CEO Update: Now is the time to release the Productivity Commission report

As the national Parliament prepares to sit in just over a week there has never been a more important time for the Government to consider the mental health of our nation, and release the Final Report from the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health.

The Final Report will guide us in setting the framework for improving the mental health of our communities, our people in tight lockdowns, our front line health professionals, our families dealing with despair as a result of loss through bushfire, flood, economic hardship, and death as a result of the virus.

In recent weeks, state and federal announcements of new funding initiatives in response to the coronavirus pandemic have been welcome and will target the increased need for services and support at a community level, especially in Victoria during this very challenging time.

The mental health impact of this pandemic is becoming evident and will create huge challenges for response, now and well into the future.

The impact of lost jobs, lost hope, lost personal connections and long periods of uncertainty for many, will only add to the already difficult challenges that our mental health ecosystem was tackling pre-pandemic.

If only there was a blueprint ready to go, to help meet this enormous challenge.

I believe there is. The Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health report has been more than 18 months in the making.

It is a report that has seen extensive expert input, wide consideration of the challenges, and broad respectful consultation.

We know this report looks at both the social and health benefits of improving our mental health system, as well as the governance and economic solutions that could see it thrive. 

The importance of its timing, and timely release, could never have been foreseen, but we need to see it now. The mental health ecosystem stands ready to advise on, and participate in, galvanizing the recommendations we have been instrumental in informing. And waiting for.

In other countries around the world, just like Australia, the mental health impacts of the pandemic have been clear for months and will continue to grow.

However we are fortunate in that we have a head start, as the Productivity Commission’s Final Report could well be the blueprint to guide us through, and then out of, the mental health pandemic we’re all facing.

Yes, this Final Report will land in a crowded space.

Yes, it will need to complement other bodies of work such as The Fifth National Plan for Mental Health & Suicide Prevention, Vision 2030, the National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan, and recommendations stemming from the Royal Commissions into the Victorian Mental Health SystemAged Care, and Disability.

And yes, navigating this crowded space will be the key challenge for the federal Government in crafting a response to the Final Report.

A report that has received so much consideration and consultation it only amplifies its magnitude and potential. A report we cannot wait any longer for, especially at such a critical time for the mental health of our nation.

And a report which needs to be released now.

Have a good weekend.

Leanne Beagley

Mental Health Australia is delighted to announce our partner organisations who will deliver Community Connector services to support people with psychosocial disability to engage with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). 

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On Monday and Tuesday I’ll continue to catch up with some of our Members and stakeholders for more one-on-one conversations which have proved to be a great way to connect, especially during this time of distancing for many of us.

On Wednesday I’ll be attending the National Disability & Carers Alliance meeting as well as meeting to discuss the National Safety and Quality Community Mental Health Service Standards.

While on Friday we are all looking forward to hearing from Dr Ruth Vine in the eighth of our regular Mini Mental Health Australia Members Policy Forums via Webinar.

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. 

On Wednesday 5 August we held a webinar on Service Module 3 of the Framework: Working Together to Promote Mental Health in Multicultural Communities. This module explores effective engagement with multicultural communities and stakeholders, in addition to mental health promotion and suicide prevention in a multicultural context.

With over 80 participants, the webinar was highly productive and very interactive with lots of questions and comments from participants. 

Our next webinar will be held on Wednesday 14 October where we will be exploring Module 4: Building a Culturally Responsive Mental Health Workforce. Watch this space for registration details closer to the date.

The national peak body for suicide prevention welcomed this week’s announcement by the Victorian Government to expand the HOPE post-crisis aftercare service and significantly scale up support for people in crisis. 

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With stage 4 restrictions well underway in Victoria, it is vital that the focus is as strongly placed on the mental health and wellbeing of the community, as much as the physical health.

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Deaths data are a vital measure of a population’s health, and provides information on patterns of diseases that cause death, by population groups and over time. 

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Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Stuart Robert, this week announced additional temporary measures for NDIS participants and providers in Victoria to ensure continuity of services in a COVIDSafe setting.

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The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is boosting the skills of GPs in rural and remote Australia so they can better help patients with mental health concerns.

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Mental Health Victoria this week welcomed the additional $60 million in funding announced by the Victorian Government to expand community and clinical mental health services across the state. 

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The Morrison Government is backing the development of a best-practice guide to better support people with disability who have experienced complex trauma.

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The BHP Foundation is enabling the establishment of Australia’s first mental health think tank, a University of Sydney led initiative to stimulate bold thinking around a national response to the mental health impacts of COVID-19. 

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For over 10 years now, Rural and Remote Mental Health (RRMH) has been delivering mental health programs and services to people living and working in rural and remote Australia. RRMH champions proactive and preventative initiatives for rural and remote communities. They demonstrate a commitment to practical outcomes by focusing on early intervention, the identification of problems on the horizon and the prevention of them where possible. Their three key programs are:

  • Resource Minds – for the mining, quarrying, resources and remote construction sector
  • Deadly Thinking – for Indigenous communities
  • Rural Minds – for agricultural and farming communities

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Centacare Catholic Diocese of Ballarat deliver an extensive range of social welfare and outreach services across the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat and the Western District of Victoria. They provide services that support individuals, families and communities empowering people to bring about positive change while building community capacity.
Vision – Life giving communities in a Just Society.
Mission – To provide services which empower people to live with choice and opportunity.

