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VMIAC E-Bulletin

VMIAC is an organization for people who have had mental or emotional health problems. VMIAC is run by people who have had mental or emotional health problems. VMIAC believes that people with personal experience of mental health problems have a valuable role to play in the developments of mental health services. VMIAC is committed to active consumer participation at all levels of the mental health system.

In this Edition: 1. SAFE in Oz: 2. Wild@heART arts projects: 3. Concern On Mental Health (The Age): 4. PDRSS Departmental Bulletin: 5. End 'cruel' smoking ban, says health campaigner: 6. Seeking Vol Research Study Monash Alfred Psychiatric Research Centre: 7. Equal Opportunity Law Overview: 8. National Mental Health Commission Update: 9. Health Workforce Australia: 10. Art therapy proving a boost for mental illness: 11. National Mental Health Consumer Organisation Establishment Project: 12. Kava Plant works for Anxiety; Research: 13. Bipolar Confusion Worries Medical Experts: 14. Equal Opportunity Act Overview: 15. Gary McDonald heads up Anxiety Campaign: 16. Artist Mentoring Project: 17. Using the Commission’s free dispute resolution service: 18. World Music Workshop Program:

The email is sent every week and contains items which may interest mental health consumers, carers and service providers and which otherwise they may not be able to access. Thank you for subscribing to this VMIAC email if you wish to unsubscribe please contact info@vmiac.org.au Bill Moon or Dominic Troughton Information Officer Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council Tel (03)9380 3900 http://www.vmiac.org.au/This message is intended for the addressee and may contain confidential information. If you are not the intended recipient, please delete this message and notify the sender. Views expressed are those of the document initiator/writer, and are not necessarily the views of the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council.

DATE:31/May/2013

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1/ SAFE in Oz: SAFE in Oz will be presenting ‘An Introduction To Working With Individuals Who Have Self-Destructive Behaviour’ a 2 day workshop in partnership with the City of Geelong Youth Development Unit in Geelong – 18th & 19th June 2013 … Link to Geelong Training Workshop Flyer ... …in partnership with Advance TAFE will be presenting in Bairnsdale – 2nd & 3rd July 2013 … Link to Bairnsdale Training Workshop Flyer ... in Pakenham – 24th & 25th September 2013 … Link to Pakenham Training Workshop Flyer ... …in partnership with Advance TAFE will be presenting in Sale – 3rd & 4th October 2013 … Link to Sale Training Workshop Flyer ... in Shepparton – 22nd & 23rd October 2013 … Link to Shepparton Training Workshop Flyer ... Click the links to the Workshop Flyers and an electronic Registration Form is attached for your convenience… Issue 31 – Hope, Help & Hanging Out – Bi-monthly Newsletter… Link to Issue 31 - Hope, Help & Hanging Out - Bi-monthly Newsletter... I would greatly appreciate you forwarding this information throughout your SAFE in Oz aim to give workshop participants an insight into the headspace of a person who participates in self-destructive behaviour/s in order to better understand their ‘real’ world and life experiences. Day 1 – What is it all about? What is self-destructive behaviour? How do we know it is a self-destructive behaviour? Why do individuals do it? How does it deliberate? What are the triggers for self-destructive behaviour and why does it continue to happen?

DATE:31/May/2013

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Day 2 – Our response to Self-Destructive behaviour/s. Meeting the needs of someone who with self-destructive behaviour/s. Hospitalisation and associated problems. Treatment environments and points of intervention. Boundaries, support plans and essentials for behavioural change. Meeting the needs and supporting the worker. Introduction to ’Facilitating the SAFE in Oz Consumer Program’ a three day facilitator training workshop. Throughout the workshop, SAFE in Oz will encourage participants to employ strength based practice, in collaboration with their clients, as a means to discovering a myriad of healthier alternative behaviours to use in response to their inner trauma. As this behaviour does not impact solely on the physical aspect of an individual’s life, the workshop also links self-destructive behaviour to its impact on the, emotional, spiritual and social aspects of life and explore the related long term effects. The workshop will discuss the connection of this behaviour and suicide, BPD [Borderline Personality Disorder], mental illness, sexual assault and domestic violence, offering an insight of the link with adolescence. The presentation mode for the workshop is both interactive and activity based and includes ‘real’ case studies, PowerPoint presentation, DVD and an interactive game. Each workshop participant is provided with a SAFE in Oz presentation folder. The folder includes a workbook for each day which contains a copy of the PowerPoint presentation, activity pages and additional subject related reference material. The activity sheets include strategies and tools for use with clients, while the reference material acts to enhance understanding, give insight into related topics and support you in your work practice. You can access information on our website and links to our Training Calendar, individual workshop information, generic registration form and our bi-monthly newsletter – ‘Hope, Help & Hanging Out’ There are limited places for the workshops.

