Message not displaying? View the web version
forward      unsubscribe
June 2015

eNews June

In this issue

  1. Message from Rod Astbury
  3. Mens Health Week
  4. School Poster Competition
  5. Mental health top concern for kids
  6. Mental Health Week 2015
  7. McManus fund's proud legacy
  8. Drug Aware Event
  10. HaDSCO Complaints Office extends survey deadline
  11. National Disability Employment Framework
  13. NDIS / My Way update
  14. Mental illness and life expectancy gap widens
  16. Training courses - Semester Two
  18. Is your workplace killing you?
  19. Quit the sit
  20. Managing mental health at work seminar

Message from Rod Astbury

THE release of the WA Suicide Prevention Strategy 2020, supported by an investment of $26M in funding, is a significant step in focusing mental health action on stigma reduction, prevention and early intervention as well as coordinated services for high risk groups. WAAMH looks forward to the establishment of a broadly representative implementation working group as signalled in the strategy.    

The Police Commissioner has announced plans to trial the establishment of police and clinician mental health co-response teams. While the details of this initiative are still to be determined, WAAMH welcomes the intent of The Hon. Minister for Mental Health Helen Morton to the plan which ensures people experiencing acute distress receive a health response rather than a justice one.

WAAMH is also very keen to ensure that services, consumers and families are actively consulted in the roll out of the trial.

There a number of significant NDIS news items this month both nationally and in the NDIA/ My Way trial sites. We will be bringing you monthly updates on mental health under the disability scheme through our eNews this year.

With the end of June drawing near, now is an excellent time to consider the value of WAAMH membership. I urge our current members to take advantage of the FY15 rates before the end of the financial year when renewing their memberships. If you are considering joining WAAMH as a member, you can see our great range of benefits and categories, here.

Rod Astbury
Chief Executive Officer
Western Australian Association for Mental Health


Mens Health Week

NEXT week is Mens Health Week, from June 15 - 21. This year, the campaign is exploring 'MoMENts in Time' to represent how all the little moments in life can add up and make a huge difference to overall wellbeing.

Men are being encouraged to take the online one minute health check questionnaire, book a check-up at the GP, pass information onto their mates and/or organise a workplace awareness event.

Find out more about Mens Health Week

Men and mental illness

TRADITIONALLY, researchers have paid little attention to the intersections between men’s mental illness and family life.

To mark the increased shift towards examining this link, a paper released by the Australian Institute of Family Studies now provides practitioners and policy-makers with a broad overview of some of the key issues identified in the growing literature on paternal mental illness.

Some of the findings demonstrated how stigma was a significant source of suffering for fathers with mental health concerns and identified which life stages made men more vulnerable to psychological distress.

Read the full paper here.

Matt Haig's personal journey with depression

IN his mid-twenties, novelist Matt Haig suddenly felt he had no reason to live. Through his memoir, Reasons to Stay Alive, Matt reveals how he emerged from severe depression and anxiety and learned to live again. His account has been met with critical acclaim and strong praise.

Listen to his story here.

School Poster Competition

WAAMH launched its annual School Poster Competition for Mental Health Week at the Positive Schools Conference last month.

The competition encourages students to illustrate how they protect their mental health and learn about mentally healthy behaviours from a young age.

Details of the competition can be accessed here.

A range of other fun and engaging mental health resources targeted at kids were also launched at the conference and are available here.

Mental health top concern for kids

MENTAL health concerns were the number one issue affecting children and young people who contacted Kids Helpline counsellors in 2014, Kids Helpline has revealed.

One in eight of these calls was a suicide-related concern about themselves or another person.

Self-help among this age group also appears to be on the rise, with Kids Helpline experiencing a 2.7 million web page view increase between 2013 and 2014.

WAAMH has partnered with Child Psychologist and Positive Schools founder Dr Helen Street to develop self-help resources targeted at young people.

These new resources were launched at the Positive Schools conference in May, and are now available to order on the Mental Health Week website:

Mental Health Week 2015

IF you are looking to hold your own event during Mental Health Week, our small grants are now open. We are offering up to $1000 to help you get started. Access grant information here.

