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November 2016


In this issue

New president and board changes
Annual Report 2015/16
Thank you Alison Xamon
Honorary Membership
Towards Elimination of Restrictive Practices 11th National Forum
Call for Content - WA Mental Health Conference 2017
Sponsorship open - WA Mental Health Conference 2017
Upcoming courses
Looking Forward Project resources
Increasing Member Participation: Advocacy and Co-production Training (IMPACT)
UWA research shows public housing lowers mental health hospitalisations
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
Study to fill evidence gap on improving mental health care for Aboriginal children
Fifth National Mental Health Plan consultations
Mental Health Week 2016 - Thanks and wrap-up


IN COMING weeks, the Western Australian Association for Mental Health's board will finalise the policy platform to serve as the foundation of next March’s state election campaign. The platform consolidates the content consulted with members at the leadership network forum held in September. WAAMH will take the campaign forward in collaboration with sector representative bodies and other community peaks.

The draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan has been released for consultation with a face-to-face consultation being held in Perth on 25 November (see details below). The draft plan has generated some criticism, both of the content and the process by which it was prepared. WAAMH strongly encourages as many people from the sector as possible to attend the event and/or to provide feedback through the online option that is also available. 

Mental Health Week 2016 has drawn to a close with another record level of public engagement and reach achieved. It was particularly pleasing to see the level of connection around the theme of suicide prevention and to see the breadth of grass roots activities that took place right throughout the state. There is no doubt that the community sees mental health as a high priority issue and it is our responsibility to take that motivation forward into improved responses.

I’d like to congratulate Kerry Hawkins on her election as WAAMH’s president and to welcome WAAMH’s new directors Neil Guard and Monique Williamson. Positions on WAAMH’s Board are highly contested and this reflects the level of commitment of our members and the depth of expertise in the sector. Finally I’d like to thank Alison Xamon for the support she’s given me as president for the past three years and to wish her well in her endeavour to return to Parliament.

Rod Astbury
Chief Executive Officer
WA Association for Mental Health


New president and board changes

FOLLOWING WAAMH's Annual General Meeting on 4 November, a number of changes to the board were determined.

Outgoing president Alison Xamon did not nominate for a second term as president, having been pre-selected as a candidate for the state election, and existing board director Kerry Hawkins (pictured) was elected unopposed as WAAMH's new president.

Whilst the board was disappointed to see Alison Xamon step down after leaving such a huge legacy during her dynamic time as president, WAAMH welcomes and congratulates Kerry Hawkins, whose passion for mental health reform and expansive skills and knowledge base will offer a valuable contribution to the role.

Meet WAAMH's new president Kerry Hawkins
Kerry has been a carer representative on the WAAMH board for four years and has acquired a solid understanding of the issues facing the mental health sector. This experience is complemented by her professional career in the private, education and public sectors, including working as a project management consultant at KPMG, a high school teacher, and a strategic advisor for the National Native Title Tribunal.

Kerry has previously worked as a senior program manager with the National Disability Insurance Agency and the Mental Health Commission, and as a Carer Consultant for the North Metropolitan Adult Health Service. Her other board appointments include vice president of Helping Minds and WA director for Emerging Minds.

A graduate of Boston University's Global Leadership Institute's Recovery Class of 2013, Kerry is also able to draw on her lived experience as a family member.

Board changes
In other board changes, Mental Illness Fellowship of WA CEO Monique Williamson (who has been a co-opted board member of WAAMH since 2014) and Richmond Wellbeing CEO Neil Guard were voted in as board directors, while Helen Lynes and Marina Korica's terms came to an end.

Thank you
WAAMH would like to thank Alison Xamon, Marina Korica and Helen Lynes for their service, dedication and commitment shown to the board and WAAMH's objectives, and wishes them all well in their future endeavours.

Read all WAAMH's board profiles, here.

Annual Report 2015/16

WAAMH's latest Annual Report was unveiled at the AGM, highlighting 50 years of representing the community mental health sector in 2016 and another successful financial year of growth, impact and achievement.

The Annual Report displayed a snapshot of our history dating back to 1966, as well as showcasing WAAMH’s achievements in influencing mental health reform for the benefit of people with lived experience in 2015/16.

Read WAAMH's Annual Report 2015/16, here.

Thank you Alison Xamon

OUTGOING president Alison Xamon (pictured right with Pam Gardner) received a standing ovation at WAAMH's AGM last week, after she delivered a heartfelt goodbye speech.

Although Alison entered the sector and took up the role based on her professional experience, she said it was her personal experience that kept her dedicated to the tireless role for three years.

Alison made a significant impact to WAAMH in that time, raising its reach and exposure through her media profile and community connections. She also helped the community mental health sector's needs be heard publicly and politically, with her ability to effectively articulate mental health issues to a wide variety of audiences.