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DATE:31/May/2013

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2/ Wild@heART arts projects Check this out.. Wild@heART have three new fantastic interactive creative arts projects starting in Melbourne soon for people who identify in some way with a mental health story. These exciting new projects offer you a great opportunity to get together with other people who 'get Mi', work in creative spaces, and to maybe even change the world a little through your stories and your voice. Please contact the wonderful Phil at: phil@wildatheart.org.au or phone: 9326 9970 for further info and to register your interest in either/all the workshops. Hope I see you at one of these soon... xHeidi Songwriting Workshops in Heidelberg Mondays 1 - 4pm Scots Uniting Church Community Rooms 187 Burgundy St, Heidelberg Weekly songwriting and music workshops for people living with mental health challenges from Banyule, Heidelberg West and beyond. A fabulous creative and social environment for beginners to advanced songwriters. Learn how to write your own songs, play and sing them and record using an iPad. Then, be part of our regular Strumarama songwriters nights. Workshops led by well known musicians and mental health advocate Heidi Everett and Dan Flynn. $5 per week, all materials supplied. No experience needed, just a desire to sing and share your story. This is a great way to have a go at making real music! In partnership with, and supported by, NEAMI Heidelberg. Mi Culture.. Your story, your voice Thursdays 2-5pm from 13 June North Melbourne Town Hall 521 Queensberry St (cnr Errol St)

DATE:31/May/2013

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A creative, multi-artform project for people living with mental illness to explore their stories through arts making and performance. Workshops are led by experienced and inspiring storytellers and group facilitators. Tell your story and be part of a fantastic project that will enable our voices to be heard and seen. $5 per week, all materials supplied Artist Mentoring Program For emerging musicians and performing artists with disability or mental health background Starting in July register your interest now North Melbourne Town Hall 521 Queensberry St (cnr Errol St) Work with peers and industry mentors to achieve your artistic and career goals. Where do you want to go with your art? Be part of a great network of performance artists and challenge yourself to be great! $5 per week

DATE:31/May/2013

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Contact details: phil@wildatheart.org.au or phone: 9326 9970

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DATE:31/May/2013

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3/ Concern On Mental Health (AGE):

Concern on mental health Date May 26, 2013

Victorian Mental Health Minister Mary Wooldridge. Photo: Wayne Taylor

Victoria's Mental Health Minister Mary Wooldridge has little understanding of the treatment options available for seriously mentally ill young people in custody, youth justice workers say. Ms Wooldridge told the public accounts and estimates committee this week that youths in custody underwent a comprehensive health assessment when they entered a juvenile justice facility, which included an assessment of their mental health needs. She said in addition to on-site health professionals and services to treat those with mental health issues, young people who were seriously ill and in need of further help could be admitted to a youth mental health facilities if necessary. But those looking after youth detainees said people in urgent need of help often got none because there was nowhere appropriate to send them to get the treatment they required. ''The facilities that are out there in the community are not secure and these kids just take off straight away if they are sent there,'' one youth justice worker said. ''The staff at these places also usually refuse to accept anyone who has shown any signs of violence or aggression, and in some of these seriously mentally ill kids who might be going through a psychotic episode, which does happen, they can get aggressive. These places are just not suitable, so they just remain in custody and, in some cases, they get worse.'' Ms Wooldridge's comments followed questioning about why Victoria did not have a secure mental health facility for young people, even though Ombudsman George Brouwer recommended in 2010 that one be considered to better treat the mental health needs of young offenders. He noted when an adult was sentenced to jail and presented with significant psychiatric problems, a judge or magistrate had the option of detaining them at Thomas Embling Hospital.

