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QMHC eNews - Issue 40


The Buzz workshopping

We heard some great ideas from the Rockhampton community on better mental health and wellbeing for Queenslanders.

12 Apr 2017

Commissioner's Update

Making a difference

Everything we do here at the Commission aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of Queenslanders and minimise the impacts of alcohol and other drug use and the effect of suicide in our communities. This is what drives us.

The success of our policy and research work must be judged by the difference it makes in the lives of Queenslanders, not simply for the documents produced. In recent months we have seen the impact of our work in many areas including:

  • Social housing – our Ordinary Report recommendations have been translated to policy and practice so that people in the demonstration project in Metro North are supported to retain their tenancy.
  • Mental Health Act 2016 – our recommendations contributed to many changes, such as people receiving free legal aid before the Mental Health Review Tribunal, the nominated persons initiative and a lifting of the blanket rule that bans mobile phones from mental health wards.
  • Creating job opportunities – 60 people with a lived experience of mental illness or other barriers to employment have gained paid roles through a Toowoomba Clubhouse project funded by the Commission. Another 37 roles are expected to be filled in the coming months.
  • Support for mothers and babies – increased funding for perinatal mental health including four dedicated beds in the Gold Coast mental health unit directly reflect work we funded.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Kuranda and Cherbourg have increased their knowledge and skills in supporting community cultural, social and emotional wellbeing through the National Empowerment Project.
  • Suicide prevention – MATES in Construction have received $1 million to extend their suicide prevention program to smaller and rural and remote construction businesses following our grant that enabled them to develop a sustainable model. More about this below.
  • Isolated seniors at the Sunshine Coast were able to come together to make new connections and improve their mental health and wellbeing as a result of a grant from the Commission.

Help inform our activities and priorities

Our fourth annual evaluation survey will be released very soon.

The survey helps us measure your satisfaction with our performance and effectiveness. It allows us to identify what we are doing well and areas for improvement.

By taking part, you will help inform our activities and priorities going forward. I encourage you to participate.

Wolston reconciliation process

Minister for Health Cameron Dick MP has announced the appointment of an independent facilitator to lead the Wolston reconciliation process.

Betty Taylor is an experienced community advocate and has worked across the domestic violence and sexual assault sector for the past 30 years. I had the opportunity to meet with Betty last week and am confident she will approach the reconciliation process with the necessary sensitivity and understanding to ensure the survivors are not traumatised further.

We cannot undo the past but we can ensure that justice is no longer denied to these women, and we can ensure that they are treated with the utmost respect.

Read the Minister’s statement and follow the twitter conversation using #wolstonwomen.

Fifth National Mental Health Plan

We will be participating in a final stakeholder meeting about the Fifth National Mental Health Plan on 13 April 2017 before it goes to Health Ministers for consideration. We look forward to seeing the final plan take a stronger focus on mental health and wellbeing in addition to the current focus on mental illness in the 2016 consultation draft.

World Suicide Prevention Day and Mental Health Week

Have you thought about your plans for World Suicide Prevention Day and Mental Health Week yet?

We will be back in touch with stakeholders shortly to facilitate planning for WSPD (10 September) and QMHW (8-14 October). Keep an eye on our website for more information coming soon.

Partner updates

Congratulations to Professor David Crompton OAM on his new appointment as Director of the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention.

And finally, I wish Marie Fox well in her future endeavours. Formerly CEO of Open Minds, Marie was a key partner of ours on a number of significant projects over the last few years, including Queensland Mental Health Week. Thank you Marie, and all the best.

Renewing Queensland's Strategic Plan

Get involved

The renewal of the Queensland Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Strategic Plan 2014–2019 is underway.

Consultation forums coming up will be in Townsville, Cairns, Toowoomba and Logan during May and June 2017. We encourage anyone interested in having their views and experiences heard to come along.

Due to the impact of recent weather events in the Logan community, the forums in Logan have been rescheduled for 29 and 30 June 2017.

You can also provide your views, experiences and feedback by responding to the discussion papers:

  1. A renewed plan for Queensland: Reviewing the Queensland Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Strategic Plan 2014–2019
  2. Engaging people with a lived experience: Renewed priorities.

Make your submission by emailing by 5.00pm Friday, 12 May 2017.

