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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/ Software testing with a difference: 2/ Open Studios In the West: 3/ Newsletter: Indigo Daya: 4/ From the mental health council of Victoria: 5/ Webinar: Wednesday, Dec. 5th at 3:00 p.m. EST: 6/ MHLC News: 7/ Centre of Excellence in Peer Support: 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: 28/Nov/2012

VOLUME: 2 VMIAC Bldg 1, 22 Aintree Street, Brunswick East 3057 Tel: 03 3980 3900 Fax: 03 9388 1445 E-mail: info@vmiac.org.au www.vmiac.org.au

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1/ Software testing with a difference Infoxchange Australia, in partnership with Social Firms Australia and Alpha Autism, has established a software testing social firm leveraging the unique talents of people with Asperger’s Syndrome. TestIT focuses on quality, independent and cost-effective testing services, while creating long-term employment opportunities for people facing barriers to work as a result of Asperger’s Syndrome. TestIT offers several fee based testing services to external customers including functional testing, browser compatibility testing and accessibility testing. To find out more about TestIT visit www.testit.infoxchange.net.au 'Our testers have a natural aptitude for software testing. Their testing skills have developed quickly and their ability to identify bugs efficiently is fantastic.' Nyorie Lindner, TestIT Manager.

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

VOLUME: 2 VMIAC Bldg 1, 22 Aintree Street, Brunswick East 3057 Tel: 03 3980 3900 Fax: 03 9388 1445 E-mail: info@vmiac.org.au www.vmiac.org.au

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2/ Open Studios in the West: Yes, it is almost a bit late notice... but I would like to invite you to the Open Studios in the West, happening over the weekend of November 24 and 25. I will have some new work on show at the Big Fish Studios in Moreland St, Footscray, as part of MREAM's Open Studio, I will also be giving a linocut printmaking demonstration on Sunday 25th at 1.30pm The opening party event will be 2-4pm on Saturday 24th ...Do drop in and say hi!! You can visit this website to find all the info about what's on over this weekend. http://www.openstudiosinthewest.net/2012/10/mream-big-fish.html I also have a new artwork in an exhibition, 2012 Picture This, at Gasworks, Albert Park, until November 18. The exhibition will then travel to Geelong's Courthouse Gallery from December 10-15. Please see attached invite. Finally, I have been playing with street art these past few months...you can see some of this work as part of the Footscray Street Art Prize on the street wall in the walkway between the Footscray Mall and Maddern Square...just think 'handstands' and you won't miss it!! Hope to see you somewhere very soon! cheers larissa

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

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3/ Newsletter - Indigo Daya:

The latest training, news and writing from Indigo Daya... Want to read more? Visit my website at www.indigodaya.com November news from Indigo In this issue... 1. Getting Through Christmas A free community workshop on 14 December. Register today! 2. Thinking about the tough questions Why is life so bloody hard? A new article for people struggling with emotional pain. 3. Update on Training Dates for 2013 Dates are coming soon 4. A new mental health act for Victoria? Much better, but not good enough. My thoughts on the proposed reforms. 5. New Training For Keyworkers New short courses about the big issues - just for keyworkers. 6. Peace is the road. A new article thinking about how we achieve reform in mental health when there is so much anger. 7. A new blog. I've created a new space on my website for you to join the conversation! Plus lots more!

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

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“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin….. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.” Alfred Souza

Training Dates for 2013 Visit my website to read about upcoming courses for 2013. Courses include: Introduction to trauma-informed care Speaking the language of difficult emotions: Fear, anger, sadness and shame

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

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Keywork master class series Supporting & managing a consumer workforce How to run successful community projects AND... details will be uploaded soon for a new course on becoming a peer educator. At the moment the most popular courses based on registrations of interest are 'Introduction to trauma-informed care', and 'Speaking the language of difficult emotions'. I’m currently waiting on venues to finalise my dates for my 2013 training calendar, so stay tuned for news! If you’re interested in one or more particular courses, please register interest on the website and I’ll email you as soon as the course is scheduled.

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

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NEW ARTICLE Thinking about the tough questions... Why is there so much pain?

"For me, my pain has helped me find a life worth living – working to change our mental health system into something which is truly healing, and never harmful. Without all of the life ‘shit’ I would never have found this meaning that I am so passionate about." This new article on my website about pain and suffering is there for anyone struggling with distress. If you or someone you work with gets stuck on WHY things are so difficult, this article might be helpful to print out and read. The article examines different ideas about why pain is sometimes a necessary part of life, and ways in which our more difficult experiences can actually enrich our lives. Read the full article...

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

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"Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth." John F. Kennedy

"Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes" Mahatma Gandhi

A new blog. I’ve been feeling like my website is a little one sided – all my thoughts and none of yours. DATE: 28/Nov/2012

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So I’ve decided to give blogging a go – hopefully creating a space where the conversation comes from lots of different directions. I‘ll use this blog to share news about what’s going on in mental health, new training and talks, and hopefully to get some dialogue going about new thinking about recovery. Visit the blog and share your comments.

