Many of you will be experiencing the ongoing effects of the bushfires - whether this is within your community or through the daily media coverage. Disasters like this bring with them considerable impacts on our mental health and wellbeing. And in distressing times like these, we should expect to feel different and know that it is okay to feel this way. Recently, I wrote an article titled 'It's OK to not to be OK: Recognising mental stress after the fires' that talks more about some of the feelings we can expect, the importance of connection and ways to support our wellbeing during this time.
I encourage anyone feeling affected to reach out for support - whether this be to a friend, family member or counsellor. I also encourage people to reach in, by checking in on loved ones. I have included a short reminder on the right about how mental health support can be accessed.
In an effort to communicate more regularly with you, during 2020 the Commission will be providing monthly newsletters to keep you informed of recent announcements, upcoming projects and opportunities for involvement. In this update, we invite you to contribute to our Peer Workforce Development Guidelines survey, read initial advice provided by the National Suicide Prevention Taskforce, meet the newly appointed expert advisory group for the Children's Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and read our submission to the Productivity Commission's Draft Report on Mental Health.
I hope you and your family are safe and I look forward to connecting with you throughout 2020.
Reminder: Support for Bushfire Affected Communities
If you, or anyone you know, has been affected by the bushfires and would like support, Call 180 22 66 to find out how to access free counselling in your local community.
For information on all supports available, visit the National Bushfire Recovery Agency website.
For a comprehensive list of resources and practical tips for coping during the bushfires, visit the Life in Mind website.
Peer Workforce Guidelines Survey
National online survey now open!
Under the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, the Commission is leading the development of National Peer Workforce Development Guidelines by 2021 to sustain and grow the workforce.
In collaboration with RMIT University, we have launched a national online survey to help inform the initial draft of the Peer Workforce Development Guidelines.
Anyone who works in the mental health sector is invited to complete the survey. The survey is anonymous, should take approximately 15 minutes to complete and will be open until 31 March 2020.
New Funding for Suicide Prevention Initiatives
On 30th January 2020, the Government announced $64 million funding for suicide prevention initiatives, with a fundamental shift to a broader approach that considers social determinants and a specific focus on community based programs and support.
This announcement is an early response to the initial advice submitted by the National Suicide Prevention Taskforce to Prime Minister Scott Morrison in November last year. A summary of the initial findings and advice has now been published. An online survey will be available soon to allow people to provide feedback on this initial advice.
Children's Mental Health & Wellbeing Strategy Expert Advisory Group
The Commission is leading the development of a National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy as part of the Government’s Long Term National Health Plan. Consultations have already started and a draft strategy is due to be delivered to the Government by June 2020.
We would like to welcome the newly appointed members of the Expert Advisory Group, which is being led by Co-Chairs Professor Frank Oberklaid and Professor Christel Middeldorp.
Submission to the Productivity Commission's Draft Report on Mental Health
The Productivity Commission released the Draft Report on Mental Health on 31st October 2019 and called for submissions to inform the final inquiry report.
Our team here at the Commission have since made a submission to the draft Report, which seeks to provide additional information and perspectives to the Productivity Commission to enhance and strengthen the recommendations in the final report.