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Issue 08 | November 2014|


 Project Manager Update 

Since the last MHiMA Newsletter in June 2014 there have been a number of key developments. The first has been the strengthened consumer and carer participation from members of our culturally and linguistically diverse MHiMA Consumer & Carer Working Groups. In practical terms this has resulted in:

  • Appointment of Aine Tierney as Consumer & Carer Support Officer who is a member of our consumer working group from ACT. Aine will also attend all MHiMA Executive meetings going forward to ensure that the perspective of consumers and carers from our culturally and linguistically diverse sector feature in MHiMA’s thinking at all times.  
  • Our consumer and carer working groups having an interactive planning day held in Sydney on Monday 13th October 2014; which also included being part of a joint meeting with members of the MHiMA Executive on Tuesday 14th October 2014 that included the attendance of visiting guests David Butt, Chief Executive of the National Mental Health Commission and Susan Ryan, Age & Disability Commissioner from the Australian Human Rights Commission. 
Constructive and engaging discussions with David Butt resulted in members of MHiMA’s Executive and our Consumer & Carer Working Groups clearly communicating the strong and urgent need to ensure cultural responsiveness of mental health services is translated from policy intent into practical outcomes through:
  • The need for MHiMA to continue with adequate resourcing and structural arrangements in place effective 1 July 2015 in the context of forthcoming reforms in mental health and suicide prevention between commonwealth, state and territory governments as well as in the areas of research focused on multicultural mental health and suicide prevention.  It was noted that the need for clear and explicit equity orientated targets for people from Culturally & Linguistically Diverse backgrounds from multicultural communities alongside the needs of Aboriginal & Torres were areas that members of the MHiMA Consumer & Carer Working groups were expecting would strongly feature in the recommendations to the final review of mental health services to the Australian government; and that the take up of such recommendations in subsequent responses by the Australian government in response to the review would be forthcoming. 
  • Continued investment and expansion of the network of Transcultural mental health services across the country in the areas of training and specialist multilingual consultation services in response to increased diversity from first generation immigrants and subsequent generations; in particular from those communities where English is not the first language spoken at home.  
  • Increased investment in evidenced based research into both needs and best practice in relation to effective and efficient delivery of culturally responsive care for consumers, carers and family members from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.  
In relation to discussions with Susan Ryan, it was noted that MHiMA has now formally signed up to the ‘Racism It Stops With Me’ campaign; and it was agreed that MHiMA would be strengthening its relationship with the Australian Human Rights Commission with a key focus being on improving access to information to people from Culturally & Linguistically Diverse backgrounds in languages other than English.  

The second key development has been uptake of the Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia which has is now being rolled out across all states and territories. All states and territories with the exception of Northern Territory and Tasmania have at least one mental health acute inpatient unit engaged; and we anticipate that even these states will be on board shortly. This e-newsletter includes a feature article concerning the Framework which I hope everyone will take the time to consider and read. 

Yours in health and well-being,
Hamza Vayani
Project Manager

Project Updates

Launch of ‘Our Voices’ – Stories of carers from migrant and refugee backgrounds
I was invited to attend the launch of this wonderful initiative on Friday the 31st in Melbourne.  I was joined by two members of the MHiMA National CaLD Consumer and Carer Working Groups who had been involved in the project. I was very moved by the five short films that make up Our Voices.  These stories capture the unique experiences and lives of five carers...

Racism. It stops with me.

Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (MHiMA) has joined forces with some of Australia’s leading businesses, sporting bodies and NGO’s to support the “Racism. It stops with me” campaign. Our organisation has committed to preventing racism by pledging to undertake activities in support of the....

MHiMA CaLD Carer and Consumer Participation - Raising Our Voices Bridging the Divide to Culturally Appropriate Mental Health Care, multicultural mental health and wellbeing conference

Presentations by consumer and carer advocates were a feature of the recent Raising Our Voices Bridging the Divide to Culturally Appropriate Mental Health Care in Canberra on Friday the 7th November 2014.  The conference was focused on multicultural mental health and wellbeing and involved speakers who came from across Australia to share their professional expertise and lived experience.  The conference provided opportunities....

Mental health overhaul
One of our MHiMA Consumer Working Group members, Evan Bichara, was featured in the Neos Kosmos discussing the mental health overhaul that has been happening in Victoria and various reform processes. For the full article, please see here.

