July 2007

Newsletter No. 13

Advocacy – MHYF Vic has this year achieved one of its main objectives, the beginning of regular discussions with Government about improvements to mental health services in Victoria

MHYF Vic has this year achieved one of its main objectives, the beginning of regular discussions with Government about improvements to mental health services in Victoria.
On two occasions already this year we have met with senior staff in the Mental Health Branch of the Department of Human Service and on one occasion with the Office for Children. Further meetings are scheduled on a regular basis.
Your Committee is delighted to have reached the stage where MHYF Vic policies and opinions are seen by the Department as well-informed and relevant to the future delivery of mental health services in the State. The partnership between professionals and consumers and carers in MHYF Vic is seen as one of our great strengths. We therefore wish to encourage all members to actively contribute to the topics for discussion with the Department and to do everything possible to increase our membership to ensure that our voice remains relevant.
In our meeting with the Office for Children we had the opportunity to give our strongest support for the recent initiatives in strengthening the early childhood services provided in local municipalities. These give improved parenting support and early detection of developmental delays and risk factors. When combined with programs to enrich the language and social experience of children in the pre-school period, these services are exactly what MHYF Vic has been advocating for preventive mental health. (See the MHYF Vic “Principles and Policies” document on our website).
Nevertheless, despite best-practice preventive mental health programs, cases of emotional disturbance do occur and it is important to have good quality services to respond to those cases. It is also important for those services to be readily accessible. The themes of better and more accessible CAMHS services were the main topics in our meetings with MH Branch.
In addition to our discussions about improving accessibility of child mental health services there was also discussion of two important new tasks being undertaken. One was the funding for seven locations to start programs to assist children in families where a parent has a mental illness. This is because such children are known to be at increased risk of emotional disorder. The second task is liaison with the Education Department about improved mental health programs for school students.
As these discussions continue we will have more opportunity to keep MHYF Vic members informed about what is happening in the mental health system and more opportunity to bring your concerns to the attention of the Department.
Allan Mawdsley, MHYF Vic President

Annual General Meeting
The MHYF Vic Annual General Meeting will take the same form this year as it has for the last two, but in a different venue. The business part of the meeting (delivery of reports and election of office bearers) will take place at 7.00pm following which there will be a pleasant dinner and then an after dinner presentation on a topic of importance to MHYF Vic members.
The venue this year is a contemporary Asian food restaurant called Chin Chin’s at Koto Moon. It has a range of various Asian foods of excellent quality and reasonable price, a-la-carte menu, licensed and BYO. It is at 647 Rathdowne St, North Carlton, a couple of doors from Paragon Café.
The after dinner presentation this year will be by Suzanne Lim on the “KKPP” program (Kool Kids Positive Parents).
This is an innovative program of early intervention for school children with significant behaviour problems, aiming to prevent the downhill slide into Conduct Disorder, Antisocial Disorder and lifelong social impairment that might otherwise face them. Suzanne will describe the components of the program involving families, schools and the children themselves, in what is a remarkable trailblazer that MHYF Vic believes should be available to all schools.
Come to our AGM. Have a lovely social evening, and be amazed!
Allan Mawdsley, MHYF Vic President
Contributions to the MHYF Vic Newsletter
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