Czech health minister asked to resign after breaking coronavirus rules

Prime Minister Andrej Babis said Friday he will meet with the country’s president later in the day to discuss a possible replacement of the minister, Roman Prymula.

“There’s no other solution than his resignation from the post,” Babis said. “It shouldn’t have happened.”

Deputy Minister of Health Roman Prymula addresses a press conference after the government talks on new measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Prague, Czech Republic (Photo: March, 2020) (AP)

“If we want the people to abide by the rules … it is us who have to set an example,” Babis said. “We can’t preach water and drink wine.”

The Blesk tabloid daily said Prymula met with Jaroslav Faltynek, deputy head of the senior government ANO, or YES, movement led by Babis in a Prague restaurant on Wednesday night. Photographs published in the paper showed that Prymula also didn’t wear a mandatory face mask.

Restaurants are closed in the Czech Republic because of the pandemic, and it wasn’t immediately clear if the establishment was open or if the owner only allowed Prymula and Faltynek in to dine there.

The revelation has shocked the country, which has been hard-hit by the pandemic. At Prymula’s request, the government has approved tight restrictions to slow the surge that is threatening the entire health system.

The junior government coalition party, the Social Democrats, joined the opposition to demand Prymula’s resignation, calling his behaviour “absolutely unacceptable.”

Prymula denied any wrongdoing and refused to step down, further escalating the crisis. He said he was invited to participate in a meeting with a hospital director and only went through the restaurant to a private space where it took place.

“I haven’t broken anything,” he said.

A man wearing a face mask carries his dog across the medieval Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020
A man wearing a face mask carries his dog across the medieval Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020 (AP)

Faltynek apologised for the meeting and said he asked Prymula to meet to discuss a special parliamentary session that is set to approve a plan for NATO military medical personnel to come to the Czech Republic to help their local colleagues.

Before he became health minister, Prymula was a deputy health minister who led the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic for a time in the spring.

The country recorded a relatively low number of COVID-19 cases and deaths then compared to hard-hit Western European countries such as Italy, Spain and Britain.

Prymula, an epidemiologist, later assumed a different post, as a government health care envoy.

He was appointed only a month ago as a “crisis manager” to lead the country’s response to the pandemic as new infections were on a steep rise.

Prymula became health minister on September 12, and he imposed a series of tough regulations in attempts to slow the steep rise of infections. Bars, restaurants and schools are closed, as well as theatres, cinemas, zoos and many other locations. Professional sports competitions are banned.

Just hours before the incident in the restaurant, Prymula and Babis announced the country was returning to a lockdown like in the spring with new restrictions that limit movement, close many stores and services and limit public gatherings to two.

Prymula said the health system would collapse around November 10 if the measures weren’t taken, Prymula said.

Calling the current situation dramatic, he recently tweeted in one of his videos: “I’d like to call on all of you to stay, if possible, at home.”

The day-to-day increase of new confirmed cases reached 14,151 on Thursday, the second biggest after a record of almost 15,000 set a day earlier. The country has confirmed 223,065 positive cases, about a third of them in the last seven days while 1,845 have died.

The number of people hospitalised with COVID-19 is 4,777, with 735 in serious condition.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases has risen over the past two weeks from 32.81 new cases per 100,000 people on October 7 to 92.88 new cases per 100,000 people on Wednesday.

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KFL&A Public Health warning of ‘toxic’ drugs after increase in overdoses – Kingston

Kingston’s public health unit is warning residents that a “toxic batch of drugs” may be circulating in the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington area.

This comes after a recent increase in overdoses locally. The public health unit says in some cases, these overdoses have been accompanied by “unusual reactions” to the drugs, like a rapid loss of consciousness, chest pain or stroke, seizures, involuntary movement, and high blood pressure.

Read more:
KFL&A Chief Medical Officer warns four deaths could be linked to cocaine lace with Fentanyl

“Substances being consumed may appear lime green in colour initially and become darker in colour during preparation,” KFL&A Public Health said in a news release.

The health unit is urging people who use drugs not to mix their substances, to test before using, and to never use alone.

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They are also asking users to be mindful of the risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to keep social distance or to connect virtually with someone who could call for help if needed.