MHiMA National CaLD Consumer & Carer Working Group Meetings
The MHiMA National CaLD Consumer and Carer Working Groups (MHiMA NCCCWG) met in Sydney for their annual forum and training workshop on the 13th and 14th October 2014.  The working groups have consumer and carer delegate representatives from the ACT, NSW, NT, QLD, SA, Victoria and WA who attended the meeting, with apologies from the consumer delegate Elida Meadows from Tasmania and staff member Sharon Orapeleng from QLD. MHiMA staff from Queensland...

Project News in Depth
Framework Targeted Implementation Project 
The Framework is an online practical resource that enables mental health services to evaluate their cultural responsiveness, enhance delivery of services and work in partnership with CALD communities. Launched in March this year, the Framework will now be piloted at selected public mental health inpatient units across the country in the ‘Framework Targeted Implementation Project’.
MHiMA project officers are working collaboratively with site staff to provide training, ongoing support and resources. A three part training package has been developed to enable staff to: build a strong understanding of the Framework; learn how to navigate and complete the online self-assessment tool called the Organisational Cultural Responsiveness Assessment Scale (OCRAS), and; develop a tailored action plan in preparation for the implementation phase in the first half of 2015. 
For more information please visit our blog or the Framework webpage.

Sector News

Tender outcomes for Disability Employment Services announced
This week the Federal Government announced the finalisation of the competitive tender process for the remaining part of the $300 million per year Disability Management Service to help people with disability find jobs. The Champions of Mental Health Peer Work initiative is a National capacity building project which will build a peer trainer and assessor workforce to deliver the Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer work and ensure prompt and streamlined implementation of the qualification across Australia. The Champions of Mental Health Peer Work initiative is funded by theNational Mental Health Commission (NMHC) and coordinated by the Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC) on behalf of Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA).

Living Well Report puts people at the centre
The Mental Health Commissioner of NSW, Mr John Feneley, has welcomed the tabling in Parliament of a Report prepared by the Commission Living Well: Putting people at the centre of mental health reform in NSW: A Report. The Report is about people who live with mental illness and pursue their recovery through work, art or connections to their communities and those who are striving to change our systems of mental health support, so that they respond more effectively and appropriately to people in distress.
A manuscript published in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved highlights the Hogg Foundation’s work with the Office of Minority Health.

Media app for reporting suicide & mental illness
The Hunter Institute of Mental Health (Hunter Institute) has launched an app that supports busy journalists filing mental illness and suicide stories while on the run. The Mindframe National Media Initiative (Mindframe) app is free and available on portable Android and Apple devices, for both smartphones and tablets, and can be used both off and on line.

Changes to the delivery of services for people seeking asylum
Service delivery arrangements for the Community Detention (CD), Community Assistance Support (CAS), Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme (ASAS) and Unaccompanied Minors (UAMs) in Alternative Places of Detention (APODs) are being consolidated into a single integrated service delivery framework, which will be known as the Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS) programme.  The Department of Immigration have indicated that under the new programme, SRSS providers will deliver a full range of services to recipients who previously may have needed to move between multiple providers and programmes.

beyondblue translated resources about depression and anxiety
These new resources provide information on how to recognise and understand the signs of anxiety and depression, and how to talk to someone you’re concerned about. They have been developed in consultation with Arabic, Dari and Mandarin speaking communities.

Migrants share experiences of mental health to break down stigma
Stigma around mental illness is greater within some of Australia’s migrant communities but one group of carers is speaking out about their experiences in an effort to break down taboos.

Upcoming events

-2nd Annual Integrating Mental Health into the National Disability Insurance Scheme – 27 & 28 November 2014
A national conference focusing on the latest plans to integrate mental health services into a new funding scheme and how its implementation will affect the future direction of disability policy reform for people with mental illness in Australia. Please see here.
-National Domestic Violence Summit 2014
The Inaugural National Domestic Violence Summit will be held on the 8 – 9 December 2014 at the Wesley Conference Centre, Sydney. For more information, please see here.

Knowledge exchange
New to the collection

-Mental health services: in brief 2014
We regularly read and review items published in Australian and international journals. We welcome offers from readers to review articles or any other new resource. Selected contributions will appear on the MHiMA website.

New books and reviews
Please browse and please let us know about other new books related to multicultural mental health and suicide prevention.