The Queensland Mental Health Clinical Collaborative (Qld MHCC) is an initiative that brings together adult public mental health services, across Queensland, for statewide clinical practice improvement.

Based on collaborative methodology the MHCC supports clinicians to identify topics of statewide importance and work together to make practice improvements. This webinar will describe the approach of the Qld MHCC and use the current collaborative topic area of “physical health – smoking care” as a real time example to highlight the key components of the initiative.

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Love Your Body Week for Schools is Australia’s largest positive body image movement for young people. It invites all Australians working in primary and secondary schools and other youth and community organisations to come together to celebrate diversity and build body confidence in young people.

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Lived experience forum details:

Managing your anxiety during uncertain times with special guest WayAhead // Tuesday 25th August 7pm – 8.30pm AEST
Anxiety is a normal and natural reaction everyone experiences from time to time. Anxiety can become a problem and develops into different types of anxiety disorders for many when it affects how they want to live their lives. With the right support, people can learn to manage their anxiety and live meaningful and fulfilling lives.

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Carers forum details:

Setting Boundaries as a Carer – Co-hosted by ARAFMI // Wednesday 26th August, 7 – 8.30pm AEST
Boundary setting is an important, albeit difficult, part of self-care when a loved one is living with complex mental health issues. This may be harder and more complex for some than others. This special event will share ideas on how we can set boundaries and look after our own mental health whilst caring for our loved ones. 

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Youth mental health organisation, Orygen has released guidelines globally to help young people communicate safely online about suicide. The guidelines, called #chatsafe: a young person’s guide for communicating safely online about suicide, were developed in partnership with young people and are now available in local languages for Brazil, Finland, Hong Kong, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, South Korea, Singapore, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The guidelines are aimed at supporting young people who might be responding to suicide risk or suicide-related content posted by others, for young people who might be looking for information or help for suicidal feelings, or for those who want to share online their own feelings and experiences with suicide.

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Tasmania’s tech industry says the Government urgently needs to update its websites

Tasmania’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry says the State Government is trailing behind the rest of the country on delivering online services and warns that in some cases it poses a public safety risk.

Fern Tree resident John Simpson and his neighbours go on high alert when summer hits, knowing just how quickly a fire in the foothills of kunanyi/Mt Wellington could spread.

He is reliant on the Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) website, which still has not been upgraded to be mobile-friendly.

“I think because we’re all quite scared up here that there could be some sort of repeat of the ’67 bushfires, we’re always really cautious about what could happen,” Mr Simpson said.

“It does seem a bit strange that it doesn’t work as it should on a mobile phone, because everyone these days accesses sites like these on a mobile anyway.”

Fires in parts of Tasmania last January meant Mr Simpson was constantly checking whether his home was in harm’s way.

“I was just finding it was quite difficult to actually see the map and exactly where the locations were and what the alerts were and all the rest,” he said.

“When you hear that there are bushfires in your area, I think anyone has a bit of a panic, and any information that’s easy to receive and easy to understand and view is always going to be a positive.

TasICT president Martin Anderson said it was crucial for the Government to upgrade the platform.

“The vast majority of Tasmanians have mobile phones and we know that they use them in an emergency, and it’s vital that information about where fires are is easily available and easy to interpret on a small screen,” he said.

“The reality is that this is an investment that needs to be made to support public safety.”

Industry says sector isn’t ‘getting the focus it needs’

Mr Anderson said Tasmania was falling behind the rest of Australia on delivering digital services, and “has been for some time,” primarily due to a lack of investment by the Tasmanian Government.

He said the coronavirus pandemic had highlighted that many services still have to occur face-to-face at Service Tasmania, rather than being done online.

“It’s a real risk in this time when we’re trying to socially distance and people should be staying at home,” he said.

“It’s a level of service delivery that’s out of step with the rest of Australia.”

Mr Anderson said it was also problematic that the Tasmanian Government was paying to host and maintain about 342 active websites.

He said site was 16 years old — older than the iPhone.

The TFS website is not optimised for use on mobile phones.(Screenshot)

“What the Tasmanian IT industry sees is that there’s a lack of coordination in IT procurement across the Tasmanian Government,” Mr Anderson said.

“There’s a very scattergun approach to IT service delivery from the Tasmanian Government, which means that there’s lots of duplication across different agencies, and there’s no long-term roadmap.

“This is key digital infrastructure for Tasmania, and it’s not getting the focus that it needs.”

Science and Technology Minister Michael Ferguson said previous governments had underinvested in the IT sector, and since being elected in 2014, the Government had prioritised “critically urgent” investments in cybersecurity and updated data storage services.

Mr Ferguson pointed to the recently released Our Digital Future strategy and said the Government had begun working to implement the strategy.