Click to play video 'Study explores why COVID-19 pandemic led to increase in overdose deaths'

Study explores why COVID-19 pandemic led to increase in overdose deaths

Study explores why COVID-19 pandemic led to increase in overdose deaths

The area’s safe consumption site is now located at the Integrated Care Hub at Artillery Park, which is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Rapid Access Addictions Medicine Clinic at Street Health Centre is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. by appointment to provide individuals with support related to substance use.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Indigenous mobile health unit combines traditional and modern medicine for treatment

A mobile health unit in Toronto is combining traditional Indigenous treatments and modern medicine to help care for the city’s homeless and most vulnerable people.

Anishnawbe Health Toronto developed its mobile health unit after witnessing a rise in homelessness and overdoses brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The nurses, doctors and social workers tour the city’s homeless encampments and other areas to test and treat people in need of medical attention.

“We are providing COVID testing and for people that are homeless, transient and living rough, and also primary health care,” Jane Harrison with the Anishnawbe Health Toronto Mobile Unit told CTV News.

The system allows the health unit to track and care for the people who are experiencing homelessness and may have contracted COVID-19, while also affording them the ability to travel to where they’re needed most.

Now, the mobile health unit typically sees about 100 people per day.

“You can find 50 (to) 60 tents in some of these parks,” said Harvey Manning, director of Programs and Services at Anishnawbe Health Toronto. “What has happened is a lot of drop-in’s have closed. There’s fewer places for people to eat.”

Anishnawbe Health Toronto began in 1984 after its founder, Joe Sylvester, realized a “more comprehensive approach to health care” was needed among the Indigenous community in Toronto.

The health unit promotes traditional forms of Indigenous medicine and practices and offers its patients access to traditional healers, elders and medicine people, along with dentists, chiropractors and massage therapists. The health unit also helps people looking to “escape homelessness.”

“Anishnawbe Health has saved my life,” said Bonnie Gegwetch, a client of the organization.

For Gegwetch, having access to Anishnawbe Health Toronto has helped her to connect with her roots.

“I’m part of the 60s scoop,” she said. “This is my culture, this is where I found it.”

“Anishnawbe health has done an awesome job.”

The health unit is currently fundraising to put all of its services in one new building in downtown Toronto. Construction on the new facility is set to begin later this year.

Wiith files from CTV National News and Indigenous Circle reporter Donna Sound

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Indian cricket team to quarantine in Sydney after delays with Queensland Health approving coronavirus plan

Cricket Australia (CA) says the Indian touring party will quarantine in Sydney instead of Brisbane.

A spokesman told the ABC the New South Wales Government had approved CA’s biosecurity plan for the Indian team and their families.

The decision follows a drawn-out negotiation with the Queensland Government, which had been considering a similar CA proposal for a month.

When Queensland raised objections earlier this week, CA approached NSW.

The tour is due to begin in mid-November.

After the two-week quarantine, the team will play three one-day internationals, and three T20 internationals against Australia before beginning a four-Test series set down for Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

It is not yet clear where the one-day internationals and T20 internationals will be played, now that the quarantine plans have moved from Queensland to NSW.

The decision follows a comment today from the Queensland Health Minister, Steven Miles, who said it was “quite likely” a member of the Indian cricket team’s touring party could bring coronavirus to the state.

Steven Miles said it was possible a member of the Indian touring party would bring COVID-19 to the state.(ABC News: Chris Gillette)

“These are folk travelling from countries with current outbreaks with large numbers of cases and so the risks are much greater,” Mr Miles said.

“The likelihood that one of them will test positive is much greater and so they don’t just need to work through how quarantine works for them, but also what might happen in the case of a positive case, given that that’s quite likely in fact.”

India has recorded more than 7.5 million cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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| Why Male Sexual Health Care Is Good MedicineTalking About Men’s Health™

Health, Sex

Why Male Sexual Health Care Is Good Medicine

It’s not easy to define “good medicine.” When I think of “good medicine,” I think of medical care that isn’t reactive, ponderously slow and inefficient. Good medicine is efficient, impactful, proactive, empowering and curative. Much of medicine treats illness, but good medicine heals it. Much of medicine is based on science but good medicine is based on trustworthy science. Good medicine teaches patients to take better care of themselves, and requires time and effort by providers. It is not easy, but it’s worth every penny invested in it.

