in Balance “Accentuate the Positive ...

Mental Health Association of Central Australia Inc
quarterly newsletter
18th e
Specia ition
l doub
edition le
July - December 2008
What’s Inside:
General Manager’s update
From the editor
Committee update
Pathways update
Subacute update
Day to Day Living update
Life Promotion update
Training & Promotions update
Administration update
Consumer Forum update
Reclink update
NTMH Coalition update
National mental health funding
Mental Health Week
Yoga relaxation
Introducing CMHA
MHCA Policy Forum
TheMHS Conference 2008
Mental health promotion framework
Margins to Mainstream conference
People profiles
What’s on/conferences
Mental health diary
Health l
the Positive ...
Eliminate the negative”
Accentuate the positive eliminate the negative. This is the powerful
message from Music Director, Jonathon Welch, behind the inspiring success
story of The Choir of Hard Knocks ...
On 7 October, Jonathon Welch visited
Alice Springs as key guest speaker for
this year’s Mental Health Week dinner,
and greatly inspired a dinner audience
of over 140 people at the Crowne
Plaza with some of his amazing story.
Having close family members with
a mental illness, Jonathon wanted to
share his love of singing with others
who were experiencing mental and
emotional hardship. In turn, he has
helped many people on the fringes
to find and express their voice, leading
The Choir of Hard Knocks to sing at
the Sydney Opera House and produce
a top-10 ARIA CD. “People need to
care about people more. Sometimes
we all just need a hug and the chance
to have a go.” It is clear from Jonathon’s
caring approach to life, that focusing on
the positive can make a tremendous
difference to people’s lives.
(cont. page 34)
A Merry
& Happy New
Year to All
Christmas Dinner
Wednesday, 17 December 2007
Everyone welcome!!
RSVP to MHACA on 8950 4600
MHACA office will be closed public
holidays + 2 January - and from
24-31 Dec. open 9am - 3pm
Jonathon Welch,
Founding Director of The Choir of Hard Knocks, guest speaker at this year’s Mental Health Week dinner
is the quarterly newsletter of the Mental
Health Association of Central Australia
PO Box 2326, Alice Springs NT 0871
P - (08) 8950 4600 F - (08) 8953 5577
E - [email protected]
the team
General Manager - Claudia Manu-Preston
Administrator - Sue Coombs
Administration Assistant - Em Harrison
Services Manager - Rangi Ponga
LPP Manager - Laurencia Grant
LPP Officer - Brian Kennedy
LPP Officer (Tennant Creek) - Jay Green
Pathways Officer - Joanne Ruby
Pathways Officer - Felix Meyer
Pathways Officer - Donna Ormsby
P&R Officer - Danielle Noble
P&R Officer - Bruce Macgregor
P&R Officer - Christine Boocock
D2DL Coordinator - Carmel Williams
D2DL & Grow Project Officer Sean Broughton-Wright
D2DL Officer - Lynne Kennedy
Training & Promotions Officer - Rita Riedel
Chairperson - Trish Van Dijk
Deputy Chair - Mardijah Simpson
Secretary - Maya Cifali
Treasurer - Allen Cope
Public Officer - Lee Ryall
Org. Rep - Tracey Hatchard, MH Carers NT
Org. Rep - Nigel Scrimshaw, Salvation Army
Consumer Representatives - Darren Farr
and Gwvynyth Cassiopeia-Roennfeldt
General - Robbie Lloyd
General - Katherine Venice
committee meetings
Are held on the 2nd Wednesday of each
month. If you have any issues you would
like to place on the agenda please contact
your favourite committee member at least
a week prior to each meeting.
correspondence with editor
[email protected]
Contributions to inBalance do not
necessarily reflect the views of MHACA.
inBalance may feature photos of deceased
persons. MHACA apologises unreservedly
to the family, friends and co-workers of
the deceased for any unintentional distress
that may occur as a result.
HELLO and welcome to the 18th
edition of our quarterly newsletter,
inBalance. MHACA staff and committee
recently completed our 2007-08 Annual
Report, a process which has helped us
to reflect on what we set out to do,
what we have achieved and how we
can improve. It has been a big year and
our team has met the challenges with
enthusiasm and steadfastness.
MHACA proudly celebrated a busy
past year with a well-attended AGM on
5 November 2008. We are delighted
to welcome onto our board several
new passionate and skilled members,
as well as welcome the return of many
of our previous committee members
for more details see page 21.
Annual report
Our 2007-08 Annual Report highlights
the activities and outcomes of the past
financial year. In summary, MHACA
has provided services to 98 consumers
across the organisation, with a 40%
increase in the uptake of services compared to last year. This is attributed to
a combination of an increase in need,
an improved MHACA profile, our new
premises and the introduction of the
Day to Day Living in the Community
Program (D2DL).
Staff and the management
committee have worked actively on
the ongoing development of all MHACA
programs with the aim of strengthening
and consolidating existing services while
undertaking key projects, including:
• Evaluation of previous Strategic Plan
2003-2007: completed • Development
of new Strategic Plan 2008 – 2011:
completed • Housing and Support Model
Project: progressed to consultation stage
• Collective Workplace Agreement: final
stages • Records database: postponed.
The Annual Report can be viewed at
Claudia Manu-Preston, General Manager
It is pleasing to be able to report
that we are currently fully staffed
a welcome place to be. See the
Committee Update on page 5 for
the latest staff ‘comings and goings.’
D2DL evaluation
On 3 November, MHACA was
part of a national evaluation of the
D2DL Program which involved a sample
of 25 D2DL programs around Australia.
The evaluation included a site visit
that involved consultations with key
personnel, stakeholders and clients,
as well as the collation and analysis of
data. Feedback included overwhelming
support from consumers who said the
program was a valuable resource for
them and who felt ‘a part of the process
and program’ as opposed to others
‘doing it to them.’ Clients highlighted
that they had gained self confidence
from having a safe place to practice
social and recreational skills through
the drop-in centre and other activities
on offer, in addition to having a greater
sense of control over the support
Following the site visit a final
evaluation report is being prepared,
to be available early December. Information sharing
In the past several months several staff
have attending significant training and
conference events, and on 12 November
MHACA held an Information Sharing
afternoon to share with the community
some of the latest trends and research
in mental health. Presentations were
given by Claudia, Glenise and Gwvynyth
who attended the 2008 TheMHS
Conference (see page 39), and Rita who
attended Mental Health Promotions
training and the Margins to Mainstream
Conference (see pages 45 and 52).
Christmas Opening Hours 
MHACA will be open over the Christmas & New Year break
24 -31 December from 9am–3pm (excl. public holidays)
& also closed on Friday, 2 January 2009
TheMHS Conference
Claudia with guest speakers Glenise Alexander and
Jonathon Welch at the 2008 Mental Health Week Dinner
In September, a small delegate from MHACA attended The Mental
Health Service Conference (THEMHS) 2008. It was a great learning
opportunity and a presentation of the learning outcomes was presented
to the community on 12 Novembersee page 39 to find out more.
Mental Health Week 5-11 October
Mental Health Week aims to raise awareness about mental health
issues to increase mental health literacy and help reduce stigma in the
community. In addition to our Annual Fun Run, the highlight for this year
was “Dinner with Jonathon Welch.” For a full update see page 33.
Housing & Support Model Project
The MHACA contingent
receiving a colourful welcome at the 2008 TheMHS conference
in Auckland, New Zealand on 2-5 September - Gwvynyth,
Danielle, Claudia and Glenise (see pages 39-41 for full report)
Claudia, Glenise and Gwvynyth
talking about the speech they gave at the TheMHS conference
at MHACA’s Information Sharing session on 12 November
We are Officially Launched!
It was with much pleasure MHACA celebrated
the official opening of our new premises on
Wednesday, 10 December by the Minister for
Children and Families, Malarndirri McCarthy.
It’s been a year in the making but we have
settled into our new home and are grateful for
the more spacious and therapeutic environment
available for both
consumers and staff.
Thank you to everyone who helped make
this a festive day.
This Project has moved into the consultation phase. Consumers,
carers, service providers and other key stakeholders are being asked
to provide information about their problems, experiences and ideas
for improving housing and support for people in Alice Springs who are
disadvantaged through psychiatric disability .
Information is being gathered through questionnaires, focus groups
and interviews. Over 350 questionnaires have been distributed through
MHACA and other services. As part of this process, two Peer Support
WorkersPip Williams & John Moffathave been employed to assist
consumers who require support in completing their questionnaires.
Consultant, Joyce Bowden, says that keen interest is being shown in
the Project as she meets with various groups and individuals. It is clear
that housing and support are hot issues that are troubling many people
in Alice Springs at present. People are being very open and speaking
passionately about the problems they are facing and the future they
would like to see. Stay tuned for further updates in the next newsletter.
“Thank you” to the Department of Local Government and Housing
for $360,000 funding under the Community Housing Program to purchase
two more 1-bedroom flats.
The year ahead ...
In the coming year MHACA will continue work on acquiring
a records database, refining our training framework, and further
developing both the consumer and indigenous employment strategies.
MHACA will also advocate more broadly to influence the social
determinants that greatly impact on the ability of people with a mental
illness to maintain health and wellbeing, including; housing, transport,
employment & training options and income.
Thank you ...
I would like to thank everyone who has made a contribution during
the yearall the staff, volunteer committee members, consumers and
other stakeholders. The sum of us is much greater than the individuals
involved, and sincere thanks to the team for a wonderful year.
I would like to wish you all a happy and safe Christmas season
and I look forward to the coming year which will bring with it
new challenges and rewards.
Festive Wishes, Claudia Manu-Preston
A penny for your thoughts ...
... from the editor
IN COMPILING this bumper edition
of inBalance, I am reminded of the all
the good things people are doing around
town, and in our Territory, and around the
country. With many things in chaos around
the globe (financially, environmentally
and spiritually) it’s easy to become fearful
and lose sight of the many good things that
happen each daythe little things that
make the biggest difference.
Things that spring to mind include
the new headspace team working incredibly
hard to get the new youth service up and
running; the Life Promotions teamand
other dedicated teamsworking hard to
help prevent and reduce suicide (definitely
not a little thing but approached with
great care to detail); Lynne passionately
sharing her love of art, colour and healing
in her Mandala Drawing sessions; Reclink
providing ordinary yet wonderful sporting
opportunities which greatly influence
people’s wellbeing; and our vibrant friendly
Em at front desk who makes everyone
feel welcome no matter how her day
is going.
At MHACA’s Information Sharing
afternoon on 12 November, Claudia talked
about a keynote presentation she attended
by Antony Sheehan at the 2008 TheMHS
Conference (see page 40) which highlighted
that the key to the future success of service
provision is ‘personalisation’treating
people as people. Taking the time to care
about the personal things rather than hiding
behind paperwork, policies or protocol.
While we do need healthy transparent
systems to ensure good practice and
outcomes (otherwise things such as the
global financial crash will occur) we also
need to remember why we are working
and who we are working on behalf.
I’m very grateful to work at MHACA
because we have a dedicated team of
workers who do care. As Felix writes in his
touching farewell story (see page 56),
“They are good people: funny, friendly and
kind.” I like hearing how caring our support
staff are when they talk to their clients and
the people that drop in day to day. They
don’t rush or push. Even if they have a lot
on, they intuitively know the importance of
‘tuning in’ to where people are at. (Mostly,
they are down-to-earth and know how
to have a good laugh!)
I am reminded of something Helen
Glover said in our training workshop earlier
this year: Never work ahead of or above
the people you work with. No matter how
distraught or different the person is, keep
checking in with them. Everyone is doing
the best they can for where they are at.
It is one of the core things I learn
(but not readily practice!) over and over in
delivering the Mental Health First Aid course.
Step 2 of ALGEE’L’ is for ‘Listen nonjudgmentally.’ (To find out what the other
letters stand for you’ll have to book into
a course!see page 19 for the 2009
Mental Health First Aid dates.)
Yet, listening non-judgmentally is
one of the hardest things to do. We all filter
Left: Singer
Tanya Gordon
students at
St Philips in
August with
her story of
courage and
recovery from
Tanya’s feature
track on her
latest CD
captures her
key message ‘You’re braver
than you think
you are.’
Rita Riedel,
Editor / Training and Promotions Officer
the world through our personal experiences
and preferences, and it can be challenging to
unconditionally accept where others are at …
but, it is where we have to start.
Which brings me to the wonderful
“Dinner with Jonathon Welch” we had during
October’s Mental Health Week. As the
cover titleand message behind Jonathon’s
success storysays, by focusing on the
positive and eliminating the negative we
can make a big difference. By believing in
the abilities and inherent goodness of the
marginalised people who came to form The
Choir of Hard Knocks, Jonathon has helped
these people believe in themselves again.
For some, the journey really was ‘from the
gutter to the stars’a true giant leap of faith.
When I attended the international
Margins to Mainstream Conference in
September (see page 52), the highlight
for me was definitely hearing The Choir of
Hard Knocks sing at the Closing Ceremony.
No pretense: just pure heartfelt emotion
and vulnerability. Their willingness to ‘do it
differently’the courage, despite many
odds, to ‘have a go.’
If we focus on the all the things that
or negative, we may never leave
our front door ... or we will keep perpetuating
the cycle of negativity because that’s what
we focus on. ‘Accentuate the positive’ doesn’t
mean naïve wishful thinking, but means
making wise, often hard, choices in the face
of adversity. As the serenity prayer gently
reminds us, focus on what we can change,
not on what we can’t.
We can’t undo the negative things
that have happened in our world, but we
can change our future and the way we feel
by choosing to change what we focus on.
Thanks Jonathon, for walking your talkfor
believing in what can beand for inspiring
many others to do the same.
Warm regards,
Robbie Lloyd resentative
General Rep
Hi everyone,
I have spent the last decade working
in mental health and disability
support, focusing on self-help, peer
support strategies, and specialising
in community-based approaches
to nurturing social and emotional
Prior to this I had a long
involvement in all levels of education,
and in journalism, followed by lecturing
in both fields at university. Working
with Indigenous communities on
partnerships for development has
been another major focus over the
past 15 yearsin Australia, India,
New Zealand and Indonesia.
Some of my current work
includes being Pastoral Care and
KidsMatter MH Program Coordinator
at Living Waters Lutheran School in
Alice Springs, a leading national pilot
school in modelling preventive
mental health strategies.
On a more personal level, I am
an active ally and supporter of my
28-year-old son William who lives with
schizophrenia, which has given me
intimate exposure to the challenges
of dealing with ‘the system’ in mental
health, and with finding appropriate
ways to honour and empower people
living with different consciousness.
I look forward to helping make
a difference at MHACA and bringing
more people into this wonderful
community of belonging.
MHACA has been granted
additional funds to acquire
extra accommodation for our
clients and we will be looking at how we can
best manage our growing housing portfolio.
We are very grateful for the recognition of
Mardijah Simpson, Outgoing Chair
the need for better housing for our clients and
the trust that is placed in MHACA to make this a reality. It will be a big
responsibility and possibly a growing one.
mental health week
A highlight of this year’s Mental Health Week was the gala dinner with guest
speaker Jonathan Welch. Jonathan shared with us his experience of creating choirs
and working with people with a range of social and emotional disabilities to form
‘The Choir of Hard Knocks,’ which has gone from strength to strength. I was
very proud that evening when MHACA clients sang as part of the Reclink Choir
to perform a song that Gwvynyth had composed. As highlighted at the National
Regional Arts Conference, ‘Art at the Heart,’ also held here in October, creative
expression and the joy it brings plays an important role in our day-to-day wellbeing.
national arts & disability strategy
A Discussion Paper has been circulated seeking input from people in the community,
especially those with a disability and/or mental illness. Members of Arts Access
Central Australia have made a submission highlighting the specific barriers to access
and participation experienced in a remote town like Alice Springs.
comings & goings
Welcome to Jay Green, our new Mental Health Promotions Officer in Tennant
Creek, and Sean Broughton-Wright, our new D2DL & GROW Project Officer.
Also, welcome back to ‘Kermit’Christine Boocockwho has returned to work
at MHACA once more, now as part of the Pathways team. Goodbye to Felix Meyer
(Pathways) who has left to study full-time, and to Bianca Kelley (Subacute) who has
also returned to studies. We
wish them both every success.
Finally, following our Annual
General Meeting on 5 November,
a new committee has been
voted in. After two years as
Chairperson I decided not to
nominate for this position again
Mardijah presenting at the AGM on 5 November
but am happy to continue
serving as Deputy Chairperson. Thank you to everyone who has worked with me
during this time: fellow committee members, staff and clients. I am confident that
MHACA will continue to support people with mental health problems in
an empowering, caring and creative way. X
Mardijah Simpson
Pathways Program
Promoting Independent Living & Recovery-based Rehabilitation
 Pathways Officers: Joanne Ruby, Donna Ormsby, Christine Boocock
Christine, Donna and Jo
Offering choices ...
The Pathways to Recovery Program
offers rehabilitation and outreach
services which provide recoveryfocused living-skills training and
support. We assist people with
mental health issues to set & achieve
goals aimed at independent living
and integration into the community.
Activities ...
