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Issue 04 | October 2013| www.mhima.org.au

From the Executive Officer

It has been a busy time across the MHiMA team and there is more to come over the coming months.

In early November MHiMA will be hosting a symposium on the Gold Coast in Queensland. This will be an opportunity to meet with government and organisational representatives about multicultural mental health and suicide prevention. 

We will be:
* Meeting with stakeholders about what MHiMA has achieved against its stated actions in our 2012-2014 Strategic Plan - 'Building Capacity & Supporting Inclusion'.                                

* Sharing examples of work currently underway across Australia to improve cultural responsiveness.

* Showcasing examples of where outcomes have been achieved that can be built upon in relation to mental health services engaging effectively with CALD consumers, carers, families and friends that require mental health support services.

* Building partnerships across Australia that are critical to embedding cultural responsiveness and sustained improved outcomes for CALD consumers, carers, families and friends that require mental health support services.

I hope you find this update useful and informative and look forward to being in touch again in December in our next newsletter.

Yours in health and positive wellbeing.

Hamza Vayani
Executive Officer- MHiMA

Project Updates

onsumers, Carers and Support People: Register your interest!
MHiMA invites all consumers, carers and support people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds to get involved in sharing news about upcoming activities and online events. To register your interest, please send an email with the subject heading ‘CALD Consumers, Carers and Support Persons’ to Amy Baker, Project Officer for Consumer and Carer Participation at

Translated information about mental health and seeking help
The National Mental Health Strategy resources that were developed by the Commonwealth Government, Department of Health and translated from English into 22 languages by MMHA several years ago remain a valuable source of information on nine key topics and are available on the MHiMA website.
We have recently added some brief audio segments, in several languages, that discuss seeking help for mental health issues. They were produced by the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia as part of its work on the Community Broadcasting Suicide Prevention Project which is also funded by the Commonwealth Government, Department of Health. Lots of other resources are available from Australian mental health organisations and overseas sites and they are all brought together on this page.

Mental Health Professional Network (MHPN): update
A webinar on refugee mental health will be held at the MHPN’s online platform in November, see below for more details. Six transcultural mental health networks have been established in different states and territories. These include (1) The WA Online Transcultural Network; (2) The Inner & Eastern Sydney Transcultural MHPN Network; (3) The North Eastern Melbourne Transcultural MHPN Network; (4) The Frankston and Peninsula Transcultural Mental Health Network; (5) The Western Melbourne Transcultural Mental Health Network; and (6) The Adelaide Refugee and Asylum Seeker Mental Health Network. More information about these and other networks is available from the MHPN website. Last month, MHiMA participated in the first meeting of the North Eastern Melbourne Transcultural MHPHN Network and we are looking forward to meeting the members of the Western Melbourne group in late October. The Brisbane Young Migrant and Refugee Background Mental Health network’s recent professional development forum brought together more than 70 mental health practitioners and workers across the transcultural sector to discuss the hot topic of “The Impact of Immigration Detention on the Mental Health of Children and Young People”, see this MHPN post to find out more about this session.

MHiMA in the media and MHiMA videos
MHiMA is keen to share knowledge and deliver understanding among those affected by mental ill-health and suicide in multicultural Australia. Engaging with media organisations and communications teams is helping to achieve this objective. We’ve recently added a media page
and updated our youtube site and our video page where you’ll find links to an edited program about MHiMA on Transforming Perceptions Radio Show, 2XXFM Community Radio, broadcast in March, and a recent article on immigrant and refugee mental health research in The Conversation.

Sydney in September: MHiMA Carer and Consumer Working Groups
On September 18th, ten of MHiMA’s Carer and Consumer Working Group members travelled to Sydney to participate in several events. The day began with a focus group discussions for a scoping study, the Implementation of National Standards in Mental Health Services, held by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC). In the afternoon, group members participated in an interactive media training session, provided by Mindframe. The group discussed a range of issues, including how to positively engage with media about the challenging topics of suicide and mental illness, privacy and confidentiality issues arising from contact with the media, and the role of culture in understanding mental illness and stigma.

A national research agenda: progress update
The second and final round of the expert consensus study to develop a mental health and suicide research agenda for people from immigrant and refugee backgrounds was distributed to respondents at the start of October. The research questions in this round include all the significant themes and issues that emerged during the first round of the survey.


Feature article

Mental health research and evaluation in multicultural Australia
The National Mental Health Commission has commissioned MHiMA to prepare a report, which aims to examine 1) what is known about the mental health of immigrant and refugee communities in Australia; 2) whether Australian mental health research pays adequate attention to cultural and linguistic diversity (CALD) in the Australian population; and 3) whether national mental health data collections support evidence-informed mental health policy and practice and mental health reform in multicultural Australia. The report was prepared by the Centre for International Mental Health (CIMH) and other members of MHiMA consortium and was released on the 8th October 2013. The recommendations, based on the main findings, are intended to contribute to the development of a culture of inclusion in Australian mental health research. Read more...  


Upcoming conferences

-4th WA Transcultural Mental Health and 2nd Australasian Refugee Health Conference, 31 October - 1 November, 2013.
-FECCA 2013 Conference: Breaking Down the Barriers, 7-8 November, 2013.

-The Community Broadcasting Association of Australia Conference, 14 -17 November 2013.

Sector News

-Mental Health Practitioner Network (MHPN) is hosting a webinar Collaborative Mental Health Care to Support a Young Person from a Refugee Background on Thursday 14 November 2013, 8.00pm - 9.15 pm (AEDT). To register, follow this link.

-Each month, the Community Broadcasting Association (CBAA) develops a series of short radio segments as part of the national suicide prevention and mental health awareness project, developed with the support of the Australian Government Department of Health. The segments are designed to promote help-seeking behaviour and positive lifestyle choices, using interviews with service providers, as well as profiles of people who have successfully dealt with tough times in their lives. Here is a link to September 2013 content.

-The National Mental Health Commission recently launched its Participation and Engagement Framework. More information is available in this recent Commission update.

-The Refugee Council of Australia (RCoA) has released this brief guide to new ministerial arrangements related to the Immigration Portfolio.

The Healthcare Chaplaincy Council of Victoria Inc (HCCVI), and the new national peak body ‘Pastoral and Spiritual Care of Older People’ (PASCOP) are partnering in a project to develop Australian National Guidelines for Spiritual Care in Aged Care. The proposed guidelines will outline best practice spiritual care in residential and community care settings. To assist with this process, the Council is inviting you to complete a brief survey.

- Carers Week is held each year during the third week of October. This year the theme is ‘Be Care Aware – support and celebrate Australia’s carers’. Carers Week is an initiative of Carers Australia. As noted in October e-news from FECCA, “this year there has been a deliberate approach from the National Coordination Team to include people from a CALD background in national campaigns”. For more information go here.

- FECCA Access and Equity Consultations 2013-14. The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) conducts Access and Equity consultations across Australia to learn about the experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse people in accessing Government services, for example, through Centrelink, Job Services Australia, Medicare and other organisations. For details of the consultation schedule across the country, please contact gulnara@fecca.org.au or call (02) 6282 5755.


Knowledge exchange

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 August, September and October. For more information go to What's new in the literature?


These new titles have recently been added to the collection.

Featured items

- A national framework for recovery-oriented mental health services
- Mental health research and evaluation in multicultural Australia: Developing a culture of inclusion

Other new items

- Domestic and family violence and people from immigrant and refugee backgrounds
- Good practices with culturally diverse families in family dispute resolution