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QMHC eNews - Issue 36


The What’s your relationship with alcohol? campaign is Action 1 of the Queensland Alcohol and Other Drug Action Plan 2015-17.

16 Nov 2016

Commissioner's Update

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

Keeping reform on track

With 2017 approaching, we have begun preparations to review the Queensland Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Strategic Plan 2014-2019.

The review will focus on implementation to date and the many reforms since the plan was released in 2014. We will have a  focus on reform that supports increased engagement and leadership of people with a lived experience, their families and carers in the system and ensure a balance across mental illness, mental health and wellbeing, suicide prevention and alcohol and other drugs.

We will also update the associated action plans:

There will be many opportunities for input during the review through community consultation forums and discussion papers. Stay tuned for more information about how you can get involved.

Review of the QMHC Act 2013

Queensland Health has been asked by the Minister to convene a small group, including myself, to undertake a review of the effectiveness of the Queensland Mental Health Commission Act 2013. This is a requirement of the current Act (section 56).

The Terms of Reference and methodology have yet to be confirmed – I anticipate that it will build on feedback that has previously been provided through a range of avenues, but I am always happy to hear from anyone who has a view they would like represented. This will include some of the feedback in our annual stakeholder survey. The report from the 2016 survey is now on our website

Better services for new parents

This week is Perinatal Depression and Anxiety Awareness Week.

For some years I have advocated for more and better targeted support to help expectant and new parents battling depression and anxiety.

I’m pleased that our work on this issue has been rewarded with a commitment from the Queensland Government to expand perinatal mental health support across the state. This is one of many commitments of the recently released plan, Connecting care to recovery 2016-2021.

A hypothetical story about real world issues

For those interested and available next Thursday evening (24 November), I encourage you to attend SOS Fast’s free suicide prevention community information event. I will join a panel discussion about the hypothetical story about a young man with complex needs who ends his life by suicide.

It is sure to be a thought-provoking evening. See the event flyer for more information.

Advisory Council

October meeting

Emerging issues on the Queensland Mental Health and Drug Advisory Council agenda were:

  • evaluation of Queensland Health’s policy to lock public mental health wards
  • 2017 review of the Queensland Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Strategic Plan 2014-2019 and associated action plans
  • the Commission’s submission to the Government’s review of the Statute of Limitations

Read more in the Council’s meeting communique

Profile: Kerrie Keepa

kerrie.keepaKerrie Keepa founded SOS Fast (Survivors of Suicide Fighting Against Suicide Toll) and is passionate about suicide awareness and prevention for good reason. Having already lost one brother, two sisters and a nephew to suicide, Kerrie also lost her son Christopher in September 2014.

Since Christopher’s death, Kerrie has actively urged the government to make mental health reforms. Kerrie collected over 65,000 signatures on a petition calling for better mental health training for hospital Emergency Department staff. She met with the Minister for Health Cameron Dick and has been given a role in the ongoing review of Queensland’s mental health policy.

Read about other members of the Advisory Council

System reform

EOI: Human rights protection

Expressions of interest will be open soon to undertake research that will provide evidence-based options on how the current human rights system in Queensland can be improved – through either legislative changes or improving access to existing mechanisms for people with a mental illness.

The focus will be on be on people being treated involuntarily in both hospital and community settings.

Findings will be used by the Commission to continue its advocacy for some of Queensland’s most vulnerable people.

Proud and Strong

The Reference Group overseeing implementation of the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social and Emotional Wellbeing Action Plan 2016-18 held its first meeting in November.

The Reference Group will monitor the Action Plan’s implementation, identify emerging issues and good practice, and identify and monitor indicators of social and emotional wellbeing.

Reference Group members include senior representatives from government agencies, members of the Queensland Mental Health and Drug Advisory Council, a representative of the Primary Health Networks and representatives from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peaks and community sector such as the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council, Queensland Indigenous Substance Misuse Council, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service, Gallang Place, Institute of Urban Indigenous Health and Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak.

