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QMHC eNews - Issue 37


The Indel-ABILITY Arts troupe breaking down barriers. Photo credit: Nick Morrisey.

15 Dec 2016

Commissioner's Update

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

Review of the Commission

The Public Service Commission has completed its independent review of the Commission’s effectiveness as required by our Act and has presented a report to the Minister for Health. The report will be available on Queensland Health’s website in the near future.

Overall the review findings were positive regarding the Commission’s performance of its functions and the report acknowledges our work since our establishment in 2013 has positioned us well to continue a strong reform agenda. The report includes 13 recommendations.

Read my response to the review recommendations

Review of our legislation

The review of the Queensland Mental Health Commission Act 2013 will begin soon.

Queensland Health is leading the review. I will ensure all previous suggestions for amendments to the Act are brought to the attention of the review. However, some proposals may be outside the review’s scope.

I anticipate further information about the review will be available shortly.

More mental health beds on the Gold Coast

I had the opportunity to attend the official opening of Robina Private Hospital in November with Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care, Sussan Ley MP.

The new hospital delivers private mental health services and includes 60 new beds for mental health patients. These beds will take pressure off the public system and make a difference to those Queenslanders unable to access inpatient clinical care when they need it.

Congratulations to Healthe Care. Read more about it in this article

Can we define the system we are reforming?

Last month I presented to the fourth Annual National Mental Health Conference in Melbourne about system reform and the role of leadership and innovation in times of change and uncertainty.

Those interested in my take on the challenges can read my speech or download my presentation from our website

System reform

Keeping reform on trackSpeak Up bubble

In 2017 we’ll be renewing the Queensland Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Strategic Plan 2014-2019.

Why? Improving mental health and wellbeing takes time and it is important that our efforts are continually reviewed to ensure they meet the changing needs of Queenslanders and align with recent reforms.

Your views are important

It is important that the voices of all Queenslanders, from all sectors, are heard during the renewal process. It is particularly important that the voices of people with a lived experience of mental illness, mental health difficulties, suicide and alcohol and other drug issues are heard.

Consultation forums will be held across Queensland in early 2017. Find one near you and save the date.

Download and share the Save the Date postcard

More information on our website

Fifth National Mental Health Plan

Our submission

We made a submission to the Australian Government’s Fifth National Mental Health Plan consultation draft.

In our submission, we suggested that the Fifth Plan have a stronger focus on:

  • actions to support a cross-sectoral approach to improving mental health and wellbeing through promotion, prevention and early intervention
  • joint workforce development and joint case management be included as an action to support integrated service delivery
  • actions to address the needs of specific population groups, with a particular focus on children and young people to ensure opportunities to intervene early when the first signs of a mental illness emerge
  • involving people with a lived experience and their families and carers in regional service planning
  • improving health responses to people living with both a mental illness and problematic alcohol and other drug use.

Read our submission

Mental health on the agenda

Minister meets with community mental health sector

minister-mh-sector-meetingOn 24 November 2016 we hosted a meeting with Minister for Health Cameron Dick MP and representatives of Queensland’s community mental health sector. Queensland Health Deputy Director-General, Dr John Wakefield, also attended.

The meeting focused on opportunities and challenges ahead for people living with mental illness, and the sector, with a particular emphasis on:

  • the new Connecting Care to Recovery 2016-2021 services plan
  • the roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme
  • engagement of the sector in government planning.

Read more in the meeting communique

Early Action

Queensland’s Early Action Reference Group monitors implementation of the Early Action Plan. The group again met in November.

The Reference Group considered recent state and national reforms and their implications on the Early Action Plan. These discussions will inform the process to update the Action Plan in 2017.

Each of the Action Plan’s working groups – Start and Develop Well, Live Well, Age Well and Work Well – provided updates on progress.

The Work Well Working Group is building on and supporting significant activity already underway across government, non-government and private sector agencies. The meeting was jointly hosted by the Commission and the Office of Industrial Relations and focused on working together to create mentally health workplaces across Queensland and promoting employment opportunities for people living with a mental illness.

EOI: Human rights protection

We’re seeking a consultant to undertake research to provide evidence-based options on how the current human rights protections in Queensland can be improved, focusing on people being treated involuntarily for mental illness.

While there are many safeguards in place, it is important to be confident that they are working as intended and that no one falls through the system.

We will use the findings to continue our advocacy for some of Queensland’s most vulnerable people.

Apply by 2pm 13 January 2017.

More on QTenders

Mental health, housing and homelessness

Online learning for frontline workerseveryone-needs-a-home

A new online learning portal for frontline staff working with social housing tenants with mental illness, mental health and wellbeing issues, or related complex needs has been developed by the Department of Housing and Public Works.

The portal responds to our Social Housing Ordinary Report and was supported by the Commission, in partnership with Queensland Health and the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Learning.