“The high-level principles and objectives of Our Digital Future were informed by international, national and local research, trends and industry collaboration,” he said.

“The strategy reflects the drivers, vision and future goals articulated in the Digital Foundations Business Case.”

Mr Anderson said the strategy did not go far enough, with no budgets or dates attached to the goals outlined.

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Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein releases economic and fiscal update

Tasmania’s Treasury department has released a more positive overview of the state’s finances than first expected, but has warned coronavirus could bring unpredicted setbacks.

The state is staring down a deficit of more than $273 million for 2019-20 — a lighter blow than the $716-million black hole forecast in the last budget update in May.

The deficit is expected to rise to almost $1 billion this financial year, also an improvement on the previous forecast.

The latest fiscal update, released Friday afternoon, credited early containment of the pandemic and a lower than expected uptake of state-based relief measures as helping improve the outlook.

However, it adds: “There continues to be significant uncertainty around the revenue forecasts for 2020-21, particularly given the uncertain economic environment.”

The national GST pool is expected to take a hit the past financial year and next, which would impact Tasmania’s greatest revenue source.

Mr Gutwein said the State Government’s focus “hasn’t been on the money, our focus has been on saving lives”.

“In May of 2020 in the first economic and fiscal update we … were very clear that the pandemic would have a significant economic impact on the economy and the state budget in a fiscal sense,” Mr Gutwein said.

“Today the numbers that I am releasing are an improvement on what we were originally forecasting back in May, but they need to be considered cautiously and carefully.”

Thousands still out of work

He said the number of jobs lost in Tasmania was well below what was forecast in May, when it was thought up to 27,500 jobs could be lost in the state by the end of June.

“The ABS indicates that we had around 12,700 jobs lost by the end of July and with the numbers that were released this week, around 5,700 job losses remain,” Mr Gutwein said.

“So since the [job loss] peak in May, we’ve picked up around 13,400 jobs that were lost.”

Mr Gutwein said the “distorting impact” of the JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments would need to be taken into account when considering the actual number of jobs lost.

He also cited New Zealand and Victoria as examples of how quickly the situation can change when it comes to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The numbers that we will bring through in the state budget later this year will be informed as well by what’s occurred in Victoria and how quickly they can come out of the challenges that they are in today,” he said.

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CEO Update: Will the pandemic be a game changer for homelessness in our communities?

Can we change the way things are done? Of course we can, and wouldn’t it be great if when we are able to look back on the coronavirus pandemic, we can say ‘WOW! What a game changer it was for homelessness in our community and for real policy and procedural change.’

At the start of the pandemic the ABC reported some 7,000 homeless people were provided housing in hotels, motels and empty student accommodation around the country.

It was a service, and logistical exercise, that involved many of our members who provide care and ongoing support to some of the most vulnerable in our community.

Last week, amidst the rising number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Melbourne, the Victorian Government extended their program that will now see some 2,000 rough sleepers have somewhere safe to stay, right through until April 2021.

And with similar programs being run in other states, anecdotal evidence suggests that service providers on the ground are seeing much improved results around outreach, and the longer term goal of finding permanent housing for their clients. 

Ironically, at a time when communities are more isolated than ever before due to lockdowns and physical distancing requirements, these quick, simple and cost effective housing measures appear to be helping some of our most isolated to re-connect with the communities in which they live. 

The measures have also highlighted new and increased questions around the amount of public housing available, the need for more, and the fact that building more will create jobs, a statement confirmed in the call to action for Homelessness Week (#HW2020) – ‘support more social housing to create jobs and help end homelessness’.

New data released this week by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that social housing, as a proportion of all housing stock in Australia, has continued to decline over the past decade. At the same time Homelessness Australia and Everybody’s Home  released new heat maps this week confirming significant shortfalls in social housing in every federal electorate across Australia. Their campaign is calling on all federal MPs to sign a social housing pledge – with a commitment to invest in social housing to tackle homelessness and create jobs.

It’s a smart, two pronged approach to tackle a key social determinant for mental ill-health as well as stimulate the economy.

These policies and quick decisions will also help stem the potential for increased numbers of people becoming homeless as a result of the pandemic.

But they are also changes that can make a long term difference for mental health and wellbeing of those who might have otherwise found themselves without a home, sleeping rough and experiencing alienation within a community.

Have a good weekend.

Leanne Beagley

Last week Mental Health Australia provided a detailed response to the Department of Health’s Consultation Paper – Service Model for Adult Mental Health Centres. This response includes feedback provided by members at the Mental Health Australia Mini Members Policy Forum last month.

Mental Health Australia strongly supports the establishment of services to address the current gap in mental health services for adults experiencing complex mental health needs or mental health crisis, and providing a safe alternative to attending an Emergency Department for such care. However as it stands, Mental Health Australia believes the Consultation Paper does not provide a clear enough framework on how the proposed Adult Mental Health Centres will deliver on this vision.

Read the response here

This is a great opportunity to become involved with an organisation that is dedicated to driving better mental health for all Australians.