Opening Doors

We in medicine have a wonderful opportunity to provide good medicine to young men who are, by any measure, medically underserved. This is so because much of young men’s medicine is sexual health or fertility-related and therefore couched in silence or shame. Although not always life-threatening or painful, these issues matter a lot because they greatly affect quality of life. On a grander scale, they also provide an opportunity for medicine to get its “foot in the door” in caring for men so much earlier in their lives than we currently are.

Filling a Void

Here’s how the care of young men can be very good medicine:

  • We can catch things early. Bad habits (drugs) and risky behaviors (STDs, accidents) kill many a young man. Taking a deep interest in the lives of young men encourages responsibility and better behavior.
  • We can change life trajectories. It’s clear that bad habits when young (food choices) can lead to illness (obesity, diabetes) when older. Encouraging healthy lifestyle choices is key to longevity.
  • We can cure what bothers them. Sexual health issues are quite curable. And many treatments require attention and effort from patients. That is a healthy model for empowering men in the future.
  • We can predict future health. Fertility and erection issues are now known to be “biomarkers” of future health. Thus, there is an incredible opportunity for providers to practice the holy grail of care: preventative medicine!
  • We can get them to trust medicine. Delivering good care to young men leads to trust in the healthcare system later on and to more healthy behaviors.
  • We can imbibe a sense of mortality. Young men are not immortal, but simply more robust than older men. The sooner they realize this, the longer they’ll live.
  • Health is their best investment. Young men need to know that keeping a body healthy takes attention and work, but it’s also a priceless investment in their future.


Dr. Paul Turek is an internationally known thought leader in men’s reproductive and sexual health care and research. A fellowship trained, board-certified physician by the American Board of Urology (ABU), he has received numerous honors and awards for his work and is an active member in professional associations worldwide. His recent lectures, publications and book titles can be found in his curriculum vitae.

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Small-business owners, take care of your mental health

Building a company, no matter the size is always celebrated as a success. But business owners know only too well that entrepreneurship is tough. They are responsible for themselves, their customers and their employees.

Anxiety steps in mostly because of financial concerns, but mental, emotional, and physical stress can also cause anxiety that may lead to long-term mental health issues. Many small-business owners tend to spend too much time taking care of their business that sometimes they overlook their mental health. For these reasons and more, people who run their own businesses are more likely to experience mental health issues than regular workers.

How do you
ensure that you are on top of not just your own mental health but your
employees’ too?   

Set and Keep Work-Life Boundaries. When you own the business, it can be difficult to stick to a work schedule. However, as important as it is to have time for business, it is also important to set aside time for self-care, family, social life and other enjoyable things. The same goes for your employees. You are taking care of your mental health when you have balance in your work and personal life. Some of the work can wait so, as much as possible, set reasonable business hours for you and your employees and keep them.

Have a Flexible Work Arrangement. Being holed up in the same environment everyday may cause burnout. Do all tasks they need to be done in the office or can some tasks be done elsewhere like, say, at home, at a park or at a coffee shop? To be able to get out of the office from time to time can positively boost output. A flexible work environment that fits your and your employees’ lifestyle can help maintain your emotional and psychological balance and beat burnout.

Assign and Delegate. Running a business means juggling many duties. Consider delegating some of your tasks to free up time so you can step back, relax and take a break. Observe, too, if and when your employees are overwhelmed with their duties. If so, you may consider reassigning and distributing some of the work to other employees or you may try outsourcing. Know that you can’t possibly do everything yourself so there’s no point in trying to do it all. Similarly, do not assign to an employee more tasks than they can reasonably manage.

Take Your Mind Off Work. Since you own the business, it is understandable that there is a lot on your mind. Set aside some time to take your mind off work from time to time by engaging in other activities like exercise which has proven to be a great stress reliever. You can also start an exercise program for employees. And, after dealing with business for most of the day, try to clear your mind from work matters during the evening.

