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Mensline Australia
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Mental Health Foundation

Information and Referral Line  

6282 6658

Welcome to the website of the Mental Health Community Coalition of the ACT

The Mental Health Community Coalition of the ACT (MHCC ACT), established in 2004 as a peak agency, provides vital advocacy, representational and capacity building roles for the community managed mental health sector in the ACT.  This sector covers the range of non-government organisations that offer recovery, early intervention, prevention, health promotion and community support services for people with a mental illness.

To find out more about MHCC ACT or to subscribe to our e-bulletin for regular sector updates, email admin@mhccact.org.au  

 


 


Position Available: Consumer and Carer Engagement Officer

The Mental Health Community Coalition of the ACT (MHCC ACT) welcomes applications for the position of Consumer and Carer Engagement Officer.


This role is a part-time position (15 hours a week), for an initial period of three months only and will support the activities of the Consumer and Carer Caucus.  The Caucus comprises people with a lived experience of mental illness and carers of people who have a lived experience of mental illness.  


The Caucus provides a “supportive forum for consumers and carers to work together and to ensure that the work of the association is informed by, and is supportive of, the interests of consumers and carers”. For more information on the activities of Caucus please visit our Consumer and Carer Caucus page.


The Consumer and Carer Engagement Officer will assist the Caucus with its meeting processes; develop governance documentation and a work plan by the end of July 2014.


The successful candidate will be a person who has a lived experience of mental illness, has good written and oral communication skills, is proficient with Microsoft Office and is able to work both collaboratively and independently as necessary.


You can obtain a full position description here, or for a hard copy and to discuss the role further, contact the MHCC ACT Office Manager on (02) 6249 7756 or admin@mhccact.org.au


Applications should be addressed to the Executive Officer of MHCC ACT, and must be lodged by 5pm on Thursday 24 April 2014.  


Email: ian.rentsch@mhccact.org.au
Post: Mental health Community Coalition of the ACT
          Room 1.06, The Griffin Centre, 20 Genge Street
          Canberra City, ACT, 2601


MHCC ACT Conference - 4th and 5th June 2014 - Update

Announcing the launch of the official MHCC ACT 2014 Conference Website!! http://www.mhccactconference.org.au/

We will be updating the website regularly with news about speakers, program, online registration and social events to be held in conjunction with the conference.  So for all information regarding our upcoming conference please visit our conference website at: http://www.mhccactconference.org.au/

MHCC ACT 2014 Conference:
“Changing the Services Landscape; Choice, Control and Possibilities for Consumers Carers and Service Providers”

Conference date:  
Wednesday 4th & Thursday 5th June 2014

Theme:
Changing the Community Mental Health Service Delivery Landscape in the ACT

Conference Sub-themes:
The conference committee identified as sub-themes, five priority areas within the community mental health landscape that are at the forefront of current changes in service delivery:

•    Recovery
•    Co-design & Collaboration
•    National Disability Insurance Scheme
•    Peer Work
•    Sector Leadership
•    E-health and Online Mental Health Supports

Conference Aim:
The purpose of the conference is to raise sector awareness and understanding of imminent changes in ACT community mental health service delivery and to provide practical tools to prepare for these changes.

Conference Goal
Ensuring the sustainability and strengthening the community managed mental health services sector.
To ensure community mental health sector stakeholders are equipped with the knowledge and tools they need, to prepare for the significant and imminent changes coming in 2014 and beyond to community mental health service delivery in the ACT.

To contact the conference please email; mhccact@kaigi.com.au or call 02 6198 3218, for regular updates follow us on Twitter @mhccact

Quarterly Community Forum - PTSD, Peers and the Workplace

The first Quarterly Community Forum of 2014 was held in March with the theme:

PTSD, Peers and the Workplace.

PTSD Awareness and Education Program:
Samantha Davidson Fuller, recently appointed Executive Officer of MIEACT, presented on the new MIEACT PTSD Awareness and Education Program to be launched later this year; Preliminary delivery to Community Sector and Clinicians planned for June 2014, with full program launch planned November 2014. Samantha confirmed she had been leading the program until her recent new appointment and the new program manager would be: Ray Simpson; ray@mieact.org.au  

The PTSD Program is being developed in partnership with the University of Melbourne and the Australian Centre for Post-traumatic Mental Health (ACPMH). There has been an intensive and ongoing consultation process, MIEACT have looked for consultation beyond their own consumer membership to ensure consumers are truly at the heart of the development of this program. The program is being designed to be adaptable to its audience acknowledging this could be; community sector, clinicians, GPs, Government, workplace or schools. The PowerPoint presentation is available here.

