Open Mind Fiesta p6-7
inside features AGM results p2 | Christmas appeal p3 | ilikeyou portraits p6 | clout! p10 | our annual winners p11 Registered with the Department of Human Services Print Post Approved 350190 / 00023 ISSN 0816 7877
from our president I am pleased to report the results of the election and outcomes of this year’s annual general meeting. The legal status of MI Fellowship changed in 2001
from an incorporated association to a company
I also let the meeting know that the constitution requires
limited by guarantee. This change was prompted by
that the new board meets before the AGM to elect the
legal advice that our size and functions had outgrown
office bearers, and I am pleased to tell you that I was
the legal protections offered by the association
elected president for the next year; Louise Milne-Roch,
status and that protection of member assets and
deputy president; Jenny King, treasurer, and Dianne
regulatory compliance were better covered through
Brown, secretary. These office holders were then elected
company limited by guarantee status. Consequently
to chair the board committees: executive, appointments
the constitution changed to reflect the new status
and governance, finance audit and resource
and postal voting was introduced.
management and directions committees in the order they
This was the first year since 2001 that we had more
are presented here.
candidates than director positions, prompting the postal
vote. We thought it prudent to appoint an external
The proposed change to the constitution was passed
returning officer to conduct the ballot. The outcome
and now allows directors an open ended term of office,
of the vote is that Elaine Price, Louise Milne-Roch,
in line with good governance. At this meeting we
Jennifer King and Theo Krambias have been appointed
were privileged to give awards to seven people. John
directors for the next three years.
McGrath, Member of the Order of Australia, received the
In feedback about the election some of you told us that you did not know the directors, so we have decided to
Blickle Award. I encourage you to read about the award winners and their contributions on page 11.
fix that by profiling a director in each newsletter starting
Gill Callister executive director of the Department of
with Theo Krambias.
Human Services Mental Health and Drugs Division was
New to the board Theo is new to the board, however he has a longstanding relationship with MI Fellowship. He brings to the board a range of skills in property development, which will be a considerable asset to us as we continue to advocate for housing. Our services are run from both rented and MI Fellowship facilities and we are running out of space in many of these locations; his skills will be most useful in planning a way forward.
our guest speaker. It was very encouraging to hear her say that there was a clear intention to redevelop and invest in mental health in Victoria. The new policy for Victoria ‘Because Mental Health Matters’ is in its final draft and is expected to be available late this year or early next year. We will keep you informed on these developments. Gill also let us know that the consultation for the review of the Mental Health Act would start in January/ February 2009. As soon as we have details available we will put these on our website. I encourage you to participate in our consultation by contacting Stacia Beazley to register your interest.
The Hon. Robert Knowles AO
contents from our chief executive p3 | new respite options p4 | mental health week p5 | open mind fiesta p6 | people and their stories p8 | news bites p9 | clout! p10 | MI Fellowship award winners p11 Cover photograph by www.urbanartistry.com.au (9416 5076)
from our chief executive Twenty-five years on from de-institutionalisation, people with mental illness are still living outside and below the standards of mainstream Australian life.
Why social inclusion matters
A series of analyses published recently
Our submission to the federal pensions review
in Victoria chronicle the main ways in
argued that the basic income provided by the
which people with mental illness are
disability support pension is unrealistically
excluded in our society. Some of this
low, and that two critical issues which make
mental illness are reliant on
evidence is shown on this page.
things worse are poor housing affordability
government pensions as their
and inflexible arrangements for transfer from
main source of income.
pension to work and back again. We argued
Most of these pensioners
that the disability support pension should
have limited savings
Social exclusion affects not just quality of life now for people with mental illness, it also affects long-term health and social outcomes. It’s for good reason that social inclusion is a key objective of government policy makers. Ahead of its time, MI Fellowship has been working to reverse the social exclusion of people with mental illness over many years and across a broad range of fronts that are well documented in this year’s annual report. Social inclusion is the theme of this issue of MI Voice as we report on the special public activities of Mental Health Week and Open Mind Fiesta. These events bring people with mental illness into the forefront of our community and provide many opportunities to challenge stigma and demonstrate inclusion.
