Appointments of new National Mental Health Commissioners

Five new Commissioners and new chair Lucy Brogden have been appointed to the National Mental Health Commission, which will monitor and report on the Government’s mental health reforms and the implementation of the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan. The Government has provided the Commission with an additional $2 million in funding this financial year to deliver a stronger mental health sector. Read the media release about the appointments here

Equally Well National Consensus Statement

The National Mental Health Commission has launched its Equally Well National Consensus Statement which calls for equality in health care for people who live with a serious mental illness. Research shows that they do not currently receive the same level of care as others and live between 14-23 years less than the general population. Read more.

Homelessness Week

This week, 7-13 August 2017, is national Homelessness Week, which raises awareness of people experiencing homelessness and the issues they face. The newly released Mission Australia’s Youth Mental Health and Homelessness Report highlights the relationship between poor family functioning, probable serious mental illness and the impact of these on risk of homelessness among young people. Read more.

Youth mental health support

The Australian Government has contributed more than $500,000 to the development of better online youth mental health support through the new ReachOut Next Generation digital platform. Both young people and their parents will benefit from the topics covered, such as bullying and exam stress, sexuality, relationship difficulties, alcohol and drugs and mental health problems. Read the media release here.

World Health Organisation resources

The World Health Organisation, through its QualityRights initiative, has been working to transform mental health and social care services and promote the rights of people with psychosocial, intellectual and cognitive disability. Key standards and tools have been published, including the WHO QualityRights assessment toolkit and a set of 15 guidance and training materials on mental health, human rights and recovery.

Changes to the Disability Employment Services (DES) program

The Department of Social Services (DSS) is making changes to the Disability Employment Services (DES) program. DSS has released an Industry Information Paper which describes the key program changes and new provider arrangements to take effect from 1 July 2018. A two-page participant information sheet can be found here.

National Disability Insurance Scheme

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has appointed a new CEO, Mr Rob De Luca, who will commence his three-year appointment on 28 August 2017. He will be guiding the NDIS during its transition to full rollout across Australia. Read more.

Construction has commenced on the new NDIA headquarters in Geelong, Victoria. Construction of the state-of-the-art, fully-accessible national office is expected to create hundreds of local jobs. Read the media release here.

Community Mental Health Australia has developed a position statement on the NDIS and psychosocial disability. The statement covers the impact of the NDIS on the community mental health workforce, continuity of support for people with psychosocial disability and options for funding services for people with mental illness who are ineligible for NDIS and their carers. Read the position statement.

Mental Health Australia (MHA) has lodged a comprehensive response to the Productivity Commission’s Position Paper on its NDIS Costs study. MHA is recommending that NDIS processes be tailored specifically for people with psychosocial disability. Read the submission here.

The Mental Health Coordinating Council of NSW has launched a new website,, funded by the NDIA, to assist people with psychosocial disabilities, their carers and service providers to better understand the NDIS

A library of NDIS webinars is available online covering topics such as developing and starting your first NDIS plan and rollout updates. 

The NDIS website features helpful video animations, such as ‘Your plan and your budget’ and an explanation of ‘reasonable and necessary support’, as well as a range of NDIS information translated into 10 languages.

The Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS welcomes submissions and information from participants, their carers and family members, as well as service providers and registered plan management providers, on the implementation and operation of the NDIS. Read more.

National Disability Strategy: stakeholder survey

Every two years the Department of Social Services (DSS) develops a progress report that looks at the achievements of the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020. An important part of the report is finding out what people living with disability, as well as their families and carers, think about the lives of people with disability in Australia, including health care, employment and access to the local community. Take the Progress Report Stakeholder Survey, which closes 14 August 2017, here.

Disability housing sell-off fears

ABC Radio National reported about the radical move, underway in NSW, to privatise government group homes for people with disability. Listen to the report or read the transcript here.

Improving mental health for people with intellectual disability

The Department of Developmental Disability Neuropsychiatry at the University of NSW has launched a range of must-have practical tools and resources designed specifically to enhance the skills of mental health professionals and carers who support people with an intellectual disability. Learn more.

Tandem Awards (VIC) and NSW Carers Awards

Nominations for the Tandem Awards, for exceptional services to families and carers in mental health, are currently open until 18 August 2017. Carers can nominate individuals and services demonstrating a family inclusive approach and compassionate work practices in the mental health system. The Tandem Conference, Supporting Relationships, will be held on 12 September in Melbourne and includes the awards dinner. This year, Wellways is delighted to be a sponsor of the conference. Register here.

Nominations for the NSW Carers Awards, recognising the valuable contributions of unpaid carers to the people they care for and the wider community, are now open until 31 August 2017. Read more.

New co-design document

The term ‘co-design’ in mental health policy appears frequently, but what does it really mean? Mental Health Australia has produced a helpful two-page document setting out the roles and responsibilities of all parties involved in co-design—government agencies, consumers, carers and other stakeholders—to effectively co-design mental health policies and programs. 

Scholarships available

Women & Leadership Australia (WLA) is administering a national initiative to support the development of female leaders across Australia’s health care sector. Information about the scholarship funding can be found here.

The Jeff Cheverton Memorial Scholarship, established by the Deeble Institute for Health Policy Research, supports scholars to develop an issues brief on a topic relevant to primary health, mental health, aged care, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, or LGBTIQ health. Applications close 11 August 2017. Read more here.