The Action Plan aims to improve the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders and outlines 62 actions to be taken by government in partnership with non-government organisations in three priority areas:

  1. Inclusive communities
  2. Thriving and connected families
  3. Resilient people

Get a copy of the Action Plan

Rural and remote

rural-and-remote-reference-groupThe Queensland Rural and Remote Mental Health and Wellbeing Reference Group also met for the first time in November.

The role of the Reference Group is to monitor implementation of the Queensland Rural and Remote Mental Health and Wellbeing Action Plan 2016-18 and identify emerging issues and good practice.

With representatives from State Government agencies, local government and peak non-government organisations, the group will meet twice a year and will guide the Action Plan’s review after its first 12 months of operation. It was agreed that a Roundtable should be convened in Longreach mid-2017.

Read more about the Action Plan

National Mental Health Plan

Have your saySpeak Up bubble

You are invited to have your say on a new national plan that aims to improve the lives of people with mental health issues.

The Australian Government has released the draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan for consultation.

The draft plan includes seven priority areas, each focusing on what will be different for consumers and carers.  We will highlight these on our Facebook page.

Consultations are being held in Queensland with workshops in Brisbane on 16 November and Townsville on 17 November. Feedback can also be provided through an online feedback survey or by written submission emailed to

Download the draft plan

Creating job opportunities

The Toowoomba Social Procurement Project continues to grow from strength to strength having now successfully placed 29 people with barriers to employment in paid roles with local businesses.

The Commission is proud to be involved in this project run by Toowoomba Clubhouse.

Organisations supporting the project have witnessed the improved mental wellbeing of those they have employed. They are more confident and social, leading to a more inclusive, stronger and happier local community.

Interest is mounting as work continues on educating organisations on the benefits of employing people experiencing barriers to employment. Discussions are underway with a number of State and Local Government departments to secure suitable roles.

For more information or to get involved please contact Toowoomba Clubhouse through Kirsten McGovern

Lived experience

Projects nearing completion

The Commission's Consumer, Family and Carer Projects Reference Group will be meet in November to consider outcomes and key findings from the Engagement Mapping project and the Best Practice Principles project, as well as next steps for the Commission.

Engagement mapping

The Engagement Mapping project mapped and measured the level, type and range of engagement of service users, consumers, families and carers within Queensland’s mental health and alcohol and other drugs sectors. The research was led by Urbis.

Best practice principles

The development of Best Practice Principles for consumer, family and carer engagement, specifically for the mental health and alcohol and other drugs sector, is being led by the Queensland Alliance for Mental Health Inc. in collaboration with the Queensland Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies and Enlightened Consultants.

An extensive review of international and national frameworks and best practice principles of consumer, family and carer engagement has been completed, and the development of the principles is in the final stages.

Next steps

Both projects will be finalised and available on the Commission’s website soon.

Shaping youth mental health services

Get involved

Consumers, carers and family members have an opportunity to get involved in the development and design of services in Queensland for young people with severe mental health issues.

Health Consumers Queensland is playing an important role in supporting the safe, meaningful engagement of young people, families and the community throughout the co-design of new services and implementation of the Government response to recommendations from the Barrett Adolescent Centre Commission of Inquiry Report.

Visit Health Consumers Queensland to get involved or stay up to date.

Information about the Inquiry and the Government’s response is on Queensland Health’s Youth Mental Health website.

Share your experiences

Are you interested in speaking publicly about your experiences with depression or anxiety to help reduce stigma and raise awareness of mental health issues?

beyondblue are looking for Queenslanders to join their Speakers Bureau.

Speakers assist beyondblue by sharing their story to groups in the community. beyondblue receive requests from all types of groups and organisations and match them with the right speakers to share their story.

Queensland-based Roses in the Ocean also trains and supports people with a lived experience of suicide to share their story through their Speakers Hub ‘Voices of In-Sight’. Please contact them if you are interested.

Is being a speaker right for you?

