More than $53 million for mental health research

More than $3 million has been allocated to research on the physical and mental health of Indigenous Australians as part of a Federal Government $53 million spend on 47 research projects. The Black Dog Institute through the University of NSW will receive more than $2 million to investigate smartphone use to better understand the onset of mental health problems while a $1.4 million project will develop a mental health program for schools.

Mental health prize winner announced

Rugby League star Johnathan Thurston has been named 2017 Human Rights Medal winner, after recently becoming Queensland’s Australian of the Year for his ongoing commitment to improving the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Thurston is involved in many community programs including NRL Cowboys House – a home for indigenous students from remote Queensland communities - and the Deadly Kindies program, which strengthens the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity of children. 

The former Dally M best and fairest winner was named by the Australian Human Rights Commission on 8 December. Upon receiving the award, Thurston said the achievement “far outweighed what I’ve achieved on the field”. 

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

The National Disability Insurance Agency has responded to criticism and introduced new rules for the planning process, including only face to face meetings and a regular contact person. The more user-friendly procedure is being tested at two Victorian sites and should later be rolled out nationally.  

NDIA Chief Executive Officer, Robert De Luca, said the first step in implementing the new pathway would use a mix of new and existing NDIS sites and partner networks to test key parts of the new pathway.

“The pilot will start in Victoria North and Victoria East in partnership with Brotherhood of St Laurence and Latrobe Community Health Services - two established Local Area Coordination (LAC) partners with considerable NDIS experience who are well positioned to help us test and refine the changes we’re making,” Mr De Luca said.

The recent changes to the NDIS are explained in simple language here.

What’s on in 2018

Having a Say Conference, 5-7 February 2018, Geelong
5th National Elder Abuse Conference, 19 and 20 February 2018, Sydney
TheMHS Summer Forum, Trauma Matters, 22 and 23 February 2018, Sydney
Delivering Quality in the NDIS, 27 and 28 February 2018, Sydney 
FIA Annual Fundraising Conference, Donors for Good, 7-9 March 2018, Sydney 
National Virtual Disability Conference, Better Evidence, Better Outcomes, 21 March 2018, Melbourne
4th International Health Care Reform Conference, 21-23 March 2018, Sydney