Members of MHYF Vic, together with the child and adolescent mental health field around Australia, and indeed internationally, were saddened by the passing of Winston Rickards in December last year.
Many of us were privileged to attend the beautiful Memorial Service held in his honour on Wednesday 19th December at Queen’s College, The University of Melbourne. On that momentous occasion, family, friends and several colleagues paid tribute to Winston’s fifty-eight years of very significant work in child and adolescent mental health.
Dr Winston Rickards has been an outstanding national leader in pursuing the right of young people to high quality mental health services. He led the establishment of Child Psychiatry as a specialisation of Psychiatry in Australia.
As head of Psychiatry at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne from 1955 to 1983, he built an exciting centre of excellence in practice, training and research in infant, child, adolescent and family mental health. Through this, through his teaching at The University of Melbourne, and through his voluntary positions in the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and in numerous community organisations, he energetically and imaginatively facilitated the development Australia-wide of child adolescent and family Psychiatry, Clinical Psychology, Social Work, Psychiatric Nursing, Speech Pathology, Audiology and Child Psychotherapy.
He was a true innovator, drawing upon research and best practice models around the world, especially in respect of multi-disciplinary teamwork. Winston connected Australia with the international field through his own dedicated work in the International Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (IACAPAP), and by encouraging many other Australians to participate, for example in the 1978 World Congress of IACAPAP, which he convened.
Just as importantly, Winston has been an untiring and powerful advocate for children, young people and parents to have their voices heard and their needs met. From the early 1980s, he became a crucial figure in actively enabling professional-consumer/carer collaboration at local, state and finally national levels, and facilitating this process at a global level, by promoting recognition of the importance of consumer involvement in IACAPAP. This was well expressed by strong consumer/carer contributions to the 2006 IACAPAP World Congress, of which Winston was the Patron.
Overall, Winston’s unusually broad vision and pioneering action have been highly influential within the mental health field, many domains of paediatrics and public life. Younger generations have benefited enormously from his care and strength of purpose, and his influence will live on through the enterprises he spearheaded and supported so steadfastly.
Winston has a very special place in MHYF Vic, as an original planner of the Group, a founding Member, the founding President (from 2000 to 2005), and the Immediate Past President, which post he maintained until his last day.
Professional-consumer collaboration at a community level was formulated as an aim in the Australian child and adolescent mental health field at the First National Conference on Child and Adolescent Mental Health in Glenelg, South Australia in 1995. Winston was at the forefront of this thinking. As Convenor of the Second National Conference in Melbourne in 1996, he ensured that young people and parents had a central place in the Scientific Program – indeed their own Stream – and ensured that the Conference could consider whether to set up a national professional-consumer advocacy group.
The result was the establishment of the Australian Infant, Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health Association (AICAFMHA). Winston chaired the Committee that achieved this result, and became the Patron of AICAFMHA when it was officially constituted in 2000. Winston, through a series of means, also facilitated AICAFMHA becoming a full organisational member of IACAPAP, the first professional-consumer collaborative organisation in the world to become so.
Meanwhile, in 1996 it was decided to establish, with Winston as Convenor, a professional-consumer collaborative group in Melbourne, to explore how collaboration might work at the state level. From these beginnings, and along the way taking on energy from the Victorian Coalition of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Professionals, which organisation had now concluded its work, MHYF Vic came into being in late 2000, with Winston at the helm.
In all of this vigorous work around MHYF Vic and AICAFMHA, Winston expressed his eagerness to build bases for advocacy in the community, and at political levels, for the rights and needs of the young. Never content with the status quo, he argued for positive change. He argued for the necessity for people to work collaboratively in trying to steer policy toward such change. He argued that collaboration released creative forces and opened new doors for people. He argued for the value of advancing mutual understanding from as many points of view as possible. Within MHYF Vic, Winston inspired the group time and again by his unswerving attention to the heart of the matter – to the needs of the individual child and young person, placing that individual at the centre of the work, and reminding us always of the family and other complex systems engaging that young one.
You can find on the MHYF Vic Website the excellent and moving eulogy presented by Dr Campbell Paul, Infant and Child Psychiatrist, at Winston’s Memorial Service. Campbell focussed upon Winston’s astonishingly productive career in infant, child and adolescent mental health.
Winston’s remarkable effectiveness sprang from a profound, compassionate concern for the young and their well being, a questioning and challenging stance in relation to conventional wisdom, and determination in encouraging constructive cooperation between others. His informed, critical, and positive vision of working toward a better future for the young has inspired thought and action in the field throughout his adult life.