DATE:31/May/2013

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''This facility is operated by mental health professionals for offenders who are mentally ill. There is no comparable facility for young offenders who are mentally ill and sentenced to detainment,'' he said in his report, Investigation into conditions at the Melbourne Youth Justice Precinct. Ms Wooldridge told the public accounts and estimates committee the current system was considered the best way to treat young, mentally ill people in custody, ''rather than having a system that perhaps pulls everyone out and puts them into a youth mental health facility''. But another youth justice worker said this suggested ''she knows very little about what really goes on in the system and what sort of help these kids really need. We are doing what we can to try and help these kids, but it's just not good enough.'' A spokesman for Ms Wooldridge refused to answer any of Fairfax Media's questions this week. But shadow minister for youth justice Jenny Mikakos said she was ''very concerned'' that not enough was being done. ''I think that the extent of the problem is being seriously underestimated, and unless we focus on these issues and what these young people need, it is very difficult to properly rehabilitate someone and reintegrate them back into the community on their release and keep them out of the juvenile justice system,'' she said.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/concern-on-mental-health-20130525-2n3z1.html#ixzz2Upo9Smwx

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DATE:31/May/2013

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4/ PDRSS Departmental Bulletin: Dear All Please see the link below for the second departmental e-bulletin which provides information to all interested stakeholders about progress in the reform of the Victorian Psychiatric Disability Rehabilitation and Support Services (PDRSS) program. www.health.vic.gov.au/mentalhealth/pdrss-reform This bulletin provides an overview of the key policy decisions announced in a recent ministerial communiquĂŠ (March 2013) and an update on the recommissioning process and key developmental projects that will inform and support PDRSS reform. The bulletin also provides an update on forums and meetings that have been conducted over the last few months to provide information and further engage providers, consumers and carers in the program of reform. We have now established a dedicated email address through which anyone can ask questions about the reform. Answers will be posted on the PDRSS reform webpage for everyone to see. This will ensure information and advice is provided to all interested parties in a fair and transparent way, consistent with probity requirements. This arrangement applies from the 1 June 2013 and will stay in place until the final announcement of all successful providers. The email address is: pdrss.reform@health.vic.gov.au I encourage you check updates and view more detailed material on the reform of this program at: www.health.vic.gov.au/mentalhealth/pdrss-reform Regards Paul http://www.health.vic.gov.au/mentalhealth/pdrss-reform/ Top

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5/ End 'cruel' smoking ban, says health campaigner: Australia's leading anti-tobacco campaigner claims the NSW government has gone too far in forcing its outdoor smoking reforms onto vulnerable psychiatric patients held in public hospitals. Ashley Coleman took his life in March after being granted an unsupervised cigarette break off-site from Liverpool Hospital's mental health unit - where smoking has been banned. Now Coleman's distraught family have found an unlikely ally in renowned tobacco control lobbyist Simon Chapman, who has backed their call for a review of laws that force psychiatric patients to quit smoking when admitted. Professor Chapman, who has won international awards for leadership in tobacco control, said he is in favour of ''dedicated smoking zones where people can go''. ''There are some important and under-discussed ethical issues in depriving people of their rights,'' he said. ''But somehow, when you are a patient, your rights to do as you please are suddenly suspended - even if you are not hurting other people.'' As a sufferer of schizophrenia, Coleman had been in and out of Liverpool Hospital's mental health unit for six years. Previously, he and other patients were able to smoke, under supervision, in a small, open-air courtyard next to the ward. But under amendments passed by NSW Parliament last year, psychiatric patients across NSW are now confronted with a ''tobacco replacement program'', which includes nicotine patches, educational classes and, in rare cases, leave passes off-site. Having presented himself to Liverpool Hospital in February, Coleman, 25, had remained in the mental health unit as an involuntary patient until March 30, when he was found dead at the nearby railway station after asking if he could leave the grounds for a cigarette. ''The system in place has failed,'' Coleman's father, Mark, said. ''The anti-smoking laws, as they stand, are too rigid. ''When people like my son are admitted, they are already suffering from conditions such as severe depression, anxiety issues and suicidal tendencies - without the added burden of suddenly being told they must quit. It seems cruel and unjust.'' He called on the O'Farrell government to show ''compassion''. Family Drug Support founder Tony Trimingham is also campaigning for changes after witnessing the ''horror'' that was endured by an autistic and schizophrenic family member in Goulburn Hospital's mental health ward in October. ''All was fine until he wanted a cigarette and was told that policy now said he couldn't,'' he said.

