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November 2018

eNews November

In this issue

WAAMH Annual Report 2018
WAAMH recognised as an Employer of Choice
Mental Health Week 2018
Mental health is a journey
Pre Budget Submission
Accommodation and Support Strategy Submission
Optimising Support for Psychosocial disability project report
Mental Health Advocacy Service Annual Report
IPS supports more people into work
WAAMH Training
Engaging people with lived experience
US findings could help advance WA Start Courts
WACOSS' Outcomes Framework
Free forum: Vision for complex trauma with Dr Roger Gurr
Carer Coaching

WAAMH Annual Report 2018

THE Western Australian Association for Mental Health unveiled its Annual Report at an Annual General Meeting held in late October.

At the AGM, Shannon Colvert was welcomed aboard as a consumer representative and Tara Reale was re-elected to the board, strengthening WAAMH's lived experience representation on the board.

After four years, the WAAMH board said farewell to Mick Geaney - thank you Mick for all your time, dedication and input to the board and also for your work on our Finance Committee.

Read all of WAAMH's highlights from the 2017/18 financial year:

Download WAAMH's Annual Report 2018 here.

WAAMH recognised as an Employer of Choice

WAAMH has been acknowledged as an Employer of Choice by the Defence Reserves Support Council, winning the Employer Support Award in the Not-For-Profit category.

The award recognises the way WAAMH supports a positive work life balance and allows its staff to meet their reserve service commitments.

WAAMH is committed to maintaining a mentally healthy workplace and promotes flexible work arrangements and a team building culture. 



Mental Health Week 2018

THANK you so much to everyone who was involved in Mental Health Week in Western Australia this year.

We truly believe there was unprecedented levels of exposure, discussion, engagement and awareness around Mental Health Week this year, especially in the media, in workplaces, schools, community groups, in the regions and on social media.

Keep up the great mental health promotion work in your spheres of influence until next year.

Mental health is a journey

IF you didn't get a chance to read the Mental Health Week Special Edition magazine, published by The West Australian, we have a digital version for you to sink your teeth into.

There are some excellent articles on community mental health service providers in WA achieving exceptional outcomes for vulnerable people.
Thanks to the Health + Medicine team for interviewing a range of people with lived experience for this magazine.



Pre Budget Submission

WAAMH has submitted its Pre Budget Submission 2019 - 2020. In an effort to restore balance to the mental health system, and prioritise investment in prevention and community support, WAAMH's core asks have sought government commitment on:

  • New prevention investment in 2019-20 to reach the unmet 2017 target of 2%, and demonstrated increases over the Forward Estimates to reach the 4% target by 2020-21.
  • Guaranteed continuity of funding for all programs under Suicide Prevention 2020, while a new Suicide Prevention Strategy is developed. Funding should match this year’s resource allocation to Suicide Prevention 2020, equivalent to $25.9 million over 4 years.
  • A new Suicide Prevention Strategy co-designed and completed by December 2019 to direct future strategy and investment.
  • A planned program of incremental and staged state growth funding in community support, including accommodation with linked support, over five-years, that demonstrates how government will move towards meeting the modelled demand for services, with specific and staggered growth figures in the Forward Estimates.
  • Procurement reform and targeted capacity building to support and improve the relevance of existing funded programs to the local and cultural needs of Aboriginal, rural and remote communities.
  • New resources to complete the foundational reform work set out in the draft Accommodation Support Strategy to ensure existing accommodation services with linked support are integrated with clinical services, provide transition and flow between different options, and improve people’s mental health outcomes.
    Cost: $295,000 over two years.
  • A planned program of incremental and staged state growth funding in community support, including accommodation with linked support, over five-years, that demonstrates how government will move towards meeting the modelled demand for services, with specific and staggered growth figures in the Forward Estimates.
  • Growth community support, accommodation with linked support and prevention funding ensures the needs of vulnerable groups are prioritised in planning and delivery of new options.



Accommodation and Support Strategy Submission

WAAMH also submitted its Consultation and Submission to the Draft Accomodation and Support Strategy 2018-2025 this month, detailing 26 recommendations.