NEW ARTICLE A New Mental Health Act? Much better, but not good enough.

The Victorian government has released proposed reforms for a new Mental Health Act. This is the legislation that governs involuntary treatment in mental health services. It’s certainly about time: Victoria has the oldest mental health act in Australia (1986), and we also have one of the highest rates of community treatment orders in the world (Mental Health Legal Centre, 2009). The proposed reforms are certainly a substantial improvement with much to be excited about, but I don’t think they go far enough. It’s truly wonderful to DATE: 28/Nov/2012

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see the inclusion of advance statements, supported decision making, a mental health complaints commissioner with genuine powers, more advocates, and the inclusion of recovery practice and trauma-informed care. These should provide significant advances towards greater human rights and much better standards of care. Having said this, I do believe there are several areas in which the proposed reforms do not go far enough. For this includes the continued use of involuntary ECT, no end date for seclusion and restraint despite clear evidence of better practice options, and advance statements rather than adviance directives. I would also like to see peer representatives included on the new Mental Health Tribunals. What do you think about the proposed reforms? Do they deliver what you have been hoping for? Read my full review online Visit my blog page and share your comments

NEW ARTICLE There is no road to peace. Peace is the Road. Mahatma Gandhi

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

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Gandhi led the cause for Indian independence with nonviolent action: it was revolutionary, yet effective. His philosophy is captured in that famous quote: “There is no road to peace. Peace is the road.� This simple yet profound philosophy contrasts nonviolence with the enduring justifications used throughout time by those in power, which tell us that coercion, violence and war will lead us, eventually, to peace. In the context of consumer rights and mental health reform, what is recovery, if not peace? For individuals, achieving mental and emotional tranquility is a core aim. And what is systemic mental health reform about if not something which provides services in an atmosphere of peace, rather than violence and coercion? The problem is that trying to live true to this principle is harder that it might at first seem. Anger pervades almost every discussion about mental health change. It is most often a righteous anger, shaped by years of loss and non-peaceful treatment. But this anger can also keep us rooted in violence, rather than the peaceful change we long for. In my newest article I start to explore this issue: How can we create peaceful reform with the legacy of anger that is held by so many of us? This is a subject I am deeply interested in. I hope to continue exploring this topic, and I look forward to comments and ideas from you. Read the full article online.

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

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Our Consumer Place Newsletter Do you read the Our Consumer Place Newsletter? If not you're missing out on an intelligent and incisive publication about consumer perspectives! Check it out online

New Training Keyworker Master Class Series 2013 Training for keyworkers often seems to cover the same themes, and there is little available for advanced practice. In my new Keywork Master Class Series I’ve tried to create something new that meets the practical development needs of experienced keyworkers: short, focused classes that explore the big, current issues for keyworkers. Like how do we support recovery when we have to ‘exit’ people from our programs increasingly quickly? How do we work with goals when participants don’t want to do that? And where is the keywork role heading? I’ve also included a master class especially for creative arts practitioners.

Read more...

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

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A free workshop open to everyone!

Getting Through Christmas Register online

Christmas is a difficult time for many people. This workshop is a chance to meet with other people who struggle at Christmas, and work together to create a plan for how we will get through Christmas this year ‌ and maybe even make it the best one yet! Lots of information and resources will be provided. All welcome, entry is free. Please register so I know how many people are coming. Date: Fri 14 Dec 2012 Time: 2pm – 4pm Venue: Ross House 247 Flinders Ln Melbourne Register online

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead

Voices Vic Training Children and Young Adults Hearing Voices

Voices Vic is running a unique course on November 30th for children and young adults who hear voices - and their families and mental health workers. Lead by Dr Sandra Escher (Netherlands) and Karen Taylor (UK), it promises to be a very special experience. Visit the course info and registrations page.

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

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The Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Medications Several years back the Icarus Project and Freedom Center (two amazing US consumer organisations) developed a guide book for people thinking of coming off psychiatric medications. I've referred many people to this guide over the years, but am still surprised to find that many people don't know about it. I really like this guide because it accepts the reality that everyone - not just psych patients - plays around with or stops medications against medical advice. How many times have you not finished a script of antibiotics all the way to the end? Stopping or reducing psychiatric medications is not necessarily anything to do with a lack of insight about 'our condition', but often just us wanting to take back control over our lives, to see if we really need the medications, trying to minimise horrid side effects - or sometimes just because we can't be bothered taking them. Harm reduction is the strategy of choice in the drug and alcohol sector, and I think it makes sense in this context too. Most information about psychiatric medication typically falls into one of two camps: strong antipsychiatry views or paternalistic lecturing. This guide avoids either of these extremes, and instead it simply, responsibly and thoroughly lays out the pros and cons of medication, the potential impacts of coming off them, and presents practical ideas for how to come off meds in the safest way possible. The guide can be downloaded here for free. Copyright Š 2012 You are receiving this email because you opted in at my website www.indigodaya.com, via email or at a course or event run by Indigo Daya.