Personal goal setting with regular
3-monthly reviews
Basic living skills: cooking,
budgeting, shopping, personal care
Access to vocational education,
training and employment activities
Become a volunteer
Social and recreational activities
Regular groups & outings
Counselling services
Access to resources and other
support services
Information on mental health
issues and a variety of topics
A cuppa and a place to chat
with others who understand
For further info call:
Joanne Ruby on 8950 4606
Christine Boocock on 8950 4607 or
Donna Ormsby on 8950 4611
8.30am – 4.30pm Monday to Friday
What’s been happening…
Once again we head into the Christmas season and reflect
back on a challenging but rewarding six months in the Pathways
Program. We attempt to support client needs on a one-to-one
basis and appreciate feedback from consumers to achieve these
outcomes. We have also continued to build up relationships with other organisations.
In particular, we are grateful for the support the STEPS team has provided in helping
consumers to gain and maintain work. They are an invaluable team and we look
forward to further collaboration in the new year.
Yoga-Relaxation Group…
The Yoga-Relaxation group commenced again in October with a lot of interest
from consumers. Run by Kalikamurti Suich, it has been held on Wednesday evenings
with a steady number of attendees to each class. With many years of experience
as a yoga teacher, Kalika brings a wealth of knowledge to her practice. So far we have
learnt postures to help our bodies become more flexible and balanced, and learnt
breathing practices designed to relieve anxiety and inner turmoil, decrease mental
turbulencesuch as racing minds or negative thinkingand increase energy levels.
For more details on the wonderful benefits see Kalika’s article on page 36.
Training Workshops & Conferences ...
In late July, all of the MHACA support team attended the Vicarious Trauma
Workshop run by the Australian Childhood Association. The training was for
workers within community support and other related fields to be aware of the risk
of vicarious trauma. While MHACA provides employees with a good understanding
of the risk involved in working closely in a one-on-one support role, the workshop
reaffirmed the risks and provided an in-depth understanding of the facts. The training
was of particular relevance to our new employees, and offered pivotal information
on the high importance of support workers looking after their own health, both
physical and emotional.
In early August, Donna and Danielle attended a 2-day Narrative Therapy
Workshop which explored narrative approaches to counselling and community
work for children and adults who have experienced traumatic and difficult lives
see Donna’s article on page 49.
In early September, Jo attended
the 5th World Conference on the Promotion of
Mental Health: Margins to Mainstream in
Melbourne. The conference was rich with
stories of recovery, successful programs, new
ideas and an opportunity to collaborate with
other service providers and consumers
about their experiences. For more details
see article on page 52.
Left: Rudi and Felix
receiving their free raffle
tickets from Trish Van Dyke
at the finish line of the 3km
Mental Health Week Fun Run
on Sunday, 5 October
we made it!
Christmas Dinner
We are having a MHACA
Christmas Dinner on
Wednesday, 17 December
@ The Golden Inn,
Right: Gwvynyth and Sandi delighted
to spend a memorable afternoon with
Jonathon Welch at the Western Desert
'Purple House', singing with some of
the women (for a full Mental Health
Week update see pages 35-37)
Activities & Outings
While the Pathways team primarily work one-on-one with consumers,
at times staff support other group activities organised by MHACA. In mid-August,
Jo and Donna joined several consumers and other staff to attend a special triple-bill
performance by the Australian Ballet at the Araluen Theatre. The dancers were
a delight to watch, and a fantastic night was had by all. In Mental Health Week in early
October, staff and a few consumers shared a special moment with Jonathon Welch,
Director of The Choir of Hard Knocks, on his visit to the Western Desert ‘Purple
House’ to sing with some of the women. Outings such as this are reminders of
the inspiring role of the arts contributing to our sense of joy and wellbeing.
Goings & Comings …
We have sadly said farewell to a very skilled support worker, Felix Meyer. Not only
has Felix been able to engage well with consumers and built some strong connections
but he has also gained a vision for his future career through his experiences working
at MHACA (see his farewell on page 56). We wish Felix all the best on his new
pathway and hope to work with him again in the future. In turn, we are delighted
to welcome back Christine Boocock to our program. Christine has been working
with the Subacute team for the past several months and, following Felix’s leave,
has now stepped across to the Pathways team. X
Everyone is welcome!!
Bookings essential! RSVP to Emily on
8950 4600 by Friday, 12 Dec. 2008
Cost: $20
& Opening Hours
The MHACA office will be open
over the Christmas break though our hours from
24-31 December will be
9am - 3pm (we are closed on
public holidays + 2 January)
 Thank You!
We would like to say a big “Thank
You” to Dean Griffiths and other
members from Apex who helped
one of our consumers move
house. Your efforts were
sincerely appreciated. Keep up the great work!
We would like to wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas Season
Rudi, Kate and Ted appreciating the full benefit of the Wednesday evening Yoga-Relaxation class
run by Kalikamurti at MHACA
Welcome back
Prevention & Recovery
Program: “A Safe Way Forward”
 Prevention & Recovery Officers: Danielle Noble, Bruce Macgregor
Bruce and Danielle
Subacute care
A way forward with identified
supports that reduce the likelihood
of admission when it may be best
offered at home or in a residential
A way forward that keeps you
in touch with coping, understanding and meeting your needs during
discharge from care
Support offering ...
To assist in keeping yourself
and family strong through an
uncertain time of change in your
mental wellness
To keep you in touch with
those things that may need extra
effort to achieve during this time
of possible uncertainty
To share clinical and non-clinical support options, which include
identified community services
What happens?
A referral from CAMHS to
MHACA will request shared mental
health supports for when you are
ready to be discharged ... or before
a possible admission
We will be guided by you and
your family to meet your needs
For further info call:
Rangi Ponga on 8950 4602
Danielle Noble on 8950 4604 or
Bruce Macgregor on 8950 4603
8.30am – 4.30pm Monday to Friday
Welcome Back
We recently welcomed back Christine Boocock (Kermit)
to MHACA to assist us on the P & R Program. Christine had
left MHACA (and Alice) a year ago to stretch her wings in
Adelaide, but the red dust was still in her veins … Following
the departure of Felix from the Pathways Program, Christine has now moved into
his full-time position. We’re very glad to have a local gal back in the ranks.
Group Outings/Activities
On 4 September, the first Reclink Memo Lawn Bowls Classic was held at the
Memorial Club in Alice Springs. A number of agencies were invited to be involved
and came along with a team of four. MHACA had two outstanding bowlers in Rudi
and Ryan who both won trophies on the day. Rudi won his for the most improved
bowler and Ryan for most consistent bowler. A BBQ and refreshments were
provided. Also on a bright sunny day in September, a small group of us travelled out
to Simpson’s Gap for a BBQ. Some of us went for a walk down to the gap and had
a kick of football in the river. Others chatted around the picnic table and shelter and
helped organise the meal. We had a bit of trouble getting the BBQ to stay alight
with the wind, but eventually we ate. On the return trip we stopped at Anzac Hill
and enjoyed the view while being serenaded by one of our happy crew!
During October, Alice Springs hosted the Masters Games which gave the
opportunity for a number of clients to watch and enjoy a number of sports. The two
most popular sports were the baseball and hockey.
The hot weather is here and swimming has started again on Fridays at the local
town pool. Bruce and Danielle look forward to their “weekly therapy” and everyone
else agrees that it’s a great way to unwind and exercise at the same time.
Let us know if you’re interested!
Respite Accommodation
Currently the 2-bedroom flat is being used to assist in a person’s recovery
after discharge from hospital, while being supported by their family. It’s great to have
a space where family or carers can also stay short-term to provide a more stable
environment. We would like to say thank you to the family for the donation of the
rice cooker and dry mop, it will surely be appreciated by those who use the flat
in the future!
The Salvation Army Red Shield Hostel has completed its new kitchen and has
proven to be a great success for both the staff and the consumers. The need of the
subacute beds has remained busy over the last few months. They are being accessed
more readily for Crisis Respite by the CAMHS On-Call Team when not used for
Prevention and Recovery. Note: On-Call is the newly appointed title for the Crisis
Assessment Team
Thank you to Bruce for his dedication to supporting the hostel staff to ensure
Prevention & Recovery residents are receiving adequate supports. Bruce is a familiar
face at the Men’s Hostel and is happy to chat to anyone about what MHACA
can offer to the residents there.
2008 TheMHS
A good day out
was had in September on a lunchtime visit to Simpsons Gap for a BBQ
Reduced Accommodation in Alice Springs
As accommodation becomes more scarce and rentals are outside the range of
affordability for many in the local region, MHACA acknowledges the limitations for
consumers and the increasing numbers who find it difficult to gain accommodation.
Although this program has an accommodation criteria, where clients are
required to have identified or established accommodation before being accepted
as a subacute referral, we have always accepted that many clients require respite
alternatives until accommodation is identified and will assist people when possible
to address this need.
It is important to recognise as part of this that some clients have a history
of difficulty in maintaining or sustaining their accommodation for various reasons.
MHACA does attempt to support clients if possible; however, if clients have been
evicted from a residency it does place the service in a difficult position to assist
in supporting clients due to reduced housing credibility.
Appreciating and respecting what humble accommodation one has is
better than no accommodation at all. X
At the beginning of September,
I was lucky enough to attend The
Mental Health Services (TheMHS)
Conference in Auckland, New Zealand
with Claudia and two consumer
representatives from MHACA,
Glenise and Gwvynyth. Personally,
it impacted on me greatlyhearing
people’s stories, talking to other staff
in the field, learning about new ideas
in terms of treating mental illness
and the studies that have already
been done, and just being amongst
a group of people who are working
towards better service delivery was
inspiring and grounding at the same
time. When our team presented
at the conference, it was such an
achievement and I was so proud of
MHACA and the way we do things. Danielle (below with Gwvynyth)
A big “Thanks” to the Alice Springs Youth Centre which offers a range of facilities and activities
including a well-used weights room!
Rudi accepting his trophy for ‘Most Consistent
Bowler’ at the Reclink Lawn Bowls Classic
‘Day to Day Living in
the Community’ Program
Activities to Help Improve Quality of Life
 Day to Day Living Coordinator: Carmel Williams
Carmel Williams
What we offer
The D2DL Program aims to help
improve the quality of life for people
experiencing severe and persistent
mental illness by providing a range
of day-to-day activities
Come & join in ...
Working with other organisations
such as GROW, RecLink and the
Salvation Army we offer  A GROW Peer Support &
Drop-In Centre – to drop in week
days for a cuppa and a friendly chat
 Group activities each week
such as cooking, singing, painting to have some fun & learn new skills
... or relearn old ones!
 Education & training to better
understand and manage mental
illness and mental health
 Support to set & achieve
personal goals through taking
part in activities available in the
 Organised group outings
one weekend a month to join in
local community events
Benefits ...
Increased social interaction, learning
or re-learning skills, setting and
achieving personal goals, developing
confidence and independence
For further info call:
Carmel Williams on 8950 4612 or
Sean Broughton-Wright on 8950 4614
Monday to Friday 8.30am – 4.30pm
Welcome on board Sean ...
We are pleased to report that Sean Broughton-Wright
has been appointed as the newD2DL/Grow Project Officer
and has made himself welcome at the Drop-In Centre
and D2DL Program. Anyone who came to the AGM will
know that his assistance with the Walk a Mile short film was
absolutely invaluable, and we look forward to putting his talents to good use in the
new version to be released at MHACA’s official opening on 10 December. You can
read a bit more about Sean on the next page, and in his profile on page 57.
New New New!!!
We have continued to experiment with a range of activitiesand always welcome
new ideas! Some previous new activities have included ‘Look Good, Feel Good’ at
the Salvation Army and, more recently, ‘Relaxation-Yoga with Kalika’ at MHACA
on Wednesday evenings (see update on page 12).
Some ongoing regular favourites include Mandala Drawing with Lynne on Tuesday
afternoons, the Writing Group with Linda Wells on Thursday afternoons, and Healthy
Living on Thursday mornings, recently coordinated by Pip Williams.
A highlight in recent months has been a mini-bus trip to Trephina Gorge on
Sunday 21 September for a BBQ lunch to see “Strings on the Rock’s”, an afternoon
really enjoyed by all those who attended.
Numbers attending activities have begun to consolidate as we become more
consistent with reminders and assisted transport to out-of-hours activities. Our
review of administration processes continues with many gains in filing and reporting.
Keep GROWing
The GROW Drop-In centre continues to be popular with consumers.
Computers are well accessed for leisure and education purposes,
and CD’s, DVD’s and Books are now all catalogued; “thank you” to
the huge efforts of Nicole Kundert, who completed this task recently.
Consumers are borrowing these books consistently and making
good use of them. Now that the weather has become hot, people are
appreciating spending some time in the Centre as the air-conditioning is very good.
Staff have been regularly visiting the hospital on Friday afternoons to help
promote GROW on the Wardand we are pleased to announce that a second
GROW Group is now available on Monday evenings from 5.00-7.00pm.
The Program was recently evaluated by the Commonwealth Government and feedback from consumers was overwhelmingly positive. With your help, we can continue
to make the Drop-In Centre a helpful, healing and safe place for people to move back
into a full and rich life of their own choosing. The program generally is achieving well,
with a few areas for improvement especially in the statistical record keeping.
We hope that now we are fully staffed, this will resolve itself in the near future.
Welcome to our new
D2DL & GROW Officer
Sean Broughton-Wright
A top time was had at Trephina Gorge
in September where we watched “Strings on the Rocks’ following a BBQ lunch
RecLink Update
Aside from the usual activities which continue to be well attended, RecLink has
started a Cricket Competition between consumers and staff from various
organisations. The MHACA Nutcrackers are proud to report that they won their recent
match against DASA on Wednesday, 12 November. Outstanding efforts in bowling
and fielding were displayed by all!!! We hope to see a trophy in the Drop-In Centre
soon! Everyone is welcome to join in so give us a call to get your name down
on the team. See page 24 for a more detailed RecLink update.
December 2008 - January 2009 Calendar!
Watch out for the next calendar where we’ll be including activities that clients have requested on their Christmas Surveys. We also have some great new
activities for this period including some Play Writing workshops. Those writers
or Thespians out there can dust off their talents and write and perform a play!!!
Stay tuned for further details. Consumers will also have a chance to make
their own greeting cards for family and friends!
(cont. next page)
‘The pen is mightier than the sword!’ ... as some dedicated writers have been discovering
at the Thursday afternoon Writing Group
Hi there,
I am the new GROW-D2DL Officer
who has come on-board to assist Carmel
and Lynne in staffing the drop-in Centre
and facilitating the GROW program. So how did I arrive at MHACA and
why am I interested in mental health?
In my early twenties I suffered from
extreme anxiety to the point where
it caused me to give up my chosen
profession of teaching. One of those
tough self-reliant types I never sought
help but somehow managed to struggle
though and survive. If only I had had
the help of people like those here at
MHACA maybe I would still be out there teaching ... So I want to be here
to help raise awareness and help support
those who might be suffering like I did. How did I get here? I had been
campaigning online about mental health
abuse and met Tanya Gordon through
this (a young woman who recovered
from spiraling anxiety and depression
who visited Alice Springs in late August). Shortly after speaking with her I decided,
should the chance arise, that I would
like to become involved in mental health
service provision … and,
as luck would have it, here I am. I have lived most of my life in Alice
Springs and love the place. I am a secular
humanist and love the great and varied
team that MHACA brings together.
Please come and say gidday if you see
me around.
Day to Day Living Program (cont.)
Something different …
♦ Beadwork for Xmas Gifts or for sale at the Open
day in December. This activity can be set up
whenever it is convenient for consumers.
♦ Creative Canvas or Watercolour painting
can be set up whenever a consumer
has the urge to express themselves …
Just ask Carmel, Sean or Lynne.
Healthy Eating with Pip
Yoga-Relaxation with Kalika ...
A reminder that the second season of Relaxation with Kalika has begun and
continues on Wednesday nights from 6.00-7.30pm. It is open to all and the feedback
from participants is that it really makes a difference to their wellbeing, particularly
some of the troubling emotional and muscular symptoms resulting from medication.
Kalika’s CD is also available for purchase at a very cheap price of only $8.00 for
consumers. Please ring Carmel, Sean or Lynne to secure your copy. Don’t forget that
we can give assistance with transport if you have difficulty at that time of the evening.
Pip is doing marvelously in the Thursday
morning Cooking Sessions, making cheap,
nutritious and simple meals. Support from
consumers has been good but we always
welcome extra helping hands ... so come
along on a Thursday to see what’s cookin’!
We are hoping to have a small booklet of
these recipes plus simple Xmas cooking
ideas available for sale in December at
a small cost. Join init’s delicious!! X
Pip doing a fantastic job with preparing food for special
occasionsincluding tasty nibblies for our AGM
Above: Some familiar
friendly faces at one of the Healthy Eating sessions in October
Above: Asanta Sana choir performing
at Trephnina Gorge as part of the
‘Strings on the Rock’s concert
on Sunday, 21 September
Right: A hearty BBQ lunch was
enjoyed prior to the Trephina
Gorge concert, a memorable
afternoon for all who came
and staff
treated to
a chicken
and salad
lunch on
Cup day
My lagoons amidst with
your golden ponds
My shores awashed with
your rainbow skies
My flowers abloom with
your heavenly breeze
Encasing me with your scent
Your shadow holds my hand
Walking me through
my garden of Eden
John Moffat
“Great acts are made up of small deeds.”
