Funding boost for suicide prevention

The Turnbull Government will provide a $47 million boost to front-line services, right across Australia, for suicide prevention. Services will include training for at-risk families and support groups, face-to-face support for individuals in need, training for emergency response services and support for communities experiencing specific issues. Read the media release here.

UN Human Rights Council Special Report

Mental Health Australia has highlighted the importance of the recently released Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. The UN Special Report lays out very clear challenges to member states, including  Australia, and recognises that "Despite clear evidence that there can be no health without mental health, nowhere in the world does mental health enjoy parity with physical health in national policies and budgets or in medical education and practice". The report is considered a must-read.

AMA calls for marriage equality

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has recently released a Position Statement on Marriage Equality. AMA President Dr Michael Gannon has said that excluding same-sex couples from the institution of marriage has significant mental and physical health consequences for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer/questioning (LGBTIQ) Australians. Read more here.

Federal Budget 2017: what it means for carers

Carers Australia has produced a document outlining a number of the key measures in the recent Federal Budget which may affect unpaid carers. 

More support for Men’s Sheds

Funding for 105 Men’s Sheds across Australia has been awarded to support the physical and mental health and wellbeing of men in our communities. A total of 123 grants, totalling $400,000, have been announced. The funding is part of the $5.1 million the Turnbull Government is providing to the Men’s Shed Association through to 2018-19. Read more here.

National Disability Insurance Scheme

Mental Health Australia has recently provided a Supplementary Submission to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the NDIS inquiry into the provision of psychosocial services. Specifically, this submission addresses options for achieving recovery oriented psychosocial support in the NDIS.

The Turnbull Government has introduced legislation to establish the new NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. Proposed changes to the NDIS Act 2013 would create the Commission and give it powers to regulate NDIS providers, oversee quality and safety of their services and supports, investigate and determine complaints and uphold the rights of people with disability. Read the media release here.

The Department of Social Services is currently consulting on an NDIS Code of Conduct to clearly set out expectations on providers and workers regarding the delivery of NDIS supports. The Code of Conduct forms part of the new NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework. You can participate in the consultation process by completing a survey or providing a submission by 21 June 2017 via the Department’s website

Recently released reports provide up-to-date information about people’s NDIS experiences, including the NDIS Report Card, compiled by Every Australian Counts, and Choice, Control and the NDIS, funded by the University of Melbourne’s Social Equity Institute.

Difficulties with the implementation of the NDIS have seen widespread  news coverage, most recently on the ABC ‘NDIS needs changes…” and in Pro Bono News with reports of NDIS staffing turmoil and ongoing teething problems. Last week the CEO of the NDIA, David Bowen, acknowledged the difficulties and the NDIA’s commitment to improvement. Read his statement here.

Helpful NDIS website resources include Your first steps as an NDIS participant and an updated NDIS glossary and, available on the Carers Victoria website, a series of NDIS Snapshots to assist carers in understanding the transition to NDIS for the person they support.

New disability data released

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has just released its latest report, Disability support services: services provided under the National Disability Agreement 2015-16, providing a range of data on disability support services and service users, together with fact sheets on participation in community living, employment and education.

Family violence reform

A new agency, Family Safety Victoria, will drive and deliver unprecedented action to end family violence, as part of a $1.91 billion package of measures in the Victorian Budget 2017/18. Family Safety Victoria is the state’s first-ever agency solely dedicated to delivering family violence reform. Read the media release here.

Support for young carers

The Turnbull Government has announced an additional $1 million to continue the Young Carer Bursary Program in 2018. Under the program, which Carers Australia has been delivering since 2015, annual bursaries of $3,000 are awarded to young carers aged up to 25 to help them continue their education. See the media release here.

Victorian Honour Roll of Women

Nominations are now open for the 2018 Victorian Honour Roll of Women, which acknowledges and celebrates the outstanding achievements of women in Victoria. If you know an extraordinary woman who deserves recognition for her contributions, leadership and achievements, please nominate her for the 2018 Honour Roll. Nominations close at 5pm on Monday 17 July 2017.

Upcoming national conferences

National Suicide Prevention Conference, Relationships, resilience and respect: responding to vulnerability in life, 26-19 July 2017, Brisbane

TheMHS Conference 2017, 29 August-1 September, Embracing Change through Innovation and Lived Experience, Sydney

7th International Carers Conference, Caring in the future: the new world?, 4-6 October 2017, Adelaide

9th Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium, Impacts and Outcomes, Putting People First, 12-13 October 2017, Albury, NSW

National Carer Counselling Conference, Diverse Work in a Specialised Field – Counselling Carers in Practice, 19 October 2017, Melbourne

National NDIS Mental Health Conference, Towards a Better Life, 16-17 November 2017, Sydney

4th Annual National Mental Health Conference, 20-21 November 2017, Sydney