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May 2020





As the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic continues to impact us all, the Western Australian Association for Mental Health (WAAMH) is committed to doing what we can to support our members, the community mental health sector, our government, our teams and colleagues, people with lived experience, and the broader community to stay safe, well and connected.

We are particularly focused on ensuring our community mental heath service members are able to continue to play their critical role in keeping people mentally well in the community and away from hospitals.  These teams are a critical part of the public health response to COVID-19 and we are ensuring their role is adequately recognised and supported.

What is happening at WAAMH?
We are continuing to work collaboratively with government and other services to ensure a cohesive response to current events. We are also a key voice for the community mental health sector, raising your concerns to government and communicating government responses and updates as we receive them.  

WAAMH is regularly meeting with the Mental Health Commission (MHC) and other key government agencies, as well as our fellow peaks.  Those collective whole-of-government discussions are the mechanism for addressing business continuity issues such as contracting and funding.  You will have seen updates in this regard via the Finance Bulletin and also from the Mental Health Commission and also from Community Employers WA.

Yesterday we participated in the first meeting of the Community Services Taskforce – Mental Health/AOD stream. We will keep you up to date on the topics being discussed at these meetings, with access to the first agenda items, here.

Scenario planning and exploration of emerging issues with our sector to ensure we can collectively respond as this situation develops is emerging as one of the ways WAAMH can add the best value and we will be partnering with the MHC to realise this – more information on this will be available shortly.

WAAMH is also working closely with Consumers of Mental Health WA and Mental Health Matters 2 during these times to ensure people in our community living with mental health challenges still feel supported, heard and responded to. 

We're also exploring more engaging online platforms, such as webinars and Zoom, for sharing information and updates with you.

WAAMH staff transitioned to work at home
We have prepared well for this and our team has good access to technology that enables us to continue to connect efficiently with our stakeholders. Whilst our physical office is shut, we are able to participate in virtual meetings and we are all available by email and phones. In short, we expect minimal disruption to most elements of our service delivery.

Training and events suspended
This is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of participants and training facilitators and to respect our social responsibility to protect the broader community from the spread of infection. Our training and development team are still available to provide practice support as required to the sector. We will re-schedule training courses as soon as it is safe to do so. Hopefully, Mental Health Week events will still go ahead in October when we all be in great need of coming together again, but we will follow Government advice and guidelines closer to that time. In the interim, follow the Mental Health Week 2020 Facebook page for tips, advice, and support during this time.

In responding to the challenges posed by COVID-19, our aims are to: 

  • Work collaboratively with government and the mental health sector to maximise the capacity and responsiveness of our sector to continue its critical role in keeping people mentally well in the community and away from hospitals
  • Promote connectedness and care for each other
  • Recommended resources for self-care and supporting others
  • Disseminate reliable and current information
  • Recommended credible sources of information on coronavirus
  • Support our workers
  • Respond to your needs, feedback and concerns at this time.

You can find links to more information on our operations planning and our recommendations in relation to the above here. 

We are keen to know what would be helpful to you from your peak body.



We know these are uncertain times, and community mental health services which support an increasing number of people at the best of times are now are now under immense pressure and ever-changing environments.

The role of the mental health sector has never been more important as the need to reduce hospital demand comes into such focus.

The public is crying out for alternative services to hospital to address mental health concerns and your essential supports need to be recognised. 

We're here for you.

We're free to keep representing your needs, while you focus on what you need to do to get through this pandemic. 

Our focus is on helping you to ensure the continuity of community mental health services, which are essential to reducing demand on the public health system at this time.

When the dust starts to settle on the COVID-19 pandemic and people in WA's community begin to come together under normal circumstances to rebuild, recover, rejoice, re-connect, and reflect, we know community supports will be there to guide them still.

It's in these types of situations when our community mental health sector shows just how much it matters.

When things go back to normal, funding gaps for these services can no longer be ignored.

Keep up the great work all of you are doing and the contribution you are making.

Yours sincerely

Taryn Harvey
Chief Executive Officer
Western Australian Association for Mental Health

WA Association for Mental Health

1 Nash Street Perth WA 6000



Tel 08 6246 3000
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