Socialise. You know what they say about all work and no play? Spend fun time with your employees outside the work setting, minus the business talk. This will foster camaraderie and help strengthen your work relationship. Encourage your employees to also spend time with their friends and families. Socialization helps reduce stress and improve mental health.

Know that your
psychological health is vital to the success of your company. With many
businesses folding because of the pandemic, it is important to keep your and
your employees’ mental health in check to maintain your resilience and keep
your business running as smoothly as possible.

Manna Maniago, Registered Counsellor & Psychotherapist and Founder, Kairos Assist 

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AFL 2020: North Melbourne coach, Michael Voss, Rhyce Shaw, mental health, next North Melbourne coach, Kangaroos

Port Adelaide assistant coach Michael Voss admits he remains keen to become a senior coach again, but has played down links between he and North Melbourne, who could be on the lookout for a new senior coach.

North Melbourne confirmed earlier this month that Shaw had taken “time and space away from football”, while veteran journalist Caroline Wilson told Footy Classified on Monday night that Shaw “won’t coach at North again”, and that the club would approach Voss about taking on the role.

Voss, who coached his former club Brisbane for five years, joined Port Adelaide as their midfield manager in the backhalf of 2014. He was asked on SEN SA if he would be interested in the job at North should it open.

Catch Fox Footy’s Grand Final Week coverage on Kayo. Stream all the latest news and insight right up until first bounce plus half-time and full-time analysis from the Fox Footy commentary team. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >

Grand Final


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CEO Update: How is your Mental Health Month going?

October is clearly a busy month for our mental health ecosystem, especially those advocating for reform and change. Throw in a Federal Budget and the intensity and need for advocacy only goes up a level or five.

So in a week that started with SANE releasing their world leading National Stigma Report Card and included a range of activities for National Carers Week led by our good friends at Carers Australia, the spotlight on the mental health system and those who provide unpaid care within it only increased in intensity.

I have always thought that having National Carers Week alongside Mental Health Week is the right timing. The impact of caring for a loved one places people at a higher risk of developing their own mental health concerns. As a mum watching from afar as my adult kids and their families traverse the second Melbourne lock-down, I can understand the worry and a sense of helplessness.

Closer to home at Mental Health Australia we were pleased to be able to deliver a detailed analysis of the 2020 Federal Budget to Members on Wednesday.

This Budget Analysis gauges the value of this Budget in relation to mental health and related investments. It is a difficult task as the transparency of the Budget papers has diminished over time making it harder to ascertain new investments from existing commitments. This is exacerbated in a year when the Budget is tabled six months later than usual due to unprecedented expenditure to address the impact the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nonetheless there are some standout issues. The Government’s overall response to the pandemic has been widely supported and, in relation to the focus and expenditure on mental health, world leading. It offered hope through funding increases to mental health and wellbeing support services and financial support to many (but not all) including the most vulnerable through the JobKeeper and JobSeeker investments.

While the 2020 Budget includes modest additional mental health funding by doubling the sessions available under the Better Access initiative, it fails to build in evaluation or requirements for data collection that would demonstrate value for money in this important program. It also goes backward in its support of the most vulnerable through reductions in JobSeeker payment (Coronavirus Supplement), failure to better support women and people facing housing instability and a lack of commitment of ongoing funding for people with a psychosocial disability who are not eligible for the NDIS.

This leaves the mental health sector at a crossroads.

The global pandemic has sorely tested the resilience of all Australians but on the other hand it has also offered opportunities to innovate the way services are delivered. At the same time, Australia’s mental health system has been put under the microscope through the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into mental health with the final report yet to be publicly released by Government.

In a year that started with the devastation of bushfires and responses underpinned by the principle of ‘building back better’, it seems this Budget has missed the opportunity to highlight and expand innovative practices developed during the pandemic. In addition, although there are some investments made across the social determinants of mental health, there are omissions in areas such as housing and financial security, both of which are directly related to mental health and wellbeing.

In other words, while there has been welcomed investment to meet some of the additional demand created by these extraordinary times, Budget 2020 still leaves Australia’s mental health system treading water and does not take us forward. We can only hope that the next big forward step will come when the Productivity Commission’s final report is released and recommendations turn into reform.