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Mr Trimingham said the situation triggered an ''emotional outburst'' which led to him being placed in ''total isolation'' for 48 hours. ''In most social settings, banning smoking is perfectly reasonable,'' he said. ''But when people have mental illnesses like these, it is ludicrous to enforce this sort of law.'' Anne Jones, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health Australia, said mental health units were given a much longer period of time to go smoke-free and it would be a ''retrograde step'' if they returned to the ''bad old days''. She said: ''There is overwhelming evidence that the health and treatment of people with psychiatric illnesses is significantly worsened if they smoke - and significantly improved if they quit.'' Health Minister Jillian Skinner declined to comment. A Liverpool Hospital spokeswoman said its smoke-free policy mirrored NSW Health guidelines across the state. ''Inpatients are routinely assessed for nicotine dependency and offered appropriate advice and nicotine replacement therapy to manage withdrawal.'' She said it was wrong to imply inpatients were granted ''smoke breaks'' off-site. ''After careful assessment and, where clinically appropriate, mental health patients are granted escorted leave as part of their rehabilitation plan,'' she said. ''If patients respond well, they can be granted short periods of unescorted leave.'' For crisis support and suicide prevention services, phone Lifeline 13 11 14. Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/end-cruel-smoking-ban-says-healthcampaigner-20130525-2n3rb.html#ixzz2UkgWGF5L Top

DATE:31/May/2013

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6/ Seeking Volunteers re Research Study Monash Alfred Psychiatric Research Centre: My name is Imogen Bell and I am working on a research project with a team of people through the Monash Alfred Psychiatric Research Centre (MAPrc). We are currently recruiting participants with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and any people between the ages of 35-65 with no current mental illness. In short, from the participant perspective, we would be asking people to come to see us on level 4 of 607 st kilda road for two sessions which would run at about 2.5 hours each. People without a diagnosis will come in for a single session lasting about 4 hours. They would also be required to provide a blood sample and will be reimbursed $80 for their participation. Study blurb: The purpose of this project is to examine the role of genetics in the development of symptoms of psychosis. Specifically, we are interested symptoms related to language and thinking skills. Language symptoms include auditory hallucinations and thought disorder and the thinking skills describe cognitive performance generally. There is evidence that specific genes may relate to language function across a range of disorders and we are hoping to link this gene to language symptoms in psychosis. Further, we will examine the prevalence of these genes in relatives. Participants will be asked to visit the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre on St Kilda Rd in Prahran to complete a series of tasks. These tasks include discussing the symptoms experienced by participants, filling out questionnaires, and completing tasks relating to thinking and eye movements. Participants will also be required to donate a small sample of blood to allow analysis of specific genes. To date, gene studies have been limited by an examination of genes across schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder in a general way. Our hope is that by examining genes as they relate to specific symptoms, we will provide a clearer picture of the genetic basis of specific symptoms of psychosis. This study has ethical approval through the Alfred Hospital (ethics approval number 127/11). I have attached a copy of our full ethics form, our ethics approval, some additional information, and also our advertisement. Thank you; Regards, Erica Neill and Imogen Bell Contact: Erica Neill 9076 5172 erica.neill@monash.edu

(Please see accompanying attachments)

DATE:31/May/2013

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DATE:31/May/2013

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7/ Equal Opportunity Act 2010: an overview : (Carlton) - 20 August:

Equal Opportunity Act 2010: an overview : (Carlton) - 20 August

20 August 2013 (Carlton): Recommended for people and organisations needing a quick understanding of their key responsibilities under Victoria’s equal opportunity laws. Whether you are an employer, a provider of goods and services (including education and accommodation), a club (including sports clubs) or a local government authority, you have obligations under Victoria’s equal opportunity laws. This free briefing will help you understand what you have to do and how the Commission can help you. Contact Name: Jessica Harris Contact Phone: (03) 90323415 Contact Email: education@veohrc.vic.gov.au Website: humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au

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8/national mental health commission update:

30 May 2013

Last chance to help inform the National Contributing Life Project This week is your last chance to have a say on the National Contributing Life Project through the consultation survey. Your input will help develop a regular and independent qualitative survey of people with mental health difficulties, their families and support people. The consultation survey seeks your feedback and comment to help inform the development and methdology of the national survey; a commitment made by the Commission in our first Report Card. The consultation survey closes on Friday 31st May. We appreciate your time and feedback on this important project. Thank you. Complete the consultation survey

What's On National Reconciliation Week 27 May - 3rd June My Choice, My Control, My Future: DisabilityCare Australia conference 23 - 24th June Suicide Prevention Australia conference 25 - 26th July Commission meeting - Port Hedland, WA 18 - 19 July Keep up to date with news and events

