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QMHC eNews - Issue 38


Toowoomba Clubhouse CEO Luke Terry and Mental Health Commissioner Lesley van Schoubroeck with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the opening of the Vanguard Laundry in Toowoomba.

8 Feb 2017

Commissioner's Update

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

A renewed plan for Queensland

2017 will be another busy year for the Commission.

As mentioned late last year, one of the significant reforms on our agenda is renewing the Queensland Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Strategic Plan 2014–2019.

Why? We need to renew the Strategic Plan to ensure our efforts continue to be focused on the needs of Queenslanders and are aligned to recent state and national reforms.

It is vital that we hear your views throughout the renewal process. Keep reading to find out how you can get involved.

New legislation commencing soon

Queensland is gearing up to the commencement of the Mental Health Act 2016 from 5 March 2017.

If you have not already done so, I encourage you to sign up to the Queensland Health Mental Health Act implementation team’s eNews by visiting their website

An important reform under the new Act is Independent Patient Rights Advisers. We have asked Queensland Health to consider how the Advisers as a whole will have the knowledge and skills to respond in a culturally appropriate way to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

We will also seek assurances that Advisers are able to meet the requirements in the Chief Psychiatrist policies (such as those relating to quality of advice and complaints management) irrespective of whether they are employed directly by the Hospital and Health Service or indirectly through a third party.

Read more about the Independent Patient Rights Advisers below.

Vanguard laundry opens

I had the pleasure of joining Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and many others in Toowoomba recently for the opening of Vanguard Laundry Services.

The laundry is an extraordinary project from Toowoomba Clubhouse and provides employment opportunities for people with mental health issues. It is the largest of its kind in Australia. Already the laundry has hired 23 people and has a wait-list of people who want to work.

Toowoomba Clubhouse CEO Luke Terry was acknowledged for his contribution to this and other local initiatives by being presented Toowoomba’s Australia Day Regional Citizen of the Year Award by Mayor Paul Antonio.

Congratulations, Luke, Toowoomba Clubhouse and partners.

NDIS and mental illness

We are preparing a submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the provision of services under the NDIS for people with psychosocial disabilities related to a mental health condition. Submissions are due by 27 February 2017. Read more about the Inquiry

We have been reassured by the Director-General that the Department of Health is mindful of the need for ongoing support for people who will not be eligible for NDIS. They are also sympathetic to the financial risks to NGOs during the transition process. Leaders in the NGO sector are now working closely with the Department during this transition phase.

System reform

Help keep reform on track

Don’t miss your opportunity to take part in renewing the Queensland Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Strategic Plan 2014–2019.

Your views are important

It is important that the voices of all Queenslanders 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 over the next few months. Find one near you and save the date. Download and share the Save the Date postcard

Keep an eye on our website for more opportunities to share your views and experiences.

New mental health legislation

Independent Patient Rights Advisers inducted

Queensland’s new Independent Patient Rights Advisers have been inducted to their roles through training hosted by Queensland Health on 2-3 February 2017.

Independent Patient Rights Advisers are an important human rights initiative under the new Mental Health Act 2016 commencing on 5 March 2017.

Advisers will be based in Hospital and Health Services and will be independent of the mental health treatment teams, with some employed by non-government organisations. They will provide important information to consumers, their families and carers about their rights when receiving involuntary treatment.

The induction focused not only on their role but also on the value of respect for human rights which underpins their role.

We were pleased to participate in the induction to offer our views on the importance of the role and some of the challenges Advisers face.

Like all reforms, it is important that we monitor how well the new role is working for consumers, families and carers. The Minister for Health has committed to a review after two years.

Developing the workforce

You are invited to have your say on the Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drug Workforce Development Framework being developed by the Queensland Department of Health.

The Framework will set out the vision, priorities and strategies for developing the mental health and alcohol and other drug workforce. It will be guided by the priorities in Connecting Care to Recovery 2016–2021: A plan for Queensland’s State-funded mental health, alcohol and other drug services.

Download the discussion paper to read about the key issues.

Have your say

There are a number of ways you can get involved:

  1. Take the online survey
  2. Attend a workshop
  3. Attend a webinar – register your interest for more information

Lived experience

Be a national voice

Applications are open to join a pool of skilled consumer and carer representatives from across Australia, who work at the national level to provide a strong lived experience voice in the mental health sector.

Sixty places are available on the National Register of Mental Health Consumer and Carer Representatives.

Applicants from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Applications close 12pm AEDT 15 February 2017.

