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QMHC eNews - Issue 34


The ‘Gratitude Window’ at the Wheel of Wellbeing workshop in Emerald.

26 Sep 2016

Commissioner's Update

18/02/15 Qld Mental Health Commission Executive staff and offices

Countdown to mental health week

Mental Health Week is fast approaching. Please visit the QMHW website for ideas and to inspire others with your ideas.

Importance of family inclusion and community education

A report released by the Queensland Government highlights the importance of communication with families as well as community education to address stigma and misunderstanding of mental illness.

The sentinel events review of homicide and public sector mental health services was commissioned by Queensland Health and tabled in Parliament on 14 September 2016.

I’m pleased that the Queensland Government has accepted in-principle all 63 recommendations of the report.

Read more in our media release or in the Queensland Government’s statement

Regional hub launched

The Central Highlands Regional Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub launched in Emerald this month.

Operated by CentacareCQ and supported by the Central Highlands Regional Council and CQ Rural Health, the hub will drive community-led mental health and wellbeing initiatives in six communities across the region. The hub is one of three Queensland regional hubs supported by the Commission.

Read more about the Regional Hubs

Building strong and resilient communities

While in Emerald I met community and local government representatives at forums held by the Central Highlands Regional Council.

Community and local government services are instrumental in supporting and protecting good mental health and wellbeing. The leadership shown by the Central Highlands Regional Council for supporting a better life for their citizens and building strong and resilient communities is commendable.

Connect – Communicate – Care

It’s great to see so much support for suicide prevention and awareness highlighted by World Suicide Prevention Day and R U OK? Day.

This year’s WSPD theme Connect – Communicate – Care is an important message year-round.

Thank you to all who contributed to making WSPD 2016 and R U OK? Day a time to reflect on the tragedy of suicide. We will be reviewing this year’s activity shortly with a view to making WSPD 2017 even more significant.

Access to justice

Don’t forget submissions to the Bill to pave the way for increasing access to justice for survivors of child sexual abuse are due on 26 October 2016. Read the issues paper

The Mental Health and Drug Advisory Council discussed this at their last meeting and supported the Commission’s position that other forms of abuse, for example physical abuse and related psychological abuse should be considered.

If you have views you would like us to consider in finalising our submission, please send them to us at

Improving wellbeing in the bushIMG_Rural and Remote Action Plan

An Action Plan for Queensland

A new Action Plan to support mental health and wellbeing in rural and remote Queensland is now out.

The Queensland Rural and Remote Mental Health and Wellbeing Action Plan 2016-18 outlines 28 actions to be taken by government in partnership with non-government organisations. It covers three priority areas:

  1. Better opportunities for good mental health and wellbeing
  2. Community strength
  3. Responsive and accessible services

Get your copy of the Action Plan

Strengthening individual and community wellbeing

img_0320International experts delivered a series of mental health and wellbeing workshops across Queensland this month as part of the Commission’s partnership with Maudsley International.

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Capacity Building Project aims to enhance the mental health and wellbeing awareness and knowledge of key stakeholders across community, non-government and government sectors.

During September, 24 trainees were provided intensive Wheel of Wellbeing training. WOW is a flexible framework that represents the six universal themes that contribute to mental health and wellbeing: BODY, MIND, SPIRIT, PEOPLE, PLACE and PLANET, and links each of the themes to positive actions.

Better understanding of these themes can enable us to lead healthier, happier and more meaningful and productive lives.

Trainees from the Regional Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs in Central Highlands, Logan and Southern Moreton Bay Islands and Northern and Western Queensland, along with Department of Education and Training state and regional student wellbeing staff were trained in WoW theory and application.

They went on to deliver workshops to community and agency staff in Brisbane, Emerald, Logan and Townsville. The trainees are now accredited to deliver WOW training.

The program also saw 18 representatives from the Regional Mental Health Hubs and Department of Education and Training  trained in Mental Wellbeing Impact Assessment.

This is a systematic approach to assessing how policies, programs and initiatives can improve mental health and wellbeing and minimise any risks.

The trainees undertook a MWIA screening practical to consolidate their learning and gain experience of its application.

The WOW and MWIA trainees will be provided further support and coaching over the following months.

Read about it on our website or learn more about the Wheel of Wellbeing

Advisory Council

August meeting

Top of the Council’s agenda in August was the upcoming review of the Queensland Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Strategic Plan 2014-2019 and associated action plans to be undertaken by the Commission. Council members will be proactively involved.