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

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Web: www.indigodaya.com Email: indigo@indigodaya.com Postal address: Indigo Daya PO Box 5780 Cranbourne, VIC 3977 Australia Add us to your address book

| friend on Facebook | forward to a friend 4/ From the mental health council of Australia WEEKLY BULLETIN: Please find below a link to ABC Radio National Life Matters Program from last week, Mental Health Laws: The Pros and Cons of Coercive Treatment with Pat Sutton as a guest speaker. Pat is a well known and respected carer advocate who is the Carers Australia representative on the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum (NMHCCF). Other guests on this segment include Professor Bernadette McSherry (who will be speaking at the Rights, Disability & Mental Health Forum on 30 November), Dr Christopher Ryan and Flick Grey. Radio National - Mental Health Laws: the pros and cons of coercive treatment http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lifematters/mental-healthlaws3a-the-pros-and-cons-of-coercive-treatment/4363612 Kind regards Kim

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

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National Articles 1. Applications open for mental health carer support funding (National) 2. Overhaul of state’s mental health services (WA) 3. New report shows economic cost of Perinatal Depression (National) 4. 105,000 people homeless on Census night 2011 (National) 5. Breaking down language and cultural barriers in mental health treatment (NSW) 6. Governments lagging on mental health promises: McGorry (National) International Articles 7. Circle of trust crucial to help kids deal with mental health struggles like anxiety, stress, depression and bullying at school (Canada) 8. Risks to the Mental Health of Athletes (US) 9. Mental Health Program Launches in Haiti (Haiti) 10. Busting a move may lift teen girls’ mental health (Sweden) 5/ Webinar: Wednesday, Dec. 5th at 3:00 p.m. EST ANTI-STIGMA PEER-LED PHOTOVOICE INTERVENTION FOR PERSONS IN RECOVERY FROM SERIOUS MENTAL HEALTH CONDITIONS Offered by: Zlatka Russinova, Ph.D., Senior Research Specialist, Philippe Bloch, Research Coordinator, Tracy Woods and Sharon Pritchett, Peer Trainers and Cynthia Piltch, Program Graduate, BU Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation Presenters will discuss the development and testing of a new peer-led group intervention employing a photographybased methodology titled "Anti-Stigma PhotoVoice (ASP)" . The Anti-Stigma Photovoice is a manualized 10week 2-hour sessions program which combines PhotoVoice methodology with psycho-educational and cognitive restructuring components. It is taught by persons with the lived experience of mental illness who have been trained to deliver the intervention in good fidelity.

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

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For information and registration go to: http://www.bu.edu/cpr/training/webinardec2012.pdf While not required, you may be interested in purchasing relevant materials: See http://cpr.bu.edu/research/completed/rrtc-20042009/photovoice and http://cpr.bu.edu/resources/curricula/curricula-photovoice A CPR FactSheet on Photovoice is located here: Factsheet http://www.bu.edu/cpr/resources/factsheets/2012CPRFACTPhotov oice.pdf Webinar: Wed, Dec. 12th at 3:00 p.m. EST TRAINING FOR PEER SPECIALISTS TO PROVIDE VOCATIONAL SUPPORTS Introduction to Vocational Peer Support: A New Specialty in Peer Specialist Services This webinar will describe the Vocational Peer Support (VPS) Training Curriculum and anecdotal experiences from five pilot trainings across the United States. The VPS Training is a continuing education program for Certified Peer Specialists (CPS) that prepares them to utilize their skills and personal lived experience of vocational recovery to inspire hope and model vocational recovery. The training teaches skills needed to support others to choose, get and keep meaningful education or employment from the unique place of one who has also walked the road, and does not duplicate services currently offered by employment specialists, rehabilitation counselors, etc. Join us to hear about 3 years of experiences from the curriculum writers as well as training participants who are using the skills in the field.

