The MHiMA Project provides a national focus for advice and support to providers and governments on mental health and suicide prevention for people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. This involves representation and support for CALD communities’ interests in the mental health sector and raising awareness of mental illness and suicide prevention in CALD communities.
Mental Health Australia was engaged by the Department of Health to manage the MHiMA Project until 31 December 2016. Key tasks during this timeframe included analysing the activities, arrangements and outputs of the most recent Project (to 30 June 2015, managed by another entity), and making recommendations to the Australian Government Department of Health about future directions for the MHiMA Project. In late March 2016 Mental Health Australia submitted a recommendations report to the Department of Health about the future of the Project, which can now be accessed with all associated attachments here. From July 2016 the Project entered an interim maintenance stage which only allowed for limited project activities.
In late November 2016 and in response to our recommendations report, the Minister for Health, Hon Sussan Ley MP advised that the Australian Government will continue to support the MHiMA Project beyond December 2016. The Minister also advised that a targeted competitive approach to market will be undertaken in 2017 to determine the most appropriate project lead for the longer term. While it is unclear at this stage what the future project will look like, we see this news as a positive step towards providing long term certainty and investment in multicultural mental health.
Current MHiMA Project activities will be completed by 31 December 2016. Mental Health Australia will continue to maintain the MHiMA website, including the Framework elements, while the process to determine the future project lead is undertaken.
Key MHiMA Project activities Mental Health Australia progressed up to the completion of this iteration of the Project on 31 December 2016 included:
- Establishing and engaging with a Project Advisory Group that includes representation of all jurisdictions, CALD consumers and carers, and CALD views and expertise outside of the mental health sector.
- Engagement with the National CALD Consumer and Carer Working Group on a range of national mental health reform initiatives, including seeking their views on the future of the MHiMA Project and the Fifth National Mental Health Plan.
- Engagement with pilot sites for the Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (the Framework) and finalisation of a review on the Framework, including an examination of its structure, delivery and sustainability, and recommendations for future delivery and implementation.
- Conducting a national public consultation on the future of the MHiMA Project.
- Finalising translation guidelines for mental health materials.
- Submitting a recommendations report to the Department of Health about the future of the Project.
Future updates on the MHiMA Project will be shared through the Mental Health Australia CEO Weekly Update as they arise. If you would like to stay updated on the MHiMA Project, please sign up here (free subscription).