Lao Tzu
Above: The D2DL computer room is available for
use throughout the daySteph and Rudi doing
some serious ‘surfing in the desert’
GROW Information Se t would like
The Drop-In Centre provides
a relaxed friendly space to hang outto be creative or just chill out
or association tha
If you have a group, club
tation to find out more ab
to host a GROW presen
l free to ring Carmel
the Program, please fee
itable date.
8950 4612 to discuss a su
Life Promotion Program
Addressing Suicide and Self-Harm in Central Australia
 LPP Manager: Laurencia Grant  LPP Officer: Brian Kennedy
LPP Manager - Laurencia Grant
Who are we?
The main focus of Life Promotion
is to grapple with the problem of
suicidal behaviour as it occurs in
the Central Australia region. LPP
workers are skilled in:  running
workshops  delivering & developing training  researching the issue
of suicide  networking & advocacy
 health promotion
What we do ...
 meetings, forums, emails,
workshops - making sure people
have a chance to share what they
know about how best to address
suicidal beahviour in our region
 training, articles, books, audio
providing information & training to
the community to help increase the
level of public skills & knowledge
about how to respond in the face
of suicidal thoughts or behaviour
 talks, events, posters
increasing public awareness of what
contributes to suicidal behaviour,
what protects from it & what we can
do when people are affected by it
 response group
offering support to people affected
by losses to suicides
 localised training packages
combining study and community
networking to tailor ‘health promotion’ materials and training packages
so that they are relevant, useful and
accessible to people in our region
 support & advocacy
for policies & services that reduce
factors that contribute to suicidal
behaviour and/or increase factors
that protect from suicidal behaviour
For further info call:
Laurencia Grant on 8950 4608
or Brian Kennedy on 8950 4609
14Monday to Friday 8.30am – 4.30pm
Mental Health Promotion Officer
based in Tennant Creek
Jeannette Greenor Jay for shorthas recently been
appointed as the Tennant Creek based Mental Health
Promotions Officer for MHACA. Jay’s role picks up where
Coral Aston left off with Life Promotions, but has an added role to work with local
organisations and members of the Barkly community to provide a promotion and
training arm of MHACA. She has been busy meeting with local workers and finding
out what is already happening in the Tennant Creek and surrounding communities
regarding mental health and suicide prevention worksee her update on page 16.
Jay will be helping to raise community awareness about mental health and
suicide through activities during mental health week and other significant times during
the year such as World Suicide Prevention Day, and is a qualified ASIST trainer. Brian
and Laurencia travelled to Tennant Creek to help deliver an ASIST workshop in early
December and to meet up with Anyinginyi staff and the Barkly mental health team.
Jay is based with the “Stronger Families’ team” of Anyinginyi Congress in
an attempt to ensure she has a supportive organisation to work within, and
as an important partnership with MHACA. Please contact her in Tennant
Creek on (08) 8962 1114 or 0488 567 577 or email [email protected]
Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa) Community Meeting
In November, Brian and Laurencia attended a meeting at the Spirituality Centre
as part of a group of people from agencies and organisations who offer services
that focus on mental health or social and emotional wellbeing. We were invited to
a discussion to consider how we do our work, how we might better collaborate
and how we could more effectively respond to the concerns raised by community
members. Issues raised by some of the Ltyentye Apurte men at a session in the
morning highlighted the importance of meaningful activity such as:
♦useful local employment (orchard work, horse program, music teaching,
building and maintenance, road work and rubbish collection);
♦training and education to occur in the evenings focused on issues such as
alcohol and other drugs, sexual health, family relationships and mental health;
♦ways to overcome misunderstandings of documents written in English
(especially matters related to court orders and legal matters); and
♦opportunities to get out of the community and travel out bush on weekends
as a means to stay away from trouble and to connect with culture and country.
The meeting was facilitated by Ilan Warchivker who is known to many in the
community for his work on the Ltyentye Apurte health plan. We were grateful to
be a part of the discussions and hope that it will lead to a better coordinated and
more responsive mental health workforce for the Ltyentye Apurte community.
World Suicide
Prevention Day
 Ceremony 
Life Promotions attending
a Community Meeting at Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa) in November 2008
SAFE in Oz Training
In October, the LPP team took on the lead role of organising a local workshop
for the training organisation ‘SAFE in Oz’. ‘SAFE’ stands for “Self Abuse Finally Ends”
and is a training program developed in Canada for those who work with people
who self abuse. The 2-day workshop was held on 20-21 October and attracted
23 participants from a range of organisationssee page 43 for more details.
On Wednesday, 10 September
LPP organised a community ceremony
in honour of World Suicide Prevention
Day. A range of speakers contributed
to the event, which was a moving
tribute to all those who have died
or been affected by suicide
see story on page 17.
Suicide Story Presentation
In November, Brian, Laurencia and Kristy presented sections of Suicide Story to SEWB
students at Batchelor through a request from Tahnia Edwards, and also to Aboriginal
health students at Congress, including Raymond Campbell. We were able to gain
feedback about the suicide awareness training resource and also to carry out some
interviews with the students about the issue. It’s always difficult for Aboriginal people
to watch this as it brings up many sad stories for them, as most have lost members of
their families to suicide. But they let us know that the resource is a good way to get
the subject talked about and to give people skills in how to support one another. X
ASIST Training
As part of my role as Life Promotions
Officer, I have become a qualified ASIST
Trainer (Applied Suicide Intervention
Skills Training). This week-long
Laurencia and Kristy delivering suicide awareness training at a Women’s Health
Workshop at Ampilatwatja
SafeTALK @ St Philips
On 25 November, Laurencia (at back with School Counsellor, Fiona Hadden), Kristy
and Karen Revel delivered SafeTALK to about 75 year 10 students from St Philips,
accompanied by Peter Bourke from Headspace. Safe TALK is a shortened 1/2-day
alternative to the 2-day ASIST course. This was the first time that we have trained
young people in suicide awareness skills and we appreciated St Philips’ commitment
training was done late September at
the Collaroy Convention Centre in
Sydney’s North Beach area, set amidst
a land of green fields and ocean blue
(a far cry from my desert home in the
Alice!). My training enables me to
deliver the 2-day ASIST training in the
community. The training was excellent
and I delivered my first 2-day workshop
on 11-12 November 2008 with
Sherrilee Portlock from CAMHS.
For more info contact Brian
Kennedy on 8950 4609 or
[email protected]
LPP Tennant Creek
Mental Health Promotion Officer - Jay Green
 Based at Anyinginyi Stronger Families  Ph: (08) 8963 2900
or 0448 657 577  Email [email protected]
Hi! My name is Jeannette Green
Jay for short. I hail from Germany
originally but have grown up in Darwin.
I have spent most of my life in the NT,
living and working in Groote Eylandt,
Gove, Daly River and Kakadu; however,
I have also retuned to Germany a
number of times as well as down south.
After completing a Diploma in
Marketing, I embarked on a series
of adventures, working in wildlife
sanctuaries with exotic animals to
working out on the high seas for months
at a time. After this, I undertook
a Bachelor of Behavioural Science and
worked for the YWCA of Darwin in
Youth Diversion before commencing
with MHACA at Tennant Creek.
I look forward to working with
the communities in the Barkly region,
discovering what is being done around
mental health and suicide prevention,
and assisting in the facilitation of training
and activities to help raise awareness
and reduce the stigma associated with
mental illness and suicide.
Please contact me if you are
working in Tennant Creek or drop in
and say hello. I am based at Anyinginyi
alongside the Stronger Families team.
Jay (below left at the
Women’s Day at the Barkley Homestead)
New Mental Health Promotion Officer
I commenced work in Tennant Creek on 29 September, based at the Stronger Families
offices of Anyinginyi. In addition to helping coordinate and deliver training in Mental
Health First Aid and ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) part of my role
is to help disseminate information and raise awareness about mental health issues. In
my first week, I made contact with some key mental health service providers and allied
organisations with a view to inviting people onto the reference group that will respond
to incidences of suicide to help provide a support role to the persons affected.
Barkly Region Activities
On 8 October, I was invited to attend the Open Day
of the Women’s Shelter at Elliot (photo at right).
A number of service providers attended on the day
and it was a great facility which was welcomed by
the community in Elliot. On 11 October, I attended
the Women’s Day at the Barkly Homestead which
had a great turnout of women from pastoral stations
in the Barkly region and beyond (see photo below
left). There were fantastic guest speakers covering topics from finance to women’s
waterworks! It was a very informative and entertaining day with many women staying
on to make the most of an event that is only held twice a year.
Youth Mental Health Forum
On 16-17 October, I attended a Youth Mental Health Forum in Darwin which attracted
a wide range of attendees. The focus of the forum was to raise awareness of mental
illness amongst young people in the Territory, promoting initiatives that would aid in
identifying mental illness and resources aimed at prevention, intervention and creating
better treatment and service outcome (such as Reach Out and Headspace).
Back in Alice …
Then I flew back to Alice Springs to attend the SAFE in Oz training on self harming
with Laurencia and Brian on 20-21 October. This was about an area that I have
had little exposure to in the past, however, the information will be valuable in the
future, should I encounter somebody who self harms. In Alice I also attended my first
staff meeting at MHACA where I had the opportunity to introduce myself to
other staff.
In the interim, I have continued networking with service providers in Tennant Creek,
arranging facilities and promoting the 2-day ASIST course that Laurencia and Brian
delivered here on 4-5 December. X
For further information or any queries please contact me during office
hours on 0448 657 577 or email [email protected]
World Suicide
Day 2008
Carmel Williams: I have two poems
for you. The first is about gathering
strength through adversity (below),
and the second is about going deeper,
surrending to life. All I can honestly tell
you, is that life is precious. and it takes
time and perseverance to know this in
the depths of your heart. Never give up!
Never, ever give up.
The Lemon Tree
There was a lemon tree
my father planted
unwisely, in a sea of couch
He did things like that
If it’s tough enough it’ll live!
I’d sneak out at night
to keep those grass fingers
from gripping its throat
It’d put rose petals on its feet
make the fairies dance around it
polish the leaves - persistently
Still it curled its green leather
pretended not to care
I sung it as though I were Arrernte
I sung it like it belonged
and the grass did not
Two years it lived
whistling that old
failure to thrive tune
In the final spring it gave
one porcelain flower
which swelled into
A green fruit
that died before it could
grow fat and yellow
My father pulled it up like a twig
threw it into the incinerator
I found that lemon
hard and indestructible
in the ashes the next day
So I saved it
for this poem
and all the others
Carmel Williams
On Wednesday, 10 September Life Promotions organised
a community ceremony in Alice Springs in honour of
World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD).
The purpose of WSPD is to raise awareness of this
critical yet often misunderstood problem in society. It is
hoped that events such as this will create less silence about
the issue and raise people’s awareness as a result.
While suicide may never be eliminated entirely,
through effective, coordinated and comprehensive suicide
initiatives around the world, the burden on individuals and
society can be greatly reduced. It is through events like
WSPD and other initiatives, that we can break down the
taboos and stigmas associated with openly confronting
this problem.
This year’s event was held at the Mosaic Memorial
Site behind the Senior Citizens Centre and followed
a format similar to the previous year. A simple ceremony
built around gentle music, inspiring testimonies from those
affected by suicideeither personally or through loss of
a loved oneand information sharing by speakers.
Carmel Williams shared two touching poems
one of which is printed hereand Felix Meyer
gave a moving speech about his brother
Monte (and has kindly given permission for
us to reprint his story (see page 42). The
healing aspect of the ceremony was especially
enhanced by the use of a traditional smoking
ceremony and the laying of symbolic flowers
on the beautiful ceramic mosaic.
Thank you to all the
MHACA staff who helped
organise and make this event
possible, and thank you to all
those attended in support of
this important day. X
Brian Kennedy, LPP
Musician Christopher Broklebank
Brian and Padma lay flowers
Above: People
were invited to lay
a flower on the
Mosaic Memorial
Left: People
viewing stories on
what keeps people
Training & Promotions
 Training & Promotions Officer: Rita Riedel - phone 8950 4613
An Awkward Fit - A Mother’s Story ...
In late July, we promoted a free community forum with
guest speaker, Helen Maczkowiack, attended by around
20 people. Author of An Awkward Fit, Helen spoke of her
son’s struggles with depression and then how she coped
following his suicidesee page 55 for more details.
Mental health promotions training
On 8-9 September, I attended a 2-day workshop Promoting Mental Health
& Wellbeing in Melbourne, followed by the 3-day 5th World Conference on the
Promotion of Mental Health: Margins to Mainstream. Run by VicHealth, the workshop
covered some of the latest trends and research in mental health promotion, and
‘set the scene’ for the conference. Both were jam-packed with good information.
For more details on both see page 45 (workshop) and page 52 (conference).
Mental Health Week
A range of events was organised for this year, with the highlight being
Dinner with Jonathon Welchthe Founding Director of The Choir of Hard
Knocks. Promotions also included radio interviews: with ABC, 8HA and
the Murray Stewart Fitness Show. For a summary of activities see page 33.
General promotion
General promotional work has included: u preparing two more vertical
display banners, one for taking to stalls and the other for Jay in Tennant Creek
u preparing a logo for the Consumer Forum group u updating our MHACA
postcard u preparing consumer story posters for Claudia to take to the
2008 TheMHS conference u preparing powerpoints on the Promoting Mental
Health & Wellbeing workshop and Margins to Mainstream conference for MHACA’s
Information Sharing session on 12 November u updating our MHACA and
GROW powerpoints u updating the website on new programs and staff
u monthly MHACA calendars u doing our annual membership drive mailout
and u designing some new front-of-building signs for MHACA and GROW.
In November, I visted the Congress
Youth Outreach Team to talk about MHACA
services. The team are from left: Greg
Donald, Mark Gepp, Katy Walker and
Bianka Schulz-Allan (and not in the photo,
Irshad Auckburally).
Right: Rita and Jo catch up with Steve Fisher in
Melbourne at the Margins to Mainstream
Conference in September
Headspace trainers
and participants at the SEE Young People workshop
Headspace training
As a consortium partner, MHACA has
helped to organise and promote the first
round of training workshops for Headspace.
This has included three 1-day Train the
Trainer workshops:
u CAN DO for Young People, Families
and Carers on 21 August – CAN DO aims
to strengthen, support and network key
stakeholders who deliver services to young
people and their families and carers in local
areas, to improve the capacity to effectively
respond to the complexities of co-existing
mental health and substance use
u SEE (Screening and Engaging Early)
Young People on 22 August – SEE YP focused
on effective communication skills to build
rapport and perform health risk screens as
well as to assess the need for intervention
and to provide basic health advice
u Working with Families and Significant
Others on 20 November – to provide
practitioners with effective strategies and
tools with which to communicate, engage
and support families and significant others
in their understanding of and management
of the young person’s problems.
Now that headspace are fully staffed the
Training Coordinator role will be taken on by
Judith Taylor. Initially developed for GPs the
workshops are relevant to all service providers
who work with young people at risk and will
be rolled out in 2009.
Mental Health
First Aid
Why Mental Health First Aid?
Tanya Gordon speaking on overcoming depression
at the Town Council on 27 August 2008
Dancing in the Dark
There are many reasons why people need
mental health first aid training:
Firstly, mental health problems are common,
On 25-29 August, young singer Tanya
Gordon visited Alice Springs to give
a free Community Talk and visit local
high-schools to talk about her journey
living with and overcoming depression
(also accompanied by Peter Bourke from
headspace), a very fruitful trip organised
by Teen Challenge. I attended Tanya’s visit
to St Philips and her Talk on 27 August
to provide follow-up information on
MHACA’s services and resources.
Tanya is an inspiring speaker
who struck an instant chord with her
audiences, particularly the high-school
students. As Donna’s article on Narrative
Therapy highlights (page 49) there is deep
value in sharing our stories, not only
making us stronger but also helping and
inspiring others.
especially depression, anxiety and misuse of
Addendum: The feature track on Tanya’s
latest CD is the feature song on the recently
released Salvation Army DVD ‘Braver, Stronger,
Wiser’ aimed at beating depression in rural
Australia (see Resources on page 58).
seeking professional help when necessary.
alcohol and other drugs. One in five Australian
adults will suffer from some form of common
Course Dates
2009 17-18 February
mental health problems in any given year,
17-18 March
therefore it is highly likely throughout the course
21-22 April
of any person’s life they will either develop or
18-19 May
come into contact with someone who does
have a mental health problem.
Secondly, people often feel embarrassed
23-24 June
21-22 July
and reluctant to seek help due to the stigma
18-19 August
attached to mental health problems. One of the
22-23 September
aims of MHFA training is to reduce this stigma
via educating people and providing them with
a greater awareness about mental illness,
20-21 October
17-18 November
how to recognize signs and symptoms, how
to provide initial help and how to go about
For enquires or bookings contact Rita Riedel
on 8950 4613 or email [email protected]
In addition to compiling our Jan-June 08
Service Report, 2007-2008 Annual Report
and 2008 Matt Deer Camp report, our
new Strategic Plan 2008-2011 was also
formatted, all of which are available
for viewing on our website. X
Co-facilitator Yarran Cavalier (centre) with MHFA
participants in September 2008 from: Centralian Snr Secondary College, DEEWR, Congress SEWB
and Remote Health AOD, Life Without Barriers, CARHS Remote Health Tennant,
Centacare, MHACA, Drug & Alcohol, DEET Student Services and ADSCA
 Administrator: Sue Coombs - phone 8950 4610
 Administration Assistant: Emily Harrison - phone 8950 4600
THE last half of the year has simply flown by, and I now
feel almost settled across the variety of tasks that are inherent
in my position. There have been many exciting events throughout the past months ... and some challenging ones too!
