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COVID-19 Update - ACT Mental Health Sector - 5 May 2020

In this edition we celebrate the ACT as the first State or Territory to be COVID-19 free - long may it stay this way (though it would nice to have company in this position)! Articles cover a broad range of topics, from funding for homelessness, to resources to support your workforce, changes in the NDIS, some surveys to inform service provision and advocacy, and resources to support people with a CALD background. The guide to government support by Social Ventures Australia is one of the best ones we have seen. We have also included an article about an independent Roadmap for Recovery for Australia. In the new section of this newsletter "After the Crisis" we provide big picture perspectives. The final ANU Global COVID-19 impacts on mental health webinar series this week looked at the implications for policy in Australia. Update from MHCC ACT Our most recent COVID-19 related activity is to launch an online Community of Practice for community mental health workers in the ACT. We had people signing up on the day it was first promoted! The past fortnight has seen the continuation of MHCC ACT members Leadership COVID-19 meetings.  We had an update from the NDIA and ACT Office for Disability on NDIS developments. Organisations were reminded to report systemic issues to the NDIS Quality and SAfeguards Commission. ACT Health engaged with the group on the COVID-19 Q&A webinars they are making for the community sector. MHCC ACT produced a discussion paper about the possible use of libraries to help overcome the digital divide created by the new modes of service delivery during COVID-19. Other topics explored included looking after staff, referral pathways, engaging with Centrelink and Housing, and the need for more support for those in aggregate living arrangements. COVID-19 related advocacy includes:

  • Touched base with a couple of organisations from LGBTIQ, BBV, homelessness and domestic violence sectors to learn of their experience recently. This information was fed into current processes around the ACT Government stimulus funding and mental health support package.

  • MHCC ACT took part in the MHA members policy forum with Christine Morgan, CEO of the National MH Commission and gave input to the draft National Mental Health COVID-19 Response Plan

  • Interviews with Canberra Times, ABC Radio Canberra and Radio 2CC on the national and ACT mental health COVID-19 response

  • The NGO Leadership Group has discussed and provided input on:

  • PPE policy, factsheet and procurement

  • The ACT Government stimulus funding to community based NGOs

  • A Framework for ACT Government COVID-19 related communications to NGOs

  • Context for a Primary Care COVID-19/pandemic Response Framework to be co-developed by CHN and ACT Health 

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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