Go to our website to download a copy of the discussion papers, register your attendance at a forum, or for more information about the renewal.

Listening to communities

We have been travelling around Queensland to hear directly from local communities about mental health and wellbeing, mental illness, problematic alcohol and other drug use and suicide prevention. So far we have heard from Rockhampton, Mount Isa, Ipswich and Brisbane.

Our thanks to the people with a lived experience, their families, carers, and support people, as well as the frontline service providers and the broader community who came along to share their views and experiences with us.

A number of issues were identified and discussed during these consultation forums. Some issues we heard include:

  • people want to be valued and supported by services that consider their needs holistically and are provided in an integrated and accessible manner
  • the importance of social inclusion and connection
  • the importance of mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention strategies, particularly for children and young people to build awareness and resilience
  • the importance of peer support for supporting recovery across mental illness, problematic alcohol and other drug use, and suicide.

Updating Action Plans

As part of the Strategic Plan renewal we will also update three Action Plans released in 2015:

Early action

Eighty government and non-government representatives shared their views with us at roundtables held as part of the update of the Early Action Plan.

Roundtable participants confirmed the importance of focusing on mental health and wellbeing, and mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention across the lifespan, especially at key life transitions and in everyday settings in which we learn, live and work. The importance of a collective effort across all sectors was also acknowledged.

Stakeholder views from the roundtables will be provided to the Early Action Reference Group for consideration in updating the Early Action Plan.

Alcohol and other drugs

The Alcohol and Other Drugs Plan update is focused on ensuring the plan is current and relevant and will continue to deliver outcomes to prevent and reduce the harms associated with alcohol and other drug use on the health and wellbeing of Queenslanders.

The Queensland Alcohol and Other Drugs Reference Group provided input into the update of the Alcohol and Other Drugs Plan at meetings in February and April 2017. Feedback included:

  • consensus to retain a harm minimisation approach
  • the importance of maintaining balance between the three harm minimisation pillars (demand reduction, supply reduction and harm reduction)
  • the need for more cross-sectoral and inter-sectoral relationships
  • emphasis on having a holistic approach to demand reduction, as problematic alcohol and other drug use is intertwined with the broader social determinants of health.

Suicide prevention

The Suicide Prevention Plan update will ensure it aligns with current priorities, reflects major reforms taking place at the state and national levels, and to continually enhance suicide prevention activities in partnership with other levels of government, non-government organisations and the community.

We will host two suicide prevention roundtables in May 2017 to inform the update—one for community networks and services, and another for the Queensland Suicide Prevention Reference Group and the Queensland Advisory Group on Suicide Information and Data. The roundtables will enable a broad cross-section of stakeholders to contribute to key issues such as what has worked well under the current Suicide Prevention Plan, evidence for community and local responses to suicide prevention, new and emerging responses to suicide prevention, and future directions and actions.

This complements the Suicide Prevention Health Taskforce Action Plan developed by Queensland Health.

Lived experience

Renewed priorities

Promoting people with lived experience to have an active role in shaping mental health policy, programs and services will deliver a more responsive system focused on delivering the best outcomes possible.

Our discussion paper Engaging people with a lived experience: Renewed priorities considers renewed priorities for meaningful, well-supported engagement of people with a lived experience, their families, carers and support people as valued, equal partners in the reform journey. It draws on well-established evidence, policy and practice, new research, and ideas from a number of our projects including the Promoting Lived Experience Perspectives paper now available on our website.

Through the discussion paper we are seeking your views about:

  • opportunities to increase meaningful engagement to influence policies, programs and services
  • opportunities to increase peer work and peer networks
  • future priorities for lived experience engagement and leadership across Queensland
  • examples of good practice, including those that target people from diverse backgrounds.

Download the discussion paper and make a submission by 5.00pm Friday, 12 May 2017.

System reform

Social housing progress

In 2015 we released our Ordinary Report Social Housing: Systemic issues for tenants with complex needs.

The report made 12 recommendations to address systemic issues and help people with complex needs, including mental illness, mental health difficulties and substance use problems, to keep their social housing.

All 12 recommendations were either accepted or supported by the Department of Housing and Public Works, the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services, and Queensland Health.