And hopefully that will be in the coming weeks.

You can download our detailed Budget Analysis document here.

Have a good weekend.

Leanne Beagley

This year our Mental Health Australia Annual General Meeting will be held on-line at 2.30pm on December 12th, 2020. Following that meeting and starting at 3pm, we are delighted that Professor Brendan Murphy has agreed to be our guest speaker. He was the Chief Medical Officer when the pandemic hit Australia and guided us through the challenges of the national pandemic response. He is now the Secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Health and will provide us with his reflections on 2020 and the challenges ahead, particularly for the mental health ecosystem. Please save the date in your diary and details on how to register will be sent to members and stakeholders directly.

On Tuesday Melanie Cantwell and I had the opportunity to meet with Prof Murphy and his senior team, where we were able to brief him on the work of Mental Health Australia but more importantly discuss a range of matters of concern to the sector including the recent budget announcements, the important interface for mental health care with the health, disability, justice, housing and social services sectors – and the pending Productivity Commission Final Report. 

Mental Health Australia develops papers and submissions to advocate for mental health reforms to improve the lives of all Australians with mental illness informed by key mental health sector experts, consumers and carers and other stakeholders. These papers and submissions provide the platform on which Mental Health Australia undertakes systemic advocacy. 

To engage with the sector to develop these policy positions, Mental Health Australia has historically held two face to face Member Policy Forums per year.  While these are well attended events the expectation of member organisations and governments is shifting in response to rapidly changing political environment that is heavily influenced by a 24 hour news cycle and social media. Further, the impact of the pandemic has shown us that we can meet and work remotely but remain connected, informed and effective. To respond to this new environment Mental Health Australia is changing the way it works with members. 

Member Policy Forums will continue to be arranged either as face to face (as undertaken pre-pandemic) or online as has occurred during the second half of 2020, or both. These will target medium to longer term reform issues consistent with the Charter and Strategic Planning. 

In addition Mental Health Australia will now also offer its members Member Briefings and Member Policy Hubs: 

  • Member Briefings will be exclusively for members and will provide direct information on what’s happening at a national level from an MHA perspective. These will be formatted as webinars and linked closely to the CEO Updates but targeted for Members only.
  • Member Policy Hubs will be short term “sprint teams” drawn together from the membership to address key current policy issues. The objective of the Policy Hub format is to supplement the existing face to face Members Policy Forums to provide an opportunity to better engage member organisations and consumers and carers and utilise research evidence in a timely and more responsive way to inform the work of Mental Health Australia.

We are excited to get these new types of engagement up and running, with the first Member Policy Hub due to kick off in the first week of November on the topic of NDIS Independent Assessments. Members have already received information about this via email.

We look forward to enriching our engagement with members over the coming months through these new methods and will be keen to understand how we can continue to improve member engagement as we go forward. 

Last week Mental Health Australia and Suicide Prevention Australia provided a second joint submission regarding the establishment of a National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention. In this submission to a senate inquiry, we strongly supported the objectives of the legislation, and outlined a number of ways in which it could be strengthened in relation to: data collection, supporting a whole-of-life wellbeing approach, focusing on transition from the defence force to civilian life as a particularly vulnerable time, connecting people who are bereaved with postvention support and supporting a whole of government approach.

Read the submission

On Monday I have my regular meeting with Dr Ruth Vine, Deputy Chief Medical Officer and am also looking forward to catching up with Nicky Bath from National LGBTI Health Alliance.

On Tuesday we are meeting with the RACGP and Consumers Health Forum to progress out shared work on Social Prescribing and then in the evening I will be attending the GP Annual Awards night and will be part of a panel discussion with Dr Mukesh Haikerwal and Dr Caroline Jones. 

On Thursday I will be attending the National Peak Bodies Bushfire Recovery Coordination Meeting and later meeting with the Mental Health Commissioners across Australia.

On Friday I have the Primary Health Reform Steering Group meeting and then a meeting with the National Mental Health Workforce Strategy Taskforce.

The Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (the Framework) is a free, nationally available online resource which allows organisations and individual practitioners to evaluate and enhance their cultural responsiveness. It has been mapped against national standards to help you meet your existing requirements, with access to a wide range of support and resources. 