  • Excellent opportunity with a national organisation

  • Full-time position to 30 June 2022, with potential for ongoing

  • Very attractive remuneration package, including charity salary packaging options

  • Supportive, family-friendly work environment

Reporting to the Deputy CEO, the Manager Consumer & Carer Programs is responsible for:

  • facilitating the business of the National Mental Health Consumer & Carer Forum (NMHCCF), which includes providing secretariat, policy and project support.

  • managing the relationship between Mental Health Australia and the NMHCCF, through a trustworthy and trauma-informed approach.

  • strengthening policy and advocacy positions and capacity for mental health consumers and carers working with Mental Health Australia.

Read more and apply here

On Monday I’ll be meeting with Mentally Healthy WA and the Public Health Advocacy Institute of Western Australia as well as having a catch up with the National Mental Health Commission on Vision 2030.

On Tuesday I am meeting with Dr Ruth Vine, Deputy Chief Medical Officer. We’ll be working with Mind and the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) on the Trajectories Research policy development process, while on Wednesday I’m looking forward to meeting with Maree McCabe, CEO at Dementia Australia and after that with Alison Verhoeven from the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association.

On Thursday, the Executive team and I will catch up with our colleagues at Suicide Prevention Australia, while on Friday I’ll be chairing Meeting #2 for National Mental Health Workforce Strategy Working Group, looking at Rural and Remote Mental Health.

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. 

On Wednesday 5 August we held a webinar on Service Module 3 of the Framework: Working Together to Promote Mental Health in Multicultural Communities. This module explores effective engagement with multicultural communities and stakeholders, in addition to mental health promotion and suicide prevention in a multicultural context.

With over 80 participants, the webinar was highly productive and very interactive with lots of questions and comments from participants. 

Our next webinar will be held on Wednesday 14 October where we will be exploring Module 4: Building a Culturally Responsive Mental Health Workforce. Watch this space for registration details closer to the date.

Great to see the North Western Melbourne PHN have released a series of short videos in community languages on COVID-19. A simple and engaging way to get the message out.

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The Australian Government is providing an additional $2.6 million to assist Victorians with severe mental illness whose access to psychosocial supports has been impacted by COVID19. 

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Two in three contacts to the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service are now coming from Victoria. Over the month of July, about 64 per cent of calls and webchats to the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service came from people in Victoria.

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Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, says the Australian Government will provide 10 additional Medicare subsidised psychological therapy sessions for people subjected to further restrictions in areas impacted by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Australians are invited to participate in the world’s largest survey of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on physical and mental health, to generate new insights that can drive better health policies and investments. 

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Mission Australia has launched its new 20-25 Strategy with the vision of creating an Australia where all of us have a safe home and can thrive.

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With a State of Disaster declared in Victoria and a small – yet persistent – number of new cases still emerging daily in NSW, it is imperative governments continue to provide sustained new investment in mental health to meet variable and changing circumstances.

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Australia joined with other nations on Tuesday 4th August 2020 to release the first ever International Declaration on Mental Health Crisis Care giving healthcare leaders, governments and community organisations a blueprint for quality mental health crisis care that should be available for everyone, everywhere, every time it is needed. 

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General Practitioners (GPs) across Australia now have access to a new 24/7 hotline to assist them in supporting the health and wellbeing of veterans. 

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Lifeline Australia Chairman, John Brogden made a plea to Victorians to reach out to Lifeline to speak to a Crisis Supporter as the weight of new and stricter lockdown rules extend the impact on people’s mental health. 

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Dynamic modelling by researchers from the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre has revealed key findings that show what strategies are required to help prevent suicide in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic impacts on mental health.

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The Royal Flying Doctor Service is one of the largest and most comprehensive aeromedical organisations in the world, providing extensive primary health care and 24-hour emergency service to people over an area of 7.69 million square kilometres. Delivered by a dedicated team of professionals, using the latest in aviation, medical and communications technology, and supported by a vast number of volunteers and supporters, the RFDS is vital for those that live, work and travel in rural and remote Australia. Mission – To provide excellence in aeromedical and primary health care across Australia.
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Centacare Catholic Family Services strive to support people in the community who have been marginalised and who are experiencing hardships and challenges in their lives. For the past 74 years, Centacare has worked to help people reach their full potential so they can participate in the community, regardless of their circumstances. Today this commitment underpins the 80 community services they deliver in 35 sites across the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide, in metropolitan and regional South Australia.
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The impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, physical distancing and isolation can make us feel anxious, stressed and worried. Read about what you can do to look after your mental wellbeing and look out for those around you as we tackle these challenges together.

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The National Counselling and Referral Service is now not only supporting people affected by the Disability Royal Commission. It is a key trauma-informed support for people with disability, family members, carers, advocates and workers who have experienced or witnessed abuse, neglect, violence and exploitation during these difficult times. Anyone who wishes to access this support does not need to make a submission or have any prior involvement with the Disability Royal Commission.