Since its release, significant steps have been taken by these government agencies to address the recommendations, including:

  • significant policy changes including replacement of the former Anti-social behaviour management policy (three strikes policy)
  • implementation of a two-year Mental Health Demonstration Project that provides integrated support
  • delivery of enhanced capability training for Department of Housing and Public Works and partner agency staff.

Read more in the Implementation Progress report

Creating jobs for vulnerable Queenslanders

We have been working with the Department of Housing and Public Works on a project to generate jobs for vulnerable Queenslanders through social procurement.

The project includes embedding social procurement practices into how Queensland Government departments and agencies procure goods and services. It aims to increase the social value of Queensland Government spending, but also enable social enterprises to secure more government contracts. It will do this by:

  • building the capability and awareness of Queensland Government buyers about social procurement practice, particularly in relation to social enterprises
  • developing and delivering practical information and advice, including a social procurement toolkit for government buyers to help them consider social outcomes when making value-for-money decisions
  • collaborating with the social enterprise sector to improve its capability and capacity as valued suppliers to government.

The project is part of the Queensland Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Strategic Plan 2014-2019 commitment to investigating the inclusion of social outcomes in procurement policies and processes to increase opportunities for community organisations to support those living with mental health difficulties or issues related to alcohol and other drug use.

Social procurement is becoming an increasingly common and effective tool for achieving social and economic benefits across the public, private and not-for-profits sectors across Australia. In Queensland, a wide range of exciting social procurement activities are underway, ranging from strengthening Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business participation in supply chains to targeted social development programs.

Monitoring action

The Early Action Plan is monitored by the Early Action Reference Group and four working groups in each of the priority areas:

  • Start, Develop and Learn Well
  • Work Well
  • Live Well
  • Age Well.

The groups are made up of representatives of government and non-government agencies to plan, coordinate and monitor the implementation of the broad range of actions that are included in the Early Action Plan. They also consider emerging good practice and issues impacting Queenslanders.

Read more about each of the working groups and their activities.

Mental Health Act news

With the commencement of the Mental Health Act 2016 in March, the Queensland Health Mental Health Act Implementation Team has released their final newsletter. Updates include:

  • Translated resources – Consumer resources will be translated into 10 languages and made available on the Queensland Health website over the coming weeks.
  • Professional printing – Promotional packs of consumer resources have been provided to services across Queensland. Copies can be requested by contacting Scott James via email at or on telephone 3328 9243.
  • Poster for children and young people – A new ‘Your Rights’ poster for children and young people has been prepared and will be available for download on the Queensland Health website soon.

Download resources on the Mental Health Act website

Advisory Council

The communique from the Council’s February meeting is now available for download on our website. The next Council meeting will be held on 21 April 2017.

Profile: Samantha Wild

Samantha Wild is a proud Wakka Wakka and South Sea Islander and has been committed to working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health for the past decade.

Samantha draws from her own personal experiences of the gap in disadvantaged health outcomes to influence and inspire change.
Currently the Family Wellbeing Service Manager with the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health, she has a strong interest in improving the health and wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth and advocating for trauma informed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health care.

She is an experienced advocate, speaking on behalf of youth and consumers, and has worked with many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities at a national level.

Read more about Samantha and other Council members on our website

Suicide prevention

Saving lives in the construction industry

The Commission plays an important role in the coordination of whole-of-government approaches to suicide prevention in Queensland, including providing funding for planning and establishing new initiatives.

In August 2015, we funded MATES in Construction to undertake the Saving Lives in the Construction Industry project. The project scoped the expansion of initiatives to reach small and medium sized and rural and remote businesses, including the development of a postvention service, resilience and life skills training for young workers, and a deployment program for construction workers following a natural disaster.

With suicide rates higher among men, evidence shows that suicide rates in the construction industry remains higher in comparison to other occupation groups, and suicide rates in remote communities are almost double those in metropolitan areas. The average age of suicide among construction workers in Queensland is just 36 years.

Due to MATES in Construction’s success in working with larger construction industry partners and increasing awareness of mental health and suicide prevention issues particularly among men, we identified a valuable opportunity to invest in scoping the expansion of its programs in Queensland.