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

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Presented by: Debbie Nicolellis, M.S., CRC/LRC Project Manager BU Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Lyn Legere, M.S., CPRP, C.P.S. Director of Life Long Learning, Transformation For information/registration:http://cpr.bu.edu/develop/webinar or http://www.bu.edu/cpr/training/webinardec2012.pdf For both training opportunities: There will be a charge for each workshop of $10 per session and an additional $10 if you wish to receive formal credits. For information about current webinars, see http://cpr.bu.edu/develop/webinar or contact Joan Rapp at joanrapp@bu.edu

6/ MHLC News 14th edition November 2012

Support an invaluable community legal resource – the Law Handbook Online Fitzroy Legal Service’s Law Handbook (LHB) Online is a practical guide to the law in Victoria in the form of a comprehensive, plain english, web-based legal resource. MHLC lawyers are contributing authors to this invaluable free community legal resource, but project funding for the LHB Online is soon to expire. Free access to the law is no joke! Support the fundraising campaign through a tax deductible donation. Find out more and access the LHB Online here http://www.lawhandbook.org.au

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

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CD launch – ‘Beyond the Bars’ The 3CR Beyond the Bars project aims to give voice to Indigenous men and women in the Victorian prison system during NAIDOC Week (July 2012), and to include them in the community celebrations. Beyond the Bars is Australia’s only live prison broadcast and this year involved over 100 Indigenous men and women from the inside sharing stories, songs, opinions and poems from within the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, Barwon Prison, Fulham Correctional Centre, Marngoneet Correctional Centre, Loddon Prison and Port Phillip Prison. The CD of Volume 9 will be launched Thursday 22 November 6-8pm, New Ballroom, Trades Hall (cnr Victoria & Lygon Sts, Carlton), featuring MC Shiralee Hood.

News from MHLC's Night Service - Volunteer profile Linda has been a volunteer at the Centre since 2010. During the day she teaches Legal Ethics to law students. Linda tells us she has met some wonderful, interesting clients through the telephone advice service. She has also found that the work at the Centre helps keep ethical issues around client autonomy, capacity and the daily struggles of some clients and limitations of the law, at the forefront of her law teaching. For legal advice about file access or correction, contact the MHLC’s telephone advice line Mon, Wed & Fri 3-5pm or Tues & Thurs 6.30-8.30pm, Tel 9629 4422 or 1800 555 887 (country callers)

Solitary confinement exacerbates mental illness At least six young people were recently held in the ‘supermax’ Charlotte unit of Port Phillip Prison in solitary confinement. It is understood that they spent at least 22 hours locked in a cell and handcuffed in the exercise yard for the remaining two hours. Michael Holcroft, President of the Law Institute of Victoria considers this treatment as a ‘form of torture’ and may be a breach of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights. A report by Professor James Ogloff found that placement in the Charlotte unit exacerbates mental illness and also criticised record keeping regarding mental illness. Paralegal Charandev Singh has been visiting prisons for 15 years and states that "Charlotte is one of the most punitive austere and psychologically assaultive parts of the prison system in Victoria". Inside Access have concerns about the impact of prolonged solitary confinement on those young people’s mental health and will continue to monitor the situation and work with other legal groups on this issue. The ABC’s 7.30 Victoria reports can be viewed here

New women’s only area at Box Hill’s adult inpatient psychiatric unit

The MHLC welcomes the opening of a women’s only area in Box Hill’s refurbished Upton House Adult Inpatient Psychiatric Unit. Officially opened by Victoria’s Minister for Mental Health, Mary Wooldridge on 8 November, we understand the area - which includes 7 single and shared rooms that can be locked from the inside, a living room and adjoining outdoor area - will provide better security for women and be accessible by electronic swipe. The MHLC

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

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is concerned that women are particularly vulnerable to abuse and violence in hospital and is committed to working to ensure safety for women and girls across Victoria’s psychiatric facilities, including having a choice of receiving treatment in a female-only environment. Mental health consumers with concerns about their treatment and safety in psychiatric facilities can contact the MHLC’s telephone legal advice line –Mon, Wed, Fri: 3-5pm and Tues & Thurs 6.30 – 8.30pm; Tel: 9629 4422 or 1800 555 887 (country callers).

PSOs now at Boronia and Westall stations Protective Services Offices (PSOs) are now working at Boronia and Westall train stations from 6pm Monday to Friday. This brings to a total of 22 the number of stations across Victoria’s rail network that have PSOs. Keep up-to-date with the Victorian Government’s rollout of PSOs and your rights as commuters, including where PSOs exercise their powers to apprehend a person under the Mental Health Act – go to the Your Rights on Track Facebook page.

Crimes mental impairment laws to be reviewed Victoria’s Attorney-General has announced a review of the Crimes Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried Act 1997 (Vic) to be conducted by the Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC). Terms of reference state the review should examine the operation of the Act and consider matters including the definition of ‘mental impairment’, the process for determining whether an accused person is unfit to stand trial, the provisions for supervision and review of people found not guilty on the grounds of mental impairment under the Act, and whether the Act should be extended to apply to the Magistrates’ Court. For further information, see the VLRC’s website

Mental Health Review Board member applications Applications are invited for appointment of sessional members to the Mental Health Review Board (MHRB), including legal members, psychiatric members and community members. Applications are due by 30 November 2012. For further information, go to the MHRB’s website.