Six modules focus on:

  • understanding the mental health system
  • suicide awareness
  • alcohol and other drugs
  • understanding the housing and homelessness system
  • the applicant process
  • the tenant process.

The modules offer an interactive, self-paced and flexible learning opportunity for service providers from a range of human services.

Register to access training at

For more information, contact Regina Mullins (DHPW) on 07 3007 4564.

Social housing progress

In 2017 we will release a progress report on the implementation of the recommendations from our Ordinary Report Social Housing: Systemic issues for tenants with complex needs.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing

Mental health graduates

Congratulations to eight Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health graduates from Kuranda and Cherbourg.

The group received their Mental Health Certificate IV with three others at a ceremony at Brisbane’s Gallang Place Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation, which delivered the counsellor program.

The eight graduates are part of the National Empowerment Project (NEP), a national program that works directly with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to address cultural, social and emotional wellbeing. The Commission is a funder of both the NEP students and the NEP Queensland initiative.

Read more in our media release

Cairns to welcome international leaders

In February 2017, Cairns will welcome international mental health leaders to the only Indigenous match in Australia for the 2017 International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL) Exchange.

The match Healing and Empowerment: Indigenous Leadership in Mental Health and Suicide Prevention is a partnership between the Commission and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health (NATSILMH), with additional financial support from Queensland Health. It will focus on cultural healing and empowerment of communities.

The match will include site visits and offers an opportunity to learn more about the cultures of local communities in an immersive experience.

Read more about the IIMHL Leadership Exchange and Queensland’s matches on our website

Advisory Council

December meeting

Meeting for the last time this year, the Council discussed:

  • the Public Service Commission’s review of the Commission
  • the upcoming review of the Queensland Mental Health Commission Act 2013
  • the Commission’s continued work with frontline police officers
  • renewing Queensland’s Strategic Plan in 2017
  • Commonwealth response to the review of the Mental Health in Multicultural Australia Project.

Keep an eye out for the communique on our website.

Profile: Emma Killemma.kill

Emma Kill is passionate about social justice and the rights of people who use drugs.

Emma is a lecturer and social researcher at the University of the Sunshine Coast with 15 years’ in the community sector.

Emma has both a practical and theoretical understanding of illicit drug use and its effects on users and the community. She is the Vice President of the Queensland Injectors Health Network (QuIHN) management board and a former board member for Sunshine Coast Integrated Voice Action Association, a peer-based organisation for illicit drug users.

Read more about the Advisory Council on our website

Lived experience

Inquiry: NDIS for people with mental illness

The Parliament of Australia is inquiring into the provision of services under the NDIS for people with a psychosocial disability related to a mental health condition.

Individuals and organisations are invited to send in their opinions and proposals by making a submission to the Inquiry by 27 February 2017. We will be promoting discussion on our Facebook page.

Read more about the Inquiry

Support in the community

We regularly receive requests for help or advice regarding mental health or alcohol and other drug services and resources.

Recently we heard from a mental health consumer, seeking community support after her discharge from hospital. We were glad to assist with information about organisations offering this support and other useful suggestions. Treating teams are also a wealth of information for community support services following discharge and we encourage people to contact their local mental health service provider first.

Alcohol and other drugs

Reference Group meets

The Queensland Alcohol and Other Drug Reference Group met in December to consider the update of the Queensland Alcohol and Other Drugs Action Plan 2015–17.

The group also considered national and state reforms since the Action Plan’s release and opportunities for better alignment with these reforms.

gdslogoGlobal Drug Survey 2017

Change starts with experience

Take part in the Global Drug Survey 2017.

By participating you will be part of the biggest survey of drug use patterns in the world. Last year over 100,000 people participated. The target this year is 150,000.

The survey is anonymous, confidential and available in 10 languages.

Take the survey

Suicide prevention

The ripple effect

Help beat rural suicide

The Ripple Effect is an online intervention that aims to reduce suicide in rural and remote communities.

It is investigating what works to reduce stigma among the farming industry with a focus on men who have been bereaved by suicide, attempted suicide, cared for someone who attempted suicide, have had thoughts of suicide, or been touched by suicide in some other way.

The Ripple Effect lets people anonymously share experiences in a peer-supported environment, increase knowledge about suicide and challenge the myths and stigma around suicide.

Go to The Ripple Effect


Local gem motivates wellbeing cq-hub

The Central Highlands Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub initiative is about local solutions to local problems.

The Central Highlands is made up of 13 unique and diverse communities over a large area. Over the last year CentacareCQ, with partners CQ Rural Health and Central Highlands Regional Council have set up Wellbeing Hubs in five communities.

The Wellbeing Hubs are an initiative of the Commission to engage community members to improve the mental wellbeing of their community through fun activities, and education and awareness of mental health issues. The hubs support community members to be recognised authorities on wellness of their localities.