Building update
In spite of ongoing efforts (waiting on Change of Building Usage approval) we are still
no closer to getting the rear area of the building landscaped and shadedwhich is still
impacting on storage, and we have had to rent an off-site unit for this purpose. In the
interim, we are having landscaping and paving done at the rear side of the building to
provide some shaded area for everyone. This area will include a water feature,
and it is intended that there will be small plaques either fixed to this or to
the seating to commemorate consumers who have passed on.
Picture rails have been installed in our large functions/board room and the
Drop-In centre to enable us to display artwork created by consumers. On a more
practical note, we have installed a continuous hot-water urn in the kitchen,
and have also installed hand-towel dispensers to the staff toilet and the kitchen.
Workplace Agreement
The final draft of this was approved by the Committee in October and was then
presented to staff for their comments. This has only just been received back
and staff suggestions will be discussed at the December Committee meeting.
on board to Sean Broughton-Wright.
We also have had one resignation
a sad farewell to Felixwhich we filled
by promoting a part-time staff member
to a full-time positioncongratulations
to Christine Boocock. For the first time
for many months we now have a full
complement of staff, hooray!
Many thanks to Deloitte’s for completing this year’s annual financial audit.
This was all finalised on time and we
presented the audited accounts and
Annual Report at the AGM held
on 5 November 2008.
Housing Program
Motor Vehicles
We were very excited to receive a second-hand Toyota Prius hybrid car under the
Community Benefit Gift Scheme, and this has been a hit with all staff who have driven
it. We need to trade one of the Toyota Camry’s in, and it has been decided that if we
are able to obtain another Prius at a reasonable cost we will do so, as the vehicle has
enough interior room to be able to be used for consumer transport requirements. We have also purchased an additional secondhand Toyota Landcruiser for the Life Promotions
Program, with the Hilux being transferred to the Life
Promotions Program in Tennant Creek.
The Mental Health Promotion Officer at Tennant
Creek has been filled, with Jay Green commencing
in September. We also filled the position of
D2DL-GROW Officer in Octoberwelcome
Left: Sue counting votes
at our November AGM
Sue & Em proudly
displaying our new u-beaut hot-water urn
in the kitchen giving us boiling water on tap
Right: Em at reception
making everyone feel welcome
We were delighted to be granted
a further $360,000 from the NT Dept
of Local Government and Housing
under the Community Housing Program
to purchase another two 1-bedroom
units for the MHACA portfolio. We
have contracted for the purchase of one
unit and are currently viewing a number
of others with a view to purchase. X
5 November 2008
MHACA proudly celebrated a busy past year with
a well-attended AGM on 5 November 2008. Approximately
40 people attended, demonstrating an ongoing commitment from the community
and inspiring us all to ‘keep striving’. The creative presentations show-cased in
pictures much of what we’ve set out to achieve, a tribute to the hard work of all the
staff and committee members. It was particularly encouraging to see strong interest
for the committee elections, and we are delighted to welcome on board several new
dedicated skilled members, as well as welcome the return of many of the
previous members of the committee.
All the formal requirements of the
meeting went smoothly, with Alderman
Meredith Campbell acting as Returning
Officerthank you Meredith. The
majority of members from the outgoing
committee were re-nominated and
appointed unopposed. Their ongoing
commitment to MHACA, dedicated
voluntary time and wide-ranging skills
are greatly appreciated. We welcome
a new Treasurer and two new
General Members ...
Returning Officer, Meredith Campbell, with Claudia
and Dale Wakefield (AS Women’s Shelter)
New Chairperson Trish Van Dijk giving a short
speech on her interest in supporting MHACA
New committee members
for 2008-2009 are u Chairperson - Trish Van Dijk
u Deputy Chair - Mardijah Simpson
u Secretary - Maya Cifali
u Treasurer - Allen Cope
u Public Officer - Lee Ryall
u Organisational Rep - Tracey Hatchard,
Em, Danielle and Glenise all smiles at the AGM
presentations ... You rock gals!
MHACA members getting ready for creative
staff presentations followed by some hearty
competition for committee elections
Olga Radke, Kay Viney, Jenny Hartung and Jill Deer
enjoying a catch-up at the AGM
MH Carers NT
u Organisational Rep - Nigel Scrimshaw,
Salvation Army
u Consumer Representative - Darren Farr
u Consumer Representative Gwvynyth Cassiopeia-Roennfeldt
u General - Katherine Venice
u General - Robbie Lloyd
Long-term committee member, Maya Cifali,
with our auditor, Bill McAinsh
New committee members
Allen Cope, Katherine Venice
and Robbie Lloyd ready for
a dynamic year ahead
A big thank you to all the
staff & committee for their
work over the past year.
Consumer Action ...
Consumer Get-Togethers
Consumers meet twice a month: at an evening Consumer Forum
and a day-time Consumer Action Group (CAG). We have our evening
Consumer Forum on the fourth Tuesday of the month and have
shared fish and chips and pizza for the last two meetings.
We have been consistently getting new members and the crowd
has been between 9 to 12 people in attendance. It’s great to see!
The last two CAGsheld on the second Tuesday of every month
at lunch timehave been held at the Todd Tavern and Watertank Café,
and were attended by 16 and 8 people respectively.
Consumer Code of Conduct
Above: Glenise speaking at the MHACA Information Sharing Session
on 12 November about the presentation she gave with Claudia and
At the Consumer Forum we have reviewed the ‘Consumer Code of
Gwvynyth at the 2008 TheMHS Conference in New Zealand
Conduct’ so that it can be made into a poster-board to be hung up at
the Drop-In Centre. The Code of Conductsee next pageoutlines
the general expectations of behaviour held by the Consumer Forum of all
consumers when attending MHACA, the Drop-In Centre and D2DL activities.
This document will be given to new consumers at MHACA when they meet with
staff so that they know what will be expected of them. The Code of Conduct
On Wednesday, 17 December
has been reviewed and endorsed by the MHACA Committee.
6.00-9.00pm at The Golden Inn,
9 Undoolya Rd, Alice Springs.
Staff, carers, consumers and
Actions that have been taken as a result
family are all invited - cost $20
of the Consumer Forum ...
Please RSVP to Em on 8950 4600
to RSVP by 10 December
Christmas Dinner
Consumer Representatives
Consumer representatives have been nominated: 1) to represent D2DL to allied
services and reference groups 2) to work on a Policy for ‘Supervision and Safety
of Children Attending MHACA’ 3) to give a presentation at the 2008 TheMHS
conference in New Zealand, and 4) to do a speech and song at the Mental Health
Week Dinner with Jonathon Welch and MHACA AGM.
Long Camp
A sub-committee is
working on the idea of a
camp to Darwin in March
next year, for a week to
a fortnight long. All
consumers are most
welcome to join the
groupplease ask
Gwvynyth for details.
Drop In & Drop Offs
The Consumer Forum has requested
approval for MHACA to provide a drop-off
service for clients who attend the Drop-In
and D2DL program, especially in times of
extreme weather. It is envisaged MHACA
will be able to provide a daily drop-off time
at 3.30pm from the premises directly
home for those who require a lift.
This will be trialled in December as
the weather becomes hotter. It will just
require people to register their names
at the front desk prior to 3.00pm so we
know the size of vehicle we require.
Left: Kate and Gwvynyth (right), accompanied by David and Lily Roennfeldt,
were invited to sing at the opening of the MHACA AGM on 5 November
Code of Conduct for
Integrity - Consumers and staff working together
to further MHACA’s aims. To not strive for personal gain
or private outcomes. To try to reach consensus on issues
that are being discussed.
Honesty - To disclose interest where consumers
may have financial or personal gains, and withdraw from
meetings if there is potential conflict between their own
interest, colleagues and MHACA’s interest.
Confidentiality - To respect the privacy of others.
To not talk about consumer business with other members
of the community and to not disclose any information
which is private to consumers.
Impartiality - To provide unbiased input within
a designated task. To represent the broader consumer
views and not just their own.
Respectful Behaviour - To treat others
with courtesy and respect. Incidents of harassment, sexual
harassment, and aggressive or verbal abuse towards other
consumers and staff will not be condoned or tolerated.
Tolerance – To accept others regardless of gender,
culture or religious background. Discrimination of any
form is in direct opposition to the Code of Conduct.
Complaints/Feedback - Is appreciated
and acted upon to upgrade the performance of MHACA
services. An advocate is available upon request.
This Code of Conduct will be incorporated in the MHACA Policy and
Guidelines Manual and is endorsed by the MHACA Committee.
Consumer Agenda
Aside from the regular D2DL & Grow calendar, consumers have taken part
in an interesting agenda with attendances at the Mental Health Week Dinner,
Trephina Gorge Choir afternoon (with lunch),Yoga-Relaxation Sessions on
Wednesday evenings, and the 2008 TheMHS Conference in Auckland, NZ.
In addition to all the above, the Consumer Forum aims to provide a place
to contribute dynamic ideas to add to our D2DL calendar. Due to the holiday
season the December Consumer Forum will be not be on. X
To find out more on the Consumer Forum we are on the web at and click on the Consumer Action page link
Gwvynyth Cassiopeia~Roennfeldt, MHACA Consumer Representative I Am Me
I am who I am,
but not who I want to be
I am what I am, and what I am is me
I am not you, nor who you think I am
There is a lot more to me,
but I am still who I am
You see me as a patient,
client or consumer
But I am not any of these,
I am simply just me
I wish I could show you,
all that is inside me
But some is secret,
and some is yet to be
I wish you could see me,
beyond all the labels
Beyond all the illness,
the toils & troubles
One day you just might, you never know
If I stop trying to hide it,
but instead let it all show
Maybe then you will see
all I that I can be
All that is in there, all that is me
I don’t need your sympathy,
I don’t need to be fixed
I just need you to see me,
and allow me to be me
So my request to you then,
is for you to see me
as a real person, and simply just me
My question is then,
will you see me as such
will you see I’m not fragile,
and won’t break if you touch
Sandi 2008
Reclink Update
CAAAPU-DASA Tigers-Winners of the Inaugural Goodwill Cup
Reclink in Alice Springs has been off the Richter scale (excuse my excitement!)
in the last few months with a ton of big events and plenty of regular activities.
Major Reclink events in Alice Springs recently have been the Reclink Memo Lawn
Bowls Classic, Reclink Football Grand Final Day, Reclink Goodwill Dinner and the start
of the Inaugural Reclink Super 8s Cricket. Regular Reclink activities have included
10-pin Bowling, Indoor Rock-climbing, Social Tennis, 2 Movie days, 8-Ball and the
Golf Driving Range and swimming at the Town Pool. It has been encouraging to see
people trying out new things and having the courage to have a go at things
they normally wouldn’t get the chance to do.
Reclink Lawn Bowls Classic
The Reclink Lawn Bowls Classic was held at the Memo Club on 4 September 2008.
It was bowls and a BBQ to kick off the Goodwill Tour by the Salvation Army
Hawks Reclink AFL team and some of the Board Members from Reclink Melbourne.
Local Alice Springs Reclink agencies and other members of the Alice Springs
Community were invited down to join in on the evening and get a real experience
of what Reclink is all about.
Teams of four were mixed of locals and Melbournians to encourage people
getting to know someone new and share the fun. There was lots of fun and some
entertaining bowls played. A special mention to two of the guys from MHACA’s
D2DL program: Ryanwho took out the ‘Bowler of the Day Trophy, and Rudy
who got the trophy for ‘Most Consistent’. Champion effort fellas! All that
practice at Memo Bowls Club on Tuesday afternoons paid off!
Reclink Grand Final Day
The 2008 Grand Final day was held on a warm afternoon at Traeger Park.
The A-grade fixture was a rematch of the 2007 final between the Cottages AllStars and Amoonguna Eagles. The match was played with extraordinary skill and
raw speed. Cottages raced out to a huge lead at half-time. Amoonguna came back
strongly and nearly pulled off an amazing comeback, however the final siren beat them
and Cottages claimed
their first Reclink Title.
The Inaugural Reclink
Goodwill Cup was
played out between the
and the visiting Salvation
Army Hawks from
Left: Winning recipients at
the Reclink Lawn Bowls
Right: Mary giving
Glenise some fine pointers
The Reclink Melbourne league. In what
was a physical contest, the two sides’
contrasting playing styles made the game
an exciting display. The CAAAPU-DASA
Tigers saved their best performance of
the season for the Cup and held off a
brave Hawks side. The cup stays in the
Alice, the Tigers winning by four goals.
The B-Grade final was won by the MZ
Bulldogs who took a combined
Reclink side.
Here’s what being part of the
competition meant to some of the
CAAAPU-DASA Tigers players:
E - “We all enjoyed ourselves,
especially me that had family
members present at the Grand
Final; it produced overwhelming
feelings of dignity and pride that
had been missing for a long time.”
JS - “Reclink Footy has shown me
that I can have fun without drugs
and alcohol, and when I leave this
program I have the confidence to
keep active and encourage my
kids to be healthy and active too.”
Thank You
Alice Springs!
The Reclink model is one that requires
a network of member agencies to work
together to provide opportunities for
people to rebuild their lives. I would
like to take this opportunity while
I can to thank some people who have
been extremely supportive of me in
coordinating Reclink in Alice Springs:
u First of all, my partner Anna who has
been incredible in what has been
a hectic few months
u Mary Meldrum from the Memo Bowls
u Kate Egan and Robert from AFLCA
u Bruce Macgregor from MHACA for
running the 8-Ball at the AS Youth Centre
u Lisa Anderson form Life Without Barriers
who has coordinated two Movie days
u Jody Kopp from Aranda House who has
been full of enthusiasm and ideas
u Mayor Damien Ryan who opened the
Reclink Lawn Bowls Classic and presented
Trophies at Reclink Football Grand Final Day
u Colin Hutchieson from NAB bank and
Dave Douglass Tyre City for their generous
u Jonathon Pilbrow from NTCOSS with
whom I share an office and have someone to
bounce ideas off
u Carmel Williams and the MHACA staff
who put up with me dropping in all the time
to promote what’s happening at Reclink
u And to all the Reclink agencies and their
staff who have made the effort to get their
participants to the Reclink events – you, the
member agencies, are essentially Reclink …
so thank you for your continued support of
the Reclink network in Alice Springs .
I can feel Reclink having a major
influence on the community of Alice
Springs and am excited at seeing and
hearing more positive experiences
from those that get involved. X
If anyone has any good stories from
Reclink events or would like to know
more about Reclink please feel free
to contact me on 0401 735 813 or
email [email protected]
MHACA consumers with Sean (right) appreciating the range of activities on offer by Reclink
Stories ...
Reclink aims is to rebuild lives through sport and the arts. I was lucky enough to
receive some letters from some people attending a drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation
centre who attend Reclink activities. I will share two with you ...
This from a man in his 20s “When I first came to DASA I didn’t know
anything about Reclink and the services
they provided. I give a big thank you to
Sean and Reclink for allowing me to play
for the CAAAPU-DASA Tigers (Reclink AFL
Team) even though I had not played one
single game of footy before. I had plenty
of support from my friends at DASA who
said ‘it’s not about winning, it’s about
having fun’.
The first game was tough on me but
I gave it all I had. The next game was the
Goodwill Cup against the Salvo Hawks
from Melbourne and I was really looking
forward to this match. I just had to go
out and buy myself a pair of footy boots.
In the third quarter of the game I had a
head clash with my opponent; I also had
a major stitch and a bad thigh that was
taped up. I felt I couldn’t continue so I went
to the bench. The fourth quarter started
and there was no one to take my place
as they were injured also, so I went back
out and played the rest of the game. After
the match I received the trophy for ‘Most
Courageous Player’. That showed me if I
put my mind to it I can do anything.
So thank you to Reclink and the
guys I played with and against. Hopefully
I can return the help and encouragement
I received and show people how fun we can
have if we just get out there and
have a go”. J
This sent in by a woman ...
“This short note is to thank Reclink for the
opportunities in rec activities offered to us.
My first day at the centre I was greeted
by an enthusiastic, highly spirited group
of young men who had won a big football
game. [The Reclink Football Grand Final].
They had a big gold trophy and medals
around their necks; it seemed the air was
alive with enthusiasm and joy. Working
through drug and alcohol addiction is one
of the hardest challenges many of us here
face on a daily basis. We have robbed
ourselves of the simple joys in life. Thanks
to organisations such as DASA and Reclink
we are able to see the big picture and enjoy
living without substance abuse. For me, the
10-Pin Bowling and having a go at tennis
has been great fun.Through trying these
activities my self-esteem grows and so does
my courage to give new things a go.” L.