Making the decision to talk publicly about experiences of mental health issues isn’t right for everyone.

While anxiety and depression can have its ups and downs, it’s important that beyondblue speakers embody the values of hope and recovery. Some people find that speaking publicly about a personal experience and dealing with sensitive audience questions can be confronting or stressful, which can make the role difficult for those who are continuing to experience frequent periods of distress.

We encourage anyone who may be interested in becoming a beyondblue speaker to take some time to reflect on your own wellbeing and whether this type of activity is right for you at this time. Find out more or apply

Alcohol and other drugs

Lives of substance

A new website illustrates the complexity of problematic alcohol and other drug use through a compilation of personal stories.

Lives of substance offers new perspectives on people who often experience stigma related to their use of alcohol or other drugs. It is the result of a research project that collected detailed life stories of people who considered themselves to have an addiction, dependence or habit.

As well as sharing stories through written extracts, original audio recordings and video re-enactments, the website provides resources and aims to support those who have problems with alcohol and other drug use.

Visit Lives of Substance

What's your relationship with alcohol? 

What's your relationship with alcohol? is a whole-of-government alcohol harm reduction campaign aiming to encourage Queenslanders to stop and consider their drinking behaviours. The campaign supports the Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence initiative and is an action of the Queensland Alcohol and Other Drugs Action Plan 2015-17.

The campaign is targeted at all Queenslanders drinking at risky levels.

In November 2016, the second phase of What’s your relationship with alcohol? was launched. This refreshes the message of reflection, education and empowerment; and aims to raise awareness of specific drinking attitudes and behaviours.

More about the campaign and campaign resources are here, including posters, screensavers, campaign videos and TV ad.

Go to the campaign website to take the survey about your relationship with alcohol.

Fast Facts

  • Alcohol is the most widely used legal drug in Australia.
  • 30,000 hospitalisations are due to harmful alcohol consumption each year.
  • There has been a 30% increase to Emergency Department admissions with alcohol a significant factor since 2007.
  • 60% of police time is spent on alcohol-related issues


Support new parentspnda_week2016

It’s Perinatal Depression and Anxiety Awareness Week.

Everyone experiences parenthood differently.

It's important for expecting and new parents, as well as those around them, to be aware of perinatal anxiety and depression, to know the signs to look out for and where to go for help.

Help raise awareness of this important issue by getting involved. Find out how

Check out beyondblue Healthy Families website to hear personal stories of perinatal depression and anxiety or to share your own.

International leaders coming to Queensland

iimhlThe 2017 International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership Exchange is coming to Australia.

Prior to a combined meeting in Sydney, participants from across the globe will take part in Leadership Matches held throughout Australia and New Zealand, including multiple matches in Queensland.

Browse the Queensland Leadership Matches on our website

Attendance is free however participants will have to cover their own costs for travel and accommodation.

Psychology Week

psychology-week-2016-reportTo celebrate Psychology Week (6-12 November 2016), the Australian Psychological Society released its 2016 Compass for Life report, outlining results from a wellbeing survey of 1,000 Australians.

Key findings:

  • Close connections — Three in four (75%) have close relationships, connecting with their family, partner and/or children every day.
  • Community connectionsNearly a third (32%) feel a strong sense of belonging to their community. Those not strongly connected (30%) had poorer wellbeing.
  • Self-care activities — Poor sleepers (19%) had significantly lower wellbeing. Being active each day is related to multiple measures of wellbeing. One in three are active once a week or less and low levels of activity are associated with lower levels of wellbeing and health.

Visit Compass for Life to take the survey and find your score and ways to thrive.

Sector news

Glove Box Guide to Mental Healthgbg_cover_2016

This year’s edition of the Glove Box Guide to Mental Health has been released with the theme ‘service your mind’.

Now in its fifth year, the widely used resource provides rural communities with information and hope. Personal stories share experiences of mental health problems and why reaching out and seeking help is important.

The guide also provides useful information on what to look out for, how to help someone who is struggling and how and where to seek help.