provide a comprehensive safety net that allows people to keep stable and secure housing at argued for improved flexibility and financial
their own home, compared to
security around workforce participation for
the Australian average of 70%
pensioners with mental illness. MI Fellowship’s Christmas appeal in 2008 aims to raise funds for projects and services that address the complex causes behind social exclusion. We will focus on projects that support people to live independently and to link up with their local communities, to take up opportunities to study or to re-enter the workforce, to make and to keep friends. The truism ‘nothing succeeds like success’
advocacy to Government about other crucial
once a person gains a foothold in one area of
areas: housing and homelessness, mental
life, this success can be generalised to other
health services, carer services, and most
domains. Strength builds upon strength.
combined effect can dramatically compound the problems of social exclusion.
27% of people with
psychiatric disability are buying
applies to the process of social inclusion:
are significant in themselves, however their
85% of people with serious
times when they are unable to work. We also
We have also been active recently in our
recently pensions income. These factors
We look forward to your support in our continuing work to bring about social inclusion for people with mental illness, their families and friends. Best wishes for a safe and happy Christmas and New Year 2009.
42% of people with mental
illness live in marginal housing circumstances, including homelessness or insecure and substandard housing • Workforce non-participation among people with psychotic disorders in Australia is more than
• Social isolation is a common experience for people with serious mental illness: > Nearly half of those with serious mental illness report they do not share meals with others, and
40% report that they watch television alone;
39% report having Elizabeth Crowther
no ‘best friend’ and nearly half feel that they need good friends in their lives.
take a break – new respite options Mi Respite Options, an exciting new initiative of Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria, is being developed in Gippsland, Southern Metro, Barwon, Eastern Metropolitan Melbourne, Western Melbourne and East and West Hume, with funding from the Commonwealth Government. These respite programs take a whole family approach to providing flexible and responsive respite options focusing on the needs of carers or people with a mental illness. These programs are aimed primarily, but not exclusively, at older carers to give them a break from their caring role.
A number of programs are currently being offered including: > In-home support for the person with a mental illness:
> Two-day retreats for:
• Carers (incorporating Well Ways Snapshot – a MI Fellowship education program)
• Persons with a mental illness
• Couples, where one/both people have a mental illness
FF little brea k
on br e d ea ay k
ay od tw reak b
• Planned and time limited
• To allow the carer to attend a retreat if required
• Rapid response respite (within 24 hours) should a situation arise where unplanned support is needed
> Regular, time limited and goal oriented social groups for the person with a mental illness (some after hours) > Other options are being developed in response to the needs of each region and feedback from carer organisations.
For more information or to register for mi respite options, contact: MI Fellowship 8486 4200 for your regional respite coordinator’s details.
christmas spending boost As part of the Government’s package to
The payments will be made automatically through
stimulate the economy, carers and disability
Centrelink in the fortnight beginning December 8.
support pensioners can count on a lump sum payment in December.
The cash boost is intended to provide additional support between now and next financial year when
Pensioners and carer payment recipients will receive
long-term reform to the pension system is promised
one-off payments of $1400 to singles and $2100 to
(see page 3).
couples. People who are receiving carer allowances will get $1000 for each person being cared for.
Visit our bright and bold new website at www.mifellowship.org You’ll find more information more often. The website is the perfect 24 hour a day introduction to the services we offer. You can download fact sheets, review past annual reports, make a generous donation and see photos from recent events. Meet some of the people who are
touched by mental illness as carers, employers, professionals and people. Subscribe to our free private e-newsletter mi voice which will keep you in touch with us in between magazines.
getting into the swing social inclusion Mental Health Week activities involved our people around the state. Barwon region The Barwon Heads charity golf day to support MI Fellowship Victoria was a huge success, raising $4663.27. Laura Collister and Georgina Alley headed down to the Barwon Heads Golf Club to support the event on October 13. This is the third year the event has been held. The day’s activities included an 18-hole Stableford teams event, a silent auction conducted by Dennis Ekstedt, and a number of raffles donated by local businesses. Laura spoke about the work of the Fellowship, and the education programs which would be strengthened by the funds raised. Special thanks to Katrina Jeremiah,
Southern Metropolitan and Gippsland region Congratulations to the Frankston walking group (pictured above) on their effort in the Melbourne Marathon Active Feet 5.5km. Andrew, Geraint, Pam, Emma, Aaron and Kim (worker), finished in around one hour, 16 minutes. The group walk for an hour every Thursday around the Seaford Wetlands come rain, hail or shine and their commitment to fitness certainly paid off. Special thanks to Emma, aged eight, and Aaron, six, for joining in.