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The Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney has released a report with new modelling on strategies to support mental health during the recovery phase from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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The Mental Health Coordinating Council is pleased to release its Guide to Culturally Safe Practice when working with Australia’s First Nations People. It is a valuable addition to resources at a time when First Nations people in Australia are highlighting the need to take action to end discrimination and improve access to services.

The Guide is a useful tool for promoting equitable and effective community support, and helps organisations embed a practice approach that is culturally appropriate and assist workers to engage respectfully with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Guide has been developed to assist organisations supporting Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people foster respectful, collaborative meaningful relationships. The handy two-page guide highlights the importance of acknowledging history, listening and communicating thoughtfully, to create welcoming environments and help breakdown barriers to service engagement

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Ben Simmons knee injury update after sudden exit

Australian NBA star Ben Simmons has avoided serious injury after scans on his left knee came back clear following a setback during Thursday’s 107-98 win over the Washington Wizards.

Simmons put a scare through the 76ers camp when he exited the game with a left knee scare in the third quarter after grabbing an offensive rebound.

Despite being seen limping off the court, early indications on his injury were encouraging with no swelling and pain.

These initial positives proved to be correct with an MRI scan later clearing Simmons of a serious injury.

The Melbourne-born power forward is expected to be day-to-day, placing him in doubt for Philadelphia’s next game against Orlando on Saturday from 8.30am.

After missing the final eight games of the season before the NBA was stopped amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Simmons has endured a slow start since action resumed, experiencing foul trouble in games against the Pacers and Spurs.

He managed just eight points, six rebounds and four assists while shooting 2/10 from the field against the Wizards in 23 minutes before exiting the game.

Joel Embiid again led Philly as it improved to 2-1 since the restart, scoring 30 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.

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Premier League told to update Owners’ and Directors’ Test amid Newcastle fallout

The Premier League has been ordered to update its Owners’ and Directors’ Test – to prevent human rights abusers buying top-flight clubs.

The move comes after the collapsed takeover of Newcastle United by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund chaired by their controversial Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman.

Premier League chief exec Richard Masters has been told the current test has “numerous shortcomings”.

Amnesty International has commissioned a new “human rights-compliant” test from corporate lawyers David Chivers QC and Seamus Woods of Erskine Chambers, which it will today formally propose the league adopts.

Currently, the test bars someone on the sex offenders register from becoming an owner or director, but has no such ban for those involved in acts of torture, slavery, human trafficking or even war crimes.

Premier League chief exec Richard Masters has been told the top flight must ‘sort out the thorny issue of ownership’

The Saudi-funded bid for Newcastle was heated because of various incidents in the country including the jailing of government critics.

And the United Nations said the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was “overseen, planned and endorsed by high-level officials” of their state.

The UK government identified some as working in the Crown Prince’s office last month, in a crackdown.

Amnesty found that the words “human rights” does not even appear in the Premier League test which they say should adhere to FIFA statues which commits to “respecting all internationally recognised human rights”.

The new test from Amnesty calls for the Premier League Board to ban anyone complicit in serious violations of international human rights law or any conduct that is at odds with the Premier League’s anti-discrimination policy.

Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s director, said: “The controversy around the Saudi-Newcastle has been a major wake-up call – the Premier League urgently needs to get its house in order.

“The current Owners’ and Directors’ test is hopelessly unsuited to the task of vetting who gets to own and run English football clubs – it needs a serious overhaul.

“At present, anyone wishing to sportswash their reputation by buying into English football can do so knowing that even their involvement in war crimes or torture wouldn’t stop them.

Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman chairs the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund which was involved in a takeover bid for Newcastle United

“The Owners’ and Directors’ test simply hasn’t kept up with modern trends in international football ownership, not least with foreign powers buying their way into the game.

“Football can be a real force for good, as the excellent Football Welcomes project has demonstrated, but top-flight football needs to sort out this thorny issue of ownership.”

The Premier League has come under pressure from Toon fans and local North East MPs to explain why it took 18 weeks to examine the Saudi takeover, brokered by Amanda Staveley and also backed by the Reuben family.

Mirror Football’s Top Stories

The deal collapsed last week without the top flight ruling on it, with the Saudi PIF saying it was “no longer commercially viable.”

There was also no legal way of watching the Premier League in Saudi Arabia after the state banned the top flight’s £400m regional broadcaster, Qatar-based beIN Sports.

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CEO Update: Trauma, community-led recovery and hope

Earlier this week at our Mini Members Policy Forum we had the chance to hear from Dr Rob Gordon, a previous colleague and clinical psychologist who consults on emergency recovery for the Red Cross and Victorian Department of Health. You can view Rob’s presentation here.

Rob has spent more than 35 years working with people affected by disasters and dealing with trauma, and in recent months has been a crucial part of the recovery planning and delivery following our disastrous Black Summer and then the impacts of it colliding with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on research, clinical experience and the narrative of those living through trauma, Rob’s compassionate and wise analysis of what lies ahead for those with ‘bushfire brain’ reminded us all that the road ahead will be long and slow, and that there’s no fast way to recover and move forward from trauma and loss.