We Members of MHYF Vic join with his wife Anne, his children Jane, Tom and Katrina, and his daughter-in-law Lauren and son-in-law Mick, in mourning Winston’s passing. At the same time, we remember with great pleasure his friendship, his enthusiastic and adventurous spirit, his good humour and his poetic expertise. We remember his strength, and his steely persistence with difficult tasks taken on by our group. As we move forward in the work to which he was so devoted, we remain grateful for his wonderful sharing of his insight and wisdom, and the inspiration of his delight in the hope brought by the young and by family life.
“Communication, collaboration and cooperation” (anon)
Prepared by Suzanne Dean PhD Committee Member, MHYF Vic
Going to Istanbul
The MHYF Vic-inspired symposium on the role of consumer and carer participation in mental health services, presented at the IACAPAP Congress in Melbourne, was seen by their Committee as such an important topic that they invited us to present a similar workshop at the forthcoming Congress in Istanbul. Suzanne Robson and Paul Tribe, two consumer/carer representatives from MHYF Vic will team up with local representatives in Turkey to present the symposium.
Financial support for our participants has been pledged by the Rotary Club of Collingwood, without whose help it is unlikely that our members could afford to go. We sincerely thank the club for its assistance.
Allan Mawdsley, MHYF Vic President
MHYF Vic Workshop
On 17th November last year, MHYF Vic held a Workshop at the Monash University Clinical School at the Alfred Hospital on the subject of developing a policy proposal for Government for Consumer and Carer participation in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Victoria. The material discussed at the workshop was extremely valuable for the Committee’s representations to the Mental Health Branch of DHS and will also be used in dialogue with other consumer/carer groups seeking improvements in such collaboration.
The MHYF Vic Committee wishes to thank all those members who assisted in the workshop.
Allan Mawdsley, MHYF Vic President
Retirement of Dianne Camilleri
After many years of invaluable service to MHYF Vic as a Committee member, Honorary Secretary for a number of years, and more recently as Editor of our Newsletter, Dianne Camilleri is retiring from the Committee to care for her baby which is due in a couple of weeks time. The Committee wishes to publicly thank Di for her wonderful contribution to MHYF Vic over the years, and to wish her well in this important next phase of her life.
Allan Mawdsley, MHYF Vic President
Due to Dianne’s retirement we need to appoint a new Editor for our electronic Newsletter. The person will be an ex-officio Committee member who would be most welcome at the monthly Committee meetings but need not attend if it is preferred to undertake the work by email. If this role could be of interest to you, please phone Allan Mawdsley on (03) 9645 5348.
On 17 November 2007, MHYF Vic held a successful forum on professional / consumer collaboration entitled ‘Working Creatively Together: Professionals and Consumers Forging New Pathways in Child and Adolescent Mental Health’ at the Monash University Clinical Sciences Building at the Alfred Hospital.
The forum began with presentations by professionals, carers and consumers describing their various experiences with forming collaborative partnerships. MHYF Vic President Allan Mawdsley chaired the forum and spoke of his experiences as a psychiatrist working collaboratively with families.
Lynne Ruggiero, Carer Consultant at Austin CAMHS, Georgina Olekalns, Social Worker at Austin CAMHS and Jacinta Agostinelli, a carer who is a member of the Austin CAMHS Consumer Action Group (CAG) discussed the experience of developing collaborative partnerships at the Austin CAMHS.
Anne Casey, Carer Consultant at Southern Health CAMHS outlined the life cycle of family use of a Mental Health service. Paul Denborough, clinical director at Alfred CAMHS talked about the process of developing consumer-professional collaboration in a CAMHS from a Director’s perspective.
Paul Tribe, a consumer, detailed some of the difficulties of involving young people in the collaborative process and how these can be addressed. Finally, MHYF Vic committee member Suzie Dean outlined some of the attitudes of professionals that have hindered the collaborative process.
After the presentations, three working groups were formed to help prepare the terms of reference for a DHS consultative committee that would have consumer collaboration in CAMHS as its central focus. Some of the outcomes of this were an agreement that there were several levels and domains of collaboration. It was agreed that the committee would have Tasks, Terms of Reference and a Membership Profile.
At the end of the session, it was suggested that the committee should attempt to be one of the year long Ministerial Advisory Committees (MAC) as this provides for a special focus over a one year period.
It was decided that a detailed summary of the workshop would be used to assist in further discussions with DHS and to frame recommendations.
Suzanne Robson, MHYF Vic Treasurer
Mental Health for the Young & their Families in Victoria is a collaborative partnership between mental health & other health professionals, service users & the general public.
PO Box 206,
Parkville, Vic 3052