Peers Act: 
Keith Mahar and David Jenkins introduced Peers ACT as an organisation that looks to support and develop Peer Workers within the sector. David offered a moving person story example of how and why Peer Work is so important and effective. Keith identified the need for developing strategies for; Self-Care, improved employment options, training and development, resilience to sector changes and providing access to supports via a Peer Support Network. The presentation discussed the potential risks and possibilities for Peer Work with planned sector developments such as the NDIS. 

Finally Keith introduced a Caucus Peer Work Project in development that will look at the establishment of Peers ACT organisationally and the creation of a Peers ACT education project that can be rolled out to the sector. 

Caucus update: 
Caucus Co-Chair Chris Van Reyk provided a brief update on Caucus events and planning for the year. As a result of the resignation of the Caucus facilitator in January 2014, members decided to move forward nominating member based Co-Chairs and Deputy Co-Chairs to lead Caucus. As an internal project Caucus is now developing an updated “Meeting Ground Rules” agreement to assist the Co-Chairs in managing the meetings. Caucus is developing 2 external sector projects; The previously mentioned Peers ACT Project and an NDIS Working Group Project, in partnership with the NDIS Taskforce.  

For more information or if you have any questions or comments or to request Caucus updates please contact Caucus; caucus@mhccact.org.au 

MHCC ACT Conference Update:
Executive Officer Ian Rentsch confirmed MHCC ACT would be holding a conference this year: 

Title: Changing the Service Landscape; Choice, Control and Possibilities for Consumers, Carers and Service Provider’s.  
Date: 04.06.2014 – 05.06.2014
Venue: Ann Harding Conference Centre, University of Canberra 

Confirmed conference speakers include: Merinda Epstein [Consumer Activist], Prof Beverley Raphael [Professor of Psychological Medicine, ANU Medical School] and Arthur Papakotsias [CEO Neami National].  More details about the conference are available here [link to MHCC ACT conference page?] or visit our conference website at: http://www.mhccactconference.org.au   

If you have any questions about the conference please contact the Conference Committee at; conference@mhccact.org.au 

The Quarterly Community Forum is a partnership between the Mental Health Community Coalition, ACT Mental Health Consumer Network, Carers ACT and Mental Health, Justice Health, Alcohol and Drug Services. If you would like to provide any feedback, have any future forum theme or speaker suggestions or have any questions regarding the forum please contact Kat; kat.bhathena@mhccact.org.au 



Media Release - Mental Health Service Gaps Cost the ACT Community

Mental Health Service Gaps Cost the ACT Community

In a pre-budget submission to the ACT Government in October 2014, the MHCC ACT identified existing gaps in mental health service delivery. “The ACT Government can deliver significant health savings through investing in the Mental Health Community sector.” said Mr Ian Rentsch, Executive Officer.

A number of commitments were made by ACT Labor and ACT Greens as part of the 8th Legislative Assembly Agreement that have not yet been delivered within the $35 million new funding to include a community based after-hours crisis and assessment team for the ACT community.

ACT Labor also promised $500,000 for an improved suicide intervention program.

The cost of inaction to deliver these vital programs to the community far outweighs the amount set-aside in their promises.

Failure to recognise and repair these gaps may result in an increase in crisis presentations at the emergency departments at the Canberra and Calvary Hospitals placing further strain on the already overstretched system.

The ACT Government can circumvent a mental health crisis by supporting the development of partnerships between the ACT clinical health service and community based organisations.

As identified in the MHCC ACT Budget Submission, there are five critical areas of priority: Extend Crisis and Support Services; Enhance access to Advocacy and Legal supports; Allocate Housing and Accommodation Infrastructure; Expand mental health services for vulnerable groups; Invest in the Mental Health Sector workforce.