In short, the final strategy must include:

  • Specific and measurable outcomes, targets, and timelines to guide the implementation of the strategies and include a clear governance framework.
  • How cross-government collaboration will be facilitated.
  • Formal commitment to cross government key performance indicators that address mental health and AOD, accommodation and support issues in WA.
  • Commitment to a joint implementation planning process with cross-sector and cross organisation collaboration.
  • Further research be undertaken to ensure it links to all relevant pieces of work from other departments and sectors, such as the Department of Communities, and from the Mental Health Commission itself.
  • Work with primary care to plan and specify pathways to assist people with mild-moderate mental illness to remain in or find safe, stable housing as a key component of their recovery.
  • Preventative actions and strategies
  • Consultation between MHC and WAAMH on the potential of the IPS model in the provision of employment services in the context of case-management housing support models.
  • Strategies to address stigma
  • Specifically identify the private rental sector as a key stakeholder in the document, demonstrating the important role the sector will play in facilitating reform in the accommodation and support system for people with mental health and AOD challenges.
  • Definition of affordable housing
  • Information about what community supports are and use consistent language in describing these.
  • Additional sub-strategies specific to Aboriginal people
  • Co-design processes.
  • A clear pathway for people with complex needs leaving Graylands Hospital, involving clinical, community and accommodation-related supports.
  • Flexible contacts with accommodation and support providers be acknowledged and supported.



WAAMH is part of the WA Alliance to End Homelessness and attended the first Homelessness and Health forum in early November. The forum examined how too many people who are too sick to survive on the streets are being discharged from hospital, resulting in too many emergency department presentations and unplanned re-admissions.

We are committed to working with the homelessness and housing sectors to better support mental health and wellbeing outcomes in our community, associated with access to safe, secure, and affordable homes.

Follow, support and find out more about the research and work
Homeless Healthcare and WA Alliance to End Homelessness are doing.


Optimising Support for Psychosocial disability project report

NATIONAL peak Mental Health Australia has released its Optimising Support for Psychosocial disability project report which  for the first time brings together the service level data from community based mental health programs to present a picture of how people with psychosocial disability were supported in ‘pre-NDIS’ programs.

The project provides a rich and valuable evidence base to augment and support the NDIA’s work to deliver the most appropriate support to NDIS participants with psychosocial disability.



Mental Health Advocacy Service Annual Report

THE Mental Health Advocacy Service has unveiled its Annual Report 2017 -18 and some of the more unsettling observations included:

  • Bed shortages regularly resulted in children and adults spending days in emergency departments, some physically or chemically restrained, or with security guards, to reduce risk to themselves and others.
  • Children were failed by the mental health system as the number of children subject to involuntary treatment orders under the Act increased by 35.4% to 88 and: they were increasingly held on adult wards, an inappropriate environment which exposes them to unacceptable risk.
  • Some people were detained on locked wards for too long and/or discharged into unsafe homes because of a lack of supported accommodation.
  • Some children were sedated in regional hospitals due to lack of availableadolescent beds in Perth and the rescheduling of Royal Flying Doctor Service flights
  • The shortage of alternatives for people with serious and complex mental health conditions led to delayed hospital discharge, delaying admission for others who needed treatment, and to discharges into inappropriate care, increasing risks to consumers and others
  • Advocates dealt with 81 allegations of physical and sexual abuse and harm
  • The lack of a female-only ward, meant female patients who have significant objections to being on a mixed ward – often due to past trauma or for cultural reasons – were left distressed and potentially at risk impeding their treatment and recovery
  • The number of Mental Health Tribunal hearings attended by Advocates increased but the overall rate of representation and support for consumers in hearings fell by 1%
  • Treatment, support and discharge planning across hospitals continues to be poor with few hospitals fully complying with the Mental Health Act 2014.
  • The Advocacy Service has been forced to scale back its efforts to protect rights of the thousands of vulnerable Western Australians subject to the Mental Health Act 2014 and in psychiatric hostels because of budgetary constraints.




IPS supports more people into work

THERE is great work being done by WAAMH's marvellous IPS WORKS team.

Two of the adult community health services IPS WORKS supports in the North Metro and its two employment specialists are having some inspiring results.

The Mirrabooka site recently supported three clients with job interviews in their given area of work interest, and supported one client with their first shift in a new job after 14 years of unemployment.

It also impressively placed an additional three people into work in October where both the clients and employers have been very happy with the outcomes.

The Osborne Park site had two clients achieve a milestone of 3 months in employment, with one's family praising the role of paid work in the client's mental health recovery.