Once your event is organised, you can promote it on the official Mental Health Week events page by registering it online at:

Our free sample packs are also ready to go! If you would like to see the range of Mental Health Week resources we have available this year to complement your event or spread awareness at work or school, then please place you order here:

McManus fund's proud legacy

AS the K.B McManus Memorial Fund came to end this year, WAAMH is very proud to share how much the bequest money has helped people with mental illness experience more enriched lives through accessing arts-based activities.

Following the untimely death of psychiatrist and public servant, Dr Kathleen Bridget McManus in 2006, her friends established a fund in her memory to benefit people affected by mental ill-health. Due to Dr McManus' love of the arts, WAAMH managed a grants process for people with a mental illness to access money towards an artistic or creative outlet of their choice to enhance wellbeing and self-esteem.

WAAMH administered the McManus grants, donating a total of $22,000 in financial support to 83 individuals and 14 mental health agencies for creative activities that included dance, art and singing, writing, baking and music classes, painting, attending films, theatre and the circus, and didgeridoo lessons.

WAAMH has a range of opportunities for individuals and organisations to help make a difference. For more information, please visit our Support Us page. 

Drug Aware Event

HEAD along to the Currumbine Community Centre on 25 June to be part of the North Metro Community Alcohol and Drug Service's networking event.

The aim of the event is to improve access to services for AOD related issues in the northern suburbs.

Location: 64 Delamere Avenue, Currumbine.
Time: 9am - 12noon


HaDSCO Complaints Office extends survey deadline

YOU now have until Friday, 19 June to get your responses in to
the Health and Disability Services Complaints Office (HaDSCO) on the draft Mental Health Partnership Agreement consultation.

Submissions will help shape how complaint processes are made across the mental health sector.
It is hoped to simplify the current system.

The consultation seeks submissions around five key questions with a variety of feedback mechanisms available.

Visit the Mental Health Partnership Agreement page located on HaDSCO’s Collaborate and Learn site for more details and have your voice heard.

National Disability Employment Framework

THE new National Disability Employment Framework was unveiled in late April and feedback is now open on the Federal Government's plan to help people with a disability find and keep jobs.

In an effort to boost employment rates for people with disability, the new taskforce was established to review the entire disability employment system and the National Disability Employment Framework was developed.

This taskforce is leading a national public consultation to better understand what is and is not working in the current service system and find ways to improve its approach.

They want to hear from people with disability, their families and carers, service providers, employers and peak bodies to explore ways to improve disability employment in Australia.

The Issues Paper outlines what the Australian Government is currently doing to help people with disability find and keep jobs. It also poses questions to encourage discussion.

The main topics of consultation are:

  • Workforce Participation of People with Disability
  • Different needs of People with Disability
  • Principles for Changes to Disability Employment Services
  • National Disability Insurance Scheme
  • Personal Helpers and Mentors
  • Australian Disability Enterprises
  • Disability Employment Services
  • Job Services Australia
  • Support for Employers.

Written submissions close on 8 July 2015.

A public forum on this framework will be held in Perth on Monday, 15 June at 9am, and is open to everyone with an interest in disability employment.

A second round of consultation on a Discussion Paper outlining specific policy proposals is planned for August/September 2015.

To register for the public forum, find our more or make a submission, go to:


NDIS / My Way update

EACH month, WAAMH will update you on the National Disability Insurance Scheme and NDIS My Way, as the WA trial sites gain momentum.

Community of Practice

THE community of practice (CoP) was established as a learning network within Western Australia's NDIS My Way trial sites.

Learning centres on the inclusion of psychosocial disability within the NDIS My Way trial sites and stakeholders include mental health consumers, families and carers, community mental health and disability service providers (both Commonwealth and State), clinical providers, key government agencies and other key stakeholders, such as GPs and public mental health practitioners.

The CoP will create a space for these stakeholders to learn from one another as well as identify and build their resources to access WA NDIS My Way by investing in people and systems.

Contact Coralie at for more info.

Mental health papers released

THE National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has recently published papers relating to the integration of mental health in the NDIS.

Clinical psychologist and leading academic, Mr Paul O’Halloran, produced a report titled, Psychosocial Disability and the NDIS: An Introduction to the Concept of Holistic Psychosocial Disability Support. This concept paper explores how recovery principles and holistic psychosocial disability supports should be developed.