Mental health services in Australia describes the activity and characteristics of Australia’s health care and social care services accessed by people with a mental illness. This web report provides the most recent data available on the national response of the health and welfare system to the mental health care needs of Australians. Data are progressively published as it becomes available throughout the year.

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An RMIT expert has outlined the major barriers facing students with disability to accessing a quality education and called for an end to suspension and exclusion as a form of behaviour management. International expert on behaviour, disability and mental health in education, Dr David Armstrong, was speaking at the Disability Royal Commission hearing into ‘Barriers to accessing a safe, quality and inclusive school education and life course impacts’. 

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The Australian Government is investing $12.4 million in a Grief and Trauma Response Package to ensure support is available for those affected by COVID-19 across the aged care sector. This is part of the $171.5 million COVID-19 response plan for aged care support programs announced in August 2020. 

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Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, says the Morrison Government recognises it is a very challenging time for many Australians, with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on daily life and work having taken a considerable toll on the mental health of individuals and communities. 

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Mental health is one of the most neglected areas of public health and AASW National President Ms Christine Craik has cautioned that the consequences of the COVID-19 on people’s mental well being we are already seeing, is just the beginning. 

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Experts from RMIT University are available to talk about the impact of Victoria’s COVID-19 restrictions on arts workers, including creative and technical workers and the implications for their mental health. Researchers are studying the impact of the arts shutdown on workers’ emotional and mental health. 

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Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, this week joined leaders from some of Australia’s largest employers to launch the Corporate Mental Health Alliance Australia (CMHAA), a new business-led, expert-guided member organisation dedicated to improving mental health in the workplace. The Alliance’s 15 founding members – many of them direct competitors – recognise that the mental wellbeing of their employees transcends market dynamics, and that working together will give them the best chance of delivering real impact for their people. These members and participants include AIA Australia, Allianz Australia, Bunnings Group, Clayton Utz, Coles Group, Commonwealth Bank, Deloitte, DLA Piper, Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, King & Wood Mallesons, KPMG, Microsoft Australia, MinterEllison, Woolworths Group and PwC Australia.

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The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has welcomed new Budget initiatives to strengthen the capacity of the healthcare workforce to provide more timely, seamless and high quality services to veterans and their families.

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TheMHS Learning Network Inc
TheMHS Learning Network Inc. is an international learning network for improving mental health services in Australia and New Zealand. TheMHS Learning Network is a registered charity run by a volunteer Management Committee. TheMHS events bring together people from across Australia and New Zealand to stimulate debates that challenge the boundaries of present knowledge and ideas about mental health care and mental health systems. TheMHS Learning Network believes in promoting positive attitudes about mental health and mental illness. Their forums foster the exchange of ideas, focus discussion on workforce development, and are a great place for networking and debate for professionals, consumers, families and carers, managers, researchers and policy-makers.

Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA)
Founded in 1991 Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA), formerly known as the Australian Association for Exercise and Sports Science (AAESS), is a professional organisation which is committed to establishing, promoting and defending the career paths of tertiary trained exercise and sports science practitioners. Vision – To enhance performance, health and well-being through the science of exercise and sport. Mission – Lead and promote the excellence in exercise and sports science for the benefits of society and the professions.

The time is now to support the mental health and wellbeing of Australian doctors and medical students. A mentally healthy doctor or medical student is a key enabler of quality patient care.
Show your support for the launch and adoption of the Every Doctor, Every Setting: A National Framework by reading, signing and sharing how you will put the framework in to practice as an individual, organisation or service.

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The 2020/21 AICD National Not-for-Profit Scholarship Program will make 130 full scholarships available to the Australian not-for-profit sector, with the aim of enabling directors, senior managers and emerging directors of NFP organisations (with a turnover of less than $2m) to attend the AICD’s Governance Foundations for Not-for-Profit Directors program.

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This latest Report from Australia’s largest workplace mental health study features unique insights from COVID-19’s profound impact on workers around the nation.

Learn which industries are most and least thriving, as measured against 40 scientifically-validated indicators through responses from more than 10,000 Australian workers.

