Have YOUR SAY on Mental Health

The government provides health services based on the National Mental Health Plan. The Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan (the Fifth Plan) and its Implementation Plan were endorsed in August 2017.

NOW, they are looking to work towards a NEW set of mental health safety priorities. And they want people in Australia to tell them …
  • what you think are the most important safety priorities in mental health,
  • how they can best improve safety in these areas, and
  • how they can monitor progress over time.

There are several ways you can let the government know what you think:

  1. You can take part in a survey (open until 10 June)
  2. You can join an online discussion (between 15 & 26 June)
  3. You can make a written submission (open until 26 June)

To do any of those, click on the links above.

People across Australia dealing with mental health issues KNOW what’s important.

We know that quite often just surviving the day has to be your focus. But if, in the next few weeks, you can make some time to give your input, the government will know where THEIR focus has to be where mental healthcare is concerned. If you can’t, perhaps you can share the links above with others who might be able to.

We need to let the government know what matters.

Australia needs the best possible mental healthcare. Telling those providing services what and how is the way to achieve that.

Thank you.


 

Australia’s Youth Health Forum needs YOU

  • Are you aged 18 – 30?
  • Do you use the health and social care system or help someone who does?
  • Would you like to work with a diverse group of young people?
  • Do you have ideas about how we could change health and wellbeing services?
  • Are you interested in gaining leadership, advocacy and policy skills?
  • COVID-19 is disrupting the world as we know it and will force us to reimagine the services we want in the future. Do you want to have a voice in shaping that?

In 2018 the Consumers Health Forum (CHF) launched their Youth Health Forum – a group of young healthcare users who are passionate about making the system more youth-friendly and interested in gaining advocacy skills. So far they have been involved in a number of national policy discussions like the Primary Health Care 10 year plan and the National Obesity Strategy. (And you can find out more about their progress at these posts on the CHF site.)

RIGHT NOW the CHF is looking to grow and develop this platform for young voices and is inviting Expressions of Interest for new members.

Click here for more details and
To apply, complete and submit this online form or this MS Word form.

This is YOUR chance to shape the health services you and other young people access. AND gain some valuable skills in the process.

Take your experience to the people that provide the services … and make healthcare work better for people like you!

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Mental Health Resources

The following are focused on Queensland/Australia but there are some international resources. Included are some links with useful general advice as well as services for those with pre-existing mental health issues and their carers. Please note that this is not a comprehensive list. If you know of other resources that would be useful, please leave a comment and this list will be added to whenever possible.

Take care, everyone. Look after yourself as well as the significant things you are doing for other people. (And you are ALL doing that – any changes you’ve made will be saving others from having to deal with challenging health issues – so acknowledge your contribution and make sure you take the best care you can of your mental health.)

Head to Health – helping you find the right digital mental health resources for your needs
MindSpot Online assessment and treatment for anxiety and depression
ReachOut – Coping during coronavirus (COVID-19)
KidsHelpline (for ages 5yrs-25yrs)– tips and advice as well as ACCESS TO 24/7 support via phone (FREE) 1800 55 1800, email counselling, or  web chat
Beyond Blue COVID-19 mental health support service
Black Dog Institute – COVID-19 mental health and wellbeing resources
Headspace –  How to cope with stress related to coronavirus (COVID-19)
#InThisTogether – the National Mental Health Commission page with tips and links to help with mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus crisis
Queensland Mental Health Commission – COVID-19 and Mental Health
Australian Psychological Society – tips for coping with coronavirus anxiety
Arafmi – 24hr carer helpline at 1300 554 660 and online carer support groups
Blue Knot (National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma) – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Factsheets
Australian BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) Foundation Ltd – video ‘Strategies for getting through COVID-19 lockdown for people with BPD
Red Cross – tips for looking after your mental wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic
World Health Organisation – Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak

National Survey on Severe & Complex Mental Health Issues

‘Our Turn to Speak’ is a national survey that seeks to understand the life experiences of people living with severe and complex mental health issues in Australia.

It will investigate the lived experiences – both positive and negative – of people affected by these issues and the survey findings  will be used to inform SANE Australia’s future advocacy efforts, as they work towards improved social outcomes and support for all Australian affected by these issues. 

The survey organisers (SANE Australia’s Anne Deveson Research Centre is partnering with the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne) are seeking:

7,000 people aged 18 and over who have experienced complex mental health issues in the last 12 months.