Help MHLC plan our community legal education sessions If you’re a consumer or a consumer representative, you can assist MHLC to plan its community legal education sessions for the coming year by completing this survey. It only takes a few minutes to let us know about the kinds of education sessions you or your consumer clients might be interested in! link to the survey is here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NNWQKK8

Office of Police Integrity report on policing people with mental illness The Office of Police Integrity (OPI) report, ‘Policing people who appear to be mentally ill’ was tabled in Parliament in November 2012 and sets out the findings of the OPI’s review into the way Victoria Police responds to people who appear to have a mental illness. It assesses whether more could be done to enhance Victoria Police’s responses to people who appear to have a mental illness. The MHLC is concerned to ensure members of the police, including Protective Services Officers (PSOs) treat people with mental illness humanely and with respect and dignity. For more information, read the full OPI report here and The Age newspaper article here

International developments in human rights and mental health Recent decisions of the European Court of Human Rights have criticised the treatment of people with mental illness in institutionalised care: In the case of Bures v Czech Republic (18 Oct 2012), the Court found that strapping a man with restraining belts to a bed for a total of at least 3 hours, resulting in physical damage, amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The Court said that “mere restlessness

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cannot …justify strapping a person to a bed for almost two hours”, and strongly rebuked the authorities for failing to protect the health of Mr Bures, an involuntary patient, including failing to try less restrictive alternatives and properly supervise his restraint. Full decision. In the case of Kedzior v Poland (16 Oct 2012) the Court found that because Mr Kedzior had been transferred to a social care institution against his will by his guardian (his brother), where he remained for 10 years without any way to challenge his detention in court, this was a breach of his right to liberty, and his right to a fair hearing under articles 5 and 6 (respectively) of the ECHR. The Court said it is essential that a person deprived of their liberty, even where instigated by a private individual, “should have access to a court and [an] opportunity to be heard either in person or, where necessary, through some form of representation”. In other news, China recently enacted its first mental health law. Although criticism remains that the law does not go far enough to safeguard the rights of people with mental illness, human rights groups say the law is “better than not having one” in that it provides some limitations on the involuntary detention and treatment, which had in the past been used for dissidents.

7)Centre of Excellence in Peer Support:

Centre of Excellence in Peer Support (CEPS) e-zine – November 2012 The e-zine of the Centre of Excellence in Peer Support (Mental Health) is sent out monthly, with past issues available on the Centre of Excellence website, www.peersupportvic.org. Welcome to new subscribers. If you are not subscribed to receive the e-zine and would like to be, please email peer.support@arafemi.org.au. We invite contributions for future editions, including articles, news, events, positions vacant, publications and other items relevant to peer support work.

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

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Welcome to the November edition of the Centre of Excellence in Peer Support e-zine. It has been an exciting month at the Centre of Excellence, with the Peer Conference held on 30 October a resounding success. One of many positive outcomes of the conference is that CEPS has an ever-increasing network of subscribers – as more people connect and contribute to the website and e-zine, the value of CEPS as a resource for everyone in the mental health sector and allied services will continue to grow. As always, there is a great deal of news, events and training opportunities coming up in peer support. Read on to find out more about the Melbourne launch of PeerZone, funding rounds for Health Condition Support Grants (Department of Health), and the Victorian Association of Mental Health Peer Specialists. Don’t forget to have a look at what’s new in the resources directory too; add your materials at any time!

News and Events

The Peer Conference A celebration of peer support & mental health

The Peer Conference was held on Tuesday 30 October, and attended by over 120 delegates. In hosting this conference, CEPS aimed to recognise and promote the work of a diverse range of peer support initiatives, and to provide an opportunity for everyone interested in peer support to come together, network and share their ideas. This diversity was reflected in the speakers chosen for the conference; speakers represented various peer support programs including those working with young people, carers, rural and multicultural groups. Both state and federally funded programs were also represented, along with community based projects with little or no funding. Some highlights of the day included hearing from New Zealand’s Mary O’Hagan via

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

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teleconference, profiles of the Brook R.E.D. Centre (Queensland) and South Australia’s Peer Work Project, as well as local services such as the Maine Connection, Orygen and Voices Vic. The Music Network for Mental Health’s presentation and lunchtime performance were also crowd favourites! The feedback received has been really positive, and also provided a wealth of ideas for future CEPS events. The vast majority of participants stated that their expectations were met; consistent with aims, participants commonly identified that the most useful elements of the conference were learning more about the range of peer support services currently operating, and the chance to connect with others passionate about the development of the peer support workforce. Above all, many attendees noted that peer support workers’ personal stories shared throughout the day, were a powerful highlight. Resources from the Peer Conference are available now on the CEPS website, as well as further reading material on associated topics such as Intentional Peer Support (IPS), the Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work, and peer support in allied sectors. For more information on the Peer Conference, visit the CEPS website: www.peersupportvic.org Or contact Tori Bell: telephone 1300 237 199, email peer.support@arafemi.org.au

The Peer Conference was proudly supported by:

