November 2010

Newsletter No. 27

Mental Health in the News MHYF Vic meets with Health Department Winston S Rickards Memorial Oration Australian Family Therapy Conference Website HISTORY CORNER: 1961 MHYFVic Committee Calendar of events Join us in advocacy Feedback

Firstly, apologies for the delay in sending this the final newsletter of 2010. In 2011 the newsletter editor will be Allan Mawdsley.
Happy New Year, Jo Grimwade.

Mental Health in the News
In the UK, a new review of CAMHS had begun designed to improve service. Professionals and community members will be consulted following on from the report of Professor Kennedy on the NHS children’ s services entitled: Achieving Equity and Excellence for Children and can be downloaded here or go to this link:
Integrated Care Pathways (ICPs) for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMH) Services (draft standards) are now available for download and comment from the NHS Quality Improvement Scotland website. Comments by close of business on Friday 4 February 2011, please contact by email:

In the USA, a new youth mental health information sheet has been launched.
NEW YOUTH GUIDE-YOUTH VOICE IN POLICY: A GUIDE TO SHAPING HISTORY CLICK HERE TO READ (pdf) This document, created in partnership between the Pathways RTC and the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, provides youth and young adults who have both received mental health services and experienced multiple child-serving systems with the basic skills they need to advocate for issues they feel are important. This is a simple guide that would be good to replicate for Australian conditions and structures. Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission has launched a discussion paper on the merits of the need for an Australian Children’s Human Rights Commissioner. Human rights provide a clear framework for promoting, and for ensuring accountability in respect of, child wellbeing. By establishing the office of a national Children’ s Commissioner, the Australian Government would take an important step towards meeting its international obligations to protect and promote the rights of children in Australia. The Discussion Paper is available at

UNICEF Press Release:
SYDNEY, Australia, 3 December 2010 – The latest research from UNICEF on child well being in rich countries shows the growing gap between Australia and other rich nations in looking after our most vulnerable children.
Dr. Norman Gillespie, Chief Executive of UNICEF Australia said, “our concern is Australia is falling behind the benchmark being established by countries like the UK, Ireland and Canada in the opportunities given to our children”. Citing evidence published in ‘The Children Left Behind’ report released on December 3rd by UNICEF’ s Innocenti Research Centre, Dr Gillespie said; “The true measure of a nation’s standing is how well it attends to its children – their health and safety, their material security, their education and socialization, and their sense of being loved, valued, and included in the families and societies into which they are born”. “Australia needs to really lift its game as we know the opportunities we give our children have such a profound positive impact on their long term development and the social and economic benefits this in turn generates for our entire society”, said Dr Gillespie. ‘The Children Left Behind: A league table of inequality in child well-being in the world’s rich countries’, research investigates the gap between the median (or normal) range of child well being with the bottom ten percentile of child well being, highlighting how far rich countries, like Australia are allowing their children at the bottom to fall. Looking at a basket of well being measures including material, educational and health inequality, the research shows Australia is performing around the OECD average but not performing to the highest standards.
“We believe in a rich country like Australia we should be striving to ensure all children have the opportunity to an appropriate education, health and love and these statistics show the gap between the children in the most disadvantaged groups are falling behind other rich countries”, said Mr Gillespie.
“There are many disparities between Australia and other rich countries but three emerging areas of concern are around the poor mark we achieve in early child hood development, high rates of male and female suicide and our growing failure to immunize our children”, said Dr Gillespie.
“Unfortunately the research is not comprehensive and hence we haven’t got the whole picture for our country, cautioned Dr Gillespie. “Australia for instance doesn’t collect the statistics on child well being related to health that are internationally comparable.
“Yet, What the research does illustrate is that Australia can do a lot more in the area of child well being to ensure its most under privileged members don’ t get left behind”. For more information, please contact: Tim O’Connor, UNICEF Australia, 0435 206 273,

MHYF Vic meets with Health Department
On 22 November, Dr Karleen Edwards of the Mental Health section of the health Department, along with colleagues Bill Macdonald and Amanda Smith, invited MHYF Vic to a briefing about current government policy and directions. Allan Mawdsley, Suzanne Dean, Lillian Tribe, and Jo Grimwade attended. There was an uncertainty about the matters discussed as the Victorian election was to be held on the following weekend.
The session was more of an information sharing and meet and greet, given the changes within MHYF Vic and within the Health Department. An emphasis on early intervention is being manifested and more money will be directed to adolescent intervention with the development of the Demonstration Projects.
A new meeting will be planned in February, 2011. It is hoped that the meetings will occur on a twice-yearly basis.