The process is simple and short – following a short eligibility screening process, participants will proceed with completing the survey which will take about 30 minutes and can be completed online right now, or over the phone. (Participants can take the survey over the phone from Monday 11 November 2019, between 9.00 am – 8.00 pm (AEDT), Monday – Friday.)

For more information and to take the survey, visit the website:

ourturntospeak.com.au

This is a chance for what you experience to be considered when advocacy organisations are pushing for better support for people with severe and complex mental health issues. If they don’t know what you need, they don’t know what to fight for. So, if you’re eligible and able to do so without any negative repercussions, please contribute to the survey to make sure what you need becomes available.

More change in the way society responds to people with severe mental health issues is vital. Not just the right healthcare but the right understanding in so many areas. This survey gives you (y)our turn to speak and the right people are listening. So let them know what’s needed.

YOUR involvement in POSITIVE CHANGE

Mental Health issues – especially those that are severe and complex which have a serious impact on those around a young person directly facing the challenges – put those with lived experience in an almost impossible position …

YOU are the ones who know best about the most important aspects of service provision (whether the right services are available to achieve the progress that’s desperately needed)

BUT

YOU are dealing with mental health issues – and that takes time, can limit your ability to do things (to the point of everything feeling totally overwhelming) and can mean that you have had enough difficult experiences with service providers that the idea of doing anything beyond just surviving just can’t be on your radar

WE KNOW THAT YOUR SITUATION CAN MEAN YOU CAN’T ALWAYS BE INVOLVED IN THE WAY YOU WANT TO BE 

Even those with the biggest hearts and the greatest determination will find themselves needing to focus solely on getting through the next minute and then the next and then the next … So doing anything that isn’t part of that ‘just holding on‘ isn’t possible.

BUT

  1. If you can pass on opportunities to others (e.g. using social media can mean just a few clicks) you’ve done something that will help; and
  2.  If you feel you could spend a few minutes online, there are often ways to do that that don’t mean an ongoing commitment (see below).

Of course when you’re able to get a little more involved and still take care of your health, there are groups in your community and projects underway where you can participate more regularly and in different ways. So you can see what you might be able to do when you

There are many ways that you and those you know can be heard so that you, those close to you and people you don’t even know will get better help.
Better healthcare.
Better education.
Better support to help you towards a life where you can do more. And feel better.

 

RIGHT NOW YOU CAN HAVE YOUR SAY VIA THE …

National Mental Health Commission CONNECTIONS SURVEY

The National Mental Health Commission aims to “consult and engage with all Australians on the 2030 Vision for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention“.  So their Connections project is to be a nation-wide conversation about the future of mental health and suicide prevention in Australia. The Commission will be visiting 23 communities across Australia to hold Town Hall meetings to which anyone with lived experience of mental health is invited to attend. If you can’t be at the Town Hall meetings you can share your stories and experiences in relation to mental health, suicide prevention and wellbeing ONLINE by clicking on the following link.

CONNECTIONS PROJECT ONLINE SURVEY

The survey closes on the 8th of September 2019

And you find out more about the Connections Project overall by clicking on the image below..
If you can share this with your network of friends, family and colleagues so that the right information gets to the people who can make the changes, that would be great. But if now is a time you need to focus on you, know there will be ways for you to have you say when you’re able.

Thanks for caring.
About others and for yourself.

Those are two best things that you can do.

*

National Youth Health Forum inviting 16 to 30 yr old participants

The Consumers Health Forum of Australia is running a
Youth Health Forum on the 18th and 19th of September this year.
The aim is to bring 40 to 60 young people aged 16 – 30 who are interested in advocacy and leadership to Canberra to discuss the health issues that matter to them most and what can be done to improve the system for them.

The Forum will develop recommendations to improve the health system for young people and a delegation of participants will present these at Parliament House following the event. There are also plans to establish an ongoing Youth Health Forum to continue discussions and advocacy after the kick-off event.

Those aged 16 – 30 interested in participating should lodge an expression of interest form by 29 June. These can be obtained via the following contact details:

Phone: 02 6273 5444
Email info@chf.org.au
Text 0411 299 404

(Former advocacy and leadership experience is considered but is not a requirement.)

There is an evening welcome dinner on the 18 September and the forum itself on 19 September. Accommodation and travel will be funded but unfortunately CHF are unable to offer sitting fees.