Community Xmas Party 2008
Alice Springs Community Xmas Party is on 18 December
at the Town Pool from 4.00-7.00pm. All Reclink Agencies
welcome, just say ‘pool party’ at the gate for free entry
NT Mental
Health Coalition
Phil Dempster, Project Officer
The membership of the Coalition
has grown to 28 full members and
is still rising. This is an exciting time
for us all as we become much more
representative of the sector with a
greater number of people at the table
come meeting times. Should you have
an interest in the future of mental
health in Australia and be interested in
becoming a member of the Coalition
please email [email protected] for
Mental Health Promotion
Mental Health Week has again come
and gone and what a week it was! For
those who attended the dinners in
Darwin and Alice Springs you will know
exactly what I am talking about!!
What a delightful man Jonathon
Welch turned out to be ... not only
were the dinners themselves a huge hit
because of his wonderfully professional
attitude and quirky sense of fun, but the
other activities that he agreed to do in
The NT Mental Health Coalition is the peak body for
mental health representing non-government organisations that provide services
to people with mental health needs. It operates as a sub-committee of NTCOSS and
holds a seat on the Mental Health Council of Australia (MHCA), the national peak body
for mental health. The Coalition is a member of Community Mental Health Australia
which is a national alliance of state and territory peak bodies.
Darwin and Alice were something to
enjoy as well. I attended his talk at the
‘Purple House’ in Alice Springs (see also
page 35) and to see the way he engaged
with people who are truly disadvantaged
was an experience I will never forget.
It took a little while for some of the
members to trust him but once he
started a little sing along he had all their
attention. They even sang him a little
song of their own before he left
which brought a tear to Jonathon’s
eye (which is his trademark!) but also
brought a tear to my eye as it was such
a powerful moment.
We also had some other wonderful
speakers at our dinners and I would like
to thank them all for their very valuable
contributions to the evenings.
The week was a success all round
with all the activities well attended and
people generally seemed to know a
little more about what we are trying to
achieve by the end of it. Thank you to
everyone who once again contributed
so much in getting the week to happen.
Mental Health Respite
This project goes under the very
large heading of “Building Capacity
in Community Mental Health Family
Support and Carer Respite Project”
and is funded by the Australian
Government under the National Respite
Development Fundsee update next
page. The project was launched in May
this year and Project Coordinator, Kristi
Stinson, did the initial consultation.
Kristi has moved on and we now have
a new Project Coordinator, Janine Sims,
who has taken the reins. In November,
Janine completed a round of forums
with interested parties in Alice Springs
and Darwin, with the help of National
Project Coordinator, Christine Barry
Please contact [email protected] for
any further information.
Lastly, I would like to thank everyone
for the support you have shown the
Coalition this year. I hope you all have
a very good Christmas break and a
wonderful start to the New Year.
See you next year!
Phil Dempster
Left: Jonathon Welch in Darwin with
Wendy Norton (NTCOSS), Phil
Dempster and Helen Johnson
Project Officer, NT Mental Health
Coalition, NTCOSS,
PO Box 1128, Nightcliff NT 0814
p: (08) 8948 2665
f: (08) 8948 4590
e: [email protected]
Left: Jonathon in Alice Springs inspiring
women at the Western Desert ‘Purple
House’ during Mental Health Week
Building Capacity
in Community
Mental Health Family
Support & Carer
Respite Project
- Update The Building Capacity in Community
Mental Health Family Support and Carer
Respite Project is part of national reform
process in the area of mental health family
support and carer services and is funded
by the Australian Government under the
Mental Health Respite Program.
The project aims to facilitate the establishment of localised community partnerships
that will apply for funding from the National
Respite Development Fund to deliver
innovative and sustainable services after
consulting with relevant services, carers and
consumers regarding current need in the
respite sector.
Another and equally important outcome
of the project is nurturing a well trained
community mental health family support
and respite workforce and feeding back
information regarding sector needs to
With the support of MHACA, Alice
Springs service providers came together on
12 November to analysis the strength and
gaps in local Mental Health family support and
carer respite services.
It is hoped that at the next meeting, set
for early December, service providers will
commit to a local community partnership and
start to work together to apply for funding
for new and innovative respite programs for
Alice Springs and remote communities from
the National Respite Development Fund.
If you have any queries or would like
to be involved please contact Project
Coordinator, Janine Sims on (08) 8948
2665 or email [email protected]
Northern Territory
Advisory Group
on Mental Health
Providing an ongoing mechanism for consumer & carer input
into mental health policy decision making process
NT-CAG was formed in 1992. The Group acts as a Ministerial Advisory
Committee to provide strategic advice on the planning, delivery and evaluation
of mental health services in the NT. In line with the mental health reforms under
the National Mental Health Strategy, NT-CAG provides an ongoing mechanism
for consumer and carer input into mental health policy decision making process,
particularly in relation to the implementation of the National Mental Health Plan
(currently 2003–2008) and in accordance with the Mental Health Statement
of Rights and Responsibilities endorsed by Health Ministers in March 1991.
NT-CAG is made up of 9 community memberseither consumers of mental
health services or primary carers, and there are currently members from
Darwin, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs.
This year the focus of NT-CAG
has been to improve communication
with community-based organisations.
NT-CAG Members have met with
groups such as Carers NT, Mental
Health Carers NT, NTCOSS and TEAM
health. At the September meeting
in Alice Springs, a visit was made to
MHACA, and Barbara Weis and Peter
Bourke from headspace Central
Australia gave a presentation about
their program to members.
A consumer and carer from
NT-CAG are members of the
National Mental Health Consumer
and Carer Forum. This forum holds
two face-to-face meetings and two
teleconferences per year. As part of
ongoing representation and advocacy
on consumer and carer issues the
group provides advice on specific
national mental health initiatives and
makes submissions on relevant national
issue such as Senate Inquiries. X
For more information, contact Doreen Dyer, Chairperson
0412 423 483 or email [email protected]
For information call 1800 18 SANE (7263) or email [email protected]
Welcome to headspace!
We’re open!
Are you aged between 12 – 25?
Then headspace could be the place for you!
headspace is where young people can go to get help. We have
doctors, health workers, psychologists, nurses and counsellors
to help you cope and get support with physical health, mental
health, stress, anxiety, depression, sexual health, and drug and
alcohol issues. We can also help you find the right person to
talk to about further study, getting a job or doing a course.
Although it is sometimes hard to talk about these things,
whatever happens in headspace stays in headspace!
We are a FREE and CONFIDENTIAL service dedicated to being
youth friendly and youth-relevant.
Please call for an appointment or feel free to drop into our site
at 5/5 Hartley St (in the old Office National Building facing Wills
Tce – next to CASA), or ring 8958 4544 to find out more. You
can come in by yourself, or bring someone with you for support.
We can also provide you with general information if you would
just like to find out more about certain issues.
Opening times:
Mon & Tue 8.30am – 4.30pm
Wed 10.00am – 6.00pm
Thurs & Fri 8.30am – 4.30pm
Our Doctors services are
available at the following times
Monday: 1.30pm – 5.00pm
Thurs: 1.30pm – 5.00pm
For more info and session times visit our website
“Follow the three R’s: Respect for self. Respect for others. Responsibility for all your actions.” Anon
Taylor (Training & Intake & Assessment).
We are sad to see Barbara Weis moving
on as managershe has done a tireless
and exceptional job getting headspace
operational and she will be sadly missed.
Good fortune has prevailed, however, and
we are very fortunate to welcome Michael
Cody as the new managerwhat a team!!
We’re also waiting on an Aboriginal Mental
Health Worker to fill-out the new crew.
Youth Advisory Group
The new Headspace team - Michael, Ash, Jennifer, Judith and Peter
We’re ready
to rock!
headspace Central Australia
is now open!
by Community Liaison Officer, Peter Bourke
headspace Central Australia (hCA) is open!!! After a great deal of preparation
and community excitement, hCA opened its doors on 10 November 2008.
“We’re ready to rock!” says Community
Liaison Officer, Peter Bourke. The
hCA one-stop shop model is an holistic
approach to creating a youth-friendly
environment where a whole range of
services that impact on our lives are
availableand free! We have doctors,
sexual reproductive health services,
generic and alcohol & other drug (AOD)
specific counselling, an Aboriginal
mental health worker, Centrelink
information, ASYASSemergency relief/
accommodation support, and we’re looking
to establish further links in the vocation
and education training sector.
headspace is an initiative and service
that really makes sense. We know that
early intervention works, and we know that
mental and substance abuse disorders are
the most serious health problems affecting
young people todayso much so that
nationally one in four will experience one
or both in any one year.
Statistics show that depression is
set to become the second biggest burden
of disease and death worldwide by 2020
(currently it’s 4th), and that these issues
are not experienced in isolation from
most other aspects of our lives. In fact,
you can’t have good health without good
mental health.
The new team
hCA would like to welcome on board
Jennifer Croaker (Clinic Coordinator), Ash
Whelan (Intake & Assessment) and Judith
From the very beginning we are ensuring
that young people play an active role
in shaping the delivery and look of hCA
services. We have had a huge response
from local young people to the Youth
Advisory Group which will assist us in
‘getting it right & relevant.’ YAG will also
help us to explore the issues of mental
health and mental illness in the community
and develop activities and forums that are
youth-developed and youth-runwhich
will hopefully ensure it’s cool! I’m really
excited about this dynamic crew!
Thank you to MHACA who helped to
organise three headspace Train the
Trainer workshops in recent months (see
Rita’s update page 18). Now that we are
fully staffed, the Training Coordinator roll
will be taken on by Judith Taylor. We look
forward to rolling out the training to the
community in 2009 which is relevant to all
those who work with young people at risk.
Walk right in ...
Young people, their families and carers
can walk in anytime for help with mental
health, alcohol and other drug issues or
can make an appointment on -
8958 4544
While times for accessing services are
still being finalised young people can see
a doctor Tuesday and Thursday afternoons
and counsellor on Wednesday afternoons.
Check out the headspace
website for session times & lots
of great resources
For any further enquiries or just to share some great ideas please feel free to call Peter Bourke –
Community Liaison Officer on 8958 4542 or 0488 579 582 or email [email protected]
Left: Charlie, Cliff and
Peter reading some of the
poems and stories on
display at the World
Suicide Prevention Day
Ceremony on
10 September
Right: Bianca,Clayton and
Leo catching up on
the back patio
Hubert strumming the guitar
Gwvynyth, Judith
and David on a singing visit to Hetty Perkins in October
Kate and Danielle checking out some of
the latest resources in the Drop-In library
action at
Rita and Peter with Tanya Gordon on her fruitful
visit to Alice Springs to speak on depression
Bruce, Em, Brian, Donna and Felix having
at Felix’s farewell ... We’ll miss ya Felix
Mental Health Week
Dinner with Jonathon
Welch - 7 October
Right: Jonathon at the end of the
night with some of his fans
Below: Jonathan and Christine Pilbrow
with Brent Mansell (centre) catching up at the dinner
Ian and Rita enjoying the night
Donna and Sandi (above) and
Sue and Rangi (below) at the MHW dinner
Above: Allen, Sue and Olga at our November AGM
Having a BBQ lunch at the Alice Springs Youth Centre, who offer some great activities
Above: John, Lynne,
Rudi and Lisa shopping
for a Thursday morning
Healthy Living session
Right: Brian, Peter and
Laurencia visiting St Philips
in November to talk
about suicide awareness
Above: A local meeting
at MHACA for the NTCOSS Carer Respite Project in November
Below: Rudi and John with Sean from Reclink enjoying one of
their regular visits to the Bowling Club
Below: A dynamic group
attending the Headspace
FSO training in November
Below: Our wonderful support team getting ready for
Below: Donna, Rita, Em and Carmel celebrating Em’s birthday
States to take
on mental health
By Siobhain Ryan, The Australian, 28 October 2008
This article highlights the current primary concern on the national mental health scene:
that States may gain full control of mental health funding and, if they do, may re-allocate
much-needed resources from out-of-hospital support servicesincluding program funding for
personal helpers, mentors and respite care to ‘fix ailing hospital services.’ Of key concern is
what accountability mechanisms will be in place to ensure continued quality service provision ...
THE States and Territories are expected
to gain full control of community mental
health services and hundreds of millions
of dollars of Commonwealth funding,
as the Rudd Government retreats from
John Howard’s 2006 intervention in the
crisis-riddled sector.
The change, which could be
announced within weeks, has prompted
fears from mental health experts that,
without proper checks and balances,
the cash-strapped States and Territories
could shift the funding out of community
programs to prop up hospital services.
The States are believed to be pushing
for control over a myriad of Commonwealth
programs providing out-of-hospital support
for the mentally ill, as part of imminent
funding deals on health and disability
services. The programs, which include
direct funding of personal helpers, mentors
and respite care, were key elements of a
$1.9billion Commonwealth mental health
package announced at a 2006 Council of
Australian Governments meeting.
Mental Health Council of Australia
chief executive, David Crosbie, said he
feared that, once the States gained control
of the mental health funding, it could be
reallocated to fix ailing hospital services.
Brain and Mind Research Institute
executive director, Ian Hickie,
said whoever gained control of the
programs in coming weeks had to
be held to national standards of
accountability. Otherwise, he said,
“we could end up in a pre-2006
situation, with no money for those
services and no coordination
and no standards”.
Professor Hickie said the federalState negotiations now under way could
transform services in Australia for good
or bad over the next decade. “For people
on the ground, this is an absolutely
fundamental discussion and we need to
get it right,” Professor Hickie said.
The States and Territories have long
funded hospital psychiatric units and
outpatient services as well as their own
community mental health programs.
The federal tier of government, however,
has boosted its own contributions in the
past two years, expanding its Medicare
subsidies for visits to GPs, psychiatrists
and psychologists and supporting nongovernment organisations to help mentally
ill people living independently or with
The States and Territories are not only
critical of inefficiencies under the enlarged
Medicare program but are pushing to bring
the Commonwealth community programs
within their ambit. “There’s a lot of money
up for grabs which could potentially be
transferred,” Professor Hickie said.
Mr Crosbie predicted the States and
Territories would be successful in their
campaign. “I think it’s pretty certain it will
go to the States,” Mr Crosbie said.
Victoria complained in its State
health blueprint earlier this year of the
duplication that had arisen because of
the Commonwealth’s 2006 investment in
mental health. Queensland, too, backed
State control over community mental
health services in its submission to the
Federal Government’s health reform
adviser, the National Health and Hospital
Reform Commission.
Ian Hickie, Executive Director of
the Brain and Mind Research Institute
Even the NHHRC has said it
considers mental health a better fit with the
States and Territories.
Kevin Rudd signaled in last month’s
COAG communiqué that change was
afoot, citing agreement to address
problems with two levels of government
handling mental health community care
and support services.
The Prime Minister is expected to
deliver the results of those negotiations as
part of the multi-billion-dollar health funding
agreements to be unveiled at COAG’s next
meeting, to be held before the end of
the year.
Opposition health spokesman Peter
Dutton said the Coalition had announced
massive funding support for mental health
services and did not want to see it watered
down. “So the onus is on (Health Minister
Nicola) Roxon to demonstrate how the
States will more efficiently deliver services
in the area of mental health,” he said.
Ms Roxon’s spokesman declined
to comment on the prospect of a handover
to the States and Territories. X
Mental Health Week
5-11 October 2008
Sunday, 5 Oct. - Annual Family Fun Run
OUR Annual Family Fun Run held at at Telegraph Station officially launched
Mental Health week. Covering a 3km course it was a lovely morning, with
over 80 people attending. Many thanks to our new mayor Damien Ryan
for officially launching the event and drawing our Free Raffle prizesover
20 in totalthe major prize being a $1000 Jetset travel voucher won by
a lucky local. Other prizes included a DVD player, sports and cycling store
vouches, gym membership, CD voucher, and a whole lot more. Afterwards
participants were treated to a u-beaut healthy breakfast comprising of fresh
fruit salad, cereal and muffins. A great morning all round. Many thanks
to the Running and Walking Club who helped out
with registrations and setting up the course. X
Resting and warming up before the start of the Fun Run
Lynne and Joy enjoying the beautiful morning
Noel Harris, Robyn Lambley and Mayor Damien Ryan
Veteran runner Neil winning
the Beauty Care prize!
The crowd resting while the Raffle prizes are drawn
Tucking into a healthy breakfast at the finish line
Sue Richter from the Running
Club delighted to win a prize!
Tues. 7 Oct. - ‘Yarning About Mental Health’
Presented by the Australian Integrated Mental Health Initiative (AIMHI)
Trish with the lucky 1st prize raffle winner: $1000 travel voucher
team, Dr Tricia Nagel and Carolyn Thompson, this 1-day workshop on Care
Planning and Assessment in ATSI Mental Health was well attended and received by a full-house of 25 participants. Developed in
Indigenous communities with Aboriginal Mental Health Workers the training talked about family, healers, bush medicine, culture and
strengths as well as mental illness, treatment and care planning. The package included: u Getting to know you u Mental State
Examination and diagnosis u Risk assessment and Early warning signs u Mental Health Medicine (treatment with medication)
u Goal setting and problem solving brief intervention Care Planning (including Medicare items). A DVD on Yarning About
Mental Health is available at or email [email protected]
Mental Health Week u Mental Hea
Tues. 7 Oct. - “Dinner with Jonathon Welch”
A HIGHLIGHT of MHW this year was the gala dinner featuring Australian of the Year
Local Hero 2008, Jonathon Welch. Best known for his role as Director of The Choir of
Hard Knocks, Jonathan inspired an audience of over 140 people, poolside at the Crowne Plaza
over a 3-course dinner. Jonathon’s message behind this inspiring success story is ‘accentuate
the positive, eliminate the negative.’ When you believe in the best in people, you help to
bring out the best in people, as evidenced by the new-found comaradarie and significant
life changes experienced by all of the members of the choir.