What is the NCLP? A regular qualitative, whole-of-life survey that will capture the experiences of people with mental health difficulties and their families and supporters. This will ensure that real experiences drive our future Reports and national reform directions and that people's voices and views are heard and respected. You can read the project update to find out more and what work is currently underway here. Find out more

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DATE:31/May/2013

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9/ Health Workforce Australia:

HEALTH WORKFORCE AUSTRALIA MENTAL HEALTH PEER WORKFORCE PROJECT – ONLINE SURVEY A collaboration with the National Mental Health Commission The mental health peer workforce is a growing part of the mental health and community services workforce. Health Workforce Australia (HWA), working with the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC), is keen to understand how peer workers are contributing to the provision of mental health services. To assist with this project, information will be gathered from peer workers through an online survey. The focus is on mental health peer workers employed and paid, whose position responsibilities involve the direct sharing of their lived experience as a consumer or carer with others. The survey will be open in the week beginning 3 June 2013 for a period of some four weeks, closing on 30 June 2013. You are encouraged to bring the survey to the attention of peer workers at your service or in your networks, using the link below. We appreciate your assistance in reaching as many mental health peer workers as possible. http://www.hwaconnect.net.au

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DATE:31/May/2013

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10/ Art therapy proving a boost for mental illness

Art therapy proving a boost for mental illness By Stephanie Dalzell Updated Thu May 30, 2013 7:58pm AEST

PHOTO: A painting by artist Liz Kelder is part of the Wired Differently

exhibition. (Liz Kelder) MAP: Shenton Park 6008

In an art studio at Graylands Health Campus, Liz Kelder sits on one of several chairs, slouching over a plastic plate of white and purple paint. She mixes the two colours furiously, before cautiously and deliberately applying the resulting lilac to one of three separate trees painted on a small canvas. She won't say how old she is, mumbling that she's "over 50," but she does say that she has been painting for decades, since she was a small child. It's a childhood she does not like to talk about, a childhood of abuse and trauma. But with every brush stroke, she paints over those memories, and forges new ones. Liz Kelder was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder about three-and-a-half years ago, and shortly afterwards was referred to an art therapy program at Graylands. She says since then, her art has become her salvation. "It made me realise that I needed to dig further, I needed to look further into what was happening and find a way through the black and white," she said. Art therapist Danita Walsh says the program has also brought others struggling with mental illness to the easel. Therapeutic She's been involved in that journey for the past 11 years and says the program gives people struggling with mental illness a way to express themselves. "It provides people a different way of communicating that is largely non-verbal, but also provides them a way of exploring inner thoughts and feelings, trauma, grief and loss in a visual means," Ms Walsh says. In a small gallery next to the art studio, more than a dozen of Liz Kelder's finest pieces crowd the walls. Her work was chosen to be displayed as part of a solo exhibition, and while it's only been open to the public for an hour, red 'SOLD' stickers can be found firmly stuck on most of the pieces.

DATE:31/May/2013

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Liz Kelder's favourite piece is a triptych: three single paintings hanging side-by-side. The first shows a male figure cloaked in darkness, lurking in the background of a West Australian desert landscape. In the foreground, a baby's bottle lies beside three beers. The next shows the same landscape, stark and lonely. A clothes line made of barbed wire holds two single pairs of underwear: a man's, and a child's. The final part shows a door slightly ajar. Behind it, is darkness. In front, lies two pairs of shoes: a blue pair of dainty sandals, and a pair of unlaced boots. It's the most confronting piece in the exhibition, and Ms Kelder says it was the hardest to do. "This is really symbolic, it's something I've thought about a lot: the power play between a child and an adult. "If I had the courage I would have started with those, but they're towards the end because I didn't have the courage to do it." Another piece paints the scene of one of Ms Kelder's recurring childhood dreams: a black and white forest with a pale, ghost-like face in the background. "This made me realise that I needed to dig further, I needed to look further into what was happening and find a way through the black and white," she said. Old friends The use of art therapy to help people with mental illness is not new. For centuries, mental illness has featured in the lives of some of the world's most celebrated artists. But Danita Walsh says in recent times, how, and why it helps is becoming increasingly clear. "Art therapy is a service on the rise, people want to find another way to express themselves, and express what trauma they've gone through," she said. For Liz Kelder, it also helps her husband and four children understand the full effects of her mental illness. "I don't have to use words, sometimes words aren't so easy to explain," she said. And she says the true beauty of her art is that she doesn't have to use words to heal old wounds. "It's sort of letting go of emotions that I've held in, or thoughts and feelings. It lets them loose and then I can go on and deal with them." For more information on the Graylands arts program visit: http://www.health.wa.gov.au/arttherapy/cecat/contact.cfm Topics: contemporary-art, shenton-park-6008 First posted Thu May 30, 2013 7:55pm AEST