So less than six months out from the next fire season, and knowing what we know from experts like Rob and previous disasters, what will change? What have we learned that can benefit our communities? And what does the road ahead look like for those who are still facing the challenges of recovery?

At this week’s Senate Inquiry into lessons to be learned in relation to the Australian bushfire season 2019-2020 I had the opportunity to give evidence on how mental health and wellbeing is intrinsically related to physical wellbeing and safety. That during the recent bushfire season, thousands of Australians struggled to meet their basic needs, due to restricted access to shelter, food, drinkable water and breathable air.

For many, this was also compounded by experiences of loss. A very real risk of loss of life, loss of security, employment, property, and access to social support. But ultimately a loss and traumatic change to future plans, hopes and dreams.

Pleasingly the impacts on mental health and wellbeing were rightly acknowledged both by governments and the media and this acknowledgement represents a significant shift towards reduced stigma and increasing understanding of mental health. It also goes a long way to promote help seeking.

In our Submission to Senate Inquiry we also acknowledged and celebrate the strength of local communities. Through local community and government crisis responses, many fire-affected communities throughout Australia are now in the process of having their physiological needs met. As these immediate post-disaster needs are met, we must proactively support the mental health and wellbeing recovery of communities as they recover from the last bushfire season, struggle with the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, and prepare for the next bushfire season.

At Mental Health Australia we are also particularly concerned for the vulnerable populations who continue to bear the brunt of these impacts as Australia continues to feel the effects of climate change. Regional, rural and remote communities are disproportionately affected by bushfires and people living in these communities with severe and enduring mental illness are a particularly vulnerable group in this sense.

Sadly, much like the fires, the ramifications of COVID-19 will continue to be felt in the years to come, and it is a long road ahead with many twists and turns. To navigate it the best we can, it is critical that all policy responses are cognisant of the compounding traumatic experiences these communities have experienced. Dr Rob Gordon reminded us to focus on building communities that create belonging, strengthen social connections with individuals, and provide a context for sharing the recovery experience through narrative.

At the Senate Inquiry we discussed the need to build real and lasting communities, whether it is localised by geography, or as young people do it – through online virtual communities.

These community connections will provide balance and build hope, in a future that otherwise risks being overwhelmed by uncertainty and anxiety.    

Have a good weekend.

Leanne Beagley

Mental Health Australia has this week welcomed the Government’s announcement and release of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. Mental Health Australia CEO Dr Leanne Beagley says the new target areas will go a long way to increasing the focus on some of the social determinants that support the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Read our full release

Congratulations to Dr Cathy Kezelman and Dr Pam Stavropoulos from the Blue Knot Foundation on your well-deserved award from the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. Dr Kezelman and Dr Stavropoulos won the 2020 Pierre Janet Writing Award for the Blue Knot ‘Practice Guidelines for Clinical Treatment and Complex Trauma.’

You can read the guidelines here

On Monday and right through the week I’ve again scheduled a number of calls with leaders in our Member organisations one-on-one which has been an invaluable process and something I hope to repeat every 6 months.

On Tuesday the Mental Health Australia Board will meet and we’re looking to discussing our future strategic planning and direction for the organisation, while on Wednesday I’ll be taking part in a Governance and Commissioning Roundtable meeting as part of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

Also on Wednesday I’ll be meeting with some leading providers in aged persons’ mental health and later with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

While on Friday I’m looking forward to meeting with Martin Hoffman, CEO at the NDIA to discuss shared efforts in psychosocial service delivery.

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. 

We are pleased to invite you to the third of a four-part webinar series in August 2020. The webinar will provide an in-depth look into Service Module 3 of the Framework: Working Together to Promote Mental Health in Multicultural Communities. This module explores effective engagement with multicultural communities and stakeholders, in addition to mental health promotion and suicide prevention in a multicultural context.


  • When: Wednesday 5 August 2020
  • VIC, NSW, ACT, TAS & QLD: 2:00 pm
  • SA & NT: 1:30 pm
  • WA: 12:00 pm

Register here

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has applauded this week’s announcement on the Close the Gap agreement and its historic commitment to reducing the incarceration, domestic violence and suicide rates in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.

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Shadow Minister for Health, Chris Bowen, says Thursday 30 July marked one month since the Morrison Government received the final Productivity Commission report on mental health. The report was handed to the Government on 30 June, and gives Australia a chance to reform policy across education, housing, the workplace and the justice and health systems to address better mental health for Australians.

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This week Mission Australia released their report Staying home: A Youth Survey report on young people’s experience of homelessness. About 25,000 young people aged between 15 and 19 participated in Mission Australia’s Youth Survey 2019. 

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The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability has thanked the many Australians who have already shared their stories and experiences. As at 30 June, the Royal Commission has received 1141 submissions: 47 per cent have been from people with disability, 41 per cent have been from family members, and 16 per cent have been from advocates or paid support workers. 

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The Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Psychological Service, expected to launch in September, will support those who find it difficult to use mainstream mental health services because of language and cultural barriers. 