WAAMH vice-president Pam Gardner sent Alison off with a warm speech referencing her "boundless energy and enormous desire to get through to the heart of any problem" and likening her persona and professionalism to an endearing "glass" metaphor.

"Glass is forged in fire," Pam said. "It then comes out both fragile and remarkably durable, but always a thing of beauty."

WAAMH wishes Alison Xamon all the best as she seeks to re-enter parliament from where we know she will continue to be a powerful advocate for mental health.

Honorary Membership

AT WAAMH's AGM, Sheryl Carmody (pictured left with Helen Lynes) was made an Honorary Member, following years of dedication to the sector, WAAMH's objectives and supporting the human rights of people with lived experience.



Towards Elimination of Restrictive Practices 11th National Forum

THE Towards Elimination of Restrictive Practices 11th National Forum (formerly Seclusion & Restraint Reduction Forum) will be held in Perth in 2017.

The forum is a co-sponsored initiative between the Western Australian Office of the Chief Psychiatrist (Lead Agency), Mental Health Commission, Department of Health, and the Western Australian Association for Mental Health (WAAMH).

The theme for the 2017 forum is ‘Working together, a culture of care’. The forum provides an opportunity for consumers, clinicians, practitioners and carers/family members from across Australia to come together to showcase innovations in practice, forge ideas and policy directions based on research, clinical practice and lived experience. The Perth forum will facilitate a national commitment to eliminating the use of restrictive practices and working together within a culture of care.

The forum will be held on 4- 5 May 2017, at The University Club of Western Australia, Crawley, WA. Individuals and organisations interested in participating in the forum are now invited to submit an abstract of their proposed oral or poster presentation.

For more information or to keep up to date with the latest news, please visit the WAAMH website at:

Call for Content - WA Mental Health Conference 2017

WE want to hear your ideas! WAAMH invites you to submit content for presentation at the WA Mental Health Conference, on 13 - 14 July 2017.

We are also inviting submissions for a poster presentation of your work which will be exhibited during the conference. 
Submissions close 4pm on Friday 9 December 2016.

Anyone can submit a proposal for any session they would like to present personally or see presented at the conference, or simply submit a poster presentation proposal without presenting a session.
You do not need to be an academic and you don’t need to have presented at a conference before!  People with lived experience are encouraged to participate and assistance is available if required.

Theme and streams
The theme for the Western Australian Mental Health Conference 2017 is “Integrated Lives”.  The three formal conference streams are:

  • Emerging Practices
  • Dignity and Diversity
  • Wangkiny Danjoo Kwop Wiirrin (Working together in good spirit)

For further information or to make a submission please see the Call for Content Conference webpage

Sponsorship open - WA Mental Health Conference 2017

FOLLOWING our sell-out 2016 event, WAAMH is calling on sponsors to help ensure the success of the WA Mental Health Conference 2017 at Perth Concert Hall on 13 and 14 July.

WAAMH invites your organisation to be a sponsor and/or exhibitor and showcase your services to hundreds of delegates through the conference's expansive reach and exposure.

Download Sponsorship Prospectus.



Upcoming courses

16 November 2016
Stakeholder Meeting Facilitation

Sometimes, effective care coordination requires having everyone around one table. The focus of this workshop will be about understanding what makes an effective meeting and how to coordinate a productive and person-centred gathering. Register and more details here.

22 November 2016
Marketing Services in a Consumer-choice Landscape

The transformative nature of the NDIS and other emerging sector developments demands new skills and competencies from community service providers. This practical and engaging course introduces marketing in a community sector context and looks at specific ways to make your organisation a provider of choice for future. Packed with real world examples and useful tips, the course includes a take-home suite of tools and templates to use to implement the concepts covered.
Register and more details here.

24 November 2016
Coaching Skills

Coaching is an essential skill-set which can be applied both to supporting clients and to working with staff you may supervise.
This course introduces a range of specific skills and provides opportunities for live practice and individual feedback. Register and more details here.

30 November 2016
Trauma Informed Care

This one day workshop is designed for service providers working with people who have experienced trauma or abuse. Becoming “trauma-informed” is all about understanding, recognising, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma and creating the types of psychologically safe environments, necessary to rebuild lives. Register and more details here.

2 February 2017
Certificate IV in Mental Health

Enrolments for WAAMH's next Cert IV course, starting on 2 February 2017 are now open. This nationally recognised and accredited, six-month training course specialises in Community Mental Health Recovery and Psycho-social Rehabilitation. WAAMH is now accepting registrations.

Register to enrol or find out more about the next Cert IV Mental Health course, here.

Looking Forward Project resources

WAAMH has been involved with the Looking Forward Project to improve mental health services for Aboriginal people since 2014. 

To help the mental health sector further understand the project, there is a Looking Forward Information Sheet and Looking Forward Final Community Report both recently made available.