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11/ NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH CONSUMER ORGANISATION ESTABLISHMENT PROJECT: The Consumer Reference Group (CRG) and Mental Health Council of Australia met in Canberra on 2-3 May 2013. Find attached the CRG communique highlighting the themes and achivements of the lastest meeting. The CRG have come up with some possible vision and mission statements for the new organisation. Have a read, then follow the link to have your say through on online survey. You can also read about the engagment and communications strategy, developing the constitution, and other current work of the Project. Thanks again for registering your interest, and be sure to distribute the communique to your networks. Kind regards NMHCO Establishment Project Team National Mental Health Consumer Organisation Establishment Project

Consumer Reference Group Communique Canberra, 2-3 May 2013 Looking to the Future: Our Vision and Mission for the New Organisation The Consumer Reference Group (CRG) and Mental Health Council of Australia (MHCA) continue to develop the new national mental health consumer peak body. Aimed at having a positive impact on the lives of people living with mental illness, the new organisation will be a peak body that truly represents hope and change. Creating our vision and mission The CRG agreed that aspirational overarching vision and mission statements for the new organisation are an immediate priority. They will provide clarity about the role and purpose of the organisation and its position within the Australian community. These statements will also provide an important focus as the CRG and the MHCA continue to develop the governance framework for the new organisation. The CRG came up with these ideas: Possible vision statements DATE:31/May/2013

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1 A world where we live the life we want 2. Lives changed, lives lived 3. Inspiring hope and changing lives together 4. Nothing about us without us1 1 Please note: this phrase has been used in the mental health and disability advocacy sectors nationally and internationally. It was also the vision of the previous mental health consumer peak, the Australian Mental Health Consumer Network. Possible mission statements 1. To change lives and inspire hope though advocacy, cultural change, participation and leadership 2. A national voice for the diversity of consumers to influence policy, improve services, and be involved 3. To increase the wellbeing of mental health in the Australian community, through engaging people with lived experience 4. To represent mental health consumers through advocacy, cultural change, participation, leadership and hope 5. To improve the lives of people with mental illness, through advocacy cultural change, participation and leadership Have your say These statements are examples of what the vision and mission might look like for the new organisation. However, the final statements will be informed by your feedback. The CRG encourages everyone to provide feedback on the suggested statements, or to provide alternative views to help the new organisation best represent the needs of mental health consumers in Australia. Yes I would like to have a say! If you would like to comment on the vision and mission for the new organisation please follow this link http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1260970/Our-Vision-and-MissionNational-Mental-Health-Consumer-Organisation-Establishment-Project or access the feedback form directly on the website http://mhconsumer.org.au. National Mental Health Consumer Organisation Establishment Project

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First CRG recommendation endorsed by the MHCA Board The MHCA Board is responsible for decisions about the new organisation’s governance structures, with guidance from the CRG. An exciting outcome following the February 2013 CRG meeting was MHCA Board endorsement of the CRG recommendation that the new organisation be a not-for-profit Company Limited by Guarantee. This is the first step in establishing the governance framework for the new organisation. Engagement and Communication Strategy Essential Media Communication (EMC) are working with the CRG and MHCA on the Engagement and Communication Strategy for the project. EMC were directly involved in the Every Australian Counts National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) campaign and come to the NMHCO Establishment Project with extensive experience working with membership organisations. The EMC team facilitated a workshop on day two of the CRG meeting, which included: – how do we know we have achieved what we set out to do?

