October 2015

Newsletter No. 52

C&A Mental Health : Remembering the Past and Looking to the Future Review of Mental Health Services 2015 Victorian Mental Health Strategy 2015 History Corner : Librarians 2015 The Burnet Oration 2015

C&A Mental Health : Remembering the Past and Looking to the Future
Review of Mental Health Services 2015 Victorian Mental Health Strategy 2015
History Corner : Librarians 2015
The Burnet Oration 2015
“Child and Adolescent Mental Health: Remembering the Past and Looking to Future”
The recent report on the national survey of mental health disorders in children and adolescents will be discussed at a scientific meeting jointly hosted by MHYFVic and the Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry of the RANZ College of Psychiatrists to be held at ‘mindful’, 50 Flemington Street, Flemington, on the evening of Tuesday 17th November 2015.
All MHYFVic members are invited.
The evening will begin with light refreshments at 7.00pm for the meeting 7.30 – 9.00pm.
Dr Neil Coventry, Deputy Chief Psychiatrist of DHS, will comment on the report.
Professor Jo Grimwade, our President, will then give a historical paper on the hundred years of child and adolescent mental health
services, ending with the question, “Where to from here?”
Some answers to that question will be provided in future seminars hosted by MHYFVic and FCAP over the next several years leading up to the centenary of the child guidance movement (the beginning of organised community child mental health services). A foretaste of this was given in the ‘History Corner’ of our last newsletter.
Each of these future seminars will be devoted to a specific area of mental health work, such as family therapy, developmental disorders, psychotherapy, juvenile justice, community liaison, etc.. Each seminar will think through “Where have we come from?”, “Where are we now?”, and “Where are we going?” in that specific field. We wish to involve leading clinicians and researchers in the field, together with politicians and planners to ensure that the thinking is appropriately translated into policy.
We will ask present day descendants of the original mental health services of a hundred years ago to reflect upon the legacies of their historical contribution, in combination with contemporary Melbourne services to plan the best way forward. Why should we settle for anything less than world’s best practice?
MHYFVic and FCAP will guarantee an exciting series. Make sure to attend.
In the meantime, to get you started, it would be well worth reading the report of the recent survey. The full text of the report can be downloaded from the Commonwealth Department of Health website.
Lawrence D, Johnson S, Hafekost J, Boterhoven De Haan K, Sawyer M, Ainley J, Zubrick SR (2015) The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents. Report on the second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Department of Health, Canberra
Review of Mental Health Services
The National Mental Health Commission, chaired by Professor Allan Fels, has recently updated its Review of national mental health programs in Australia and is awaiting the response of the Commonwealth Government to its recommendations. This coincides with the State Government public consultations on the mental health strategic directions planning for the coming ten years. It also coincides with a renewed push by Professor Patrick McGorry for mental health to be restored to the political agenda after apparently “dropping off the radar”.
A newsletter from NMHC makes the following comments about the Review:
“The Review findings reinforce concerns that the current system is not designed with the needs of people and families at its core, and that navigating the mental health system is complex and difficult, meaning people are unable to access the support and services they need.
The Department of Health undertook targeted stakeholder workshops to help inform the Government’s response to our Review. On 6 August, our Chair Prof Allan Fels AO and our CEO Mr David Butt attended one of these workshops. The workshop provided an
opportunity for stakeholders to share their views on issues and implementation considerations relating to the Review. Discussion was focused on the following five themes:
 Promotion, prevention and early intervention
 Primary mental health care  Suicide prevention  Support for people with severe mental
illness and complex needs  The fifth national mental health plan
The report from the Expert Reference Group on Mental Health, tasked by Minister Ley to provide advice on the implementation of the recommendations from our Review has been completed and provided to Government. Health Minister Sussan Ley has said she will make a substantial response to the Review before the end of the year”.
The NMHC, itself, describes the following strategies towards improving the mental health of the nation.