committee president, Lyn Fraser, committee member
The fourth annual Mental Health Week art show “Beautiful
and all the other committee members who have worked
Hands, Brilliant Minds” was perhaps the most successful to
so hard to raise money for the Mental Illness Fellowship,
date. There were more than 90 entries on show, including works
from MI Fellowship Warragul day program, GARSS (Gippsland
Hume region Mental Health Week in Hume was marked by the important move of the PARC (Prevention and Recovery Care) unit and the Shepparton SRRP (Specialist Residential Rehabilitation Program) into a new shared home in Ambermere, an historic property in the heart of Shepparton. The vision for a combined facility has been a long time in the making and signifies a breakthrough in progress towards integrated models of care and partnership, in this case between clinical
Accommodation and Rehabilitation Support Service), Headspace and mental health related agencies. The prestigious People’s Choice award (2nd place) went to a member of the Warragul day program with a clean sweep for Warragul day program of the three Judges Choice awards. The mayor of Baw Baw shire, Councillor Dick Van Lewyn attended the awards and commented on the wonderful talent evident in all of the artists whose work was on display. More than 70 people enjoyed the musical contribution of Andrew from Warragul day program and the GARSS band It’s only Paranoia.
services from Goulburn Valley Area Mental Health Service
East North West region (Mitcham)
and community services provided by MI Fellowship.
The Eastern Region marked the week with a variety of different
During October, Hume MI Fellowship also achieved
events. The Mens group headed out to Ruffy Lake Park and
some fabulous collaborative community education in
enjoyed a barbeque lunch followed by a stroll around the lake.
partnership with other PDRS agencies. Between them,
Later in the week, some members also enjoyed lunch out at a
these services delivered talks aimed at reducing stigma
Chinese Restaurant. The Womens Group, not to be outdone, also
and dispelling myths about mental illness at seven
enjoyed a café outing, as well as trying their hand at 10 pin bowling.
secondary schools in Shepparton, Broadford, Rutherglen,
In addition to this, many participoaants enrolled in new courses
Mooroopna and Tallangatta in the far north east.
at learning centres through the Linking People Locally program.
mental health week
a big day for This year’s Open Mind Fiesta was bigger than ever with more than joining in the fun.
Mother Nature continued her unofficial sponsorship of
Among the crowd was a band of “living books” – people
Open Mind Fiesta by delivering another warm, blue sky
with a mental illness who volunteered to make themselves
spring day tailor made for an afternoon of music, belly
available to passers by to answer questions they might
dancing, barbecuing, fairy flossing, bargain hunting,
have about living with a mental illness.
face painting and sideshow attractions that drew a
The idea goes to the heart of what OMF is all about
crowd of 35,000 people to Station Street Fairfield.
– breaking down stigma through direct contact.
As always, threaded into the frivolity was a serious
For some members of the public it was their first chance
message: one in five people have a mental illness and
to have a discussion with a person with a mental illness.
these people are a lot like the rest of us. That message
“I’ve never really understood what bipolar was all about,”
was carried in many ways – hundreds of MI Fellowship
said Jen a mother from Northcote. “Now at least I’ve got
staff, volunteers and traders proudly wore t-shirts
a handle on it.”
emblazoned with the confronting statement: “1 million Victorians have a mental illness” on the front. And “people like us,” on the back.
With the ongoing support of sponsors, traders, local council, hundreds of volunteers and staff – there was opportunity for people like Jen to realise that people with a mental illness are people like us.
ilikeyou We are dedicated to reducing the
The hope was that both groups would
Thus 27 students from schools
stigma surrounding mental illness
learn something about each other and
including Thornbury High School,
whenever and however we can.
themselves. Advocacy manager Ruth
Wanganui Park Secondary College
One of the more creative stigma-
Barr and project worker Meg Chester
Shepparton, Footscray City
busting initiatives we’ve embarked
co-ordinated the project.