Download the online guide


  • Tackling Tough Times Together – Grants up to $15,000 are available to help communities across most of Queensland access resources to support one another through the ongoing effects of the drought. Apply by 25 November. Find out more
  • Campaign for Change – Wesley Mission Queensland, with the support of the Queensland Government, is offering two individuals or groups the opportunity to kick-start their social change initiative with $25,000 in funding and mentoring from Wesley Mission Queensland. Apply here
  • IKEA Living Local community grants – The IKEA Living Local Community Grants combine products and home furnishing expertise and IKEA co-worker volunteer leave days to ‘makeover’ a room or a space in a local not-for-profit or charity organisation. Applications close 27 November. Apply
  • Brisbane North PHN mental health grants – As part of the Federal Government’s reform of primary mental health care, Brisbane North PHN have launched tenders for: low intensity psychological services; care coordination for people with severe mental illness; suicide prevention (follow-up service); and child and youth mental health services. Find out more
  • Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN Integrated Team Care and Mental Health Tenders – Tender open for: care coordination and supplementary services; Indigenous outreach worker; and delivering culturally competent mental health services training. More information here
  • Auswide Bank Grants – Grants available to not-for-profit organisations or local government authorities who hold an Auswide Bank account for events and projects that are charitable or for public good. Read more
  • Perpetual IMPACT Philanthropy – Perpetual distributes more than $80 million annually to non-profit organisations on behalf of charitable trusts and endowments. Applications are now open for the 2017 grants program. Find out more
  • Volunteer Grants 2016 – Small grants available from the Australian Government Department of Social Services to support the efforts of Australia's volunteers. Applications close 20 December. Read more
  • Community Development and Capacity Building Grants – Up to $10,000 funding available from the Brisbane City Council for local not-for-profit groups to improve and develop services that respond to local and city-wide issues. Apply
  • Housing Support Program – Up to $10,000 available in grants from the Brisbane City Council for projects or services that respond to the housing and social needs of homeless people, or those living in social housing. Find out more
  • Men’s Shed Grants Program – Brisbane City Council is providing up to $20,000 funding to support Men’s Shed groups in Brisbane. Apply


  • 23 November 2016 Children with Complex Health Needs and Disability: Getting NDIS ready – South Brisbane. In partnership with Children’s Health Queensland, Griffith University is bringing together a range of experts and people with lived experiences to discuss how families of children with disability and complex medical needs can work together with children’s health services and others to optimise readiness for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Register here
  • 23-24 November 2016 Yarn up Tok Blo Yumi– Caboolture. Participate in focused conversations or yarns aimed at deepening your understanding of historical, social and cultural perspectives on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Inclusion. Register now
  • 24 November 2016 SOS Fast One in Four Hypothetical Community Information Event – Join a panel of experts with lived experience and leading minds in mental health, research, community services and police to discuss a hypothetical story about a young lad who ends his life by suicide. Download the flyer
  • 30 November 2016 Breakfast Event: Brisbane Residential Development Opportunities Through the NDIS – Q Shelter and the Brisbane Development Association are collaborating on this signature business breakfast as the first of several forums to discuss the challenges and solutions in addressing the housing needs of people with disabilities. Find out more
  • 29 November – 1 December 2016 Family Relationship Services Australia National Conference – This year’s conference theme is 'Measuring Success in the family and relationship sector for the wellbeing of children, families and communities'. View the program and register
  • 1 December 2016 Webinar: Prescribing challenges in youth mental health treatment – Orygen The National Centre for Excellence in Youth Mental Health are hosting this webinar which will look at the risks and benefits of prescribing medication as part of the treatment for young people with mental health issues. Register
  • 27 February – 3 March 2017 IIMHL Leadership Exchange – The International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership Exchange is coming to Australia. While it will be based in Sydney, matches are being held across the country including in Brisbane, Toowoomba, the Sunshine Coast and Cairns. Registration is free for those living and working in Australia. Find out more