Also on the agenda was:

  • including and respecting lived experience in policy and practice
  • the Queensland Rural and Remote Mental Health and Wellbeing Action Plan
  • social and emotional wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders
  • the Commission’s submission to the review of the Health Ombudsman and the health service complaints management system
  • the review of the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse claims.

Read the meeting communiqué

Review of youth detention centres

Council Chair Dr Peggy Brown has called for the voices of young people to be heard in the review of Queensland’s youth detention centres.

Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath announced the independent review in response to serious allegations against staff of youth detentions centres by former detainees and former employees.

Dr Brown said the review needs to place sufficient emphasis on the challenges faced by many young Queenslanders and urged the review to consider the importance of trauma informed care in public policy, service design and delivery.

Read the media release

Congratulations to Dr Brown on her appointment as Chief Executive Officer of the National Mental Health Commission.

Profile: Janice Crosbiejanice-crosbie

During her journey of recovery, Janice developed a deep understanding of the barriers and challenges faced when navigating the mental health system and tertiary education sectors.

Janice’s personal experience of living with a mental illness has led to her personal interest in consumer operated services, volunteering with community-based organisations, speaking at state and national events on mental health issues and her experience of mental illness, and as a guest lecturer at universities.

Reducing the impact of stigma and discrimination for people with mental illness and promoting the importance of housing and education to a person’s mental health stability hold a special interest for Janice. She actively advocates for the service, social and health needs of people with mental illness or problems with substance use.

Suicide prevention

World Suicide Prevention Day

Suicide is a tragedy that touches many lives.

Some 650 Queenslanders lost their lives to suicide in 2014. For every person who dies by suicide, an estimated 30 people attempt suicide.

The devastating impact on families and loved ones, friends and work colleagues is immediate, far-reaching and long-lasting.

2016 World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September asked us all to Connect, Communicate and Care.

Suicide Prevention Roundtable

Queensland Health convened a Suicide Prevention Roundtable on 8 September 2016. The Commission looks forward to participating in the ongoing deliberations of the associated Taskforce to identify opportunities to reduce the impact of suicide across Queensland.

Awareness events

Organisations, communities and individuals made a big impact this year, bringing this important issue further into the spotlight and helping prevent suicide by holding events across Queensland. One in 40 events on the WSPD website were hosted in Queensland with some great events in regional centres.

The annual Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention WSPD Forum on 9 September was a success again this year. The forum brought together those impacted by suicide, researchers, non-government service providers and State Government agencies. Download the Commissioner’s presentation. The lived experience panel was a show stopper.

Another highlight was the Roses in the Ocean community awareness event in the Queen Street Mall.

System reform

Improving the complaints system

In June 2016 the Queensland Parliament commenced an inquiry into the performance of the Health Ombudsman and ways to improve the health service complaints management system.

The Commission made a submission to the Inquiry focusing on ways the health service complaints management system might be improved from the perspective of people with mental health and alcohol and other drug issues. Our submission drew on feedback received from people with direct experience of the complaints system and its accessibility.

Our submission is now available to read online. Download our submission

More information about the inquiry is available on the Queensland Parliament website

If you have trouble navigating the complaints system, visit our website or ask for a wallet card.

Living well

live-well-working-groupQueensland’s Live Well Working Group came together last month.

The group support the Early Action: Queensland Mental Health Promotion, Prevention and Early Intervention Action Plan by focusing on mental health and wellbeing in Queensland communities. The group includes a wide range of both government and non-government members.

Read more about promotion, prevention and early intervention actions in Queensland on our website

Creating jobs in Toowoomba

Having a job is more than just earning a wage. Having a job improves a person’s confidence and self-esteem, enabling them to build their social network and become a more involved member of society.

The Commission is proud to support the Toowoomba Social Procurement Project, an initiative of Toowoomba Clubhouse which is making great progress overcoming barriers for people living with mental illness to find employment. So far the project has successfully helped 24 people gain paid employment with local organisations.

As the momentum continues additional organisations are coming on board as they realise the benefits to employing a person with barriers.

For further information or to get involved please contact

Toowoomba Clubhouse is holding a number of events during Queensland Mental Health Week including a ‘Big Lunch’, theatre production and silent art auction. Find out more on the QMHW website

New mental health legislation

The Mental Health Act 2016 will take effect from 5 March 2017. Queensland Health is now rolling out the education and training program, which will include training for staff in public health services, information sessions for consumers and carers and information for staff in related agencies such as police and the courts.