College and Fitzroy High School
on, ilikeyou, was a unique project that paired people with a mental illness with secondary school students. ilikeyou, which was supported by the Grollo Foundation, asked students to take a photographic portrait of their partner that captured something about them in a positive way.
The inspiration came from the belief that direct contact between people with and people without a mental illness
were given the opportunity to learn about mental illness while developing their photographic skills.
is the best way to break down barriers.
The exhibition of their work was
It’s the view of US-based Patrick
launched with the support of state
Corrigan, who delivered the 2007
member for Northcote Fiona
Bruce Woodcock memorial lecture.
Richardson at newNorth gallery
open minds “I’ve never really understood what bipolar was all about,” said Jen a mother from Northcote. “Now at least I’ve got a handle on it.”
Open Mind Fiesta photography by www.urbanartistry.com.au (9416 5076)
1. Judge's Choice Award. Rachel, Footscray City College for her portrait of Phil.
2. People’s Choice Award. Sophie, Fitzroy High School for her portrait of Arthur.
in Fairfield, which generously opened
shared $500 and the pair behind the
I’ve also learned that mental illness
its exhibition space to support the
people’s choice award shared in $300.
in a person should be embraced, as
project. Works were later displayed at the Open Mind Day Fiesta at which the overall and people’s choice winners were announced. The winning pair
One young photographer wrote: “I feel more compassion towards
like everything else it contributes to the person they are.”
people with a mental illness.
View other entries in the gallery section at www.mifellowship.org.au (see People and their stories, page 8)
people and their stories
pathways Ben with his dog photographed by Tananda from the ilikeyou portrait exhibition
Ben Rinaudo grew up in Africa, going to school
It was around that time that I started acting unpredictably
in Niger and Nigeria. Since returning to Australia
and not like myself at all. Usually, I’m a pretty quiet guy,
to live he has travelled independently and with
almost shy, but during this period there were times when
his family to Kenya, South Africa and Lesotho
I was the complete opposite of that and became an extrovert.
with aid organisations. In 2005 he presented his honours thesis to the UN World Congress on Family Law and Children’s Rights in South Africa on the subject of “The liberation of women in cult slavery in Ghana”. This is Ben’s story of dealing with mental illness. You often hear about people developing a mental illness when they are teenagers. It was much later than that for me. I’d just gotten back from spending 12 months working in Kiribati as an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development and had decided to study for my honours degree in international and community development. It wasn’t too serious at first. I had some symptoms of anxiety and depression but nothing that I couldn’t handle. Some days were good days and some were bad days. And then there were mainly bad days.
At the start of 2007, everything came to a head for me. I had started to have hallucinations and symptoms of paranoia. Eventually I had a bit of a breakdown and wound up being hospitalised in a psychiatric ward. That was more than 18 months ago now. Recovery hasn’t been an easy process at all, it’s been slow and frustrating and there were definitely times I felt like giving up but, looking back now, I can see how far I’ve come. And life’s a lot better now. I am studying, have started my own gardening business, am tutoring English to a refugee family and am a community educator for the Mental Illness Fellowship. Recently, I’ve started to share my experiences with other people. I’ve worked with student photographers as part of the ‘ilikeyou’ project and was at the Open Mind Fiesta where I took part in the Living Books program. This has been really important to me as I think we all need to treat mental illness
I had a lot of trouble getting to sleep at night. Study was
just like any other illness and accept people with a mental
getting harder and harder and I just couldn’t concentrate
illness as part of the community.
the way that I used to be able to.
It has been really important to focus on getting better, be prepared to take baby steps and allow my family and friends to help me. I am not completely well yet but I plan to keep working towards wellness.
mi voice update – email newsletter Stay in touch with the latest news and events in mental health. Register your details at www.mifellowship.org. It’s free, private and you can unsubscribe at any time.
new handbook for family and friends Following the release of our participant handbooks
This booklet, along with the
earlier this year, we have now developed a family and
existing participant handbook,
friends handbook. The handbook is designed to be an
is now available in all
introductory document for family and friends of people
MI Fellowships programs.
with mental illness, where they can find information on • MI Fellowship services on offer • what their rights and responsibilities are • privacy information • our complaints process • and other organisations that they can go to for further information and support.
