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QMHC eNews - Issue 7


(Photo courtesy Tourism and Events Queensland)

17 Feb 2014

Commissioner's update

I’ve spoken a lot recently about the Commission’s evolving vision. This is a vision that is emerging as we talk with individuals, groups and organisations across the state about the Queensland Mental Health and Drug Strategic Plan.

When I met with the consumer-led organisation GROW last year I drew an analogy of fields of flowers blooming.

Fields of flowers emerge as we think of a system made of interdependent elements. Such a system suggests getting the culture and framework right, giving organisations a bit of help, snapping the leash and letting them go.

As long as broad guidelines are observed, each organisation is not reinventing the wheel, and there is cross-fertilisation and learning by one from the other, we should encourage a future that suits local conditions, not one that simply provides predetermined options.

We should pool our resources when we can without compromising service delivery. And costs of administrative overheads can be minimised with joint planning for an agreed vision.

Innovation and responsiveness to local need are also more likely to flourish if we encourage this approach.

In fields of flowers suited to local conditions, fertiliser, water and bees are common elements but the flowers still retain individuality.

And as I talk with more and more people, a mental health, drug and alcohol system that can be compared to fields of flowers growing and blooming appears to be resonating with them.

But of course this needs the common vision of the society we aspire to be. That too is becoming clearer and I am proposing the following statement:

A community where people living with mental illness or substance misuse have a life with purpose, access to quality care focused on wellness and hope that recovery is possible, in a society free of stigma and discrimination.

Does our vision resonate with you? I’d like to know what you think so please email me at

Finally, if you would like to know what the Commission did over its first six months, I recently published an update on our activities. This has set the benchmark for a busy year ahead.

Until next time.

Dr Lesley van Schoubroeck
Queensland Mental Health Commissioner

Rural and remote mental health

Better access to mental health and alcohol and other drug initiatives for Queenslanders living in rural and remote areas is a key priority for the Commission. This year work has commenced to identify the barriers to accessing mental health services in rural and remote areas.

The Commission has appointed Associate Professor Mohan Gilhotra, currently a consultant psychiatrist in Toowoomba and Queensland’s former Chief Psychiatrist, to focus on what better access to rural and remote services would like and to work with communities to identify known impediments to service delivery from a clinical perspective. Read more about this priority.


Happier-workplaceWorkplace well-being

Work and mental health is one of several priorities Mental Health Commissioners around Australia agreed to collaborate on when they met in 2013. It forms a key part of the Sydney Declaration, which outlines opportunities to support and drive a range of shared commitments.

The topic of workplace well-being has growing relevance with people who experience more positive emotions at work demonstrating better performance, less absenteeism and more positive relationships with colleagues.

The Commission recently hosted a visit from leading UK expert Mr Tony Coggins. Read more about his visit and access materials from his presentations

Peter DillonNew national carer representative appointed

Cairns disability support worker Peter Dillon has been appointed as Queensland’s new representative on the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum.

Peter has shared the journey alongside family and loved ones for the past 30 years and is involved with the Cairns & Hinterland Consumer & Carer Advisory Group and Cairns District Consumer & Carer Network Forum. He has backgrounds in engineering and hospitality and is involved professionally in photography and film.

The Queensland Mental Health Commission thanks representatives from Queensland Alliance, Carers Queensland, Arafmi and Queensland Voice for participating on the selection and recruitment panel for the role.  

Awards and grants

  • SANE Australia’s Hocking Fellowship is a new award to promote better understanding of mental illness. Applications close on 28 February 2014. Further information is available from SANE Australia.
  • Applications are now open for the 2014 Mental Health Service Achievement awards. For full award details visit
  • Queensland charitable organisations have until 26 February 2014 to apply for the latest grants from the Queensland Community Foundation. Further information is available from


  • MATES in Construction's inaugural mental health conference is on 20 February 2014 with a theme of ‘Is suicide a workplace health ad safety issue?’
  • ISPS Australia is hosting Professor Jaakko Seikkula and Mr Markku Sutela on a national tour, providing introductory training in the Open Dialogue approach to psychiatric crises. Brisbane seminars are on 20 and 21 February 2014.
  • A perinatal depression awareness luncheon organised by the Post and Antenatal Depression Association and Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness is on 7 March 2014.
  • 20 March 2014 is National Close the Gap Day.

Strategic plan online survey: what you told us

The Commission recently published a summary of initial responses to the online survey that will help to inform the Queensland Mental Health and Drug Strategic Plan.

It’s not too late to have your say. Click here to begin the survey.

Reader survey

As a subscriber to regular email updates from the Commission, tell us what you would like to read in future newsletters. Please take a few minutes to complete the online survey.