The Report also highlights at-risk industries and populations, actions most likely to improve worker outcomes, and practical strategies for getting the best out of your people.

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Working Together to Prevent Youth Suicide: The Power of Communication
28 October 2020, 1.00pm-2.00pm
Cost: Free.

Research shows that young Australians aged 12–25 years are at the greatest risk of being harmed by suicide. This may be through their own suicidal thoughts or behaviours, or through those of someone close to them. Professionals working across education, health and social services play an important role in helping to prevent suicide, where possible, and addressing the community harm that it produces.
This webinar will explore local, place-based approaches to the prevention of suicide among young people and the minimisation of community harm following a suicide, known as ‘postvention’.
Drawing on both research evidence and the lived experience of a youth peer support worker, it will:

  • describe current understandings of suicide prevention and postvention
  • identify key risk factors for young people, including the impacts of COVID-19
  • explore local, place-based strategies for suicide prevention and postvention, including one community’s use of #chatsafe guidelines to equip young people with the tools to support themselves and each other.

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Join us for this FREE Webinar, Thursday 5th November 2020, 3pm – 4pm AEDT
People in LGBTIQ+ communities have an increased risk of developing a mental health condition and are less likely to access services due to discrimination and marginalisation. LGBTIQ+ people have the right to respectful and non-judgemental service provision.

Join MHCC & guest speakers:

  • Charlie Willbridge – National LGBTI Health Alliance
  •  Amelia Arnold – Thorne Harbour Health

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The National Stigma Report Card and Our Turn to Speak survey focus on understanding the impact of stigma and discrimination on people living with complex mental health issues, across a broad range of life domains. For many people, these experiences have a profound, sustained and negative impact. This report presents rich data on these themes, which some people may find confronting.

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NT coroner told ‘indifference’ from health department ‘may have resulted’ in youth petrol sniffing deaths

The Northern Territory coroner has heard recommendations made three years ago appear to have had “absolutely no influence” on health authorities dealing with petrol sniffing, and their “indifference” may have resulted in the deaths of more young people.

Warning: This story contains details which may be distressing for some readers.

In a scathing closing address on the deaths of three young people in separate Arnhem Land communities, counsel assisting the coroner Kelvin Currie said “‘outrageous’ as a description” was inadequate to describe the actions of the NT Health Department.

The inquest examined the petrol sniffing and deaths of 12-year-old Master W, 13-year-old Master JK and 17-year-old Ms B in 2018 and 2019.

Mr Currie said the inquiry found no evidence the department had made changes promised after the 2017 inquest into the petrol sniffing and death of Mr Laurie, who is known by his last name for cultural reasons.

“Nothing has changed in the last three years,” he said.

“The same practices that permitted Mr Laurie to continue to sniff petrol for about 10 years until he died persisted in these cases.”

In 2017, coroner Greg Cavanagh recommended the Top End Health Service provide training and supervision to ensure staff understood the legal obligation to escalate high-risk petrol sniffing cases with the Chief Health Officer.

But Mr Currie told the court today it was “difficult to escape the view” that Judge Cavanagh’s findings in that inquest “had absolutely no influence on the way the department acted”.

Mr Currie said the “lack of leadership and supervision” acknowledged at the last inquest — that Chief Health Officer Dr Hugh Heggie agreed should come from his office — “has obviously continued”.

“There is absolutely no evidence of any change to practice, there was no audit to ensure there had been change,” he said.

Health staff are meant to escalate high-risk cases with Chief Health Officer Hugh Heggie.(ABC News: Terry McDonald)

Lawyers speak on behalf of families

North Australian Aboriginal Family Legal Service solicitor Ian Grant, who was representing the family of Master JK, said the 13-year-old boy was “failed by a range of government departments”.

Mr Grant recommended the establishment of an Arnhem Land treatment facility for children known to sniff petrol.

“BushMob [treatment facility] is down in Alice Springs, a child from East Arnhem travelling down to Alice Springs is travelling between worlds,” he said.

“There is different people, culture, language, and land that they now have to contend with, on top of the addiction they have.”

Mr Grant said the cost of a new facility was more than justified.