Check it out SEW’s annual golf day resulted in
a big cheque with a beautiful set of numbers. Thanks to SEW-Eurodrive for the $165,000 raised in the 11th annual charity event for MI Fellowship. This work of art has a special place in the Fairfield office reception.
Don’t put up with pests Advanced Pest Management is offering MI Fellowship members a 10 per cent discount on pest control services. Advanced Pest Management has been operating for six years and the manager/owners have a combined experience of 36 years in the industry.
They have worked in a voluntary capacity for the Fellowship servicing any venue requiring attention. All pests are dealt with efficiently. The list includes ants, spiders, cockroaches, silverfish, fleas, rats, mice, termites and bird control. www.advancedpestmanagement.com.au Phone: 1300 784 370
date for your diary in 2008 Volunteer thank you party – Wednesday 3 December | Find out more about all activities by calling 03 8486 4200 or visit www.mifellowship.org
Welcome to the final issue of clout! for the year. The past three months have been buzzing with activity with our membership renewal drive, the annual general meeting, the production of a great annual report and a very successful Open Mind Fiesta.
As a result of our membership renewal drive you are one of more than 1200 active members whose voice and participation in activities contribute to the services and advocacy that MI Fellowship provides throughout Victoria. By now you should have received your copy of the annual report. However, if you didn’t and would like one mailed to you please get in touch with us or download an electronic copy from the website. A special thank you to all members who volunteered their time at the 2008 Open Mind Fiesta. More than 300 volunteers gave their time and energy towards a fantastic day full of community spirit. On the advocacy front we will be submitting to the Victorian inquiry into provision of supported accommodation for people with mental illness, and to the review of the Mental Health Act – contact the advocacy team for more information or to contribute your views. May I also take this opportunity to wish you all the best for the festive season and I look forward to being back in touch in the new year.
The lowdown on managing credit Members at the forum on managing credit picked up useful financial tips and strategies. Presenters Celia Tikotin from the Consumer Action Law Centre and Steve Cowell from State Trustees talked about managing credit card debt, how to deal with pushy debt collectors and options for debt prevention and ongoing financial management. Did you know • pensions are protected by law. A debt collector cannot demand repayments if the pension is the only source of income. • you have many rights even if you have outstanding debts. There are laws protecting you and controlling the behaviour of debt collectors and lenders. • an administration order can be sought to authorise a person who cares for someone with a mental illness, to better manage their funds. A legally appointed administrator has the role of protecting an individual’s assets, enabling collection of income and other entitlements and distributing this income for general expenses. If you missed this forum free advice can be sought from the Consumer Action Law Centre (see below) or contact State Trustees at www.statetrustees.com.au
service profile: Consumer Action Law Centre Consumer Action Law Centre (CALC) is an independent,
important consumer issues at a government level, in the media,
not-for-profit, campaign focused, casework and
and in the community directly.
policy organisation. CALC provides free legal advice and representation to vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers across Victoria, and is the largest specialist consumer legal practice in Australia. CALC is also a
The website www.consumeraction.org.au provides a wealth of information including more than 30 fact sheets covering debt and financial management.
nationally recognised and influential policy and research
To get free advice or to arrange a free appointment with an
body, pursuing a law reform agenda across a range of
adviser call 1300 881 020 or email your question to CALC at firstname.lastname@example.org
2009 Members’ forum series – call for topics of interest
We will soon be setting dates for the 2009 forums and would
Member forums are driven by the voices of members like
To send through a topic for consideration either contact
you who advise us of topics that are of concern or interest
Stacia or Hayley via phone or e-mail using the contact
in your experience of mental illness.
details provided below.
love to hear from you with suggestions for topics to be covered.
To send feedback to Stacia Beazley call 8486 4250 To renew your membership or update your details with Hayley Dodd call 8486 4220 or contact email@example.com
s d r a mivoice
and the winners are...
w a Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria has awarded its highest individual accolade to a man who
turned personal tragedy into a crusade for better understanding of mental health issues.