Great work IPS!

Find out more about IPS WORKS here:

WAAMH Training

All of our scheduled calendar training courses have now wrapped up for the year, however, please get in touch with us for any custom course enquiries:

Click here to complete form 

Join our training mailing list

Subscribe to training updates so you know what WAAMH is offering in training and development in 2019:


Engaging people with lived experience

OUR friends at Mental Health Matters 2 have written a report on the practice of engaging people with lived experience, titled Foundational Engagement Report 2018.

Its recommendations include:

  • Build on existing foundational engagement resources rather than wasting resources in duplicating work already done.
  • Evaluate existing engagement resources to establish which are the most effective and provide the best value for different population groups.
  • Encourage and support services to produce or adopt a contemporary paid participation policy.
  • Pay particular attention in evaluation of agencies to the existence and/or development of nuanced policies and practices which support foundational engagement.
  • Ensure that foundational engagement policies and practices are part of contractual requirements.
  • Co-produce and resource training and development opportunities for individuals, families and supporters from under-represented groups.
  • Provide leadership opportunities to people with lived/living experience to lead engagement initiatives and to share their expertise in the sectors generally.
  • Create spaces and free events within the sectors where engagement can take place in informal ways in community venues.
  • Highlight and promote initiatives and agencies who implement effective foundational engagement.
  • Support frontline workers, including peer workers, to proactively share information with their clients about upcoming foundational engagement opportunities.
  • Encourage partnerships with training institutions and universities to facilitate the involvement of and future leadership by people with lived experience in course design and research opportunities.


US findings could help advance WA Start Courts

AS the dedicated Magistrate in Western Australia’s mental health court, referred to as Start Court, the Churchill Fellowship gave Felicity Zempilas (pictured) the opportunity to travel to four locations in the US to visit and observe ten mental health and other solution-focused courts.

No two courts were identical, and each responded to local need, in light of local services and treatment options within the context of local policy, politics, funding opportunities and stakeholders.

However, the common themes and challenges Felicity discovered included:

  • the importance of identifying the target group of the court and how to most appropriately and effectively case manage such participants,
  • how to secure ongoing funding and political support,
  • how to operate differently within an adversarial justice system,
  •  how to ensure consistency when staff, in particular judges, change,
  • how to motivate participants, especially when they are not facing jail, and
  • how to measure whether the court is effective.

You can read al about Felicity's findings and observations as a suggested road map for WA's Start Courts in her research paper.


WACOSS' Outcomes Framework

WA Council of Social Service has been working in partnership with the Department of Premier and Cabinet, and with support from the Department of Finance, on a whole-of-sector Outcomes Framework.

The aim of the framework is to create 'scaffolding' which assists in linking outcomes across different agencies and programs, and in particular to address some of the siloes in service delivery that have been evident across program, agency and departmental levels. This in turn should generate better service delivery outcomes for the community.

WACOSS and DPC are currently engaging with sector and government colleagues about the framework’s initial prototypes.

There will be a formal session about the prototypes in the New Year, but in the meantime if you have any comment about them, or would like to find out more, please email WACOSS senior consultant Kylie Hansen at

Supporting Communities Forum was established to support the implementation of the State Government’s Supporting Communities policy which is focused on improving the quality of services provided to vulnerable Western Australians.

For more information on the Supporting Communities Forum, including quarterly meeting notes, go to:



Free forum: Vision for complex trauma with Dr Roger Gurr

THE Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has brought unprecedented attention to the lifelong impacts of childhood trauma.

The Royal Commission recommendations included the need to ensure access to effective trauma treatments to respond to childhood trauma as a significant cause of lifelong adverse mental health outcomes.

WAAMH in partnership with the WA Council of Social Services, invites all stakeholders interested in advancing a positive response to the treatment of trauma, to a free information evening - Tuesday, 27 November, with leading complex post-traumatic stress disorder specialist, Associate Professor Dr Roger Gurr.

Hear the case for a national fidelity-based model of treatment responses, specialist services and an evidence-based clinical model for tackling complex childhood trauma and adverse mental health outcomes and discuss implications for Western Australia.

Find out more and register here.


Carer Coaching

WA Association for Mental Health

1 Nash Street Perth WA 6000



Tel 08 6246 3000
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