Weekly CEO Update: Coming up for air after a busy start to the year

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Amongst new virus outbreaks leading to lockdowns, floods, vaccine roll-outs, ongoing challenges in economic recovery, post-pandemic plans, and upheaval and changes in portfolio leadership in Government, it’s sometimes hard to come up for air. Add in the fact that our community is grappling with confronting conversations about gender equity and safety for women again, and it makes it even more difficult to argue and advocate for other important issues. 

So amongst all these important things taking all the air time, we also need to make sure we don’t miss things. Discussions that are important for the future of mental health reform and the ecosystem we’re all part of.

World Bipolar Day is observed each year on 30 March — the birthday of Vincent Van Gogh — the famous painter who was posthumously diagnosed as probably having bipolar disorder. Aiming to bring awareness to bipolar disorder and break down stigma, Bipolar Australia marks the day with their “Blow Bubbles for Bipolar” campaign and a series of presentations, panel discussions, and Q&As.

Last year Mental Health Australia welcomed Bipolar Australia as new members and we wish them all the best as they advocate for more recognition and support for an estimated 560,000 Australians who live with bipolar disorders and those who love and care for them.

Having been in touch with them this week about some of their own advocacy efforts, what stands out for me at Mental Health Australia is how valuable the grassroots work is that organisations like Bipolar Australia lead as part of our mental health ecosystem. 

They are small group of passionate advocates who join with many likeminded groups who spotlight the serious challenges we have in this country such as combatting stigma; highlighting the experience of those living with mental ill health and their families; and arguing for better and smarter distribution and coordination of resources to support treatment and ongoing care. 

These campaigns and causes need to compete with the daily news cycle and broader national narrative, but ultimately amounts to advocacy work that has the ability to change and enhance lives for those living with mental illness.

Coming for air over the Easter break will be another nice chance to reflect on the great passion and commitment we see every day in the mental health community to make things better. And as we look ahead to the Federal Budget in May, with more reform opportunities ahead of us, we all know there is still much more to do together.

Enjoy the long weekend.

 

Leanne Beagley
CEO

On Tuesday I will be meeting with the Australian Association of Social Workers and on Wednesday I have my regular meeting with Christine Morgan, CEO National Mental Health Commission. That afternoon I am meeting with Michael Lye, Deputy Secretary at the Department of Health about aged care and mental health. 

On Thursday I will be in Sydney for a Roundtable with Shadow Minister Mark Butler and on Friday I will be preparing for a webinar I am chairing the following week on Post-traumatic stress disorder, complex trauma and substance use: promising new treatments for adolescents.

 

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Catholic Social Services Australia
Catholic Social Services Australia is the Catholic Church’s peak national social services body. With more than 60 members across Australia, , Catholic Social Services Australia works with its members to produce evidence/research which informs public opinion and assists lawmakers to develop just and compassionate social and economic policies that will improve the lives of the poor and vulnerable in Australia.


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LiFE awards nominations open 

Nominations are now open for the 2021 LiFE Awards, recognising excellence in suicide prevention. This prestigious national event attracts diverse nominations with an interest in suicide prevention and supporting those affected by suicide across Australia. Nominees typically range from well-established groups to community-based organisations and dedicated individuals. The awards celebrate the energy and commitment of the nominees and their vital contribution to the reduction of suicide within our communities. The LiFE awards nomination form is available here, nominations close in April.

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The Suicide Prevention Australia Symposium 2021 presents a unique opportunity to bring the brightest minds together and latest thinking to promote excellence in suicide prevention. This online event provides a gateway to unite suicide prevention experts to showcase evidence-based solutions and robust discussion, focused on solutions for saving lives. Held on 19-22 April 2021, this online symposium will attract around 500 delegates to hear from international keynote speakers, participate in workshops and collaborate with their peers. Find more information on the Symposium here.