Good afternoon. Please allow me to introduce myself – I’m Charlie Richardson, and I put our newsletter together and send it out each second Thursday. I also do a lot of the legwork involved in arranging our training program and organising the Quarterly Forums and other events that we put on. I’m only at MHCC ACT three days a week, so I don’t get out much.
You’ve probably seen our newsletter, it’s the ‘ACT Mental Health Sector Update’, or just ‘the Update’ for short. I scour various news sources for items of relevance and interest each morning and place them into a document, which is like a sort of scrapbook of ideas. Then, the day before publication, I choose which articles from the ‘scrapbook’ to promote, write a very short description of what they’re about and create the hyperlinks so you can find them. I usually end up with about 12 – 15 articles, along with the listing of upcoming events towards the end of the Update.
The Update goes out to about 650 people, most of them working in the community-managed part of the mental health sector in the ACT, but some consumers, carers and people in ACT Health and in academia also subscribe.
You should see all the feedback I get about the Update! You should, because I NEVER do. I send the Update out into the ether and I have no idea of how it is being received, other than being aware of how many ‘clicks’ there are on the links in it. In the past four years or so, I have not personally received a single comment from a reader.
Alright, I’ll stop sulking now, but it would be just great to get some feedback and ideas for improvement or a change of focus.
Am I getting the mix of articles, right? I try to ensure that there is specifically ACT news, national news, news from other states, and occasional international news. News that’s relevant to service provision, news of interesting and relevant research, news related to stigma reduction or homelessness, physical health or the NDIS.
Would you prefer more on some topic and less of another? Are there too many articles or too few? What about the frequency of publication? Is fortnightly about right?
What about the way the Update looks? Do you find it easy to scan to see which articles you’d like to read? Is the font size about right for you?
Do you or other people in your organisation ever write on mental health? Do you feel moved to have our newsletter link to your work? Are you taking some new initiative related to mental health that you would like to brag about, or become aware of some new issue arising? If you’d like to talk about something before writing, do give me a call.
I’ve asked a lot of questions. If you’d like to stop me sulking, please reply to me on 6249 7756 or firstname.lastname@example.org (I don’t work on Mondays or Fridays).
-Charlie Richardson, MHCC ACT Policy & Sector Development Officer