“Isn’t every preventable death of a child more important than a budget?” he asked the court.

“How many more inquests into the deaths of children in East Arnhem due to volatile substance abuse recommending services and compliance to the law will the government have?”

A dirt road leading into Nhulunbuy in Arnhem Land.
Lawyers for Master JK say there is a need to establish a treatment facility in Arnhem Land.(ABC News: Melanie Arnost, file photo)

Judge Cavanagh said he was a “bit surprised” there still wasn’t a BushMob facility in the Top End.

Mark Thomas, the barrister for the family of Ms B, said the Department of Health “failed to properly reflect and accept responsibility for the failings”.

He urged the coroner to recommend child-specific treatment outside the major centres and more mental health support into remote communities.

“What occurred in terms of Ms B, her permanent loss, was outrageous,” he said.

“It shouldn’t have happened — her death shouldn’t have happened,” Mr Thomas told the court.

Judge to consider evidence

Judge Cavanagh will release findings and recommendations at a later date.

Mr Currie said it was likely one of Judge Cavanagh’s recommendations would be for legislation to formalise a new cross-agency committee created earlier this year by the departments called to appear before the coroner.

Mr Currie said legislating the so-called “multi-agency community and child safety framework” would hopefully help produce “better co-ordinated and more holistic” responses.

“It would be of no use to make the same recommendations that did not work on the last occasion and there is nothing in the information from the Top End Health Service to suggest they accept the issues or plan or have plans to correct them,” Mr Currie said.

Judge Cavanagh said his jurisdiction was “reactive”.

“I can’t enforce my recommendations … all I can do is expose the reality, expose the truth,” he said.

A spokeswoman for NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles said any recommendations which came from this coronial inquest would be “carefully considered by all agencies involved” including any recommended changes to, or introduction of, legislation.

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Greg Hunt rejects Danila Dilba’s request for Medicare-funded health services in Don Dale

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has formally rejected a request for inmates at a notorious Northern Territory youth detention centre to have comprehensive health services covered by Medicare.

Danila Dilba, an Aboriginal community controlled health organisation (ACCHO) based in Darwin, took over the provision of health care at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in July.

In the same month, the health service wrote to the Minister requesting Medicare benefits be made available to children and young people in detention.

It was specifically seeking a legislative exemption that applies to other ACCHOs.

The exemption allows the organisations to access Medicare even though they are federally funded, in recognition of the Indigenous population’s significant health disadvantages.

Some health services at the centre are funded by the NT Department of Health, but Medicare access would allow Danila Dilba to provide comprehensive coverage for a cohort with complex health needs, according to the organisation’s Andrew Webster.

It would also assist with assessment and support for conditions like foetal alcohol spectrum disorder or FASD, which are believed to be prevalent among youth inmates and children in care.

“We couldn’t have our staff, who provide those services, come in and deliver those services at Don Dale, simply because there’d be no way of funding their time to do that.

“Whereas if it’s done through Medicare, then that absolutely creates an avenue to do that.”

The detention centre was the subject of a 2016 Four Corners episode that exposed the shocking treatment of some detainees and prompted then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull to call a royal commission into the issue.

Allowing the payment of Medicare benefits for health services provided to young people in detention in the NT was one of the recommendations made in the royal commission’s final report, handed down three years ago next month.

The Federal Health Minister did not support the recommendation in the Commonwealth response to the inquiry.

In a letter dated September 22, Mr Hunt formally rejected Danila Dilba’s request on the grounds that funding health services in prisons is a territory responsibility, and the centre already received public funding through the Northern Territory Government.

But Dr Webster said the Northern Territory Government lacked the resources to fund comprehensive services.

He queried why the exemption applied to federally funded ACCHOs could not be applied here.

“I don’t see it as being any different, particularly in a setting like Don Dale, where essentially 100 per cent of the detainees over a year are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids,” he said.

“It’s a curious situation, and one that seems incredibly unjust.”

He also said the cost of covering the Don Dale inmates would be “a tiny amount of money in the whole Medicare budget”.

There was a daily average of 24 young people in NT detention centres in the most recent financial year.

The Department of Health did not answer further questions about its decision.

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