As yet there has been no response from the ACT Government. “The ACT community mental health sector is well placed, highly regarded and prepared to deliver these cost effective early intervention services” concluded Mr Rentsch.

As the latest available research shows mental health disorders and suicide account for 14.2 % of Australia’s total health burden1 Social inclusion for people with a lived experience of a mental illness and their carers, and the supports that enable them to contribute make good economic sense. People with well-established social and community connections are more likely to be successful in navigating personal crises’2. This in turn maintains steady employment and reduces the costs of health and other social services.
 
Click here to view the media release.

MHCC ACT budget submission 2014-2015

Real ACT Government savings through innovative community mental health investment

The Mental Health sector incorporating both clinical and community services in the ACT is experiencing rapid change. This is the result of the implementation of mental health-specific local and national policy agendas.  


At the local level, the ACT’s mental health services have entered a period of review as a consequence of the recommendations of the Review of the Community Sector (2011), the expiration of the Mental Health Services Plan 2009-2014 and its related documents.  Additionally, the Review of the Mental Health (Treatment & Care) Act of 1994 is expected to be introduced in 2014, influencing the way the clinical services relate to people with a lived experience of mental illness, their carers and the wider mental health services sector. 


WARNING: Mental Health Service Gaps are expensive to the ACT Community.

In the changing policy and service environment, identification of existing gaps in mental health service delivery and the potential for service gaps to develop, is considered critical  for the ACT Government.  Failure to recognise and ameliorate service and support gaps may result in a possible increase in the number of mental health consumers experiencing an acute crisis in the community and adding to the number of people entering the public mental health system.  

The ACT Government can deliver significant savings to the ACT community through a commitment to supporting the development of innovative partnerships between clinical and community based mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention services.  The following five critical priority areas were identified in extensive consultations with the ACTs mental health services:

Critical Priority 1:  Extend Crisis and Support Services

Critical Priority 2:  Enhance access to Advocacy and Legal supports

Critical Priority 3:  Allocate Housing and Accommodation Infrastructure

Critical Priority 4:  Expand mental health services for vulnerable groups

Critical Priority 5:  Invest in the Mental Health Sector workforce.


The ACTs community managed mental health services are well placed, highly regarded and are prepared to deliver the range of services.  MHCC ACT urges investment in the enhancement of the ACT’s clinical and community mental health sectors.  In addition to the identification of the Critical Priorities, sixteen (16) specific recommendations were developed by the sector.  


Click here to view the MHCC ACT budget submission 2014-2015 


MHCC ACT Conference - 4th and 5th June 2014

Announcing the MHCC ACT Conference! 4th and 5th June 2014!

The Mental Health Community Coalition ACT Inc. are pleased to announce the date for their second conference. 

“Changing the Services Landscape: Choice, Control and Possibilities for Consumers, Carers and Service providers”

The conference will tackle themes around recovery, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Partners in Recovery, the importance of Peer Work, Sector Leadership and Collaboration, E-Health and much more.  

The venue will be the Ann Harding Conference Centre located at the University of Canberra. 

Watch this space for more information about the conference and keep an eye on this website for regular updates or follow us on twitter @mhccact 

MHCC response to exposure draft Mental Health Act

The ACT Government recently released the Second Exposure Draft of the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act for public consultation. 

MHCC consulted with members and stakeholders and developed a response to the draft legislation, which has been submitted to the ACT Government. MHCC notes in the response our support for the majority of the suggested changes and amendments. It is positive to see the legislation move in the direction of greater recognition of decision-making capacity, as well as additional Objects of the Act aimed at better engagement with and involvement of carers, family and supporters.

MHCC has concerns, however, about the interaction between the Mental Health Act and Guardianship Act and concerns in particular about the new forensic provisions in the Act, which relate to treatment, care and support for people who are alleged to have, or have been convicted for having, committed an offence.

CLICK HERE to view the full submission.


MHCC Sector Development Workshops - Report

In February and March 2013 MHCC hosted three sector development workshops to engage the ACT community MH sector and key stakeholders in collaboratively setting a direction for the future of the sector.

In Workshop One we took a snapshot of the current context, which included current opportunities, challenges, inefficiencies and duplications in service delivery, and the necessity to change business models to accommodate the new world of NDIS.

