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National Mental Health Week

National Mental Health Week is coming up (5 -12 October 2014) including World Mental Health Day on 10 October. Visit to see how you can get involved.

Review of Mental Health Services and Programmes

The Australian Government has tasked the National Mental Health Commission with a national Review of Mental Health Services and Programmes. This review is examining existing mental health services and programmes across all levels of government, and the private and non-government sectors.

The focus of the review is on assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of programmes and services in supporting individuals experiencing mental ill health and their families and other support people to lead a contributing life and to engage productively in the community.

We have received more than 1,800 submissions and consulted with individuals and organisations around Australia in considering our advice to the Australian Government. The Commission would like to thank each person and organisation who took the time to complete our survey. Each submission will to contribute to our analysis.

The final report will be provided to the Government by 30 November 2014. 

Terms of Reference

New National Mental Health Commissioners appointed

In May, the National Mental Health Commission welcomed the appointment of two new Commissioners by the Federal Minister for Health, the Hon. Peter Dutton:

  • Mrs Lucinda Brogden- Lucy brings to the Commission extensive experience in psychology and has a strong commitment to helping others and building stronger communities. Lucy’s primary areas of focus are issues facing mental health and wellbeing particularly in the workplace. Lucy has more than 25 years’ commercial experience with companies including Macquarie Group and Ernst & Young and more than ten years in organisational psychology
  • The Hon. Dr Kay Patterson- Kay was elected to the Australian Senate in 1987. Prior to this she managed a small business, before attending the University of Sydney and then Monash University where she was awarded a PhD in Psychology. In 2001, she was appointed to Cabinet as Minister for Health and Ageing and in October 2003 Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women’s Issues. She retired from Cabinet in 2006 and from the Senate in June 2008. She Chaired the Victorian Ministerial Advisory Council on Homelessness (2011-2013) and is active in the not-for-profit sector

Prof. Ian Hickie(who has previously served one term on the Commission) has been reappointed.

Our Chair, Prof. Allan Fels has welcomed the appointments as adding further knowledge and experience to the Commission. They join existing Commissioners Prof. Fels, Ms Jackie Crowe, Prof. Pat Dudgeon, Mr Rob Knowles, and Mr David Butt CEO and ex‐officio Commissioner.

New Commissioners

August Commission meeting – Sydney

The National Mental Health Commission met in Sydney in August. Discussion focussed on the Review, as well as other projects such as the joint project with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care on national mental health standards, and the work of the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance.

Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance

The National Mental Health Commission is pleased to be supporting Heads Up, a new campaign launched by beyondbluein partnership with the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance (the Alliance), highlighting the importance of mental health in the workplace. The campaign is funded by the Department of Health.

The Heads Up website is an online resource offering simple, practical information to create more mentally healthy workplaces including, information, interactive tools, and resources, including those developed by the Alliance, for all individuals in the workplace. The resources were further improved from input by the Alliance Stakeholder Advisory Group. We thank members for their expert advice and input.

Additional workplace mental health resources will also be launched in the weeks ahead. Visit the Heads Up website for more information. The Alliance is now advance planning for the next twelve months, with a focus on engaging more broadly with small business.

Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance

Seclusion and Restraint Project

The Commission is coordinating a national project looking at best practice in reducing and eliminating the seclusion and restraint of people with mental health issues and identifying good practice approaches. The Core Reference Group established to oversight this work is co-chaired by Mr Bradley Foxlewin and Prof Chris Ryan, and members have a range of expertise, including lived experience. The Commission thanks former co-Chair Kath Thorburn for her leadership and input to this work.

This project is nearing completion, with the research report expected in the coming weeks from a multi-disciplinary team of researchers from the University of Melbourne.

National Standards for Mental Health Services

The National Mental Health Commission is working with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) to improve the uptake of national mental health standards.

The ACSQHC has conducted a scoping study on the implementation of national standards in mental health services. This study has provided a better understanding of the enablers, barriers and challenges to the implementation of the current National Standards in Mental Health Services, in particular, from the perspective of people with a mental health difficulty and their families and supporters. It also aimed to identify gaps in the standards concerning safety and quality in mental health service delivery.

The report is being finalised and will be ready for release soon.

National Contributing Life Project

Recommendation One of our first report card was that a regular independent survey of people’s experiences of and access to all mental health services is essential to driving real improvement.

The National Contributing Life Project, underway since 2013, is about developing a qualitative methodology, process and a framework to compile and report on the experiences of Australians with mental health issues, their families and support people.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has been engaged to consider and develop options on how best to conduct a national rollout of the Contributing Life Survey. This is the next step in this important project to bring the experiences of people together and alongside quantitative data sets.

Mental Health Peer Workforce Capabilities Project

The Mental Health Peer Workforce Capabilities Project aims to develop and support a nationally recognised qualification for peer workers (Cert. IV in Mental Health Peer Work) to facilitate broader engagement of peer workers throughout the mental health sector. The qualification’s development has involved a rigorous process with input from technical and advisory groups including peer workers and other people with a lived experience. It is funded by the Commission and coordinated by the Mental Health Coordinating Council on behalf of Community Mental Health Australia.

The Cert IV is now developed, alongside training materials that will support its teaching. The materials will be launched soon and will be available for free download from our website.

In recognition that few trainers and assessors currently meet the requirements to deliver the Cert IV in Mental Health Peer Work, the Commission has provided seed funding to help grow a national peer trainer workforce and will be overseen the Community Mental Health Australia. 

Thirty Peer Workers will be selected and trained to enable them to teach the Cert IV in Mental Health Peer Work. A call for expressions of interest will be announced soon.

National Mental Health Future Leaders Project

The National Mental Health Future Leaders Project is an initiative of the National Mental Health Commission in collaboration with the Mental Health Council of Australia, and the support of the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum. The project offers an individual mentoring and leadership development programme. Additionally, participants have the opportunity to contribute to the National Mental Health Commission’s work and national mental health advocacy and reform broadly.

The inaugural group of 11 future leaders participated in their second workshop in August where they built on their learnings from the first workshop, and advanced their skills in leadership, effective communication and participation in advisory roles at a national level.

Reporting back on progress

In December the National Mental Health Commission will report back on progress against the 18 recommendations from our first two National Report Cards on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.

We look forward to keeping you informed of the progress of these activities and the ongoing work of the National Mental Health Commission.

Aboriginal flag Torres Strait Islander flag

Acknowledgement of Country

The Commission acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands throughout Australia.
We pay our respects to their clans, and to the elders, past present and emerging, and acknowledge their continuing connection to land, sea and community.


The Commission is committed to embracing diversity and eliminating all forms of discrimination in the provision of health services. The Commission welcomes all people irrespective of ethnicity, lifestyle choice, faith, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lived Experience

We acknowledge the individual and collective contributions of those with a lived and living experience of mental ill-health and suicide, and those who love, have loved and care for them. Each person’s journey is unique and a valued contribution to Australia’s commitment to mental health suicide prevention systems reform.