Also on the agenda was our local Reclink Choirwho opened the evening
(thank you Peta Boon and Morris Stuart); and MHACA consumer and guest speaker,
Glenise Alexander, who spoke beautifully of her inspiring journey of recovery as well as
acknowledged the gift that Jonathon had given to members of the choir:
“What I liked about the Choir of Hard
Knocks and Jonathon’s work was, ‘What you can
be’ was shown. People with a mental illness….
Homeless people ... Just people … made
beautiful music … they were believed in
and they were valued. This is what can
make a big difference in a person’s life
and is part of the recovery journey.”
The event was hosted by Russell
Goldflam who equally inspired us with
his warmth, compassion, humour and
MC skills. I think I can safely say it was
a truly memorable night for everyone
Glenise, Mardijah and Claudia looking lovely!
who attended. X
The key guest of the night, Jonathon Welch
Jonathon with Rita, Phil (NTCOSS Darwin) and
wonderful MC on the night, Russell Goldflam
The Reclink Choir conducted by Morris Stuart
Glenise giving her guest speech
at the beginning of the night
Fiona, Jane
and Tracey at the Mental Health Carers table
Rangi, Brian, Lynne, Bernadette & Bruce enjoying a pre-dinner drink
A full-house enjoying a superb 3-course meal poolside at the Crowne
alth Week u Mental Health Week
Tues. 7 Oct. - Visit to ‘Purple House’
With a bit of spare time
on his hands Jonathon
made a surprise visit
to the Western Desert
Nganampa Walytja
Palyantjaku Tjutaku
Aboriginal Corporation
‘Purple House’ where
he met with and
sang with some of
the women. It was
a very enjoyable and
memorable time for
those lucky few
who went.
Jonathon & Lynne having a laugh at the Purple House
Fri. 10 Oct - ‘Pro-active Tips to Working with the Media’
Christine, Wendy & Phil appreciating the afternoon
An informative 2-hour practical workshop was provided by the Mindframe National
Media Initiative on ‘Pro-active Tips to Promoting Your Projects & Working with the
Media’. About 15 people attended this highly informative workshop presented by
Jo Piggot, an experienced and inspiring trainer from Mindframe. Jo gave us effective ways
of working with the media and covered things such as:
u What you need to know when talking
to the media about mental illness
u How to prepare a good story & media release
u Preparing for interviews
Mindframe is a national initiative (supported by
the Australian Govt Dept of Health
& Ageing) and provides access to accurate
information about suicide and mental illness and
the portrayal of these issues in the news media
and on stage & screen in Australia.
An excellent range of information and
resources is available at:
Jo & Gwvynyth loved the chance to sing with Jonathon
Wed. 8 October
Exhibition of Consumer
Art at MHACA
A free art exhibition show-casing some
of the art works made by consumers
throughout the year was held midMHW at MHACA. These included
jewellery, paintings, mandala drawings,
crocheted rugs and other pieces.
A big thank you to Lynne Kennedy for
preparing the exhibition and to all the
consumers who contributed. Several of
the pieces now decorate the MHACA
walls and include descriptions of how
art plays a powerful role in healing.
to Wellness
with Yoga
IT HAS been my honour to teach yoga this year with
a number of MHACA clients and staff on Wednesday evernings. Each week
when I have taught yoga I have seen the different photos going up charting peoples growth
to wellness and this progress has also been mirrored in the yoga class.
Yoga is a science of health and also
a systemic process that enables each
person to progress along a path of
doing something and the actual doing
it. In this way we have used our creative
powers to gain a picture in our minds
fulfilment. The classes have started
with energisers and activators,
movements designed to get the prana
or vital energy moving.
of how we want to bethen we can
follow it like a map.
When we are unwell,
energy can tend to stagnate at
the point of illnesssuch as
the mind. The activators and
energisers assist the energy to flow through out the whole
body; they help to counter the negative effects of the medication such as stiffening
and sleepiness.
After doing postures/asanas
we practice some breathing
exercises. When people are unwell
they often shorten their breathing
meaning the breath rate gets quicker
and only the top of the chest is used.
In the breathing practices, we remind
the body of a true resting rhythm and
how to breath in and out deeply and
slowly, therefore emptying the lungs of stale air and allowing the body to release toxins and negative memories and behaviors.
Releasing tension
Once we have the energy moving we
have gone on to ‘asanas’ postures
that are designed to enable the body
to remember being flexible and well.
Each class has been designed so that all
members are able to perform all the
In any one posture some people
might be doing it physically, while some
might be imagining the movement.
The brain does not know the
difference between the imagining of
Each class ends with a gentle
relaxation or ‘yoga nidra’. This
practice is extremely helpful for
releasing tension in the body as
well as in the mind.
Slowly we learn how to become the witness of our
mindto learn the skill of
watching our thoughts instead
of them taking over.
Yoga teacher, Kalikamurti Suich
The body restswhich is important
as illness is very tiring, dealing with
the effects of medication is very tiring,
and sometimes continuing day by day
can be exhausting. Twenty minutes
of yoga nidra practice is equivalent
to 80 minutes of sleep. It is useful
for assisting with the management of
all pain, physical, mental, emotional and
spiritual. Last term MHACA purchased
some relaxation CDs which are
now available for a low cost. Everyone is welcome
If you haven’t tried yoga and would like
to give it ago please drop in to MHACA
on Wednesday evenings at 6.00pm.
In the class we laugh and have fun.
We discuss healing and wellness and
create a space in our lives to visualise
the way we want to be and continue on
our journey to wellness. I look forward
to seeing many more people come. X
No previous experience necessary.
In peace, Kalikamurti
Kalikamurti Suich
Beyond Breathing Space
- Taking charge of life
[email protected]
www.beyondbreathingspace. com
8952 3638 or 0412 179 957
Community Men
CMHA Partners
We are pleased to announce the launch of Community Mental Health Australia
CMHAa new national alliance between the State and Territory peaks that aims
to support the development and promotion of mental health community services.
Not-for-profit community services are an integral part of Australia’s mental health
service system, leading the way in the promotion of social inclusion and recovery
focused support and care. The sector has grown considerably over recent years
and includes over 800 specialist and generalist non-government community groups
and psychiatric disability support agencies across Australia. The sector has long
been supported by the State and Territory mental health peak organisations
who have worked consistently in their jurisdictions to promote a range of sector
development, workforce and funding issues.
Community Mental Health Australia
can be contacted through its national
secretariat or through its state and
territory partner organisations.
A more collaborative way
Jenna Bateman, Executive Officer
[email protected] In March 2008, the State and
Territory peaks agreed that a more
effective and collaborative way
was needed to promote specific
community sector industry issues at
a national level. The CMHA alliance
was created in order to allow the
State and Territory peaks to achieve
the following objectives;
u Provide leadership and direction
on behalf of the community mental
health services sector across
u Develop a better national
understanding of community mental
health and recovery services
u Coordinate the development
of the community mental health
industry/sector across all states and
u Proactively pursue involvement
within national mental health policy
and service development arenas; and
u Establish partnerships with
national stakeholders to achieve
shared mental health reform goals
While the sector has, until recently,
had limited opportunity to develop
a national vision and plan for its
future development, each State and
Territory peak body is committed to
the successful implementation of the
COAG National Action Plan and is
supportive of broader health reform
and social inclusion agendas.
Range of projects
CMHA partners are currently
working on a range of projects which
includes the first national sector
development project (funded by
FAHCSIA and auspiced by VICSERV)
that focuses on the development of
new and innovative mental health
family and carer respite programs.
CMHA is also working on several
policy and workforce development
projects and has recently applied
for an Australian Research Council
grant to undertake a landmark
national study with Sydney University,
investigating the sector’s historical
development and evidence base in
The community mental health
sector has in many ways come
of age over the last 30 years and,
since the COAG National Action
Plan, community services are being
recognized as an integral partner in
the reform process.
For further information please contact your State/Territory peak
mental health organisation. A web site is currently being developed
at and will go live in the coming weeks
u Mental Health Community
Coalition of the ACT
Barry Petrovski, Executive Officer
[email protected] Mental Health Coordinating
Council of NSW
u NT Mental Health Coalition
Phil Dempster, Program Coordinator
[email protected] u Queensland Alliance Mental
Illness & Disability Groups
Jeff Cheverton, Executive Director
[email protected] u Mental Health Coalition of
SA, Geoff Harris, Executive Director
[email protected] u Mental Health Council
of Tasmania
Michelle Swallow, Executive Officer
[email protected]
u Psychiatric Disability
Services Victoria (VICSERV)
Kim Koop, Chief Executive Officer
[email protected]
u WA Association for Mental
Health, Ann White, Executive Officer
[email protected]
l ene
na hea
Policy Forum
Each year the national peak body for mental health—the Mental Health Council
of Australia—hosts a Policy Forum to provide direction for the mental health
sector. This year it was held on 18 November and Phil Dempster and
Claudia Manu-Preston attended on behalf of the NT Mental Health Coalition ...
National Reform Agenda
The main item under discussion was
the transfer of the Community Mental
Health funds from the COAG National
Reform Agenda back to the State and
Territory jurisdictions. There was
a general sense of disappointment at
the process the Government has used
(as indicated by Professor Hickie in
the article on page 32) and the concern
at what accountability mechanisms
will be in place to ensure future quality
service provision.
A presentation was provided
by Sebastian Rosenberg and some of
the questions posed included:
u What needs to be measured?
u How do we choose?
u How to collect?
u How to get data collected?
MHCA is considering establishing
an Australian Mental Health Survey
with three sets of indicators:
u Health Indicators – outcomes from
receipt of care
u Social Indicators – such as housing,
social participation etc.
u Process Indicators – number of
consumers and carers in professional
roles or number of services provided
by the NGO sector.
The board and senior staff provided
updates on the following projects:
u Housing
u Employment
u Legal Access to Insurance
u Consumer Carer Engagement
u National register of consumer
and carer advocates
u Indigenous Mental Health
Social Inclusion
A dynamic presentation was then
given on social inclusion by Jeff
Cheverton of the Queensland peak
body, Queensland Alliance.
Jeff’s presentation “A Journey
of Policy Influence, Fundraising and
Social Inclusion in New Zealand,
USA, Canada and the UK” focused
on different media campaigns and
evidence of improved understanding
and knowledge. Acknowledging some
successful mental health promotion
projects, Jeff referenced the “See Me”
campaign in Scotland and the “Like
Minds–Like Mine” campaign in
New Zealand.
Jeff noted the importance of
presenting information in a positive
way, in ordinary settings that people can
relate to. He also talked about evidence
of the power of direct contact, where
the most powerful messages come
from people with a lived experience
speaking to the public.
Some of the research shows that
social inclusion looks to be centred
around early intervention and not
around stigma reduction for people
already suffering these problems in
their lives. What we know is that, as
a sector, we need to reduce stigma
and discrimination and produce a longterm campaign to develop a long-term
response to the ongoing problem of
discrimination that people with
a mental illness experience. X
For more information contact Phil Dempster at the NT Mental Health
Coaltion on 8948 2665 or [email protected] or Claudia Manu-Preston
at MHACA on 8950 4600 or [email protected]
Black Dog Institute
5th Annual Writing
ckling MMood
isorders ininththe
The Black Dog Institute invites you
to participate in its 5th annual writing
competition about mood disorders in
the workplace.
BDI seeks essays from people
in the workplace who have clinical
depression or bipolar disorder, and also
from their family, friends, workmates,
supervisors and managers to share
their experiences, and who and what
helped them most, their strategies
and the responses of family members,
friends and professionals.
Entries to this new competition
are invited from people in the
workplace, those no longer able to
work, friends, family, managers,
co-workers and HR colleagues.
Entries must be a written article
(maximum 1500 words) that addresses
the topic: Mood Disorders in the
The competition will award cash
prizes for three essays.
u First Place: $2000
u Second Place: $1,000
u Third Place: $500
The closing date is 31 January 2009
For details on how to enter visit:
at S
TheMHS Conference
Auckland, New Zealand
Gwvynyth, Danielle,
Claudia & Glenise arriving in Auckland
Kiaora!! (This means G’Day in Maori lingo)
AT THE beginning of September, four ‘desert dwellers’ set off for the Land of
the Long White Cloud (New Zealand), and the City of Sails (Auckland) which is
home to about 1.4 million people. The purpose was to attend a conference …
The Mental Health Services (TheMS) Conference began in 1990 and is an
annual event that moves around the major cities of Australia and New Zealand
each year. People from all over the world are invited, and the primary purpose
is to organise educational forums that bring together ALL people interested in
the provision of Mental Health Services. This includes consumers, indigenous
peoples, refugee/new immigrant groups, families, carers, clinicians, service
managers, support workers, researchers, health promoters, primary health care
workers, academics, and community agencies public and private. This year
people came from as far as places like England and Hawaii to:
u exchange ideas about the best ways to ensure high quality service
u promote positive attitudes, leadership and advocacy
u promote involvement and inclusion of ALL stakeholders
u provide a forum for professional development
u present current innovations, strategies and research
u stimulate debate which will “challenge the boundaries”
u award, recognise and encourage best practice
Be the Change You Want
The theme this year was “Be The Change You WantWorkforce Ingenuity.”
Ghandi once said that people could start (or continue) a process of change by
“Being the change you want to see.”
At the opening of the conference we were presented with flower
leis and then were welcomed (or called in) to the building by two Maori
women in traditional language. We listened to passionate keynote
speakers and attended workshops on a range of different topics.
Each workshop lasted approximately an hour and a half and comprised
of 20-minute presentations.
The opening, closing and awards ceremonies were full of
Maori tradition, beautiful singing and a bit of humour. There was such
a positive “buzz” in the air.
As a symbol of coming together and growing a carving was made
by a local New Zealand artist, and the message stick which was sent
by the traditional people of Townsville at the 2006 conference was
presented to inspire continued healing.
2-5 September 2008
Our accommodation of two selfcontained apartments, was right in the
centre of the city and only about 5 minutes
walk from the conferencewhich was
greatand we had a fab view of the Sky
Tower from our windows. We were also
right next to the Police Station, so we made
sure we behaved ourselves!
The food was great (never eaten so
much steak in my life!), the people were
friendly, the scenery was amazing and it is
a trip that we will always look back on with
great fondness. Next year the conference
will be held in Perth, Western Australia and
we highly recommend it to anyone who has
an interest in mental health.
We would like to say a HUGE
THANKYOU to MHACA for giving us the
opportunity to attend such an inspirational
event. We learnt a lot, met some amazing
people (some we won’t forget in a while),
opened our eyes to new possibilities and
came away feeling that MHACA is headed
in the right direction… but there are still
things that we could do better… X
Danielle Noble, Gwvynyth Cassiopeia-Roennfeldt
and Glenise Alexander
at S
The 2008 TheMHS
Book of Abstracts
is available
Left: Gwvynyth & Glenise
touching down on their
overseas adventure
Presentation by
Glenise Alexander
at the 2008
Keynote speech ...
Mental Health
Services -
TheMHS Conference
Hi everyone,
I am a Consumer Advocate and
I have been living in Alice Springs for
about 18 months, and had moved
there to better my life, away from the
problems I had. I have struggled with
a cycle of depression, isolation, fear
and anxiety. At times I felt suicidal
and unable to cope.
Generally, I don’t tell people
about that part of my life because they
treat you differently. It is like they are
scared of what you’re going to do and
that has made me feel less of a person.
This feeling can stop you by making you
paranoid and fearful and you become
stuck with the stigma. You are judged
on what the stigma is and not ‘who
you are or what you can be’.
MHACA has helped me in many
ways with my recovery:
u From support when I was
hospitalised to ongoing support when
I got better
u Keeping in regular contact with
home visits and phone calls
u Transport to appointments and
counselling; and
u Help with day to day living issues
I want to share what has helped in
my ongoing recovery:
Glenise with a ‘Welcome Plaque’ at the conference
u Not being isolated
u Feeling better & believing in myself
u Having purpose and meaning
u Having control over my life and
being independent
u Having opportunities to do new
u And being trusted to make mistakes
and learn from them
With my own determination and
my support network I have become
the person that I am today. I have learnt
to accept the things I can not change
and not worry and be anxious of the
small things ... that are just that.
These days I have returned to
the workforce after a long period
and I enjoy my job. I am feeling more
confident, and my self-esteem has had
a much needed boost … as well as
my pocket!!
I am enjoying lifea person,
just like all of you here, and love being
treated as a person and not a mental
MHACA is a very unique and
worthwhile organisation and it helps
so many people in Central Australia,
and I am proud to be a part of it.
Thank you, Glenise
by Claudia Manu-Preston
One of the pivotal keynote presentations
we attended was “Personalising Mental
Health Services: The Only Future for Policy
and Practice” by Antony Sheehan. A very
good presentation, Antony focused on what
he meant by ‘personalising mental health
services’ and how this would benefit
the people we support.
The question posed was, ‘What is the
future of mental health policy and practice?’
a question that people from around the
world are asking. After respective phases
of reformincluding de-institutionalisation,
defining community care, developing
psychological models and progressing
social inclusionwhat next?