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Australian Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games athletes are joining the fight to help reduce rates of mental health issues in young Australians as part of a new community partnership between the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and Black Dog Institute. 

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Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme(NDIS), Stuart Robert, has announced temporary changes to funding arrangements to allow NDIS participants in Victoria and New South Wales to claim the cost of personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks. 

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Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, says 121 Men’s Sheds across Australia will share in $500,000 in the latest funding round of the National Shed Development Programme.

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The Australian BPD Foundation vision is to encourage a positive culture around Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and the ready availability and accessibility of appropriate services for people with BPD and those that care for them. The mission of the foundation is to promote a positive culture to support the recovery journey of people with BPD and their families/carers. The Foundation also supports clinicians, health care personnel and researchers working in this field and acknowledges everyone who works towards a better recognition of BPD.

Bipolar Australia is a national not-for-profit organisation representing everyone affected by bipolar disorder, including people with the condition, carers, friends and professionals who help them all.
Mission: Recovery is possible for every Australian affected by bipolar disorder, when they are empowered to help themselves and others through person-to-person centred communication. Vision: To be a national peak organisation with the capacity to set the agenda regarding the treatment and management of bipolar disorder across Australia, and to foster recovery for every Australian affected by the condition, regardless of their cultural heritage, educational attainment or socio-economic status. Values: Respect; Empowerment; Recognition of lived experience; Encouragement self responsibility; Enablement of choices; Bipolar is recognisable, treatable and manageable; recovery is possible.

SuperFriend advocates for, equips and empowers profit-to-member superannuation funds and insurers to achieve mentally healthy workplaces for their staff and members. Can you imagine an Australia where all workplaces are mentally healthy? That’s SuperFriend’s vision. Pure and simple. They are the only mental health organisation partnering with profit-to-member super funds and group life insurers to provide tailored solutions for this sector, its employers and members. They also work directly with Australian businesses of all shapes and sizes. With their in-depth knowledge and unique focus, these strong partnerships give SuperFriend the potential to embed mental health and wellbeing best practices into 750,000 workplaces and impact more than half of Australia’s workforce through our solutions.

WellMob brings together online resources made by and for First Peoples. It includes websites, apps, podcasts, videos, helplines, social media and online programs focusing on social and emotional wellbeing. WellMob is for all frontline health and wellbeing workers, including: community health and wellbeing workers, mental health workers, family support and education and youth services.

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Occupational Therapy Australia are pleased to announce that registration is now open for the OT Mental Health Forum. To find out more about face to face and online registration inclusions and pricing visit the website here. Register before Wednesday 9 September to receive the discounted early bird rates.

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Please join on 27 August 2020 at 11:00 AM AEST for a one-hour live webinar. The sixth Embracing Change webinar focuses on behaviour support under the NDIS. This webinar will be guided by the requirements of the Specialist Behaviour Support Module and the Implementing Behaviour Support Plans Module of the NDIS Practice Standards together with The Positive Behaviour Support Capability Framework.

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Do you or someone you know provide unpaid care and support to a family member or a friend? There are over 235,500 unpaid young carers aged 25 years and under in Australia, so there’s a good chance that we all know a young carer. Young Carer Bursaries support young carers to return to, or continue with, their education. There are 1,000 bursaries to the value of $3,000 available each year. Young carers across Australia can apply from 28th July until 8th September.

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FearLess are pleased to be joined by Wendy Coombe Founder, Animal Therapies Ltd and a fantastic panel of industry practitioners who will discuss:

  • How equine-assisted therapy can help those with PTSD

  • Understanding Animal-Assisted Play Therapy for children with PTSD

  • How assistance animals can help those suffering PTSD better access public life

  • How to incorporate animals into a trauma recovery plan panel discussion.

Details: Wednesday 12 August 2020, 5pm – 6pm.

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Women & Leadership Australia (WLA) has launched a brand new networking and learning hub called WLA Connect. The platform is designed for women to gather, network, share and learn about being a female leader in today’s working environment. Members are able to access events, learning materials and forums where they can collaborate with women from the health care sector and beyond. This is an important developmental initiative for women across the country.

Features of WLA Connect include:

  • A curated learning laboratory filled with leadership development content

  • Expert masterclasses on leadership theory and practice

  • Face-to-face and online networking events

  • Member led contributions and recommendations

  • Peer coaching, executive coaching and mentoring opportunities. 

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The Mental Health Coordinating Council is pleased to release its Guide to Culturally Safe Practice when working with Australia’s First Nations People. It is a valuable addition to resources at a time when First Nations people in Australia are highlighting the need to take action to end discrimination and improve access to services.

The Guide is a useful tool for promoting equitable and effective community support, and helps organisations embed a practice approach that is culturally appropriate and assist workers to engage respectfully with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Guide has been developed to assist organisations supporting Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people foster respectful, collaborative meaningful relationships. The handy two-page guide highlights the importance of acknowledging history, listening and communicating thoughtfully, to create welcoming environments and help breakdown barriers to service engagement.

