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Mental Health Week 2015

If you require urgent assistance please

Mental Health Services ACT
(Crisis and assessment team)
1800 629 3541800 629 354 FREE
(24 hours)
or 6205 1065


13 11 14


Kids Help Line
1800 55 18001800 55 1800 FREE


Mensline Australia
1300 78 99 781300 78 99 78


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  



ACT Mental Health Week 2015

MHCC ACT will soon launch its new website. In the meantime, we have created a new website for Mental Health Week ACT 2015 where you can find the latest information about mental health week in the ACT.




After many years MHCC ACT is implementing a new website! We are looking forward to sharing the new look with you all!  

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 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 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 2014- 2015

We would like to invite you to renew your membership for the 2014-15 financial year.  


2014-15 Membership form available by clicking HERE!!

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


October - November 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 December 2014- January 2015. To include your training in this calendar, email or call MHCC ACT on (02) 6249 7756 to provide the following details:

Click here to download the October - November 2014 Training & Professional Development Calendar           

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

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:  

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. 
  • 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  If you are interested in attending a tour please contact them.