Hub members in Blackwater, Capella, Gemfields, Springsure and Rolleston have started delivering activities to promote mental wellbeing in their communities. This included sessions in Mental Health Week and Disability Action Week, as well as being part of local community events such as Men’s Health Nights, Christmas Fetes and community fun days. The first Wheel of Wellbeing (WoW) Workshop was also delivered in September.

2017 will be jam packed. Planned events include WoW Workshops in each location and activities to support DV Month, Mental Health Week, and Gemfest.

As each locality is different, with different needs, ideas for increasing community wellbeing are varied. This makes for a really exciting and innovative approach.

Get Hub news on Facebook or contact Victoria Homer at CentacareCQ on 1300 523 985 or

Breaking down barriers, building connections

We are helping break down barriers and build social connections through our grants supporting people with disability and mental illness.

For International Day of People with Disability (3 December), we highlighted the grants which include a physical activity initiative and a theatre production focusing on mental illness and mental wellness.

Two organisations (Indel-ABILITY Arts and Karakan) were provided with over $88,000 under our Stronger Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Grants Program.

Read more in our media release

Do something great with an extra plate

Food club for Townsville seniors

Queensland’s newest volunteer meal-sharing program has served up its first official meal to seniors in Townsville, stepping up the fight against social isolation and strengthening community connections.

Casserole Club volunteers share extra portions of home-cooked food with people in their area who aren’t always able to cook for themselves. They share once a week, once a month, or whenever works best for them.

Become a cook or suggest a diner at Casserole Club


We meet regularly with our partners and often hear news of relevance to Queensland and our eNews readers.

When we upgrade our website in 2017 we will provide a platform for stakeholders to better share information. Until then, occasional updates can be provided through our eNews.

Looking after your wellbeing this festive season

agnew-alexander-ranzcpDr Agnew Alexander, Chair of the Queensland Branch of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) wishes you a safe and happy festive season.

‘This is a special time which brings together friends, families and communities, but for some, this can be a lonely, stressful, or emotional time. Please be mindful of their welfare and consider offering support.’

Dr Alexander’s tips to help you look after your welfare during the festive season are:

  • Try not to do too much – sometimes we place high expectations on what we and others can achieve which can cause undue stress.
  • Keep in mind your financial situation – the best gift can be spending quality time with loved ones.
  • Take time to rest – this is an opportunity to rest and recuperate at the end of the year.
  • Do not be afraid to seek help – support is available over the holidays, with Queensland Health’s services running as per normal, as are Lifeline, Beyondblue and Kids Helpline.

See Dr Alexander’s full message here. For more about psychiatrists see RANZCP’s website

Seeking consumer or carer representative

The RANZCP Queensland Branch is seeking expressions of interest from mental health consumer and carer representatives to be the Branch Committee’s new community member.

To enquire about the position contact the Branch office on 3852 2977 or via email at The closing date is 31 January 2017.

Sector News


  • 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
  • Mentor the Treasurer – Help for small not-for-profit organisations with a turnover less than $100,000 per annum to improve their governance and better manage their funds through pro bono guidance to volunteer treasurers, with a focus on those who have no formal training in accounting. Find out more
  • National Men’s Shed Development Programme – Up to $10,000 available to support community Men’s Sheds across Australia. Apply by 13 January 2017. Download the manual for more information.
  • Cairns local community events – Cairns Regional Council supports organisations in delivering events for the benefit of the local community. These events enrich residents' lives and celebrate important occasions. Apply by 13 January 2017. Read more
  • ANZ Staff Foundation – The ANZ Staff Foundation is funded by regular contributions made by ANZ staff and ANZ. The Foundation aims to support projects run by charitable organisations which offer a direct and tangible benefit to local communities. Download the guidelines
  • Cairns Community Development Grants – Financial assistance to support projects, activities or events that respond to local community needs and make a positive contribution to local community life. Closes 30 January 2017. Read more
  • Building Stronger Communities – Funding available from the Brisbane City Council for community organisations to deliver projects that develop or improve their facilities or improve their governance and long term organisational sustainability. Apply by 6 February 2017. Find out more
  • John Wallis Foundation Small Grants Program – Up to $3,000 grant funding available to support projects which address disadvantage through embracing the potential of local people to develop skills, confidence, capacities and leadership within their communities. Read 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
  • Housing Support Program – Up to $10,000 available 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
  • Community Development and Capacity Building Grants – Up to $10,000 available from the Brisbane City Council to support local not-for-profit groups to improve and develop services that respond to local and city-wide issues in Brisbane. Find out more
  • Healthy and Physical Activity Grants – Brisbane City Council's Healthy and Physical Activity Grants provide funding to local not-for-profit community groups for projects to increase participation in community sport, recreation and physical activity in Brisbane. Read more


