open. On 10 December 2020, the House of Representatives resolved to establish a Select Committee on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention to inquire into: the findings of the Productivity Commission Inquiry Report into Mental Health, the Report of the National Suicide Prevention Officer, the Victorian Royal Commission, the National Mental Health Workforce Strategy and other recent strategic reviews of the current mental health system in light of events such as the 2019 bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic, including the capacity of the mental health workforce to respond to such events; and a range of other matters not addressed by these recent reviews.

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Cyberbullying rife among young people according to new research 

New research from headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation has found one in three young people have experienced someone spreading a rumour (33%) or posting mean or hurtful comments (35%) about them online. The research, released to coincide with National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence, also finds one in two young people had been cyberbullied throughout their life (51%), an alarming rate that sadly remains unchanged since 2018.

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Statement on the reporting and misrepresentation of mental health in the media

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) seeks to caution journalists and media outlets on the importance of correct and sensitive reporting on mental health in the media. The RANZCP is most concerned by the constant, and sometimes insensitive, misrepresentation of mental illness in the media which can ultimately influence the mental health and wellbeing of an individual when exposed to irresponsible reporting.

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The Mental Health Coordinating Council sends priorities for action on mental health to NSW MPs

The Mental Health Coordinating Council has laid out its road map for action to create a mental health system that ensures people living with mental conditions get the services they need. MHCC details its priorities in a Position Paper. The Position Paper was sent to members on all sides of the NSW Parliament, with a call to urgently increase investment in mental health services.

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Latest suicide figures signal a worrying trend off the back of series of disasters

NSW suicide deaths data released today highlights the need for immediate action to address distress in our community and future-proof against disasters. According to the NSW Suicide Monitoring and Data Management System there have been 104 suspected or confirmed suicide deaths reported in NSW from 1 January to 31 January 2021. This is significantly more than the number of deaths reported within the same period in 2019 (75) or 2020 (81).

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Neighbour Day 2021 will take place on Sunday 28 March, providing all Australians with an opportunity to recognise the strength we draw from our communities, and to continue to build creative connections within neighbourhoods and wider communities. Mental Health Australia Members Relationships Australia are asking everyone to get creative, reach out, and encourage social connection this Sunday. To find out more go to https://neighbourday.org/

Bipolar Australia is pleased to be supporting World Bipolar Day on 30 March 2021 with a series of short presentations over the 5 days leading up to WBD to share information on the treatment and experience of Bipolar Disorder. These presentations will be ideal for people living with Bipolar Disorders, their families, carers and friends, professionals wishing to expand their understanding and the community at large. Register your interest and submit questions for the presentation series and the panel discussion.

Lived Experiences are far more than just statistics. Compelling — and sometimes heartbreaking — stories about why people don’t engage with mental health services, why they stop, what happens and what’s needed. The online launch of Lived Experience Australia’s ground-breaking research is Monday 29 March, 2.30pm AEDST. Register for the launch here

In partnership with the renowned Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use, this three-part webinar series featuring well-known speakers is focused on increasing knowledge of effective prevention, current treatments, and latest evidence on mental and substance use disorders. TheMHS has developed a bundle option for you to attend all three webinars in this Alcohol, Drugs and Mental Health series, to ensure that you won’t lose any insights, latest results, and lived experiences shared in these unique sessions.  Or if you prefer, you can sign up for each one individually. The webinars include: PTSD, Complex Trauma and Substance Use (14th April, 12 pm – 1 pm AEST), Methamphetamine and Mental Health (28th April, 12 pm – 1 pm), and Alcohol and the Developing Brain (12th May, 12 pm – 1 pm).

Nominations are now open for the 2021 LiFE Awards, recognising excellence in suicide prevention. This prestigious national event attracts diverse nominations with an interest in suicide prevention and supporting those affected by suicide across Australia. Nominees typically range from well-established groups to community-based organisations and dedicated individuals. The awards celebrate the energy and commitment of the nominees and their vital contribution to the reduction of suicide within our communities. The LiFE awards nomination form is available here, nominations close in April.

The Suicide Prevention Australia Symposium 2021 presents a unique opportunity to bring the brightest minds together and latest thinking to promote excellence in suicide prevention. This online event provides a gateway to unite suicide prevention experts to showcase evidence-based solutions and robust discussion, focused on solutions for saving lives. Held on 19-22 April 2021, this online symposium will attract around 500 delegates to hear from international keynote speakers, participate in workshops and collaborate with their peers. Find more information on the Symposium here.

Jean Hailes for Women’s Health invites their fellow CCC members to share a short survey with their colleagues and members who work in women’s health. Jean Hailes wants to hear how we can better support the education needs of health professionals who work in women’s health, or who are interested in upskilling in women’s healthcare. Your responses to our 5-minute survey will help us plan and design our CPD offerings, as well as our tools and resources. Those who complete the survey also have the chance to win one of three Visa Gift Cards worth $150 each. Complete the survey here.

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