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COVID-19 Update - ACT Mental Health Sector - 21 April 2020

In this edition we have quite a focus on younger people .... Also the work of the World Health Organisation and UNICEF - take a look at the book that has been produced for children. 

We have also introduced a new section in this newsletter "After the Crisis". While this might be some way off yet, we wanted to start capturing some of the thinking in this area, get you thinking and build up a bit of a repository of knowledge. It is also something more positive to focus on beyond the immediate crisis.

Update from MHCC ACT

Continue to have weekly meetings with our member organisation Leadership team. This week there was quite a focus on bridging the digital divide given the reliance on this method for service delivery during COVID-19.

Last week MHCC ACT and other stakeholders were invited to a meeting with Minister Rattenbury to inform the Minister in relation to development of a specific mental health response to COVID-19. Stakeholders spoke about a range of issues including the already emerging evidence of increased distress, the families and others who are becoming increasingly vulnerable, and the need for a general mental health campaign to support the population to manage the mental health impacts of both the current restrictions and the long term impacts of COVID-19. The mental health impacts of this crisis will have a long tail!

The NGO Leadership Group also met with Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith and alerted her to emerging issues. Other issues discussed include the concerns in the disability sector about potential discrimination in access to care, access to training & resources, and the potential for collaboration between Canberra Health Services (CHS) and NGOs. The group also raised a level of disconnect between current high level planning work and known issues which could be addressed right now at the frontline.       

ACT Shelter approached MHCC ACT and others about a steep increase in distress experienced by people with experience of homelessness living in congregate living settings. MHCC ACT took these concerns to MHJHADS Executive Director Karen Grace and other stakeholders. We will be doing more work on how the escalating needs of vulnerable people in the community can be met collaboratively by CHS community services and NGO services. 

The CMHA Leadership Group met with Gerry Naughtin to hear about the NDIA response and discuss concerns being raised by providers of NDIS supports to people with psychosocial disability around Australia. 

Reliable sources

At the bottom of the newsletter is a section with links to reliable sources of information, tools, checklists and other resources.We will continually update this as we come across new sources

We urge you all to take good care and maintain healthy social connection with physical distancing.

During this period MHCC ACT staff will be mostly working from home. The best way to contact us is via email (

Read the full newsletter here.

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