Health Condition Support Grants Program Victorian Government Department of Health The Health Condition Support Grants Program 2011-15 provides annual non-recurrent grants to support and strengthen the work of health condition-specific peer support groups. There are three separate bands of grants: 

Band 1: up to $5,000 per annum (formerly the Health Self Help program) to support administration costs

Band 2: between $5,000 and $50,000 per annum to support a range of peer support activities for specific health conditions

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

VOLUME: 2 VMIAC Bldg 1, 22 Aintree Street, Brunswick East 3057 Tel: 03 3980 3900 Fax: 03 9388 1445 E-mail: info@vmiac.org.au www.vmiac.org.au

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Band 3: between $50,000 and $100,000 per annum to extend strategic and systemic capacity building approaches in peer support.

The 2012-13 funding round for Bands 2 and 3 is now open and will close 10 December 2012. The next Band 1 (formerly Health Self Help program) funding round will commence in June 2013. For further information and to apply, download the Advertised Call for Submissions document via the Department of Health website by clicking here.

PeerZone Free introductory day in Melbourne The PeerZone developers (Mary O’Hagan and Sara McCook Weir) are holding an introductory day for service providers and peers who are interested in providing or participating in PeerZone workshops. We will tell you all about PeerZone, give you an opportunity to sample what’s in the workshops, and talk about how you might want to get involved. Venue: VMIAC, Building 1, 22 Aintree Street, Brunswick East, 3057. Time: 9.30 am to 4.30 pm on Wednesday 12 December. Inquiries and RSVP: info@peerzone.info by Wed 5 December. Visit our website to find out more about PeerZone: www.peerzone.info

What does the peer actually mean? Flick Grey, Our Consumer Place The questions below were formulated for the Peer Conference on 30 October, by Flick Grey of Our Consumer Place. Subscribing to the OCP newsletter is a great way to connect with intelligent, insightful and thought-provoking writing from the consumer perspective. Visit the website to sign up and read past editions: www.ourconsumerplace.com.au

Some questions to stimulate our deeper thinking about peer support work: 1.

What does ‘support’ actually mean in the context of peer support? (are we there to help? inspire? assist? walk alongside? connect? learn together? ...)

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

VOLUME: 2 VMIAC Bldg 1, 22 Aintree Street, Brunswick East 3057 Tel: 03 3980 3900 Fax: 03 9388 1445 E-mail: info@vmiac.org.au www.vmiac.org.au

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2.

Are we fundamentally different to other support workers? If so, how exactly? How do we ensure we don’t replicate the relationships consumers might have with other support workers?

3.

Are we fundamentally different to other peer workers (like advocates, information officers, recovery specialists, ...)? If so, how exactly?

4.

How do we stay ‘peer’?  Do we talk about the fact that being a paid worker puts us in a position of power? What happens if we don’t talk about this? Are there things we can actively do that change the power back to being more peer? (Do we ever want this power?)  What does it mean for peer support workers to be portrayed as ‘role models’ for other consumers? Does this make us less ‘peer’, and somehow ‘better than’? What if this is what services expect? What if this is what the consumer expects? What if this makes us feel good? (This can be especially difficult to navigate as we expand our own sense of personal strength and expertise)

5.

What are our own support needs?

6.

Do we have any responsibility to maintain connections with other peer support workers? With a broader peer worker community? How can we do this?

7.

What are our responsibilities to the services we work for? Can these conflict with our responsibilities to the peers we are working with? Can either of these roles conflict with our responsibilities to ourselves?

8.

Can anyone be a peer support worker? What characteristics are important?

9.

How exactly do we know if we are doing our job well?

10. What is it that only we can do? The Victorian Association of Mental Health Peer Specialists (AMHPS Vic) A group of peer workers in the mental health sector have been meeting over the past few years for mutual support and reflection on their work. This forum has provided the context out of which has grown an increasing commitment to the formation of a professional association for people with a lived experience of mental ill health and recovery who declare that as part of their employment. The group is now incorporated as the Victorian Association of Mental Health Peer Specialists – AMHPS Vic. The current aims of the Association are to provide a networking opportunity for Victorian mental health peer specialists, to be the peak body that represents Victorian mental health peer specialists and to provide a forum for reflective practice for Victorian mental health peer

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

VOLUME: 2 VMIAC Bldg 1, 22 Aintree Street, Brunswick East 3057 Tel: 03 3980 3900 Fax: 03 9388 1445 E-mail: info@vmiac.org.au www.vmiac.org.au

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specialists. The Association holds networking meetings once a month on either a Monday or Friday between 10:30am-12:30pm. The network meetings are an opportunity to discuss topics of special interest, raise issues, exchange ideas, learn and share from each other and conduct group reflective exercises. We invite peer workers and consumer consultants who are interested in forwarding the agenda of a professional organisation for their mutual benefit to contact us by email at the following address: vmhpeers@gmail.com One of the members of the network will then contact you to provide you with details of the meeting times and dates. 2013 Employer Awards now open The Compassionate Friends