The key point Antony presented
was that personalisation is a strategy
aimed at closing the ‘power gap’ between
consumers and providers of services. The key principles he highlighted were:
 treat people as peopleprovide caring
support instead of using systems and
paperwork to disassociate from clients
 people should be supported to choose
the services they would like to use.
Further discussion focused on personalisation as a key part of the recovery paradigm
and on the evidence of the benefits.
For a copy of the conference paper
please refer to
at S
The MHACA team being welcomed at the conference
by Gwvynyth
WOW! What an experience! The 2008 TheMHS Conference in New Zealand
was a 4-day conference that included a presentation on MHACA done by Claudia,
Glenise and myself. What a different and thrilling prospect I thought as I applied.
“Be the change you want;Workplace Ingenuity” was the theme of the conference,
and enabling recoveryand the processes, services and challenges that
achieve this are what I was listening for.
When I applied I said that I expected to learn and network with other service providers
and to develop as a consumer consultant. I can now say that those four days were a crash
course on mental health advocacy and practice, and I developed quite a lot of confidence
about the future prospectives of the field. Not only is peer support and consumer
consultancy the new wave of the last decade and emerging future, hospitals are more
and more seeking assistance and evaluation, practices to help improve the services.
I attended a Consumer Forum on Tuesday and managed to sit in on 18 sessions
from Wednesday to Friday. The Forum was called Destination Known: the Journey of
Strength and was about the Peer Worker Workforce. “Journey-boards in Mental Health”
was one presentation which I think was invaluable. The team from Southern Mental
Health presented their visual communication tool which they had implemented in their
hospital. It was a board which their Mental Health Team collect data regarding discharge
and note barriers which become obvious. They collate who the consumer had
dealings withand how oftenon their road to recovery.
My part of the MHACA presentation titled, ‘Workforce Ingenuity in Central Australia,’
talked about how coming to MHACA has helped me to not feel so alone and to feel more
confident that it is safe to be open because I am not judged about mental illness.
Our peer support is achieved through consumer forums and consumer action group
meetings. Twice a month we come together to have discussions on ideas and issues related
to the MHACA service. The GROW Program is a program in which all in attendance are
of peer status and are guided to explore and overcome mental health issues. Consumer
peer support is a very important role advocated at all levels of the MHACA service.
I was fortunate enough to be in Aucklandthe city where my Godmother lived
and used the opportunity to extend my stay. I am so pleased with the time I spent
in New Zealandthe business of the conference and the pleasure of holidaying
overseas, two things which I have not done before.
Thank you
Ph: (08) 8951 8000
10 Commandments
for Reducing Stress
1. Thou shalt not be perfect,
nor even try to be
2. Thou shalt not try to be all
things to all people
3. Thou shalt leave things
undone that ought to be done
4. Thou shalt not spread
thyself too thin
5. Thou shalt learn to say No
6. Thou shalt schedule time
for thyself
7. Thou shalt switch off and
do nothing regularly
8. Thou shalt be boring,
untidy, inelegant and
unattractive at times
I want to say the hugest thank you to Jo
for keeping my confidence up on the subject,
and to Claudia and Danielle for being so
available and for keeping the pressure off
me (phew, what a relief that was!).
Only one way to find out what
I mean crewtry it for yourself … a highly
recommended experience!
Anglicare NT provides a free
Financial Counselling offering
information and support to
individuals & families who are
experiencing financial difficuties.
9. Thou shalt not even feel
Guests watching
a performance at the Closing Ceremony
10. Especially, thou shalt not
be thine own worst enemy,
but be thine own best friend.
A Tribute to Monte
At this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day
ceremony on 10 September people were invited to
contribute, either by a poem, drawing or story. Here
Felix Meyer shares some of his story ...
“The Effect of Monty’s Suicide” ... Even after 12 years
it was very hard to write those words. Even though
my family has never shied away from discussing his
death openly. Even though we made deliberate efforts never to shove the issue into a
closet and forget about it. Even though we always talk about our loss and our memories.
After 12 years his death still has effects on my life that I had expected would
fade away and stop occurring. I still get funny for weeks if someone near me loses
a family member. I have physical reactions to suicide scenes in films and I still
find it almost impossible to cry, even when alone.
After 12 years I still sometimes feel like a 16-year-old boy who is lost after
finding his dead brother. I still sometimes feel like I am at fault for not noticing something
earlier or somehow having prevented the whole shit-storm occurring. I think the important
thing to say is that I only feel this way sometimes and that I have slowly gained more
control as time has gone by. But it is hard to extinguish things that take root on
the fertile soil of adolescence and emotional trauma.
It was strange to write this speech and to brainstorm effects that have occurred
through Monty’s death. There have been many effects that have occurred through my
brother committing suicideboth negative and positive, although ‘positive effects’ is
not the right way of describing what I am talking about. A better way of phrasing it is to
say that his suicide caused me to adapt. I had to survive. I had to react to my changed
circumstances, I had to evolve. At the same time as being weakened, I became strong.
Since Monty’s passing I have been able to shoulder more burden
than most other people I know. I can look through the difficulty
and see that things are not as bad as what they have been.
I force whatever is occurring to compare with the strain and troubled waters that I have
already passed through and I keep wading. I am not saying that I ‘got hard’ and now
ignore my pain. I just try to look at things logically and give myself credit.
Since his passing I have gained insight and an awareness of sufferingboth
into my own and others. Subconsciously, I must be watching and listening for that hidden
hurt that is trying to get through defences and be talked about. I am not saying that
I feel like a saviour of humankind, striding through the sea of broken hearts and making
everything alright. I can just feel it when people have pain inside and
sometimes I can talk to them about it. I recognise how I behave with
my hurt and fear and sadness and it makes it easier to see in others.
That brings me to the topic of sadness. I won’t linger here
but it has been one of the major effects of Monty doing what he did.
My sadness comes and goes and it is often gone for weeks. It often
comes back for weeks too. It will lie on the couch with me, it creeps
into my relationship, it hides under my desk at work. Sometimes
I think that I know it and that I have it under control; I think that this is
true most of the time. I also think that it knows meand knows when I
am unable to shoo it out of the room or hit it with the fly-swat or, indeed,
by Felix Meyer
do what I want to do and grab
it in a headlock, push it into a sack,
smuggle it out to the airport and ship it
off to Antarctica.
In the past I ran away from my
sadness. I got on a plane and lived in
Europe for two years. I ran away from
the family that reflected my pain and
anyone who knew me. I would jump
out of relationships that got too close.
Sometimes after conversations with lovers
I would almost back-flip out the window
and run naked down the street.
I recognise that I was fearful of
losing the people who got too close.
I would wallow in my sadness sometimes.
It justified my anger. At times I became
almost self-destructive in my refusal to
move forward, to beat myself with longing
and regret. I will admit that sadness can
be seductive. It can give a perspective
that is sweet and powerful and my best
writing is a product of it. It was when
I began exploring my sadness that
things began turning around.
I had always thought counselling
was not for me; that it was something
that I could do myself without some halfqualified quack fingering my brain with
nicotine-stained fingers and making loose
assumptions about my past, present and
future. I was at university at the time
and not really committed to it. I knew that
I was depressed and decided to see the
student psychologist. She was friendly,
patient and nothing like what I expected.
I went for a number of weeks and
L to R:
Di Wines
of SAFE in Oz,
Brian, Laurencia,
Christine, Donna,
Felix, Mary
Graham Cofounder of SAFE
in Canada &
Annie Slocombe
Co- director of
SAFE in Oz
The clouds are dark
But they won’t be forever
The sun will shine through
And the light will shine on me
Dad your clouds
will always be bleak
And you will always
live in darkness
The darkness of eyes
the darkness of lies
At least I am Free
John Moffat 2008
naturally ran away when things started
getting close to the bone ... But it started
me on the track of breaking things down.
And I have continued on this path
much to my benefit.
What has been the effects of
Monty’s suicide? Guilt, sadness, fear,
awareness, empathy, exploration, pain,
learning, depression, appreciation, anger,
happiness, regret, denial, acceptance.
That is a big wheel to turn and it will keep
turning for as long as I live.
All of these things have become
part of my life since his death and I take
it as a challenge. I have survived. I have
gained insight. I have the desire to live
for him, to live the life that he never can.
I will experience every high and every low
and I will do it for him so that he didn’t
die for nothing. I will face my fears and
challenge my views and share my life and
experiences so that he would have been
proud of me and when I see him in my
dreams I will always hold him fiercely and
cry into his chest, and at every moment tell
him that it is ok and that I forgive him.
Thank you for listening to me. X
“Safe in Oz”
In October, MHACA and the Life Promotion Program took on the lead role of organising
a local workshop for the training company ‘SAFE in Oz’. SAFE stands for “Self Abuse Finally
Ends” and is a training program developed in Canada by Mary Graham to work with
people who self abuse. The 2-day workshop was held in Alice Springs in 20-21 October
and attracted 23 participants from a range of organisations.
There are varied views amongst
health professionals about the best
support for people who present with
self harming behaviour and, according
to this training program, many people
are treated poorly and seen as a waste
of the practitioner’s time. The problem is growing at an
alarming rate. In 1997 there were more
than 25,000 episodes of hospital care
due to self abuse: 78% of individuals
were aged 15-44 years, with females
15-29 years over represented. This may
be only the tip of the iceberg as the
social stigma and sometimes shame
associated with self harm may lead
to presentations at hospitals being
disguised as accidental injury. In 20052006, 51% more females aged 12-24
years were hospitalized for self abuse
than the previous decade, while the
male figure was up by 27%.
The 2-day training was excellent
Jay Green & Sarah O’Regan at the training
and all participants learnt valuable
skills in understanding why and how
people self abuse and how we can
best meet their needs. Identifying the
underlying motivation for the behaviour
was important as was the establishment
of clear boundaries, setting up support
plans and addressing ways to change
the behaviour.
Presenters Di Wines and Annie
Slocombe were experienced and
knowledgeable on the issue and were
open to learning from their audience
about local issues. The other presenter
was Mary Graham, the original founder
of SAFE in Canada.
Mary presented us with the
consumer’s perspective of self harm,
sometimes in harrowing detail. Her
stories brought home the reality of
what it must be like to be a person
caught up in the self harming cycle.
She also spoke honestly about her own
sneaky and manipulative behaviour that
can be frustrating for the helper, but
needs to be understood. Mary was an
example of a person who, with the right
support and willful determination, can
finally put an end to the destructive
patterns of self abuse. X
Contact: Annie Slocombe 0433
085 367 or Di Wines 0417 303 505
or visit [email protected]
‘Excellence in
Primary health care’
Helping GPs
suicide risk
in General
for Life ...
Collaborations for Life is a project of the General Practice
Network NT aimed at increasing the capacity of primary
health care practitioners to identify and manage suicide risk
in general practice through the development of local resources
and training. The Collaborations for Life resources and training
will reflect the need for primary health care providers to work
collaboratively within a diverse team including allied health,
mental health specialists, and social and welfare workers to
address the complex risk factors associated with acute
mental health conditions such as suicide risk.
Working within a community development framework, Project
Officer Kelly-lee Hickey, has been undertaking consultation
with key stakeholders including primary health care providers,
community agencies, mental health services and community
members to map local referral networks and response
protocols for suicide risk. This consultation will inform the
development of a suite of resources that can be used by primary
health care providers at the point of consultation to provide
evidence based, patient centered collaborative care plans for
community members with suicide risk and risk factors.
The resource will be accompanied by multi-disciplinary
training centered on an interactive case study. The training
will develop GP skills in suicide risk assessment, collaborative
care planning and providing ongoing care for patients resolving
suicide risk factors. Representatives from local referral
networks will be involved in presenting the training to increase
GP awareness of the diversity of referral pathways available
for patients experiencing suicide risk. X
GP Network NT invites all interested stakeholders to
share their ideas and experiences in suicide prevention
to assist in the development of these resources.
For further information, please contact the Suicide
Prevention project officer at GP Network NT on
8982 1000 or email [email protected]
Are you caring for someone
who has a mental illness ?
Or concerned a person
you care for may be
experiencing a mental
Mental Health Carers NT Provides emotional
support, accurate information and links
to services for carers and families of
people living with a mental illness
Mental Health Carers NT
can help you to…
u Cope with the realisation that someone
you know has a mental illness
u Seek appropriate help
u Educate yourself about mental illness
and how to cope
u Discover your rights under the Mental
Health Act andthe Carers Recognition Act
We encourage carers to focus on
their own wellbeing by offering
free yoga classes & other recreational
Ph: (08) 8953 1467
Please call or visit
Tracey Hatchard at
the Alice Springs office
Monday – Friday
13 Stuart Terrace (upstairs
of the Salvation Army Hall)
Alice Springs
“Learn silence from the talkative, tolerance from
the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind.
Be grateful to those teachers.”
Kahlil Gibran
al g
tio inin
N Tra
Mental Health
& Wellbeing:
8-9 Sept 2008, Melbourne
The Bigger Picture
by Rita Riedel
In early September, I was fortunate to be able to attend the ‘Margins to
Mainstream’ conference (see page 52) and, preceding this, attended a jam-packed
2-day workshop run by VicHealth on “Promoting Mental Health and Wellbeing.”
VicHealth is playing a dynamic role in putting mental health firmly on the
mainstream agenda, and their popular 2-day course informs people
of the latest developments in mental health research.
VicHealth states that our awareness
of ‘mental health’ in Australia is now,
where we were approximately 25
years ago with issues such as cancer
awareness and smoking. It takes many
years for general awareness to grow and
for targeted advertising campaigns to
impact on changes in perceptions and
behaviour. Years ago, we ‘baked on the
beach in the hot sun’today, policies
ensure all children wear hats in schools.
Years ago, we thought smoking was ‘cool
and dignified’today, images of black
diseased lungs line our cigarette packets.
Working ‘Up Stream’
A key focus was on the ‘promotion
& prevention’ end of the spectrum
on ‘creating health’rather than on the
‘treatment & care’ endtreating illness.
An analogy offered is: shifting focus
from the ‘bottom of the cliff’ work to
‘top of the cliff’:
u How can we work better ‘up stream’
to prevent illness ‘down stream’?
u How can we strengthen capacity to
reduce the likelihood of illness?
While providing services to people
with mental illness, how can we also
create environments to help people stay
well: work more upstream? This can
be particularly challenging for workers
in the field who often have a dual
roleneeding to treat illness as well as
consider preventative approaches.
Health is created outside
the health sector!
Many of the influences on mental
health occur in the settings in which
we live our day to day lives, such as our
Why MH
A number of key factors influence
the rationale behind VicHealth’s
framework and focus:
1. By the year 2020 depression
will constitute the second largest
cause of disease burden worldwide
2. Cost factor: The global
burden of ill health is well beyond
the treatment capacitieswe can’t
cope with the existing need for
treatmentand the social/economic
costs will not be reduced by the
treatment of mental disorders alone.
We need to work on prevention at
the same time as care/treatment
3. Mental health is fundamental
to good physical health and quality
of life. MHP will not only lower
mental illness but will also help
improve physical health
4. Social justice issues:
Mental illness affects/is more
prevalent among disadvantaged
people: there is a clear need for the
better distribution of resources
homes, schools, communities and work
places. This means that many of the
‘drivers’ of mental health and wellbeing
lie outside of the health care system:
(cont. next page)
Promoting Mental Health & Wellbeing: The Bigger Picture
14 Social Determinants
of Health
How our daily life conditions influence our
wellbeing led to discussion of 14 key determinants which impact on us:
(from previous page)
♦Mental health is dependent
on social, cultural, economic and
environmental conditions that require
attention to ensure these conditions
are conducive to mental health
♦Social determinantsthe world in
which we liveplays a large role in
a person’s sense of wellbeing
A whole lot of things determine
health! While mental health promotion
is located in the realm of mental
illness, mental health is clearly more
than the absence of mental illness.
All practitioners have a responsibility
to focus on MH promotion.
Consider - What does
a healthy / well person
look like?
We were all asked to list the things
that make us feel happy and good
about lifeto describe what a healthy
person looks like. Our group listed
the following basic elements:
u socially connected
u inbuilt strength / resilience/
ability to bounce back
u happy
u confident
u employed
1.The Social Gradient:
Access to Economic
Resources: income and social
statusthe relationship between
health and wealth (need to reduce
income inequalities)
2.Early Life:
the emotional support we receive
as children and the social/economic
circumstances of our childhood (need
to consider Parent Support Programs
& Health Promoting schools)
3.Social Inclusion:
discrimination based on difference has
devastating effects on our wellbeing
(need to increase options for
community belonging)
Unemployment & Working
Conditions: working gives us
a sense of purpose, meaning & reward
(need to improve job opportunities
and quality of working conditions)
5.Social Supports:
friendships and belonging are vital
to our health and wellbeing (need to
6.Food Security: the cost, access
to, variety and availability of quality food
7.Education: how different levels
affect employment opportunities
8.Gender: can affect our work
roles/opportunities and stress levels
9.Discrimination &
Diversity: in any form against cultural
background, age, sexuality, religion,
gender or ability has very dire effects
on our self-esteem and wellbeing (need
to foster tolerance and inclusion)
10. Addictions &
Substance Misuse: influence
accompanying ‘burden of disease’ and
social issues (eg. alcohol influencing
violence, road accidents/trauma and
mental illness)
11. Environments: our
physical, social, economic and natural
environments have a significant impact
(need to create/build spaces where
we can walk to shops, relax, feel safe)
12. Transport: impacts on
our ability to access employment, social
connections, food etc (need to provide
greater equitable access)
13. Personal Health
Practices & Coping Skills:
information and education to develop
skills and empower people to make
best choices
14. Violence: has dire
consquences, including self-directed and
psychological (bullying)
u owns own home or lives in
secure housing
u physically active
u adventurous / healthy risk-taking
u well paid or access to secure
u sense of independence and
u access to transport
u feels loved and has sense of
self love
u sense of identity/spiritual
u access to education
A healthy person has choices ...