  • Are you a mental health nurse who works with parents with a mental illness? A team of researchers is seeking mental health nurses who work with parents with a mental illness with dependent children 0-18 years to participate in an anonymous study. Participate here
  • Health in Focus – CheckUP's 8th annual health survey of Queenslanders in now open. The survey helps get a clear understanding of the main issues and trends in the provision and receipt of health care in Queensland. Take the survey


  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project Final Report – The Report Solutions that work: What the evidence and our people tell us summarises the evidence-base for what works in Indigenous community-led suicide prevention and presents tools to support Indigenous suicide prevention activity. Download the report
  • Gender Responsive Model of Care – Released by the Women’s AOD Services Network, this resource describes the key elements of effective service delivery for women. Download the resource
  • Incidence of suicide among serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force personnel 2001-2014 – A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Download the report or read the media release
  • Insights in Recovery: A consumer-informed guide for health practitioners working with people with eating disorders – Butterfly Foundation for Eating Disorders released this report following research commissioned by the Mental Health Commission of NSW. It incorporates insight from more than 100 Australians who have a lived experience of an eating disorder and what helped them recover. Download Insights in Recovery
  • Mental Health Act 2016 Newsletter Edition 9 – Read the latest Mental Health Act 2016 implementation newsletter for updates on the eLearning Package and other implementation news. Download the newsletter
  • Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2016 – This report measures the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and where things have improved (or not) across a range of areas including governance, leadership and culture, education and health to name a few. The report shows improvement in many areas, however mental health and substance use remains concerning. Get the report
  • Psychosocial disability, recovery and the NDIS fact sheet – This new fact sheet developed alongside carers and consumers talks about how the NDIS supports participants with psychosocial disability. Download the fact sheet
  • SchoolTV – SchoolTV is a new resource, addressing the modern day realities faced by schools and parents with clear, relevant and fact based information around raising safe, happy and resilient young people. Go to SchoolTV
  • The health of Queenslanders 2016 – The annual report from Queensland’s Chief Health Officer contains information including trends in smoking, mental health and wellbeing, suicide attendance by the ambulance services, and alcohol and other drug use. Get the report
  • Vulnerable young people: interactions across homelessness, youth justice and child protection – This new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reveals that that individuals who experience multiple, cross-sector services in the specialist homelessness, protection or youth justice service areas are a particularly vulnerable group. Download the report or read the media release
  • Women’s Strategy Community Implementation Plan – A new website dedicated to the Queensland Women’s Strategy and Community Implementation Plan. Find information about priority area actions, including actions related to mental health and alcohol and other drug use. Go to the website


  • 16 December 2016 School of Hard Knocks Christmas Celebration Concert – Brisbane. Get into the Christmas spirit with a good old fashioned sing-a-long of your favourite Christmas carols. Join Dr Jonathon Welch AM and the School of Hard Knocks for their annual Christmas Concert
  • 23-24 February 2017 TheMHS Summer Forum – Sydney. The theme is Choice and control: Personalising the mental health system. 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
  • 20 March 2017 Walk the Talk Conference: Realising the National Disability Strategy and our human rights promises – Brisbane. Queensland Advocacy Incorporated and Griffith University invite you to explore the burning issues that prevent the realisation and protection of basic human rights for people with disability. Download the flyer
  • 23-24 March 2017 ADA Australia Human Rights Conference – Gold Coast. ADA Australia’s inaugural conference themed Human Rights and Social Justice: Shifting Client Control. Early bird registrations now open. Register
  • 26-29 April 2017 14th National Rural Health Conference – Cairns. A unique opportunity for consumers and clinicians from rural and remote areas to exchange views with the many who work with and for country people but are based in major cities and regional centres. Find out more


  • Call for abstracts: 4th Australian and New Zealand Addiction Conference – The Australian and New Zealand Addiction Conference Committee are currently seeking presenters to share their thoughts, findings and research surrounding prevention, treatment and recovery. Submit online
  • Call for abstracts: Towards Elimination of Restrictive Practices 11th National Forum – Clinicians, practitioners, consumers, carers and family members come together to present innovations in practice, forge ideas and policy directions and facilitate robust dialogue based on research, clinical practice and lived experience.  Individuals and organisations interested in participating are invited to submit an abstract of their proposed oral or poster presentation which will address the theme ‘Working together, a culture of care’. More information
  • Call for abstracts: Inaugural Australasian Mental Health and Higher Education Conference – The IAMHHEC Conference Committee is calling for abstracts that address the broad focus of mental health in higher education under the five themes: Community links and transitions; wellbeing and lived experience; mental health research; policy and institutional response; and ways forward. Read more
  • Call for abstracts: Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference – Taking place in May 2017 at the Gold Coast, the conference will cover topics including understanding and enhancing resilience and psycho-social implications of disaster management. Presenters or organisations are invited to submit an abstract to the program committee. Find out more