In Workshop Two we considered a future direction for the ACT community managed mental health service organisations and developed a Principles Document for the sector.

Finally, Workshop Three we focused on strategy development.  How do we give life to our vision for the community managed MH sector?

We identified four themes:
1. Collaboration
2. Culture
3. Choice and co-Design
4. Sustainability.

We have begun to build action plans around these themes and will establish a Steering/Leadership Group to oversee implementation of actions.

To view the full report of the workshops click here. 

For more information contact MHCC on 6249 7756 or admin@mhccact.org.au

MHCC ACT Strategic Plan 2012-2016

MHCC ACT has published its Strategic Plan 2012-2016 outlining MHCC ACT’s Vision, which is for an ACT Community where good quality mental health and wellbeing is available to all, and how MHCC ACT works to achieve this vision.

The Strategic Plan outlines five areas of focus for MHCC ACT for the next four years:
1. Empowerment of the ACT Community Mental Health Sector
2. Quality person-centred care services for people with lived experience
3. An integrated, sustainable mental health sector
4. Awareness and understanding
5. Organisational sustainability
Under each focus area the Plan outlines a range of strategies for pursuing the overall goal of the area, and success indicators, which will tell us whether we are achieving those goals. The goals and strategies of the Strategic

Plan inform MHCC ACT staff workplans and MHCC ACT will be continuingly reporting on progress against those goals to the MHCC ACT Board.

To view the MHCC ACT Strategic Plan 2012-2016 click here.

MHCC ACT Position Statement – A smoke-free policy in ACT MH facilities

ACT Health Directorate has decided to introduce a smoke-free policy across mental health facilities in the ACT. Mental Health Community Coalition ACT recognises that there are valid arguments both in favour of and against introducing smoke-free policies in mental health facilities. These include an important responsibility to protect staff and patients from the adverse effects of smoking and the likelihood that a smoking ban will decrease the number of people with mental illness seeking voluntary admission to an inpatient MH facility.

MHCC ACT recommends delaying the introduction of the smoke-free policy in ACT MH facilities to allow adequate time for preparation for the introduction of the policy and to ensure that the welfare and wellbeing of affected consumers is at the centre of all considerations of the implementation of the smoke-free policy.

To read the full MHCC ACT Position Statement on a Smoke-free Policy in Inpatient MH Facilities click here

 

Information on the proposed smoke-free policy across mental health facilities in the ACT was presented at a forum co-sponsored by MHCC ACt and ACT Health Directorate. This forum heard both ACT Health Directorate and consumer advocate perspectives. There was also a presentation by Senior Lecturer, Flinders University, Sharon Lawn of some of the research evidence on implementation of smoke-free policies in inpatient mental health facilities.

To see the forum flyer click HERE .
To see Sharon Lawn’s presentation click HERE
To see the ACT Health Directorate presentation click HERE
To see MHCC ACT notes from the forum click HERE
To see alternative notes from the forum click HERE


Membership 2013- 2014

We would like to invite you to renew your membership for the 2013-14 financial year.  

 

2013-14 Membership form available by clicking HERE!!


Please complete and return the form to Sophie via fax on 6249 7801, email mhccact@mhccact.org.au  or by dropping in to our office.

 


April - May 2014 Training and Professional Development Calendar

The Training and Professional Development Calendar is produced bimonthly by the Youth Coalition of the ACT in partnership with the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT (ATODA) and the Mental Health Community Coalition (MHCC) ACT.

The Training Calendar provides training and professional development opportunities for workers in the youth, alcohol and other drug, mental health, family support and community sectors. This calendar has an average distribution of over 400 in the ACT and surrounding areas to workers in these fields.

The next Training Calendar will be for June – July 2014. To include your training in this calendar, email admin@mhccact.org.au or call MHCC ACT on (02) 6249 7756 to provide the following details:

Click here to download the April - May 2014 Training & Professional Development Calendar         

 
Paper copies of the Training and Professional Development Calendar are available at the MHCC ACT office.