Increasing Member Participation: Advocacy and Co-production Training (IMPACT)

WITH the Increasing Member Participation: Advocacy and Co-production Training (IMPACT) project, WAAMH aims to support the sector in maturing its practice in co-production and lived experience partnerships, and building the advocacy, partnership and leadership capacity of people with lived experience.

To support this, WAAMH is now offering interactive workshops for consumer and carers of mental health, designed to upskill and empower people to advocate effectively and participate in co-design processes.

The first two-day workshop starts on 15 November, and caters for beginners to intermediate advocacy skill levels. It will focus on learning and developing self- advocacy, support for self- advocacy skills, techniques, and individual and systemic advocacy.

The workshops will be co-facilitated by professional trainers and a person with a lived experience, and participants can then be mentored by an experienced consumer or carer advocate, to discuss approaches, opportunities and support needs on a small group basis.

Register and find out more about the Consumer and Carer Advocacy training.

Read more on IMPACT.

UWA research shows public housing lowers mental health hospitalisations

SPEAKING at WAAMH's AGM, special guest Professor Paul Flatau revealed the findings from his public housing research, and its impact on mental health outcomes.

To read about the study and the report findings, go to:



National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

CMHA's NDIS Submission
AUSTRALIA's mental health peak bodies coalition, Community Mental Health Australia has made a submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Enquiry on the National Disability Insurance Scheme Savings Fund Special Account Bill 2016’.

Read the submission here: 

Also, CMHA is now on Twitter so you can stay up to date with all its latest work and announcements. Follow CMHA here: 

Psycho-social intervention in the NDIS
THE Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health has released its report: Effective, evidence-based psychosocial interventions suitable for early intervention in the NDIS: promoting psychosocial functioning and recovery.

The report aims to help them understand which interventions have been demonstrated to be effective for people with psychosocial disability. It describes a series of evidence-based supports, together with the evidence of their effectiveness and how they might be applied as early intervention supports in the NDIS. 

The report highlights the positive outcomes in relation to people’s economic participation and social inclusion that may be achieved through robust and creative approaches to early intervention. Read the full report, here. 

Timeline extended for choice of WA NDIS model
UNFORTUNATELY the WA state government and federal government have failed to reach an agreement on the choice of NDIS model by the end of October.
Read the ABC's coverage of the decision here.

Sector Development Fund
IN other NDIS news, the federal government is providing a $3 million assistance package to support mental health providers transition to the NDIS. Read more about the funding, here:


Study to fill evidence gap on improving mental health care for Aboriginal children

AN Australian-first study following the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal children over time is designed to provide evidence needed to inform services, policies and programs to help improve their mental health.

The Study of Environment on Aboriginal Resilience and Child Health (SEARCH) is an active partnership between the Sax Institute, the Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council and four Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service.

Alarmingly, early data already indicates that 26% of urban Aboriginal children are at high risk of problems with social and emotional wellbeing ‒ twice the rate found among the general population of children.

Read more about SEARCH here:

National inquiry into Aboriginal over-imprisonment
A MAJOR national inquiry into the over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was announced by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) in October.

In welcoming the anouncement, the Change the Record (CTR) Coalition have stated that the inquiry, "must focus on identifying tangible solutions that address the underlying causes of imprisonment."

“We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rates, and experience of violence, are strongly linked to social and economic disadvantage and so the inquiry must include a focus on early intervention, prevention and diversion programs,” CTR co-chair Shane Duffy said.

Further, CTR co-chair Antoinette Braybrook said it was important to consider issues relating to the prevention of family violence and reducing barriers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims/survivors of family violence to access quality, holistic, culturally safe legal services and supports.

Read more at and support the Aboriginal Disability Justice Campaign.

Fifth National Mental Health Plan consultations

REGISTRATIONS for the face-to-face consultations on the Fifth National Mental Health Plans are now open. This plan seeks to establish a national approach for collaborative government effort over the next five years, with a focus on achieving a better integrated service system for consumers and carers.

Perth consultations are scheduled for 25 November 2016. 

Find out more and register, here:




Mental Health Week 2016 - Thanks and wrap-up

WITH Mental Health Week 2016 finishing up for another year last month, WAAMH wishes to thank everyone who participated in this important national health campaign and helped it reach new heights.

More than 30,000 people were estimated to be involved in community events and awareness raising activities across the State during Mental Health Week WA. This year, record levels of online engagement were also realised, with thousands using the #MHW2016.

Mental Health Week, now in its 49th year, is coordinated annually by WAAMH, in partnership with the Mental Health Commission.

The 2016 themes, Act-Belong-Commit (courtesy of Mentally Healthy WA) with a focus on suicide prevention, 'Together We Can Save Lives' reached children, youth, families, parents, government, community and business employees and employers, Aboriginal communities, mental health hospitals, and a diverse range of individuals across the State.

Read all the highlights here.

Photos from Mental Health Week 2016 are now up on Facebook too - see if you can spot yourself!

WA Association for Mental Health

1 Nash Street Perth WA 6000



Tel 08 6246 3000
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