Click here to check out the flyer where contact details are also listed

*

PLEASE SHARE THIS ON SOCIAL MEDIA TO GIVE ALL INTERESTED YOUNG PEOPLE THE CHANCE TO APPLY … THANKS!

Federal Funding Boost for Youth Mental Health. But …

The federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt, today announced a financial package of more than $100 million to support strategies targeting young mental health issues, stating:

“Programs for beyondblue, Headspace, Origin and Kids Helpline and Reach Out and others are all about ensuring that we provide assistance before the problems emerge and when they do emerge there are avenues for treatment and avenues for people to seek emergency help.”

Some of funds will be distributed as follows:

  • $46 million has been allocated to beyondblue’s integrated school-based Mental Health in Education initiative (a new national program to encourage good mental health and wellbeing practices operating from early learning centres to the end of secondary school where the aim is to give parents and educators the tools to recognise the early warning signs of mental health challenges and deal with them through access to a range of face-to-face or online mental health programs)
  • $13.5m has been allocated to the Orygen National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health which Orygen Executive Director, Professor Patrick McGorry, indicated would to maintain youth mental health services including Headspace centres throughout Australia*
  • Kids Helpline, ReachOut, Suicide Callback Service and QLife will share an additional $2 million over two years for telephone, webchat and online mental health help.

* While the Guardian quoted Professor McGorry as saying that the funding would not provide for any new centres, ABC News stated that “more Headspace centres will be set up across Australia, with a funding boost of $30 million”

HOWEVER …

as those affected by severe and complex youth mental health issues know all too well:

…while a lot of young people get access to help through Headspace, one third of those who go to headspace are too complex for headspace alone, and they become trapped in a bottleneck in the system where they can’t get the specialised care they need.”

Patrick McGorry, 8 January 2018

So Professor McGorry made very clear that this financial injection must be just the beginning.  “We need to finish the job of national coverage,. … What’s really missing is expert, team-based care that organisations like Orygen provide, and which is in very short supply.

The Orygen founder emphasised the importance of further funding  to meet complex care needs, listing some specifics that needed addressing as:

  • the lifting of 10-session cap on allied mental health sessions, and
  • a significant allocation of funds for mobile and home-based interventions.

These are just SOME of the things that all mental health peak bodies and advocates MUST continue to lobby for.

Those at the severe and complex end of the spectrum are too often overlooked – perhaps because they are smaller in number than those for whom Headspace and other early intervention programs can achieve positive outcomes. But the more severe and complex, the more serious the ongoing impact on young people, their family, friends and wider community. The suffering that many endure is impossible for most people to imagine. Severe and complex youth mental health issues are 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. So professional management of the multiple services that are inevitably required will be a key aspect of delivery.

Available and accessible integrated, multidisciplinary programs that encompass treatment, education/training and rehabilitation are vital. And until those are adequately funded on an ongoing basis, the government still has much to do to make mental health the priority that it must be.

 

MENTAL HEALTH WEEK – Time for ACTION

A BLOG POST

It’s Mental Health Week. And in the past, that has meant a lot of awareness-raising, stigma-quashing and acknowledgement of an issue that has for too long been treated like a shameful secret. And that’s all good, useful stuff. But the time has long since passed for more than knowing nods and pleasant words from those with the capacity to DO instead of DISCUSS.

Mental illness needs ACTION. NOW.

Health service providers, governments, mental health commissions/ advocates/ peak bodies and communities must move from rhetoric to establishing equitable service provision immediately. Otherwise how can anyone believe that mental health issues are, in fact, the cruel scourge afflicting millions unfairly as the annual PR tells us? We know they exist. And, thankfully, we now have knowledge of a range of pharmaceutical adjustments, treatment methods and support programs that mean these issues can be addressed. People CAN heal and progress and discover lives without the agony they once believed was infinite. BUT until the money, time and effort allocated to mental health is in line with those physical health issues that have the same level of impact, people affected by mental illness can’t feel as far from personally responsible for their health concerns as those with a blood disease or multiple sclerosis can. Continue reading

2016 Mental Health Policy: M.I.A

A BLOG POST

When Professor Pat McGorry (Executive Director, Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health and former Australian of the Year) addressed the National Press Club in the lead-up to the election with a presentation asserting that our governments have been Missing in Action, we would have expected that our politicians would respond immediately. Continue reading

National Youth Early Psychosis Services to be Cut

The Turnbull government is set to to scrap funding for the Early Psychosis Youth Services (EPYS) program Continue reading