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Issue 05 | December 2013|

From the Executive Officer

Since the last e-newsletter the team at MHiMA have been:

  • reviewing what has been achieved against our strategic plan
  • working towards our current commitments; and
  • talking within the MHiMA team, with consumers, carers and states and territories and with other agencies about whereto put our focus in the future.

We have recently launched a joint position statement with beyondblue. Please read the news-in-depth article below on the statement and follow the links to read the resource in full.

It is also with great delight that I am able to report that MHiMA hosted a successful symposium event on the Gold Coast on Wednesday 6th November 2013. Held prior to the biannual FECCA 2013 Multicultural Conference, the MHiMA symposium was well attended with representation from mental health and multicultural sectors from across Australia. For more information on the MHiMA symposium, please see below.

Meaningful consumer and carer engagement, forming strong links with state and territory mental health providers and broader multicultural sectors will continue to be a key focus for us. This will be accompanied by the development of robust measurement and supporting tools. We anticipate that the new Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia will be released in coming months. Over the next six months, our focus will be on developing:

  • multicultural mental health workforce strategy;
  • a sustainability plan of the Stepping out of the Shadows stigma reduction program: and
  • CALD suicide prevention guidelines.                                   

These resources will provide an integrated national set of resources designed to ensure that multicultural issues are embedded in mainstream mental health strategic and policy considerations.

On behalf of the MHiMA team, I wish you all a happy and safe holiday season and a wonderful New Year.

Yours in health and wellbeing.

Hamza Vayani
Executive Officer

Project Updates                                        

MHiMA Symposium
MHiMA held its inaugural symposium on Wednesday, 6th November 2013 at the Gold Coast Convention Centre. People from across Australia - consumer and carer advocates, government representatives, leaders from mental health and multicultural organisations and transcultural mental health centres and networks - came together to hear MHiMA project, executive, reference and working group members talk about MHiMA's work so far and discuss the future directions MHiMA should take. Read more...

Cultural responsiveness in mental health - let us know about learning opportunities in your region 
MHiMA invites you to tell us about the programs and courses that your training organisation offers to health and community practitioners, consumer and carer advocates and agency leaders, who are working with individuals and families from immigrant and refugee backgrounds experiencing emotional problems and mental ill health. Interested education and training providers can find out more here.

Mental Health Practitioner Network
More than 250 practitioners around the country joined in the Mental Health Practitioner Network (MHPN) webinar, "Collaborative Mental Health Care to Support a Young Person from a Refugee Background" on 14 November 2013. The session was developed in partnership with MHiMA. Nicholas Procter, MHiMA executive member, joined with other expert panel members to explore the case of Yvonne, a young Sierra Leonean girl who has come to Australia on humanitarian grounds. Recordings and supporting resources are now available from MHPN.

Interested in representing CALD consumers living in Tasmania or the Northern Territory?
MHiMA is seeking a consumer representative from Tasmania and another from the Northern Territory to join MHiMA's Consumer Working Group. Please contact Amy Baker for more information or read more...

Seeking experts in immigrant and refugee suicide prevention
MHiMA is about to commence a research project to develop suicide prevention first aid guidelines for members of the public to recognise suicide warning signs and assist the person from migrant or refugee background until appropriate professional help is received or the crisis resolves. If you would like to express interest in participating or suggest an Australian or international expert, please contact please contact Erminia Colucci or Tiffany Too. Please click this link for more information.

Digital story-telling project: 'Journeys of recovery of people from immigrant and refugee background'
MHiMA is joining forces with the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) to support people with lived experience of mental illness to use digital story-telling to share their stories of recovery. MHiMA is keen to hear from organisations that would like to support this project. Only participants from Victoria are sought for the pilot project which will be happening in Melbourne in early 2014. Participants need only share as much about their identity and their experiences as they wish. For more information, read more...

Call for expressions of interest: Multicultural Mental Health Leadership Program 2014 The Centre for International Mental Health based in the University of Melbourne, as part of the Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (MHiMA) consortium, will be offering the Multicultural Mental Health Leadership Program to commence in 2014. This program is designed for mental health professionals and consumer and carer representatives who are committed to making a contribution to multicultural mental health in Australia at an organisational, system or policy level. Read more...

News in depth

Responding to anxiety and depression in multicultural Australia
beyondblue and MHiMA have recently launched a joint position statement about engaging with people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, their families and communities in relation to anxiety and depression. This position statement has been written collaboratively and builds on work undertaken by beyondblue, MHiMA and other individuals and organisations.

For more information

Sector News

Stop Violence Against Women!
White Ribbon Day
on 25 November 2013 marked the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism to Stop Violence against Women by calling for an end to all forms of violence against women. MHiMA joins with other agencies in supporting this important campaign. Violence against women is a human rights issue as well as an emotional and mental health and well-being issue.

Conversations Matter
A new online community resource to guide safe and supportive conversations about suicide has just been released by the Hunter Institute of Mental Health. This suite of online resources has been developed for all community members including individuals, families, schools, workplaces and local communities. They are available in three different formats: online presentation, fact sheets and audio podcast. Please visit the website to read more.                                        

Request for information on current research on violence against women
The National Centre of Excellence in Research to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children is seeking information on research you or your organisation has done that relates to violence against women since 2007. This information will contribute to the review of Australian research by the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault and the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse. The review will provide a critical analysis about strengths, gaps, and opportunities in the field.

The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA)
Bright Ideas bulletin profiles innovative programs, initiatives and projects developed to support refugees and asylum seekers. It provides an opportunity to share ideas, success stories and good practice among service providers and communities in addressing key issues and challenges. If you know of an initiative you think could be profiled, contact admin@refugeecouncil.org.au.

Building a new life in Australia: The Longitudinal Survey of Humanitarian Migrants
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is funding and developing a new longitudinal survey of humanitarian migrants to trace the settlement journey from arrival in Australia through to eligibility for citizenship. The survey will commence in 2013 and is planned to run through to 2017-18. Please visit the 
website for more information

National Mental Health Commission (NMHC)
The NMHC recently launched A Contributing Life: the 2013 National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. Exactly a year since the launch of their first Report Card, an opportunity to report back on what's happened and if people's experiences have changed for the better. If you or anyone you know might be interested, please visit 
this page for more information. All nominations must be emailed by Friday 20 December 2013.

Knowledge exchange


These new titles have recently been added to the collection:

Asylum seekers, refugees and human rights: Snapshot report, 2013

- Asylum seeker health and wellbeing scoping study

- Conversations matter

- Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) perinatal depression project: Report

- Engaging people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds in relation to depression and anxiety: Joint position statement

- Mapping social cohesion 2013: National report

- McGill Transcultural Psychiatry videos

- Migrant youth in Australia: Social networks, belonging and active citizenship (Summary report)

- Responding to challenges of misuse of alcohol and other drugs by young people of refugee backgrounds

What's new in literature?

We regularly read and review items published in Australian and international journals. We've just updated our lists of selected items published in October and November. For more information go to What's new in literature? We welcome offers from readers to review new books, articles or any other new resource. Selected contributions will appear on the MHiMA website. MHiMA's first guest review is now available for you to read. It discusses a journal article that was published in May 2013.

New books and reviews

This is a new section. Please browse the list and let us know about other new books and reviews.