Mental health and NDIS: A Literature Review

THIS review examines the current state of evidence relating to the impact of psychosocial disability in the context of the implementation of the NDIS.

Read the paper.

Mental illness and life expectancy gap widens

THE Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has revealed fresh concerns that the gap between life expectancy in patients with a mental illness and the general population has widened since 1985.

RANZCP said people with serious mental illness typically lived between 10 and 32 years less than the general population.

"Around 80% of this higher mortality rate can be attributed to the much higher rates of physical illnesses, such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and cancer experienced by this population," RANZCP said.

Excess mortality amongst people with severe and persistent mental illness has been a consistent finding amongst a range of international studies, indicating this is a global phenomenon.

"We believe that much more needs to be done to address the gap in physical health and life expectancy between those who live with a mental illness and those who don’t," RANZCP said. "Psychiatrists are responsible not just for the clinical care of consumers but also for providing clinical leadership, teaching and training, researching, and advocating for better psychiatric health in the community."

In light of this work, RANZCP has produced a number of reports examining the barriers to health care for people with mental illness and other physical illnesses, and what can be done to reduce these barriers.

Download the report here.


Training courses - Semester Two

26 June - Implementing a Peer Program in your Organisation: Workshop 3.

30 June - Youth Mental Health

13, 20 & 27 August - Free series Care Coordination pilot workshops.

28 July - Understanding and Managing Anxiety

26 August - Co-existing Disorders

3 September - De-escalation Techniques

15 & 16 September - Mental Health First Aid


10 toxic workplace actions

A RECENT study by US author Jeffrey Pfeffer identified 10 common workplace stressors that affect a person's health.

They included having no health insurance, shift work, working long hours,  job insecurity, work-family conflict, low job control, high job demands, low social support, and organisational injustice.

Stress related illness (including mental and physical illness) is the sixth biggest cause of death in the US, and Australian psychological experts agree there are similar problems on local soil.

"This stress is often a result of faulty managerial norms such as double standards, poor communication, psychological bullying, etcetera," The Age quoted Brisbane-based practicing psychologist and workplace mentor Lindsay Spencer-Matthews as saying.

The Age reported the three chief ways that Spencer-Matthews identified how employers can create employee stress:

  • Unrealistic expectations – Occasional 'pedal to the metal' requests are OK but a boss who is constantly trying to make staff 'over-perform' will see them burn out very quickly.
  • Unclear roles – It is really common for staff to be employed to one set of things and then find  they are being asked to do a whole range of other things. In the short term this can be a break from monotony but if the alternate duties are not what the employee enjoys it will bring stress into their lives.
  • Unfair treatment – Includes bullying, harassment, under-paying, and playing favourites.

Read Pfeffer's full study here.

Read The Age's article here.

Is your workplace killing you?

You can also access this video here:

Quit the sit

JUNE 11 is 'Quit the Sit and take a stand for better health' day as part of the On Your Feet Australia campaign. This campaign is part of the increasing trend to move away from sedentary workplace cultures and improve employee health.

According to a report in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, adults who sit for ten hours per day have an estimated 34% higher risk of early death, even if they exercise regularly.

Studies show breaks from sitting can reduce the risk of developing heart disease and metabolic disorders such as diabetes.

The journal recommends desk-based office workers spend at least two hours of their work day standing or moving, and to gradually progress to four hours.

Workplaces are urged to have standing meetings, provide headsets for mobility during long phone calls, replace personal bins at desks with a centralised bin, and implement computer prompts which encourage regular breaks for movement.

Read the full article and study here.

Managing mental health at work seminar

THIS month, WAAMH members are invited to a breakfast seminar and professional workshop on workplace mental health, hosted by the National Safety Council of Australia, at a discounted rate.

This informative session on June 24 aims to answer your questions and discuss your challenges with a panel of experts including:

  • WorkSafe Senior Inspector Rodney Powell
  • Sparke Helmore Lawyers Special Counsel Alistair Talbert
  • BeyondBlue Workplace Engagement Michael O'Hanlon

Find out more here.

WA Association for Mental Health

City West Lotteries House
2 Delhi Street, West Perth
WA 6005


Tel 08 9420 7277
Fax 08 9420 7280