Winston S Rickards Memorial Oration
The second Winston Rickards Memorial will be held on 30 March, 2011, at the Ella Latham theatre of the Royal Children’s Hospital. The speaker will be a major figure in Australian Social Work with a special interest in child protection. More information to be available in the next Newsletter.

Australian Family Therapy Conference
A symposium on Mental Health advocacy was organized by MHYF Vic with three papers provided by MHYF Vic members Miriam Tisher and Jo Grimwade. The history of mental health advocacy was provided. Then, an impassioned case for advocacy for mental health services for the elderly was presented by Miriam. This was followed by a general discussion where comments on adult mental health advocacy, were drawn from the floor. Startling first hand accounts were presented from the families of professionals.
The symposium was organized with the aid of Bouverie’ s Mental Health advocacy academic, Peter Mackenzie. The presenters and participants were very pleased to have had such a forum within the Family Therapy Conference.

Website update
Website grandmaster Ron Ingram invites you to have a look at and find out about us, who we are and what we stand for, our aims and objectives. Sarina Smale and Nitha Prakash are engaged in the process of making the website more attractive to a youth population.

The World Federation for Mental Health commissioned a report from the Victorian Mental Hygiene Authority’s Director, Dr E Cunningham Dax, as part of World Mental Health Year (Dax, E.C. (1961) Asylum to Community: The Development of the Mental Hygiene Service in Victoria, Australia. Cheshire: Melbourne.).
Fifty years on not much remains of what was considered at the time by the Director of WFMH, Dr JR Rees: “the remarkable development in the provision of comprehensive services for mental illness and health in the State of Victoria”(Rees, 1961, p. i). The themes in the title remain
relevant today. Notice how the old term of Beers’ (mental hygiene) had been retained in our bureaucracy, some years after the formation of the Mental Health Movement in 1949.
Those who read this book may be disappointed with the little space given over to child and adolescent mental health services; with most focus on Observatory Clinic. But maybe nothiung has changed in this, either!Nine metropolitan clinics were listed (Observatory, Clarendon, Alexandra Parade, Bouverie, Children’ s Court, Travancore, Malvern, Kew, Royal Park, and the newly begun help-line Personal Emergency Advice Service); not many remain as they were then. Six hostels were listed, but all seem to have been closed. Four Social Clubs were listed; but none remain. Day hospitals at Malvern, Clarendon, and Observatory are all closed. Early treatment hospitals at Larundel and Royal Park are closed. Four mental rehabilitation hospitals have closed (Kew, Sunbury, Larundel, Mont Park, and Bundoora). Intellectual deficiency services at Sunbury and Travancore have long been closed, but Janefield and Kew survive. The other metropolitan clinic, at Pentridge, has closed.
Country outpatient mental health services at General Hospitals were located in Bendigo, Mildura, Horsham, Y allourn, Ballarat, Ararat, and Wangaratta. These exist in radically different form and location. Some outpatient services at Psychiatric Hospitals of the time have merged with these other services (Ballarat, Stawell, W arrnambool). The Ballarat Social Club has closed. The Ballarat Day Hospital has closed. The Ballarat Early Treatment Hospital; has closed. The Mental Rehabilitation Hospitals at Ararat, Beechworth, and Ballarat, have closed. The Intellectual Deficiency Services have closed in Stawell and Bendigo.
The mental health real estate portfolio has changed quite a bit and many of the buildings have come down. Medical staff numbered 120, including the Director.
There were 122 Professional staff (Psychologists, Pharmaceutical Chemists, Social Workers, Occupational Therapists and others). There were 2556 nurses. Clerical staff numbered 197. There were 1177 Artisans. The whole budget for 1960 was ₤6, 437s. It cost ₤12, 18s., 10d. to care for each person each week.
But Dax was optimistic as “the Department by 1952 was mostly in a state of utter neglect and far below the standard of the oldest and most backward hospitals at that time in Great Britain or those seen in Europe” (Dax, 1961, p. 3).
Maybe some things have improved on the material side over the past fifty years.

• President, Jo Grimwade
• Vice-President, Jenny Luntz
• Immediate Past President, Allan Mawdsley
• Secretary, Prasnitha Prakash
• Treasurer and Parent Consumer, Lillian Tribe
• Projects Coordinator, Suzie Dean
• WebMaster, Ron Ingram
• Newsletter Editor, Jo Grimwade
• Members without portfolio, Sarina Smale and David Mushin

Winston S Rickards Memorial Oration Much is happening within MHYF Vic and we need more to happen. Advocacy needs advocates. Please circulate this Newsletter to other interested parties and invite others to participate with online correspondence or by providing news about what is being done in the various workplaces where child and adolescent mental health issues are being confronted.

MHYF Vic Project Groups can visit workplaces and present in Professional Development fora. If you missed a conference, invite us to provide a direct update and to present the relevant paper.


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