In March, Minister for Industrial Relations Grace Grace announced Queensland Government funding of $1 million to MATES in Construction over the next 18 months to start the expansion of its programs. Our initial investment of $155,000 has resulted in a significant outcome for MATES in Construction and one that will have substantial benefits for young workers, and for smaller and rural and remote construction businesses in Queensland.

Read the media statement

National LGBTI strategy

The National LGBTI Health Alliance has released a strategy to prevent mental illness and suicide and promote good mental health and wellbeing for LGBTI people across Australia.

The purpose of the strategy is to respond to LGBTI people in current need, to provide interventions to those who are at risk, and to interrupt the structural factors that contribute to overrepresentation of LGBTI people in mental health and suicide statistics. It includes recommendations and actions across six areas:

  1. Inclusive and accessible care
  2. Evidence, data collection and research
  3. Diversity of LGBTI population
  4. Intersectionality and social inclusion
  5. Skilled and knowledgeable workforce
  6. Promotion and prevention.

Download the National LGBTI Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Strategy

Alcohol and other drugs

Cracks in the ice

A new online toolkit has been launched, providing trusted, evidence-based, and up-to-date information and resources about crystal methamphetamine (ice).

Cracks in the Ice aims to improve access to evidence-based information about ice, raise awareness about the potential harms associated with its use, and provide information about how community member can access services and support. It includes general information for the Australian community as well as more specific information for families and friends of people using ice, health professionals working across a range of sectors, parents, teachers and students and community groups.

The toolkit is an initiative of the Australian Government and was informed by input from community members across Australia.

Go to


IIMHL highlights

Videos, reports and written articles highlighting the 2017 International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership Exchange presentations and matches are now available online.

One of the videos showcases our Cairns match ‘Healing and empowerment: Indigenous leadership in mental health and suicide prevention’. The match was a partnership between the Commission, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health (NATSILMH) and Queensland Health.

Browse the IIMHL content page

Youth mental health forums

You are invited to have your say about services for adolescents and young people with severe and complex mental health issues.

Consultation forums are being held across Queensland from May to June as part of Queensland Health’s response to the Barrett Adolescent Centre Commission of Inquiry report.

This is an opportunity to:

  • Be updated on the implementation of the Government response to the Barrett Adolescent Centre Commission of Inquiry report’s six recommendations
  • Contribute to the conversation about the model of service for the new statewide Adolescent Extended Treatment Facility and the continuum of services being developed for adolescents and young people with severe and complex mental health issues across Queensland
  • Learn about the role consumers and carers and the Department of Education and Training are playing in implementing the Government response.

Register to attend a forum

Multicultural awards

Do you know a person or organisation that is doing outstanding work to promote a united, harmonious and inclusive Queensland community? Nominate them for the Queensland Multicultural Awards.

This year the awards theme is Creating Welcome, Building Opportunity, and Celebrating Diversity.

Nominations close 5.00pm Friday 28 April 2017. Nominate now

Sector News

Australian Winter School Conference

Explore, learn, exchange and discuss new ideas relating to current alcohol and other drug treatment and issues at the 2017 Australian Winter School Conference.

The conference theme Crossroads will explore and highlight the complex intersection alcohol and other drugs have with other sectors, with the themes of Collaborate, Coordinate and Integrate.

With a program including international, national and local experts, professionals and AOD specialists on a range of topics, this year’s conference is not to be missed.

More information or register at


  • Endeavour Foundation Endowment Challenge Fund – Grants available for research that will advance the health, wellbeing and life experiences of people with a disability OR for non-profit organisations to expand their current activities to include people with a disability or deliver innovative projects that enhance social inclusion for people with a disability. Applications close 21 April. Apply now
  • Churchill Fellowship – An opportunity for Australian citizens to travel overseas to investigate a topic or an issue that they are passionate about. How to apply
  • Dignity First Fund – This $2.5 million funding round seeks practical proposals that help and prevent homelessness or meet the immediate needs of people experiencing homelessness to live with dignity. Find out more
  • Lord Mayor's Suburban Initiative Fund – Up to $10,000 grants available to support community projects that build stronger communities in Brisbane. More information