More information about the application process here.

The terms of Queensland’s current members on the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum are due for renewal in early 2018. We will facilitate nominations later this year.

Advisory Council

Australia Day recognition

Advisory Council Deputy Chair and respected national campaigner for a better understanding of mental illness, Jan Kealton, has been acknowledged for her efforts with an Australia Day Award from Metro North Hospital and Health Service.

In 1995, Jan’s son developed schizophrenia and in 2005 her son died after being shot by police outside the Gold Coast Hospital. This terrible personal tragedy led to Coronial recommendations regarding police management of interactions with people with mental illness.

Jan’s lived experience led her to become a mental health advocate, calling for a whole-of-government approach and working tirelessly to promote consistent, better services and outcomes for consumers, their families and carers.

As Jan’s term on the Advisory Council comes to an end this month, we thank Jan for her enormous contribution as Council Deputy Chair and as a passionate and dedicated advocate for consumers, families and carers. The award was well deserved.

Other awards

Congratulations to Associate Professor Brett Emmerson AM (Queensland Honours recipient) and the Mental Awareness Foundation (Griffith Australia Day Award recipient). Both also received recognition on Australia Day for their significant contributions to improving mental health and wellbeing.

Profile: Martina McGrath

Martina is a mental health and suicide prevention advocate. Her personal journey demonstrates hope and resilience to overcome multiple challenges.

Martina has a full, happy and active life. She is the Secretary of Stepping Stone Clubhouse management board, a Brisbane NGO and NFP which provides a range of holistic community mental health services.

Aside from her professional interests in mental health, Martina is working hard at creating the best new version of herself by keeping fit both mentally and physically. She is able to draw on the course she recently completed (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy) by utilising mindfulness skills. She firmly believes, that for her, these skills have been life changing.

Read more about Martina and other members of the Queensland Mental Health and Drug Advisory Council


Beyond the school gate

Over 200 Queensland high school students took part in a project aimed at supporting young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Peer Support Australia implemented the Beyond the School Gate project with funding we provided through our 2015–16 Stronger Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Grants Program.

Students reported coming together with peers in a non-competitive context was beneficial, and they felt more empowered to help others when they need it.

The project also provided support materials and training workshops to parents and teachers.

Strengthening identity, community, cultural connections

Young people from multicultural backgrounds also benefited from our 2015–16 grants program through Multicultural Development Association’s By Youth 4 Youth (BY4Y) project.

BY4Y aimed to strengthen identity, community and cultural connections and build resilience for at risk young people among Brisbane’s multicultural communities.

Six young project leaders from Iranian, Korean and Maori backgrounds connected with other young people through one-on-one discussions, social media, community events, providing educational information and workshops.

The Multicultural Development Association presented the BY4Y project at the 12th Biennial Asia Pacific International Mental Health Conference in October 2016. Webinars from the conference are now available on the conference website

Creating job opportunities

The Toowoomba Social Procurement Project is having a significant impact finding job opportunities for people with barriers to employment.

Since April 2016, 60 people with a lived experience of mental illness or other barriers to employment have gained paid roles. The project forecasts another 32-37 roles will be filled in the coming months.

The success stories are filtering out into the community and creating much interest. It is clear that organisations are becoming more educated about social procurement and confidence is building as more employment opportunities continue to be offered to the project.

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

Connect with your neighbours

Connect with your local community on Neighbour Day on 26 March.

Whether through a cuppa, a picnic in the park or a message of support, Neighbour Day is the perfect opportunity to say thanks for being a great neighbour or to get to know your neighbours better.

The theme is the importance of social connection for the elderly’.

Social connection prevents loneliness and isolation and is important to support mentally healthy and active ageing.

Get involved

Hold and register a Neighbour Day event and get access to a free resource kit.

For other ways to get involved and some ‘Very Neighbourly Tips’ visit

Alcohol and other drugs

New smoking restrictions

From 2 February new smoking restrictions commenced, leaving most visitor facilities in Queensland’s national parks smoke free.

In an effort to support those who want to stop smoking and to protect those who choose not to smoke, smokers will need to move 10 metres away from visitor facilities when smoking.

The new restrictions apply to picnic tables and barbeques, toilet blocks, jetties and information shelters, as well as occupied camp sites in Queensland’s national parks.

More about the new restrictions here

Sector News

Healing and empowerment: Indigenous leadership

Time is running out to register for the only Indigenous match of the 2017 International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership ExchangeHealing and empowerment: Indigenous leadership in mental health and suicide prevention’.