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  • Child Family Community Australia (CFCA), Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS)

  • Words Matter: Getting the Language of Child Mental Health Right

  • 12 August 2020, 1.00pm-2.00pm

  • Online

  • Cost: Free

This webinar is the first of a two-part series exploring the importance of language in advancing child mental health. Building on a past CFCA webinar that focused on diagnosis in child mental health, this webinar will:

  • explore how parents’ mental health literacy affects how they access support for their children

  • consider the risks and benefits of applying diagnostic labels to children

  • propose a way forward for talking about child mental health.

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Alberta to provide update on back-to-school plan Tuesday morning

Alberta’s education minister and chief medical officer of health will provide an update on Tuesday on the public health measures being taken as students head back to school in September.

Adriana LaGrange and Dr. Deena Hinshaw will speak about the return to in-classroom learning at a 9 a.m. news conference.

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The province announced in late July that K-12 students would head back to classrooms this fall, saying in-school classes would resume with near-normal daily operations and added health measures.

According to the government’s school re-entry plan, those health measures include frequent cleaning of surfaces, placing hand sanitizers at school entrances and classrooms, grouping students in cohorts and planning the school day to allow for physical distancing, which could include staggering start times for classes, recesses and lunches.

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Educators, parents react to Alberta decision to send K-12 students back to classrooms in fall

The province has launched a school re-entry tool kit to prepare students and parents for what they can expect in the upcoming school year. For more information, visit

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Alberta K-12 students to head back to classroom this fall

With files from Caley Ramsay and The Canadian Press

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

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Borders Update – Tasmanian Times

Media release – Peter Gutwein, Premier, 3 August 2020

Border update

Our number one priority through the coronavirus pandemic is the health, wellbeing and safety of Tasmanians.

While the steps we have taken have put us in a good place, we cannot for a second, become complacent. It is so important that we remain vigilant, and that we continue to stick to the rules to keep Tasmanians safe and secure.

We have taken our border restrictions very seriously, and as we have said, we continue to monitor and review the situation in other states on a daily basis.

That is why, based on health advice, given the uncertainty in Victoria right now and the impacts on other states, we will not be opening our borders to other states until at least 31 August.

This means, the changes to our border restrictions with other states including South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia that were due to commence from 7 August will not be occurring.

Nor will we be opening to other parts of the country, including QLD, ACT, NSW and Victoria post August 14 as previously indicated.

We will review our circumstances on a weekly basis and I will provide weekly updates as we continue to monitor what is occurring in other states.

As I’ve consistently said, I will not put Tasmanians at risk, and we will continue to make decisions that are safe, sensible, and in the best interest of our State.

I know these are challenging times, but we must continue to move forward safely and responsibly. I urge Tasmanians to continue to do the right thing-practice good hygiene, maintain appropriate social distancing and abide by the COVID-safety plans in place.

Media release – Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader, 3 August 2020

Hear the Collective Sigh of Relief Across Tasmania

The vast majority of Tasmanians will be relieved the state’s tough border measures will be in place until at least the end of the month.

With COVID-19 ravaging Victoria and on the march again in NSW, along with evidence of community transmission in other states, the Premier has made the right call.

Our collective responsibility as islanders is to keep each other safe. We’ve shown we can do that since the early days of lockdown and so many people have made such huge sacrifices – from grieving families, to tireless health care workers, people who’ve lost their jobs, and businesses on the brink.

The Premier recognises all that sacrifice would be for nought if the virus is allowed to take hold here.

Mr Gutwein has done the right thing. Now isn’t the time to be taking any risks. There’s too much at stake.

Media release – Rebecca White MP, Labor Leader, 3 August 2020

Border announcement is understandable but business and workers will need ongoing support

Today’s announcement to keep Tasmania’s borders closed until at least the end of the month is understandable given the alarming situation unfolding intestate.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said she respects the public health advice and the desire to keep the community safe but also understands the impact today’s announcement will have on struggling businesses and families who were looking forward to seeing one another.

“Tasmania currently sits in a good position compared to other states across Australia when it comes to fighting the spread of COVID-19 in the community and we want it to remain that way,” Ms White said.

“We only need to look at the developing situation in Victoria to see how rapidly this virus spreads and how fast conditions can change.

“Keeping our state’s borders shut until at least the end of the month is an understandable decision, however support needs to be provided to local businesses and workers that will struggle as a result.

“I’ve been speaking with many local business owners during the period of this pandemic and understand the significant impact ongoing restrictions are having on their trade and employment, especially in hard hit industries like tourism and hospitality.

“The government needs to consider providing more assistance to affected businesses and their staff so they are able to stay afloat during this extended period of uncertainty.

“It’s also critical we maintain a robust system at our borders and we are again calling on the Government to introduce mandatory testing for everyone arriving from Victoria.

“We also need to ensure clear processes are in place for exemptions granted for essential workers and apply those standards to all workers who are granted exemptions, not just those from hot spots or Victoria.

“This is the best way we can continue to support Tasmanians through this pandemic and keep our state safe.”

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