  • Aboriginal Inclusion Tool: A tool to improve Aboriginal inclusion in AOD services – A practical tool developed by NADA to support workers and organisations in improving the inclusiveness of service delivery for Aboriginal people. Download the Aboriginal Inclusion Tool
  • Consumer and Community Engagement Framework – Developed by Health Consumers Queensland, this Framework is designed to orient health organisations to what underpins successful consumer and community engagement. Download the framework
  • Evaluating the outcomes of programs for Indigenous families and communities – This practitioner resource outlines some key considerations for community sector organisations and service providers who are thinking about evaluating the outcomes or impact of a program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families or communities. Get the resource
  • My child's support network guide – A guide developed by COPMI in partnership with parents who live with a mental illness, their children and supporters to help parents about the relationships in their child's life and ways to strengthen these to support their child and the family too. Download the guide
  • Myth busting guide: Information sharing for professionals in the child and family support sector – Knowing when to share information to protect the safety of children and promote their wellbeing can be challenging. Queensland Family and Child Commission have developed this guide to help professionals understand key facts about information sharing. Download the guide
  • Suicide research: Selected readings Volume 16 – A collection of abstracts, commentaries, and titles drawn from English language publications on suicide and suicide prevention compiled by AISRAP to update professionals, policy makers in government organisations and NGOs and volunteers working in the field of suicide prevention. Access the Suicide research: Selected readings


  • 18 April 2017 Advance Health Directives for Mental Health Consumer, Family and Carer Workshop – Logan. A free workshop to help mental health consumers, their families and carers understand the new Advance Health Directives of the Mental Health Act 2016. Find out more. Other workshops are being held across Queensland. To find out more email
  • 21 April 2017 The fundamentals of partnering with consumers – Brisbane. Free consumer training provided by Health Consumers Queensland. Register here
  • 26-29 April 2017 14th National Rural Health Conference – Cairns. Keynote speakers include Queensland Mental Health and Drug Advisory Council member Mark Wenitong and former member Professor Gracelyn Smallwood. Find out more
  • 27 April 2017 Webinar: Physical health of young people with a mental illness – In considering the short and long-term health risks associated with mental illness in young people, this webinar will describe holistic prevention and early intervention approaches that aim to achieve better outcomes and provide guidance on how to address physical health. Find out more
  • 28 April 2017 Safeguarding yourself: Recognising and responding to vicarious trauma – Brisbane. This one-day professional development training provided by the Blue Knot Foundation explores the nature of vicarious trauma, contrasts it with burnout and compassion fatigue, and supports you to stay healthy and safe in your work with people impacted by diverse traumas. Read 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. Register
  • 6 May 2017 Tablelands Outdoor Recreation Health and Wellbeing Expo – Atherton. We are proudly sponsoring this free community event, which will showcase a vast array of information, presentations and interactive demonstrations relating to health, wellbeing, sport and leisure. Come along to connect with your local services and clubs and learn from expert speakers including sporting legend, Shane Webcke. More information
  • 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
  • 17 May 2017 Carers Future Planning Workshop – Carers Queensland invites all carers to this workshop. Topics include substitute decision making, mental health and decision making, financial planning, and wills and trusts. More information
  • 17 May 2017 eHealth Queensland Expo – This action-packed one day event brings together clinicians, healthcare professionals, IT experts, vendors, start-ups and academia to focus on digital transformation in healthcare. Find out more
  • 18 May 2017 Health Consumers Queensland Annual Forum‘Power and Passion: Culture change through consumer engagement and partnerships’. Register
  • 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
  • 26 May 2017 Brisbane Mental Health and Wellbeing of Young People Seminar – This year Generation Next’s seminar will include topics such as preventing depression, managing anxiety, mental health first aid, supporting a young person in their decision not to drink, understanding and managing anger and aggression and much more. Go to the seminar website
  • 30 June – 1 July 2017 Inaugural Australasian Mental Health and Higher Education Conference – An international conference open to researchers, practitioners, educators and students working in the higher education mental health space. Go to the conference website
  • 27-28 July 2017 Australian Winter School Conference – Explore the complex intersection alcohol and other drugs have with other sectors with the themes of Collaborate, Coordinate and Integrate at the 2017 AWS Conference. More information at
  • 29 July 2017 Hepatitis C in Drug and Alcohol Settings Education Program – A free course designed to strengthen the capacity of clinical staff working in drug and alcohol settings, or working with people who inject drugs, to effectively test for, treat and manage hepatitis C. Register