View in your browser

Issue 06 | March 2014|


From the Executive Officer

The first quarter of 2014 has started at quite a pace with many exciting developments happening across MHiMA.

Finding Our Way, ten short films created by people of diverse backgrounds about living with mental health issues and the new Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia, an important new resource, were launched last week in Melbourne to coincide with Harmony Day, Australia’s national day to celebrate cultural diversity. It was a fantastic event that brought together the storytellers, their families and supporters and people engaged in mental health and multicultural fields. I think I’m one with many others in feeling moved and inspired by these personal stories and having a renewed resolve that we need to keep working together to better understand the mental health of all Australians and improve the way services are delivered.

The Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia website is now live. I look forward, over the coming months, to reporting on our plans to support the uptake of the Framework around the country.

Work on new CALD suicide prevention guidelines is well underway, with first round surveys of the consensus study now complete, and MHiMA is also supporting the World Suicide Prevention Day campaign for 2014. A draft Multicultural Mental Health Workforce Strategy is being developed and MHiMA will seek the views of various stakeholders in coming months. Applications for the Multicultural Mental Health Leadership program, commencing in May, are now open.

It’s also now time for MHiMA to review its progress and start planning what direction the project should take into the future. This is happening in the context of the National Mental Health Commission’s review of mental health services and the Commonwealth Government, Commission of Audit’s focus on more effective and efficient service delivery. As such, MHiMA remains committed to ensuring that people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, their families and communities receive the mental health support that they need.

Yours in health and well-being.

Hamza Vayani
Executive Officer

Project Updates

Launch of important new resource for mental health services
An important new mental health resource has been launched after widespread consultation with the sector. The Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia provides public, private and community mental health services with easy to use practical strategies, tools and resources that will increase their cultural responsiveness.

The introduction of online access to the Framework ensures everyone has the latest information on current mental health standards and national safety and quality health standards. Read more...

MHiMA/ACMI films featured on SBS World News
Films 'unshackle stigma' of mental illness faced by migrants broadcast on SBS World News on 21 March, 2014, Harmony Day. 

It features storytellers, Kim and Maria, and MHiMA representatives speaking at the launch of Finding Our Way, a collection of ten short films that reveal rare insights into people’s experience of mental illness in migrant and refugee communities. 

Mental Health Leadership Program
The Centre for Mental Health, University of Melbourne, part of the MHiMA consortium, is offering the five-day intensive Multicultural Mental Health Leadership Program, from 26-30 May, 2014.  The program is designed to support mental health professionals and consumer and carer representatives to contribute effectively - at organisational, system or policy levels - to the development of mental health services for multicultural Australia.

Service managers, clinical leaders, professional trainees in the mental health disciplines, carer and consumer representatives and academics are encouraged to participate. The program will be eligible for continuing professional development recognition by the relevant professional colleges and associations. Read more...

CALD consumers and carers voices in a national forum
One consumer and one carer from MHiMA’s working groups have recently been selected to represent people with lived experience from CALD backgrounds on the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum (NMHCCF). The NMHCCF aims to improve the well-being and quality of life of mental health consumers and carers through promoting their rights, creating a responsive, recovery-focused service system and through supporting innovation in service delivery appropriate to different life stages. 
Project News in Depth

A mental health workforce strategy for multicultural Australia
Access to services staffed by mental health practitioners who can adequately assist and support them has a direct and positive impact on the health care outcomes of people of migrant and refugee background.

People from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds face additional barriers and challenges in accessing the services and support they need when mental health issues arise.

In response, the Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (MHiMA) project is developing a draft national strategy that aims to improve the capacity of the mental health workforce to provide high quality treatment, care and support and address the needs and preferences of all members of Australia's multicultural community. Read more...

Sector News                                

National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention 2014
The purpose of this inquiry is to investigate the ways in which life in immigration detention affects the health, well-being and development of children. The inquiry will assess the impact on children by seeking the views of people who were previously detained as children in closed immigration detention and by assessing the current circumstances and responses of children to immigration detention. For more information please go here.

National Mental Health Commission report
The National Mental Health Commission's, A Contributing Life: The 2013 National Report Card, released in December 2013, includes a focus on “Maintaining connections with family, friends, community and culture”. It references MHiMA's recently released report on research and evaluation and other research with Indian, West African, Greek and former Yugoslavia communities living in Australia. 

Aged Care Complaints Scheme
The Aged Care Complaints Scheme has translated some industry and consumer resources into the languages identified as most relevant to Australia’s aged care industry. New resources for staff include a video about complaints and some quick reference cards. There is also a translated video about the Scheme for care recipients, their families and friends. More information is available here.

Physical activity for brain health and bilingual fact sheets
Alzheimer's Australia has produced dementia risk-reduction bilingual help sheets titled Your Brain Matters. Each sheet provides information in English as well as other languages. You can also link to these resources from MHiMA’s translated mental health information

Understanding the impact of changes to the Australian Humanitarian Program on refugees and asylum seekers over the past 18 months
The Victorian Refugee Health Network has published an 18 month snapshot of the Australian Government’s policy changes impacting on the Humanitarian offshore and onshore programs over the last 18 months, including announced changes for 2014. It also includes a brief analysis of the impact of the changes on the health of refugee and asylum seekers. Relevant national and Victorian statistics and references are also presented.

New family violence website
A new family violence website, The Lookout, has been developed by the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria and Domestic Violence Victoria. The website, which was funded by the Victorian Government, was launched by the Parliamentary Secretary for Families and Community Services, Andrea Coote MLC, in December. The Lookout is a ‘one-stop-shop’ for professionals responding to family violence in Victoria. It provides information on training, events, a community of practice, referral pathways, new resources and fact sheets, links to government policy documents and professional codes of practice for family violence work. The website also provides a portal to online Family Violence Risk Assessment Framework training.
Protection visa pathways resource
Refugee Advice & Casework Services (RACS) has released a resource providing flow charts of current protection visa pathways for asylum seekers.  Pathways for asylum seekers that have arrived by plane and those that have arrived by boat before 13 August, 2012, between 13 August ,2012 - 19 July, 2013 and those who arrived after 19 July, 2013 are all available.

Knowledge Exchange

New to the collection

These new titles have recently been added to the collection:

-Depression in residential aged care 2008 – 2012

-Framework for mental health in multicultural Australia: Introductory guide

-Lost in translation: Mental health of newcomers

-Nature of domestic/family violence and barriers to using services among Indian immigrant women

-Refugee Welcome Zones: Local  councils building a culture of welcome for refugees

What's new in the literature?

We regularly read and review items published in Australian and international journals. We've just updated our lists of selected items published in December 2013, January and February 2014. For more information go to What's new in the literature? 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

By the end of 2013, we had presented nine books reviewed in 2013. We've already added two new books to the 2014 list. Please browse and please let us know about other new books related to multicultural mental health and suicide prevention.