The Compassionate Employer Recognition Awards Program is run by the Compassionate Friends along with our partner Rotary Club of Geelong Central, and every year aims to demonstrate best workplace practices in dealing with bereavement, to encourage the adoption of these practices in other workplaces and educate business and community about the impacts of the death of a loved one. In recognising organisations supportive practices towards bereaved employees, the Awards program brings greater community awareness to grief and loss and the impact on employment and work. The Awards inspire and encourage organisations to review their current practices, and develop best practice in providing workplace bereavement support. Attached is the 2013 Compassionate Employer Recognition Awards Nomination Form. For more information about the Employer Awards, please visit the Compassionate Friends website.

Training Peer Support Training Genetic Support Network of Victoria Professional Counselors are helpful, but there is nothing more powerful than talking to someone who has been "in the same boat" as you. Peer support training is available for all individuals, including staff from support groups. It is a half day workshop and our aim is to help you feel empowered to listen and talk to others who are in a similar position, and share your wisdom and experience.

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

VOLUME: 2 VMIAC Bldg 1, 22 Aintree Street, Brunswick East 3057 Tel: 03 3980 3900 Fax: 03 9388 1445 E-mail: info@vmiac.org.au www.vmiac.org.au

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active listening

communication skills

empowerment

loss and grief

self-care

community resources

information about GSNV and what we can do to help the process.

You will receive a certificate upon completion as well as a Peer Support contract with the Genetic Support Network of Victoria. Date: 4 December 2012 Please visit the GSNV website for further information and to register: www.gsnv.org.au Introduction to Voice Dialoguing Training Voices Vic 4 day intensive for Mental Health Professionals & Voice Hearers with Professor Marius Romme, Ron Coleman & Indigo Daya. Many people who hear challenging voices have found that a turning point in coping with the experience is finding different ways of talking with and understanding the voices. Exploring the voice’s motives and discovering different ways of relating to them can help change the relationship between the voice-hearer and their voices. Why is speaking with voices helpful?   

It offers a neutral but strong attitude to working with voices -acceptance is the core of the technique. It helps develop increased awareness, objectivity and a more productive relationship between voices and voice-hearer. By definition, voice-hearing is very lonely experience. Allowing others to “hear” the voices is empowering, liberating and a source of considerable support. In turn, it also affords professionals, friends and family some valuable insight into the reality of a person’s voicehearing experience

Times: Monday 26 November – Thursday 29 November, 9.30am - 4.30pm Venue: VOICES VIC - PRAHRAN MISSION 15 Cromwell Rd, South Yarra 3141 Please note that there is always a lot of demand for our Voice Dialogue courses so please register early to avoid disappointment. For full details including costs and registration, visit the website: www.voicesvic.org.au

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

VOLUME: 2 VMIAC Bldg 1, 22 Aintree Street, Brunswick East 3057 Tel: 03 3980 3900 Fax: 03 9388 1445 E-mail: info@vmiac.org.au www.vmiac.org.au

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Support groups Discussion and support group Expressions of interest This is a new support group for adults whose lives are affected by parents (or siblings) with a mental illness, facilitated by a psychologist. As a structured group, places are strictly limited to 8-10 people. Mental illness affects more than the person who was ill. If you have found it difficult to come to terms with your parent’s / sibling’s mental illness and the lasting effects on your life, there are many others who share your difficulty. Most siblings and adult children of people with mental illness find it a tragic occurrence that changes everyone’s life in many basic ways. This group will be an opportunity for people to:       

reflect on their past life with those who have had similar experiences have their experiences and responses normalised and validated learn to separate out the person from the disorder find ways to build and maintain good boundaries with the affected person gain the knowledge and skills to cope with mental illness effectively help to cope and manage with strong emotions such as resentment or grief be in a supportive environment in which your emotional needs are prioritised

When: Fortnightly 75 minute sessions; dates to be finalised following sufficient expressions of interest Where: Eastern Psychology, Advocate Medical Centre, Box Hill Cost: A small fee will apply Facilitator: Tom Evans, Psychologist, Eastern Psychology Pty Ltd For further information & to register, contact Tom on 0438 123 265, or visit the website: www.easternpsych.com.au Carers of People with a Borderline Personality Disorder A support and information group for carers and family members of someone with a borderline personality disorder. November’s topic: Self-care for carers of people with BPD or setting limits at home Where: ARAFEMI, Level 2, 76 – 80 Turnham Ave, Rosanna When: Wednesday November 21st, 7.00 – 9.00pm Cost: Free Please call the Carer Helpline on 1300 550 265 for more information.