The new Act places a lot of emphasis on strengthening patient rights. It will correct some overly paternalistic provisions in the existing Act, simplify administrative processes and ensure we can focus on providing quality clinical care and promoting the wellbeing of patients while safeguarding their rights. With the new Act, people can expect:

  • to be treated with respect and dignity with least restriction on their rights and liberties
  • to have their views on their care and treatment taken into account and connections to home and community maintained
  • their culture and special needs to be taken into account
  • the particular circumstances of children and young people to be considered
  • a right to a second opinion from a psychiatrist, and
  • family and support persons to be involved, kept informed and that their loved ones will be kept safe when necessary.

These can be expected when interacting with mental health staff or before the Mental Health Review Tribunal or in the Courts. When people appear before the Courts, they can expect that any mental health issues will to be taken into account and the community can also expect that the safety of others will be considered.

The new Independent Patient Rights Advisers, expected to be appointed from November 2016, will complement the work of Community Visitors to help people understand their rights and seek further advice when they want to.

The Mental Health Review Tribunal Deputy President is expected to be appointed by December. Sessions for consumers and carers will start in February 2017.

Implementation of new legislation places additional requirements on staff in frontline services and, as with any change, their contribution has to be acknowledged and supported.

To keep up to date, visit the Queensland Health website.


Lived experiencemental-health-roadmap

Which way? Navigating the mental health system

Far North Queensland Partners in Recovery have launched a new guide for families, carers and significant others.

The small book was written by carers, for carers and provides information and resources to help families find their way. It acknowledges that everyone’s journey with mental illness is different, but like all journeys, it is important to be prepared.

Download the guide

Alcohol and other drugs

Overdose awareness

overdose_can_affect_anyoneInternational Overdose Awareness Day (31 August) provided an opportunity to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma associated with drug-related death.

The facts

In Queensland, drug use accounts for an estimated 4,300 deaths and more than 65,000 hospital admissions each year. Alcohol and tobacco contribute to the majority of these deaths and physical health conditions. Alcohol is also responsible for almost half of all overdose ambulance call outs.

QMHC project addresses stigma and discrimination

According to the World Health Organisation, illicit drug dependence is the most stigmatised health condition in the world. Alcohol dependence ranked fourth.

Stigma and discrimination creates barriers to people seeking help and can lead to poor mental health and social outcomes.

The Commission has begun a research project with the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre about how to reduce stigma and discrimination with negative impacts on mental health and wellbeing. This work is expected to be completed in 2017.

Read more about the harmful impacts of alcohol and other drugs and what is being done in Queensland in the Queensland Alcohol and Other Drug Action Plan 2015-17.

Alcohol free to prevent FASD

The Australian Medical Association released a statement recently acknowledging Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and making a series of recommendations.

The statement came just prior to last week’s International FASD Awareness Day (9 September), which helps raise awareness about the risks of drinking alcohol during pregnancy by asking people to commit to being alcohol free for the day. According to the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), FASD is the leading preventable cause of non-genetic developmental disability in Australia.

AMA recommendations include:

  1. Improving awareness among clinicians and increasing the likelihood of health professionals speaking with their patients about alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
  2. Ongoing education and training for clinicians to increase knowledge about populations at risk of FASD and increase early diagnosis and management.
  3. A coordinated national approach to reducing FASD, that is consistent with the broader campaign for combatting problem drinking in Australia.
  4. Mandatory, informative, front-of-pack warning labels on all alcohol products about the harms of alcohol use in pregnancy.
  5. Funding for the collection of nationally consistent and representative FASD data.

Read the statement and recommendations

In Queensland, the work of Dr Doug Shelton at the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service continues to draw national attention for its work in training clinicians to address FASD.


Mental Health Weekuntitled

Target 150 events

Have you registered your Mental Health Week event?

Queensland Mental Health Week is fast approaching and many of you will be planning events – large and small – to help raise awareness of mental health issues.

We want to know what Queensland is doing.

Register your event as either public or private, or just register as a supporter on the Queensland Mental Health Week website.

Register now

Resources and merchandise

A number of free Queensland Mental Health Week resources are available to help plan and promote your event. Merchandise is also available for purchase – thanks to Canefields Clubhouse for providing the outlet.