Undertake and report to Government the
national review of mental health services and programmes
Establish and support a guiding coalition for a mentally healthy Australia to enable people to lead contributing lives and maximise their potential
Champion the adoption, measurement and reporting of national targets and indicators as long term, consistent and persistent goals for mental health reform
Drive innovation in mental health programme and service integration and practice through evidence-informed advice
Actively engage in key reform agenda that impact on people’s ability to lead a
contributing life to ensure mental health is embedded across Government reform
Support development of a national research agenda for mental health
Lead the advancement of data quality and linkage to inform better policy, planning and practice
Actively engage, partner and collaborate with key stakeholders to inform advice, ensuring a significant voice for the broad range of those with lived experience and their families and support people – including those who are currently not well represented – as well as others who work and provide services to support people
Provide advice through the national review of mental health programmes and services about the efficiency and effectiveness of services and programmes supporting individuals experiencing mental ill health; met and unmet needs of groups and communities; success stories and gaps; and quality and accessibility of existing and new supports
Provide new population level analyses of programmes and services to improve understanding of population, geographic and service usage patterns and enable more targeted and responsive service delivery
Identify and pursue key reform levers including those related to promotion and prevention, early intervention, recovery, service pricing and funding, performance, service integration, social connection, accommodation, new technology, innovation, quality and safety, workplaces and the workforce, and contribute to the policy and public debate and research
Advise on strategic issues of national significance to mental health reform, including seclusion and restraint, participation, suicide prevention, mental health service standards, access and delivery, rural and regional issues, ATSI mental health and wellbeing, and the mental health of diverse communities, all incorporating people’s lived experience
Benchmark Australia’s performance in supporting people experiencing mental health difficulties and suicide risk against good practice
Advance the evidence base for an efficient, effective and equitable mental health system through undertaking and disseminating research, analysis, evaluation and advice on key priorities and data gaps
Pursue priorities partnerships including with state and international mental health commissions, the human rights commission, mental health peak bodies and non-government organisations (including the private sector)
Work across Commonwealth agencies and with State and Territory Governments to support and advance policy and programme alignment with national commitments to mental health priorities
Work with employers, employees and health and wellbeing agencies to drive the national effort in creating mentally healthy workplaces
common through
interests and advancing
shared strategic
Show sector consistent and coherent messages about mental health, mental illness and suicide prevention
Support and participate in an international Knowledge Exchange where good practice and other information are disseminated
in promoting
Report back to Government on the National Report Card for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention’s 18 recommendations.
MHYFVic commends Professor Fels and the Commission for its untiring efforts to articulate the benchmarks of a successful approach to improving mental health services.
Allan Mawdsley
The Victorian Department of Community Services recently invited submissions on its strategy for Mental Health Services over the next ten years.
MHYFVic strongly supports and endorses the vision outlined in the Discussion Paper, based as it is upon the earlier policy document “Because Mental Health Matters”, which MHYFVic also endorsed.
MHYFVic not only endorses the vision but also the stated scope of the approach. The greatest failing of past policies has been that the phrase ‘mental health’ has been a euphemism for ‘mental illness’ and practices have been focused upon the most seriously mentally ill clients rather than upon policies promoting positive mental health throughout the whole of the population.
MHYFVic accepts that the principles outlined in the Strategy document do reflect very important issues in the mental health system. Issues that are not specifically mentioned, such as the importance of adequate training, research into best practice models, and effective use of consumers and carers in service development, can be subsumed within one or more of the eight outcomes, so the final result will depend on how the outcomes are monitored.
The elephant in the room is the extent to which these principles can be shared across public service silos of Mental Health Branch, Acute Hospital Services, Public Health, Child Protection, and, indeed, welfare services generally. MHYFVic supports a coordinated and comprehensive approach to the eight outcomes across the whole Department (or even better by a ‘Whole of Government’ approach as once attempted by the long defunct ‘Child Development & Family Services Council’).
Eight Outcomes sought by the strategy
1. People with mental illness, families and carers are involved in and have genuine choices about decisions that affect them.
2. Children and their families have access to the support they need to experience their best mental health, in childhood and throughout life.
3. The health gap experienced by Aboriginal people that is attributable to poor social and emotional wellbeing, mental ill health and suicide is reduced.
4. Suicide is prevented, and the suicide rate is reduced.
5. Disadvantage is reduced and social and economic participation is increased across the Victorian community, with a particular focus on people with and at risk of mental illness and their families and carers.
6. People with mental illness and their families and carers can easily access effective, coordinated treatment and support when and where needed.
7. People who have experienced trauma are identified and can access trauma-informed treatment and support.
8. A capable and supported multidisciplinary workforce enables individuals, families and carers to experience their best mental health.
The full text of the MHYFVic submission is too large to be reproduced here but will be available on our website.