The Mental Illness Fellowship award This year’s Mental Illness Fellowship Award, given to a
participant or carer for their contribution to participants and carers in MI Fellowship programs, goes to David
John McGrath, the former National Party MP, inaugural
Richards. David first got involved with MI Fellowship as
chairman of the Mental Health Council of Australia
an Open Mind Fiesta volunteer and has since gone on to
and chairman of the Victorian Ministerial Advisory
Committee on mental health, is the latest recipient of the Fellowship’s Blickle award.
The Blickle award is only awarded to those people
who have made a sustained impact on the development of the field of mental health outside of the Mental Illness Fellowship.
lend his business skills and experience to the Flat Bottle Company and, now, to mi cleaning. David has actively implemented the vision of increasing the community
participation of people with mental illness by providing them with employment opportunities.
Mental Illness Fellowship community award
In June this year John McGrath was made a Member
Two of the nominees were so close this year the judges
of the Order of Australia for service to the community
awarded them both.
through a range of mental health organisations, to the Victorian Parliament and to the National Party.
Cameron and Sebastian Mangiameli, owners of a motel in Shepparton have hosted training, workshops and
His dedication to the field stems from his sons Shane and
overnight stays for MI Fellowship staff and established a
Darren being diagnosed with a mental illness. Shane was
traineeship to employ a person with a mental illness in their
just 28 when he committed suicide on April 16, 1993.
business and provided encouragement and support to
He has spoken of the “cloak of secrecy” that families
other people with a mental illness looking for employment.
feel forced to hide behind because of community
Sue and Bryan Drummond, have donated their holiday
misunderstanding and lack of appropriate and balanced
house in Jan Juc (‘Pete’s Place’) for more than 10 years
education on mental health issues.
without charge, so that people with mental illness may
“If we are going to achieve a situation where people with a health problem get treated equally and adequately, whether that problem is physical or mental, then we need to educate service providers as well as the wider community that mental health services need to reach acceptable standards,” he once wrote.
enjoy respite by the beach with their families. They have been extremely flexible and generous, enabling MI Fellowship to access the property with a level of informality that is important for the participants.
Doris Wisniewski 2007 student of the year awards
“I am inspired by the life experience of my two sons and
Once again, Doris Wisniewski herself presented the
the thousands of courageous people I have met who
Certificate of General Education for Adult Student
deal with their particular mental illness on a daily basis.”
of the Year award, which was named in honour of
Volunteer of the year
her lifelong commitment to education and learning. Award winning students Phillip Connolly and Paul
Award winner Frances McCredie is a diligent and spirited
DiSipio were recognised for a range of skills including
volunteer who has contributed for many years in roles at
their commitment to improving their academic skills,
the Northcote and Kew opportunity shops, as well as in
their willingness to motivate and help other students and
admin work at Fairfield Place. On top of all that, Frances
their drive to plan for future education and employment.
organises a fortnightly micro-community get together for 11 others in her residential apartment block, cooking a community meal. She also visits the gym and attends art classes at her local community house.
Fairfield’s Open Mind Fiesta attracted huge crowds and the local paper The Northcote Leader was there capturing the atmosphere. Chief Executive : : Elizabeth Crowther Editorial : : Hootville Communications Design : : Room44, Lisa Minichiello Printing : : Bambra Press MI Voice is for members and aims to keep them informed of the latest information on mental illness and our advocacy work. It is also our opportunity to keep potential and existing supporters and donors informed of the Mental Illness Fellowship’s activities and the difference their contribution makes. MI Voice is the quarterly publication of the Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria, Fairfield Place 276 Heidelberg Road, Fairfield, Victoria, Australia, 3078.
Telephone : : 03 8486 4200 Email : : firstname.lastname@example.org Website : : www.mifellowship.org
board of directors
Mental Illness Fellowship retains the right to edit articles. Please note that the opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Editor or the Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria.
Vice President : : Ms Louise Milne-Roch
© Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria. All rights reserved. ACN 093 357 165 ABN 93 093 357 165 ISSN 0816 7877
President : :
The Hon. Robert Knowles
Secretary : :
Mrs Diane Brown
Treasurer : :
Ms Jenny King
Directors : : Mr Darrel Drieberg, Mr Nathan Shafir, Prof Christos Pantelis, Mrs Elaine Price, Ms Lyn Allison, Ms Lesley Miles, Mr Paul Montgomery, Mr Theo Krambias
thank you to our supporters
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