Browse the free resources or merchandise

Sector news


  • Myer Innovation Fellowships – An opportunity to pursue a big idea that has the potential to achieve positive outcomes in the areas of education, poverty and disadvantage and sustainability and the environment. Apply by 25 September. More information
  • Mobile Support Services for Young People Logan, Gold Coast, Townsville – Invitation to Offer issued by the Department of Housing and Public Works as part of the Homelessness Program. Read more
  • QGC Communities Fund – Grants between $10,001 and $50,000 are available for short-term, one-off projects for not-for-profit organisations and local governments in the Western Downs and Gladstone Regional Council areas. Find out more
  • The Gulf Area Community Social Development Trust – Grants up to $50,000 for projects and initiatives that encourage educational, health, cultural and social development in the interests and welfare of residents of the Gulf Area Community. Apply here
  • Mazda Foundation – Grants available for projects by community-based organisations supporting children with physical and/or mental disabilities or elderly people with mental disabilities, or their carers. Apply here
  • Sisters of Charity Foundation – Grants available to provide support and financial assistance to community initiatives that will benefit poor and marginalised people. More information
  • Arrow Energy Brighter Futures – Through Brighter Futures, Arrow Energy supports local organisations that are dedicated to developing stronger Queensland communities. The program supports three areas of community interest: health and safety; education; and environment. Apply by 7 October here
  • Small Grants for Rural Communities – Grants of up to $5,000 are available for projects and activities that offer clear public benefit for communities in rural, regional or remote Australia. Priority is given to communities of 10,000 or fewer. Find out more
  • Grants to end homelessness – Grants available for seeding initiatives, services, projects, advocacy and research that will contribute to the goal of ending homelessness by supporting housing first and permanent supportive housing solutions. Projects that focus on chronic homelessness and women who experience chronic homelessness are currently priority areas for funding. Read more


  • COPMI 'Family recovery' webinar recording – A webinar focused on how practitioners can support recovery in families affected by a parent's mental illness. Watch the webinar
  • Dadvice: The Ultimate Collection of Advice for Fathers – A new campaign from beyondblue for Dads. More information
  • ‘Rethinking Madness’ – Book by clinical psychologist Dr Paris Williams is available for free download here


  • 7 October 2016 Choir of Hard Knocks 10th Anniversary Concert – The award winning ‘choir that inspired the nation’ from the ABC TV smash series, Choir of Hard Knocks will perform at QPAC for the first time to celebrate their 10th Anniversary as part of their first national ‘Hope & Inspiration’ tour. Tickets available here
  • 9 October 2016 Walk for Awareness – This Mental Awareness Foundation event kicks of Queensland Mental Health Week this year. Register now
  • 11 October 2016 North Brisbane Partners in Recovery Annual Forum – North Lakes. Free event to co-create solutions, showcase innovative practice, network with colleagues and learn more about the work of Partners in Recovery. Register here
  • 11-14 October 2016 The 4th National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Conference – Adelaide. The theme is ‘Showing Initiative: AOD responses required to Close the Gap by 2030’. Register here
  • 14 October 2016 QMHW Achievement Awards – Join Open Minds to celebrate the achievements of individuals, groups, organisations and businesses. Find out more
  • 15 October 2016 Recovery Stories by Candlelight – Ipswich. Help Queensland Alliance for Mental Health Inc. celebrate and share the ways that we, as a community, value mental health. More information
  • 16 October 2016 Wellness Riverwalk – A great family day out to promote mental health awareness and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. Register
  • 17-19 October 2016 World Federation for Mental Health International Conference – Cairns. Co-hosted by the World Federation for Mental Health and the Dr Edward Koch Foundation. More information
  • 19 October 2016 North Brisbane Partners in Recovery Annual Forum – Herston. Free event to co-create solutions, showcase innovative practice, network with colleagues and learn more about the work of Partners in Recovery. Register here
  • 24-26 October 2016 12th Biennial Asia Pacific International Mental Health Conference – The conference theme is Recovered Futures: People, Practice, Partnership, Policy. Submit an abstract or register now. Find out more
  • 29 October 2016 ACWA WellSkills 2016 – Corinda. The theme is Community Development: How to make those connections. Download the registration form
  • 16-17 November 2016 Annual Dialog Conference ‘Perspectives on Peer Work’ – Brook RED is hosting 2nd annual dialog conference, bringing together 150 peer and lived-experience workers to share and consider the diverse, innovative, and powerful ways that peer work is being carried out in a broad range of communities. More information here


  • Survey: Seeking Help for mental health concerns – Griffith University survey to understand what influences an individual to seek help for concerns about their mental health. Take the survey
  • Blue Knot Foundation Professional Development Training – Be empowered with new skills, knowledge and tools around complex trauma, delivered by Australia’s policy, practice and training leader in the trauma sector Karin El-Monir. Find out more