Comorbidity Bus Tours

The Youth Coalition, together with the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT (ATODA) and the Mental Health Community Coalition, invite you to join us on a Comorbidity Bus Tour. The Comorbidity Bus Tour visits a variety of services in the ACT from the alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD), mental health (MH) and youth sectors. The aim of the bus tour is to increase the capacity of frontline workers to support people experiencing co-occurring ATOD and MH issues (comorbidity). There are currently 3 bus tours operating (Tour A, B & C) with each tour visiting different services.

Tour include:

Tour A: 
Services visited on Tour A:
  • Karralika Therapeutic Community, Karralika Programs Inc. 
  • DIRECTIONS ACT
  • Adult Mental Health Inpatient Unit, Mental Health Services
  • Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team (CATT), Mental Health Services
  • Opioid Treatment Service, Alcohol and Drug Services
  • Withdrawal Unit, Alcohol and Drug Services
  • Canberra Recovery Services, Salvation Army
  • Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service
  • National Drugs Sector Information Service, Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA)
  • Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT (ATODA)

Tour B:
Services visited on Tour B:
  • Brian Hennessy Rehabilitation Centre, Mental Health Services
  • Arcadia House, DIRECTIONS ACT
  • Calvary Inpatient Unit (Ward 2N), Calvary Hospital
  • Lesley's Place, Toora Women Inc.
  • Step Up Step Down Program, Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria
  • Alcohol and Drug Services, Health Directorate
  • Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimimsation and Advocacy (CAHMA)
  • The Connection
  • ACT Mental Health Consumer Network
  • Mental Health Community Coalition ACT
  • Women's Information, Resources and Education on Drugs and Dependency (WIREDD), Toora Women Inc.
  • CAN Program, Richmond Fellowship of the ACT
  • The Rainbow, Mental Health Foundation

Tour C:
Services visited on Tour C:
  • Youth Coalition of the ACT
  • PALM Program, Ted Noffs Foundation
  • STEPS, CatholicCare Canberra and Goulburn
  • headspace ACT
  • The Cottage, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service
  • Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation
  • Sobering Up Shelter, CatholicCare Canberra and Goulburn
  • Court Alcohol and Drug Assessment Service (CADAS), Alcohol and Drug Services
  • Needle and Syringe Vending Machine
  • CALM Program, Ted Noffs Foundation
  • Junction Youth Health Service, Anglicare ACT

Cost (includes resources and snacks, but not lunch)

  • $50 - Participants from agencies who are members of ATODA, MHCC ACT or the Youth Coalition, or staff members of a service visited on the bus tour
  • $60 - Participants from non-member, non-government organisations
  • $70 - Government workers (except those from a service visited on the bus tour)

For more information click HERE to download the flyer  or visit www.youthcoalition.net  If you are interested in attending a tour please contact them. 


Standards and Performance Pathways portal

SPP Portal


ACT Community Mental Health Sector group subscription


MHCC ACT and BNG NGO Services Online are partnering to provide a subsidised group subscription to this valuable online service to MHCC ACT members. The Standards and Performance Pathways (SPP) is a new product of BNG NGO Services Online and is an integrated online system for the completion of self-assessments, quality improvement and compliance activities related to service and quality standards, including the National Standards for Mental Health Services.

The Standards and Performance Pathways was developed to provide NGOs with an easy, electronic system for completing standards assessments, supported by resources to enable them to complete improvement tasks, and, through its comprehensive cross referencing, a way of completing multiple sets of standards through a single assessment process.

Where NGOs have a single set of standards, SPP provides a simple to use online interactive tool, guiding and resourcing organisations through this process, tracking progress and collating evidence for reporting.
The Standards and Performance Pathways will support ACT Community Mental Health Sector organisations to transition to reporting on the National Standards for Mental Health Services in six monthly contract reports, as required by the ACT MH Policy Unit from July 2013, and provides tools and resources for quality improvement related to the Standards.

For more information on the group subscription CLICK HERE to view SPP Information for MHCC ACT members


For more information on Standards and Performance Pathways CLICK HERE to view SPP Information Sheet

To register to take advantage of this great SPP portal group membership offer go to the online registration form (note: this is a link to an external website): CLICK here SPP Online Registration Portal

For more information on the National Standards for Mental Health Services and MHCC ACT services, please contact MHCC ACT on ph: 6249 7756 or email: admin@mhccact.org.au