DATE: 28/Nov/2012

VOLUME: 2 VMIAC Bldg 1, 22 Aintree Street, Brunswick East 3057 Tel: 03 3980 3900 Fax: 03 9388 1445 E-mail: info@vmiac.org.au www.vmiac.org.au

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Peer Support Group for Benzo Addiction Are you struggling with withdrawal from benzos? (i.e. Xanax, Valium, Temazepam, Serepax, Clonazepam etc.) You are not alone! Come to meet other people like you. The peer support group for benzo addiction meets at SHARC, 140 Grange Road Carnegie. Complete confidentiality is assured; you don’t need to provide your full name or any personal details, and meetings are free of charge. We know how hard it is to go through benzo withdrawal. No person should go through it alone. Yet it is so hard to get understanding from friends and family when they haven’t been there. Join us to form the Peer Support Group and benefit from: 

a supportive and non-judgmental space where you can share your story

tips from people who have been there

people who are in the same situation as you are

information and strategies for how to deal with challenges specific to your situation

Peer Support Group for Benzos is only for people with direct experience of benzo addiction. The group is facilitated by someone who overcame a long term addiction to prescription drugs. This group does not provide medical advice and does not replace professional support. Next meeting dates for 2012 are 27 November and 11 December. All meetings are held on a Tuesday from 2pm at SHARC, 140 Grange Road, Carnegie, Victoria. Biscuits and tea/coffee will be provided. For further information call (03) 9573 1776 or email ekennedy@sharc.org.au Visit the websites to learn more about SHARC or APSU (the Association of Participating Service Users): www.sharc.org.au www.apsuonline.org.au

Employment Employment opportunities are shared here and on the CEPS website as they are advertised. If you would like to advertise a position, please send the details to peer.support@arafemi.org.au Carer Consultant (Adult Mental Health Service) Koonung CCT, Eastern Health The Eastern Health Adult Mental Health Service is seeking a highly motivated person with experience as a carer of an adult with a mental health problem to take up the role of Carer Consultant. The Carer Consultant, working closely with Adult Mental Health program leadership, will be responsible DATE: 28/Nov/2012

VOLUME: 2 VMIAC Bldg 1, 22 Aintree Street, Brunswick East 3057 Tel: 03 3980 3900 Fax: 03 9388 1445 E-mail: info@vmiac.org.au www.vmiac.org.au

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for the coordination of carer input into carer participation and leadership, broader workforce development and support, partnerships within and inclusive of external agencies and other relevant carer focused activities. This position will support the strengthening of current carer and consumer participation strategies within the Adult Mental Health Program and more broadly across the Eastern Health Mental Health Program. This is a permanent part-time position (3.5 days per week), located in Box Hill. Applications close Thursday, 29 November 2012. To download the full position description and apply online, click here.

New resources on the CEPS website *By becoming a member of the State Library, residents of Victoria receive free access to a wide range of online databases, including Academic Search Premier and MasterFile Premier (EBSCO). This gives you full-text access to over 5000 journals, from home, and membership is free. To sign up, visit www.slv.vic.gov.au/ Clarke, M., & Brindle, R. (2010). Straight From The Source: A Practical Guide to Consumer Participation in the Victorian Alcohol and other Drug Sector. Carnegie, Victoria: Association of Participating Service Users. This publication “draws on current literature, input from consumers and service provider focus groups and APSU’s own experience in conducting consumer participation activities to provide a comprehensive guide to participation in the AOD sector.” [From introduction] Experts by Experience: Values framework for peer working. (2012). Glasgow, UK: Scottish Recovery Network. Glasgow, UK. Peer support in long term conditions: the basics. (2012). Edinburgh, UK: Mental Health Foundation. “There is a need not only to support increased access to this valuable and unique form of support but also to enhance the quality and impact of existing peer support…This guidance is intended to provide a brief and concise starting point, to be accessible to a wide audience and is applicable across all long term conditions.” [From article] For more information, see www.peersupportvic.org/research-directory/research-directory.

Subscriptions To unsubscribe, email peer.support@arafemi.org.au. Centre of Excellence in Peer Support (Mental Health) Ph. 1300 237 199 www.peersupportvic.org ARAFEMI Victoria - Ground Floor 270 Auburn Road, Hawthorn VIC 3122 Tel: (03) 9810 9300 | Fax (03) 9810 9399 www.arafemi.org.au DATE: 28/Nov/2012

VOLUME: 2 VMIAC Bldg 1, 22 Aintree Street, Brunswick East 3057 Tel: 03 3980 3900 Fax: 03 9388 1445 E-mail: info@vmiac.org.au www.vmiac.org.au

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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: 28/Nov/2012

VOLUME: 2 VMIAC Bldg 1, 22 Aintree Street, Brunswick East 3057 Tel: 03 3980 3900 Fax: 03 9388 1445 E-mail: info@vmiac.org.au www.vmiac.org.au

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Vmiac E Bulletin Vok 2 Iss 59