Stakeholder interviews will also inform the development of the Strategy. More information on these consultation activities and the development of the Strategy will be available soon. Developing the constitution continues The third governance workshop facilitated by Board Matters provided the opportunity for the CRG to continue working on developing the constitution. The CRG discussed: ‘Scoping Study to inform the Establishment of a New Peak National Mental Health Consumer Organisation’2

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2 ‘Scoping Study to inform the Establishment of a New Peak National Mental Health Consumer Organisation’. Craze Lateral Solutions. 2010 Register your interest The CRG is committed to fostering genuine participation in the establishment of the new national mental health organisation by people with a lived experience of mental health issues and other interested parties across Australia. Anyone interested in mental health reform and social justice is encouraged to register for updates via the project website (see below). We now have over 500 registrations, and look forward to continuing to engage with the diverse mental health community. If you would like to keep up to date on the establishment of the NMHCO please register at www.mhconsumer.org.au. Who are the CRG? The CRG members are talented and skilled mental health consumer advocates committed to shaping a better future. Profiles of CRG members are included on the NMHCO Establishment Project website www.mhconsumer.org.au. http://www.mhconsumer.org.au/consumer-reference-group/crg-members

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12/ Kava Plant works for Anxiety: Research:

Kava plant works for anxiety:research 3:19pm May 13, 2013 The South Pacific kava plant could be an effective and safe treatment for anxiety, according to research by Australian scientists. Anxiety, or excessive worrying, is the most common psychological problem in Australia and affects 14 per cent of the population, according to the Bureau of Statistics. "We've been able to show kava offers a potential natural alternative for the treatment of chronic clinical anxiety," says lead researcher Jerome Sarris from the University of Melbourne Department of Psychiatry. "Compared with some other options, it has less risk of dependency and less potential for side effects." The research is encouraging, but needs a further large multicentre clinical trial to confirm kava as a firstline treatment for generalised anxiety disorders (GAD), he says. An unexpected outcome is that women in Dr Sarris's trial reported increased sex drive. However, this is believed to be from a reduction of anxiety rather than any aphrodisiac effect. Indigenous people throughout Polynesia use the roots of the plant as a sedative. "We are not saying kava is a replacement for integrated care. People with anxiety should seek appropriate advice from a health professional, which could include a GP, a psychologist or a degree-qualified naturopath," says Dr Sarris. During the eight-week Australian study, 75 patients with clinically diagnosed GAD were given kava or a placebo. Results published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology show a significant reduction in anxiety for the kava group compared with the placebo group. Kava was most effective in patients diagnosed with moderate to severe GAD. There had been concerns kava would impair liver function. "The trial showed that in this modest sample it was well tolerated and had no side effects or addiction issues," says Dr Sarris. Brian Graetz from the mental health charity beyondblue says one in four Australians experience an anxiety condition in their lifetime, but "it is very treatable". People should talk to their doctor before taking any product or medication for anxiety, he says. The study was funded by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and Integria Healthcare, which manufactures kava products.

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/health/2013/05/13/15/22/kava-plant-works-for-anxiety-research

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13/Bipolar Confusion Worries medical Experts:

Bipolar confusion worries medical experts 9:53am May 10, 2013 Millions of people are being let down by a lack of knowledge about how to diagnose and treat bipolar disorder, according to Australian and international experts.

Bipolar disorder is one of the main causes of suicide in Australia. The mood swings, impaired concentration and impatience in many patients can lead to incorrect diagnoses, including ADHD and clinical depression. There are also several sub-types that exist along a spectrum. These include bipolar one (previously manic depression) and bipolar two. All these conditions need different treatments, and the incorrect treatment can do a lot more harm than good. Now new diagnostic guidelines are about to cause more confusion, says Professor Gin Malhi of the University of Sydney. Writing in one of a series of papers published by The Lancet on Friday, Prof Malhi says the new DSM-5 diagnostic guidelines to be introduced in May will further obscure the boundary between major depression and bipolar disorder. "DSM-5 has moved the goalposts. My concern is diagnosis is going to become more complicated, so that people who don't have the illness get labelled as having it." Asked to comment, Professor Gordon Parker, from the school of psychiatry at the University of New South Wales, says bipolar two affects around five per cent of Australians during their lifetime. "Unfortunately, most professionals have not received training in its detection and diagnosis. The majority of people probably never get diagnosed." His policy is to screen all mood-disorder patients. "I continue to be struck by the high rate of bipolar." Prof Parker says a tendency by most practitioners to treat bipolar one and two disorders in a similar way appears inappropriate, with evidence favouring different mood stabilisers for the separate conditions. One of the Lancet papers says there is a five to 10-year delay between onset and diagnosis of bipolar disorder. The US authors call for urgent effort to find an objective biomarker to differentiate bipolar disorder from clinical depression.