Allan Mawdsley
HISTORY CORNER 2015: Librarians
There is another profession that this column would like to give credit in the unfolding of the field of child and adolescent mental health services: Librarians.
As I trawl the pages of our collective history, I am accompanied by the efforts of Wendy Bristow at Mindful and Mary Turnbull at the Cairnmillar Institute. My younger son has a role, as well, engaging the University of Melbourne library staff in unearthing sources long since cast to the archive shelves.
The history of our endeavours is in the hands of these custodians and I am very grateful for their knowledge of their stocks and of their capacity to chase down seemingly lost articles and books.
On 7 November, I will be presenting to the Australian Family Therapy Conference a poster that launches our history project on the upcoming centenaries of the American Child Guidance clinics. This same poster (hopefully a set of posters) will be presented again at a combined MHYF Vic and FCAP meeting at Mindful on 17 November (see notice in this newsletter!).
Without the research support, none of this would be achievable. The whole project is about history living and affecting practice now; without such able librarians we would be forced to repeat the errors of history (to paraphrase Santayana). Librarians cannot
save us from our errors, but they can help us to know our history!
Child and adolescent mental health services rely on the good will and good sense of many support services; librarians underpin our intellectual output.
Jo Grimwade
The Burnet Oration
Dr Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of ‘The Lancet’ Medical Journal for the last twenty years, gave the annual Burnet Oration on 5th October at the ANZ Centre in Melbourne, titled “Writing a Revolution for Health : Planetary Prospects and Possibilities”. .
The presentation closely followed the themes arising from the Rockefeller Foundation – Lancet Commission on planetary health on which he was a commissioner. The initial part outlined the present unsustainable trajectory but then gave a message of hope based on the scientific knowledge we have about how to make our practices sustainable. The challenge is to heed the science.
The following are the key messages from the report:
1 The concept of planetary health is based on the understanding that human health and human civilisation depend on flourishing natural systems and the wise stewardship of those natural systems. However, natural systems are being degraded to an extent unprecedented in human history.
2 Environmental threats to human health and human civilisation will be characterised by surprise and uncertainty. Our societies face clear and potent dangers that require urgent and transformative actions to protect present and future generations.
3 The present systems of governance and organisation of human knowledge are inadequate to address the threats to planetary health. We call for improved governance to aid the integration of social, economic, and environmental policies and for the creation, synthesis, and application of interdisciplinary knowledge to strengthen planetary health.
4 Solutions lie within reach and should be based on the redefinition of prosperity to focus on the enhancement of quality of life and delivery of improved health for all, together with respect for the integrity of natural systems. This endeavour will necessitate that societies address the drivers of environmental change by promoting sustainable and equitable patterns of consumption, reducing population growth, and harnessing the power of technology for change.
Allan Mawdsley.
In Memorium : Linae Bell (Jolley)
MHYF Vic would like to join with the Victorian Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists Association in recording the sad passing of Linae at the untimely age of 39 years and after a brief ten months of diagnosis with bowel cancer.
Linae was an intellectually ambitious person who achieved the Master’s degree in Child Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, and became a teacher on that course.
Linae was a warm-hearted team member and astute child psychotherapist. There is much more than might be said: the eulogy from Marell Lynch would be worth accessing if you wish to know more.
We record here, with great sadness, Linae’s contribution to our field and the loss that is
felt by her husband and four-year-old daughter.
We wish her family sincere condolences. Jo Grimwade
After much thought our website has been significantly revised to give casual visitors immediate information about what we do and what we stand for, whilst at the same time allowing members to go straight to specific sections such as Projects or Newsletters or Events, without having to navigate past reams of information.
Now that the main revision has been implemented we are working on tasks of development of Projects to give us the evidence base for our advocacy. There are quite a few items under development at the present time which are not yet reflected in the website but over the next few months we expect to see a burgeoning of activity.
Visit us on
2016 MHYF Vic Committee
* President : Jo Grimwade * Vice-President : Jenny Luntz * Past President: Allan Mawdsley * Secretary : Celia Godfrey * Treasurer : Anne Booth * Membership Secretary:Kaye Geoghegan * Projects Coordinator, Kylie Cassar * WebMaster, Ron Ingram * Newsletter Editor, Allan Mawdsley * Youth Consumer Representative, vacant * Members without portfolio:
Suzie Dean, Miriam Tisher.


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