With a focus on cultural healing and the empowerment of communities, the match will bring together international Indigenous leaders and experts in mental health and suicide prevention to inform and broaden discussions.

The match is being held in Cairns on 27 and 28 February 2017 and is hosted by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health (NATSILMH), Queensland Mental Health Commission and Queensland Health.

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


  • 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 for local and city-wide issues in Brisbane. Find out more
  • Healthy and Physical Activity Grants – Funding for local not-for-profit community group projects to increase participation in community sport, recreation and physical activity in Brisbane. Read more
  • Transurban Community Grants – Up to $3,000 grants available for initiatives that generate social and environmental benefits for communities near our Australian roads. Apply by 20 February. Find out more
  • James N Kirby Small Grants – Grants between $3,000 and $15,000 available. More information
  • QCF General Fund Grants Program – In 2017, the grants are focusing on organisations servicing vulnerable populations needing to adapt their business model and systems to enable them to provide an improved and competitive service in the changing operating environment. Apply by 8 March 2017. Download the application criteria and guidelines


  • Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families – The latest GEMS publication ‘The role of adult mental health practitioners working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families when a parent has a social emotional wellbeing issue’ has been released. Download the article
  • Preventing suicide: A community engagement toolkit – A World Health Organization toolkit, providing practical steps for engaging communities in suicide prevention activities.
  • My Sibling Has a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Can I Catch It? – A free booklet for children who have a sibling with FASD. Provides a definition of FASD and answers questions a child might have, focusing on the feelings of the sibling. Download the booklet
  • Managing mental health in the workplace: Advice for employers and employees – An article from ABC with advice for employers and employees. Read the article
  • ReachOut Parents – A free new service to help parents help teenagers. Go to ReachOut Parents
  • Economics of Mental Health – Resources from the National Mental Health Commission. Go to the website


  • 15 February – 8 March 2017 Love your tender webinar series – Get ready for a new year of writing successful tenders by signing up for this QCOSS webinar series. Find out more
  • 15 February 2017 Successful Multicultural Inclusion: How do we do it? A one-day workshop to explore cultural inclusion in a community service setting. Register here
  • 18 February 2017 Advanced Training in Suicide Prevention – Innisfail. A new workshop from the Black Dog Institute aiming to increase health professionals’ skill and confidence in taking a detailed suicide history and developing a collaborative management plan to increase the safety of people planning suicide. Download the flyer or register
  • 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
  • 1 March 2017 Mental Health Act 2016 Consumer and Carer Info Day – In preparation for the commencement of the Mental Health Act 2016, Gold Coast Mental Health Service is hosting a free information session especially for people with a lived experience of mental illness, their families and carers. The event will be held 12pm-3.30pm at the Gold Coast University Hospital. RSVP by 23 February to
  • 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. View the program and register
  • 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
  • 24-26 March 2017 4th International Medicine in Addiction Conference – Sydney. The premier addiction conference for medical practitioners and allied clinicians in Asia and Oceania. Read more
  • 6-7 April 2017 Interpersonal Psychotherapy for adolescents and adults – a two-day intensive skill development opportunity for clinicians with prior experience of IPT. Information and registration
  • 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
  • 4-5 May 2017 Towards Elimination of Restrictive Practices 11th National Forum – Perth. An opportunity for clinicians, practitioners, consumers, carers and family members to come together to showcase innovations in practice, forge ideas and policy directions and facilitate robust dialogue based on research, clinical practice and lived experience. The theme for the 2017 forum is Working together, a culture of care. Register
  • 15-17 May 2017 Australian and New Zealand Addiction Conference – Gold Coast. Covering topics surrounding prevention, treatment and recovery, the 2017 Conference will include presentations from leading sector specialists, researchers, psychologists and medical practitioners. Early bird registrations are open. Register here
  • 22-23 May 2017 Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference – Gold Coast. The Conference theme EARTH, FIRE and RAIN will address planning, response and review the latest research in the management of disasters, emergencies and hazards. Topics covered will include understanding and enhancing resilience and psycho-social implications of disaster management. Register


  • Queensland Parenting Survey – Help the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program take the parenting pulse of Queensland. Take the survey
  • Children of parents with a mental illness: Views of intervention – Monash University is seeking the opinions of young people aged 16-21 years who live with (or have lived with) a parent who experiences mental illness. The survey will take about 10 to 15 minutes to complete. Take the survey


  • 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