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This could lead to new, personalised, treatments. A biomarker is a measurable characteristic that indicates if a person has a disease. Another paper in the series says there have been no fundamental treatment advances in the past 20 years. The main problem, say the UK authors, is scarce knowledge of basic disease mechanisms. Lithium, developed in Australia in the 1940s, remains the favoured long-term treatment, but its benefits are restricted by adverse effects and alternatives are often needed for long-term treatment, say the authors. * Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. http://news.ninemsn.com.au/health/2013/05/10/09/56/bipolar-confusion-worries-medical-experts Top

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14/ - Equal Opportunity Act 2010: an overview: Equal Opportunity Act 2010: an overview: 13 August (Dandenong)

13 August 2013 (Dandenong): Recommended for people and organisations needing a quick understanding of their key responsibilities under Victoria’s equal opportunity laws. Whether you are an employer, a provider of goods and services (including education and accommodation), a club (including sports clubs) or a local government authority, you have obligations under Victoria’s equal opportunity laws. This free briefing will help you understand what you have to do and how the Commission can help you. Contact Name: Jessica Harris Contact Phone: (03) 90323415 Contact Email: education@veohrc.vic.gov.au Website: humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au Top

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15/ Garry McDonald Heads up Anxiety Campaign:

Garry McDonald heads up anxiety campaign 1:41pm May 6, 2013

Actor Garry McDonald is spearheading a $2 million anxiety awareness campaign after spending years battling the disorder while hamming it up during his comedic career. McDonald, best known for his characters Norman Gunston and later Arthur Beare on Mother and Son, said he always thought anxiety was just part of his personality. "I kind of thought that everyone experienced this, that I was a bit of a wuss, and couldn't handle

it," he said. The Logie-winning actor is now an ambassador for the anxiety campaign by mental health charity and advocacy group beyondblue. The Get To Know Anxiety campaign, launched nationally on Monday, also features a short film starring Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn. Beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell said more than one in four Australians have experienced an anxiety condition, but most are unable to identify it. "Anxiety has doubled the prevalence of depression, but knowledge about this is extraordinarily low," Ms Carnell said. She said many people put up with debilitating anxiety symptoms because like McDonald, they believed they were just a part of their personality. There was also a stigma associated with anxiety, Ms Carnell said. "People were often quite dismissive, they didn't see anxiety as a real condition," Ms Carnell said. "They believed they should be able to suck it up, get on with it, pull up their socks." McDonald said he battled anxiety for 20 years before it culminated in a much publicised nervous breakdown in 1993 while he was trying to revive Norman Gunston for a new series. "I hope this campaign will change the way people understand anxiety," he said. http://news.ninemsn.com.au/health/2013/05/06/13/44/garry-mcdonald-heads-upanxiety-campaign

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16/ Artist mentoring program: A fortnightly 20 week artist mentoring program foremerging musicians and performing artists with disability or mental illness. Participants will work with peers and industry mentors to achieve artistic and career goals.

Contact Name: Bec Anthony Contact Phone: 9326 9970 (Wed-Fri) Contact Email: info@wildatheart.org.au Website: Artist Mentoring Program webpage

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17/ Using the Commission’s free dispute resolution service:

HREOC Using the Commission’s free dispute resolution service

27 June 2013 (Geelong): Recommended for community members, advocates and organisations. The Commission provides a free, fair and timely dispute resolution service to help people resolve disputes about discrimination, sexual harassment, victimisation and racial and religious vilification. This is a free session. Contact Name: Jessica Harris Contact Phone: (03) 90323415 Contact Email: education@veohrc.vic.gov.au Website: humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au

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18/ World Music Workshop Program:

A 10 week fully accessible workshop program with top Melbourne artists teaching the songs, music and dance traditions from Pacific Islands, Asia, Africa, and Latin America, to create a fusion of sound and movement for fun and for public performance. Contact Name: Bec Anthony Contact Phone: 9326 9970 (Wed-Fri) Contact Email: info@wildatheart.org.au Website: World Music webpage Top

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The email is sent every week and contains items which may interest mental VMIAC email if you wish to unsubscribe please contact info@vmiac.org.au Bill Moon or Dominic Troughton Information Officer Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council Tel (03)9380 3900 http://www.vmiac.org.au/This message is intended for the addressee and may contain confidential information. If you are not the intended recipient, please delete this message and notify the sender. Views expressed are those of the document initiator/writer, and are not necessarily the views of the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council.

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Vmiac e bulletin v2 issue 86 v 2