In defining health promotion, the Ottawa Charter (1986) states:
‘Health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over,
and to improve their health.’ Plus: To reach a state of complete physical, mental and
social wellbeing an individual or group must be able to identify and realise aspirations,
to satisfy needs and to change or cope with the environment. (Nutbeam, 1986)
That is: A healthy person has choices – and can choose ‘the best choice’ in
given situations. A healthy person can also delay gratification for longer-term benefit
rather than act impulsively for instant gratification in the short-term.
In considering mental health promotion: how can we enable people to make
‘best choices’?
Bigger picture
Only changing one key area alone is
unlikely to work. We need to look at
range of social determinant factors:
such as, to help smaller disadvantaged
groups consider a bigger population
approach. For example, to help children
who don’t have access to healthy foods
at home, introduce healthy foods
(such as fruit) in the whole school.
While in clinical treatments the
emphais is on the down-stream ie.
individuals, in MHP the emphasis is on
upstream, ie. the bigger picture. We
need to consider not just ‘emergency
responses’ but planned long-term
mental health promotion approaches.
10 Key Action Areas
for Health Promotion
1.Build healthy public policy 6.Promote social
This takes years but can only work with
community action/support (eg. sunsmart schools ‘no hat no play’; banning
smoking in workplaces, pubs and
responsibility for health
environments - All of lifeboth
for health development to
address health and social
inequities - A multi-sectoral
2.Create supportive
work and leisureshould be source
of health, where health promotion
generates living/working conditions
that are safe, stimulating, satisfying and
enjoyable; creating health promoting
workplaces, schools, night clubs (free
water), arts venues, neighbourhoods
(urban planning eg. walking to parks),
shopping centres, sports clubs
3.Strengthen community
action - Support self-help & advocacy
groups and facilitate the skills to do this
‘Unpacking Issues’
In MHP the act of ‘unpacking issues’ is
important: explore what is happening
further upstream which impacts on the
down-stream. Equally, use information
gathered downstream to inform better
decisions, programs and planning
Consider the analogy of ‘the iceberg
beneath the surface’. For example,
a down-stream issue might be “young
people & depression.” The young
people’s behaviour is what we can
see/observe – the tip above the water.
But what are the larger underlying
structures that influence this behaviour?
Unpacking this issue and looking further
upstream we might find:
u a lack of social and community
activities – boredom
u poor social environments
– including bullying at school, unsafe
u no school policies against bullying
u unsafe housing
While in the short-term we can
treat young peoples’ depression with
medication and counseling, unless
we explore and change the larger
4.Develop personal skills
Supporting personal & social
development through providing
information & education to enhance
people’s life skills and give them more
options and control over their wellbeing
5.Reorient health services
For example, hotels offering free softdrinks to ‘Driver Bob’, and many fast
food companies now including healthy
options on their menus
7.Increasing investment
approach addressing inequalities
(eg.VicHealth being supported by the
8. Consolidate and expand
partnerships for health
Valuable for sharing expertise, skills and
resources Eg. Beyondblue collaborating
with Netball Australia to help raise
awareness about depression.
9. Strengthen communities
and increase community
capacity - Empowering individuals
through advocacy, and building alliances
to strengthen cooperation & better
access to resources
10. Secure an
towards primary health care
infrastructure for Health
Promotion - Governments have
Focusing on a ‘whole population’
approach not just ‘treating the
individual’: the responsibility for HP is
shared among individuals, community
groups, health professionals, health
service institutions and goverments
a responsibility to establish a strong
infrastructure, including a funded
commitment to HP, and services
improving planning and evaluation to get
‘good evidence’ to help secure funding
for future projects
determinants impacting on their lives
these issues are likely to continue.
Significance of
the 10 Action Areas
♦Health promotion (HP) involves the
population as a whole in the context of
their everyday lives. It also focuses on
sub-populations vulnerable to ill health
due to socio-economic disadvantage or
geographic isolation
♦HP is directed to improving people’s
control over the determinants of health
♦HP is a process – it leads to
something; it is a means to an end
♦HP is conscious-raising about the
determinants of health, both for
communities and populations, and for
♦HP is enabling – it is done by, with and
for people, not on them; it encourages
participation (cont. next page)
“Health promotion is a
powerful, cost-effective and
efficient way to maintain a
healthier community. It enables
people to increase control
over and improve their health.
Rather than focusing on people
at risk for specific diseases,
health promotion involves
the population as a whole in
the context of their everyday
lives. Activities are geared
toward promoting health and
preventing ill-health.”
An initiative of depressioNet,
Working Well is a great
website for employers and
employees which provides
information on:
VicHealth website
(from previous page)
u Workplace stress (causes & how to alleviate)
u HP involves a combination of
complementary approaches
u Depression (types, symptoms, causes and treatments)
u Everyone and every sector has a role
to play in promoting health
Summary of Key Points
u Health is created outside the health
sector – in wide range of settings: home,
school, work, social, community
u Focus on ‘creating health’ as opposed
to treating illness
u Value of ‘unpacking issues’ – what’s
happening further upstream?
u Bigger picture focus – ‘mental health
promotion’ involves not just treating
people but also lobbying for bigger
picture changes: the wide range of social
determinants influence ‘mental health’
u Focus on populations base not just
u Value of partnerships – working with
other services to maximise resources
and benefits
u Targeting ‘the ones we don’t see’
– how can we do this better? X
For more further information
on Mental Health Promotion
training or the VicHealth Mental
Health Framework email
[email protected]
u Well workplaces (indoor conditions, lighting, diets, indoor plants)
u List of resources on health professionals, workplace support
& community support
Interactive peer support ...
Working Well provides a unique interactive human service for employees
and employers impacted by mild to moderate depression, integrating peer and
professional support services. We provide peer support service through which employees and employers
can share stories and experiences. The service is facilitated by Peer Support
Staff and Volunteers, ensuring clients are well supported and encourages
participation within the peer support environment. We will soon offer free online counselling via the depressioNet Professional
Support Service.
With a strong consideration of the statistic that suggests one-in-five Australians
experience depression at some stage in their adult lifetime, the service incorporates
information, ideas and advice on reducing stressors in the workplace so that the
service is relevant not only to employees living with depression, but will provide
ideas on improving and maintaining mental wellbeing in the workplace.
New Partnerships ...
Working Well is also beginning to work in partnership
with Mental health @ Workan international organisation
aimed at improving the wellbeing and productivity of people
and workplacesand the Lifeline StressDown initiative. X
You can ...
Narrative Therapy Workshop ...
Responding to
Hardship & Trauma
by Donna Ormsby
11-12 August 2008
On the 11-12 August 2008, Danielle and I attended The Narrative Therapy
Workshop “Responding to Hardship and Trauma” at The Alice Springs Desert
Park. This workshop was provided by The General Practice Network NT,
especially designed for counsellors, social workers, psychologists, therapists,
educators and community workers. The aim of this workshop was to provide
tools or ‘narrative approaches to counselling and community work’ for children
and adults who have experienced traumatic and difficult lives.
Narrative Theory derives from
The Dulwich Centre, an independent
centre in Adelaide involved in narrative
approaches to therapy, community
work & psychosocial support.
Southern Africa by David Denborough
and Ncazelo Ncube, this tool is used
to enable children to speak about their
lives in ways that make them stronger.
It provides a forum for children to speak
collectively about the difficulties they
are experiencing, and to share stories
and ideas about ways of responding to
these difficulties. It is now being used
with children in a range of countries
and also within a number of indigenous
Australian communities.
Key points ...
Presented by three key staff from the
Dulwich Centre – Cheryl White, Barbara
Wingard and David Denborough – the
key points of the training were:
u Key principles of narrative therapy
in relation to responding to individuals
who have experienced trauma.
u Collective narrative methodologies
for use with groups and communities
who have endured significant hardship.
u Participation in the creation of
collective narrative documents, definitional ceremony
and song.
of Life
The Tree of Life: A narrative
approach to respond to
vulnerable children - Developed in
What Sustains you Through
Hard Times - This book follows a
6-step narrative approach to collecting
and sharing individual, family, group
&/or community stories and skills for
surviving traumatic and difficult times.
Here all attendees shared
experiences of hard times, with an
explanation of what helped them
through those times. These stories
were prepared on the first day of
training. The second day we all came
together to hear everyone’s thoughts,
whether it be by way of poem, drawing
or song. David who had compiled
Follow the Path
of Others to Success
You can learn from other people
to make up for your lack of
experience in any area of life.
Be open and receptive to people
around you. They have things to
teach you. Take advantage of the
people that have made the journey
ahead of you.
Try to pick the right role models.
Don’t look for people that make
you feel good or entertain you.
Look for people that can help you.
Role models are more than
people you like and admire.
The key is to look for people that
will help you to feel and be more
You can learn from the mistakes
of others. You can learn different
approaches to overcoming
challenges. Learning what not
to do is as important as learning
what to do.
Success depends on using not
a song from these stories called
Amazing Spirit sung this to us on the
second day.
The training provided people with
many different ways to help and support
people who lived traumatic experiences.
The view was generally from a group
perspective but various resources could
be molded into a one on one basis.
I found this workshop very
informative and would consider using
an approach which could be further
developed and used in the future. X
For more information visit
Our Journey ...
As Parents With Sons
& Daughters Diagnosed With
Stories about what they have
Our Journey is a booklet
that has been a year
in the making ...
How it began …
by Amanda Worrall
When I started working with a small group of parents a year ago in November 2007,
the ongoing emotional challenges that parents face was very apparent. Self blame,
feeling a failure, feeling inadequate are feelings that are readily available to parents who
have sons and daughters with a diagnosed mental illness. It is common for parents to
experience a range of strong emotionsshock, dismay, and sadness, even anger.
This is a realm that can be coupled with both pain and frustration, and also
tremendous courage and love.
Michael White, the originator of narrative therapy, often spoke about how,
‘In times of stresswhen we find ourselves under significant duress when
facing situations of adversitywe are vulnerable to being separated from our
knowledgeableness.’ Michael taught me that when working with people who have
experienced traumatic situations, therapy can become a context in which the steps
that people take, and the knowledge and skills that they represent, can become known
and profoundly acknowledged. I tried to follow these principles in my discussions
with these parents.
‘By sharing these stories, we are hoping that the
things we have learnt over the years will somehow be
of benefit to other parents, and to let them know
that they are not alone.’
Inside knowledge …
Meeting on a weekly basis with these parents over four weeks, followed by a series
of one-to-one interviews, many inspiring and moving experiences emerged through
sharing stories. It became very apparent that these parents possessed a wealth of
knowledge - ‘insider knowledge.’ I had no doubt that this information could be really
useful to other parents going through similar journeys, and I voiced this.
Although initially surprised at my comment, all the parents were really
enthusiastic about putting a booklet together. As one parent commented about
the challenges she has faced, ‘If I am able to support and assist one parent
through sharing these stories, then my life feels more worthwhile.’
found usefuland what has helped to
keep them strongis the main theme
of the booklet: ‘By sharing these stories,
we are hoping that the things we have
learnt over the years will somehow be
of benefit to other parents, and to let
them know that they are not alone.’
Messages of hope …
When I read the finished booklet,
I get goose-bumps on my arms. The
generosity and openness that these
parents have displayed in sharing their
stories has been very moving for me.
The skills and wisdom contained in their
stories is both inspiring and encouraging.
These stories share a message of hope,
and, as we know, hope is one of the key
ingredients to recovery, both for the
son/daughter, and for the parents.
Reading these stories may generate
some ideas of how others cope, as we
all have our own unique ways of coping
and managing the challenges we are
faced with. As Michael white says:
‘None of us are passive recipients to
stress and trauma; we all do something
to help us survive.’
Compiling this booklet has been
such an enjoyable experience. I’m very
grateful to the Mental Health Association of Central Australia (MHACA) and
Mental Health carers NT (ARAFMI)
for funding this booklet and valuing
the voice of parents. X
Amanda Worrall
Australian Mental Health Services
(CAMHS) Mental Health Nurse
Case Manager
The booklet is a free publication & is
available from CAMHS (8951 7710),
MHACA (8950 4600) and the NT
Mental Health Carers (8953 1467)
Meeting Dates
For 2009!
u Wednesday,
11 February
To be hosted by the Multicultural
Community Services of Central Australia
u Wednesday,
20 May
u Wednesday, 19 August
u Wednesday, 18 November
Meetings held @ the Andy McNeill
Room – Alice Springs Town Council
10.00am – 12.00noon
Who: The meeting is open to all community and
services agencies, government agencies, NGOs.
Why: For information sharing, networking, gathering
ideas and sharing your vision with others.
What: The meetings are hosted by a different group
each time that provides the facilitation of the meeting,
a few nibbles, tea and coffee. Hosts are responsible for
preparing the facility and meeting and greeting, guest list
etc. A table is to be provided for people to display
pamphlets and promotional material. At the end of the
meeting the hosts for the next meeting will be established.
Where: At the Andy McNeill Room, Alice Springs Town
Council. This is our new permanent venue for meetings.
For further info contact Jonathan Pilbrow, NTCOSS
Ph: (08) 89514290 or 0438 552 584
“Be master of mind rather than mastered by mind.” Zen Proverb
New DAS Manager, Missa Bolibruck, saying farewell to Janine
Changing Times …
& Faces …
@ the Disability Advocacy Service
Goodbye Janine ... & Welcome Missa!
The time has come to say farewell to an amazing
advocate of the rights of People with Disability. After nearly
nine years, Janine has left the Disaiblity Advocacy Service
and on 1 December handed over the management role
to Missa Bolibruck.
I arrived in Alice Springs over a year ago from Ontario,
Canada. I am a sociologist and activist who has spent 10 years
working within Social Justice movements in North America.
I work from an anti-oppression community development
framework and my work with/for People with Disability is
guided by a fundamental belief that everyone has the right to
be valued for who they are. I believe that ‘disability’ has to do
with the ideas and environments that restrict people’s access to
participate in the community, not with someone’s ability. I enjoy
my work as an advocate because I have the opportunity to work
with People with Disability to assert their right to participate
in the community and change ideas around ability.
Disability Advocacy is now in a time of change and growth.
Not only will I be in the role of Manager but we are also in the
process now of recruiting a new Disability Advocate and a new
Board of Management has been elected – new faces all around.
One thing that won’t change is DAS’s dedication to providing
effective individual advocacy to People with Disability in Alice
Springs and Tennant Creek. Make sure you Watch This Space
as things shift and change over the next few months. X
Contact Disability Advocacy Service on
(08) 8953 1422 or visit us at 63-65 Railway Tce,
Alice Springs
margins to
mainstream ...
5th World Conference on the Promotion of Mental Health
& the Prevention of Mental & Behavioral Disorders
10-12 September 2008
by Jo Ruby & Rita Riedel
Margins to Mainstream explored new ways
that individuals and organisations from a range of sectors can promote mental
health and prevent mental illness. The conference attracted 860 people
from 44 countries and provided over 370 presentations!
THE AIM of the conference was to confirm that mental health promotion is no
longer at the margins but rather firmly established in the mainstream research, policy
and practice arenas “Mental health is everybody’s business.” For example, creating
and sustaining mental health is already part of the work some people do, such as
increasing social participation through involving young people in the arts or reducing
discrimination by making a sport more accessible for recent arrivals in our country.
The conference was designed to
highlight four of the 14 key evidencebased determinants promoted by
VicHealth which influence mental health
and wellbeing (see page 46 for more
details). Thus presentations fell into five
main streams which were:
u Social Participation
u Discrimination & Diversity
u Violence
u Access to Economic Resources
u General
Some key messages
u There is an enormous cost to
the community from mental illness,
particularly in the workforce
u We need to make mental health a
core concern in schools and education
u Mental health is a mainstream
responsibility: from schools to
workplaces, from neighbourhoods
to national goverments.
u Social injustice is killing people on
a grand scale (Fran Baum) and when
inequality becomes too great the idea
of community becomes impossible.
(Raymond Ayers)
u The iceberg analogy - people’s
behaviour/illness is the tip above the
water, and societal structures/systems
the iceberg below - we have to look at
bigger underlying structures and not just
focus on people’s illness/behaviours
u The way we treat each other
has a profound effect on people’s
mental health – kindness not
cruelty, compassion not judgement,
discrimination and exclusion
(Rob Moodie)
Some of the many
presentations …
There were many new incentives,
models and programs to view at the
conference that it was a challenge to
take it all in! Here are just a few of the
The arts play a pivotal role in creating wellbeing: The
Indigenous Hip Hop Artists opening the conference
on the tail of a successful national tour to outback
towns & communities helping kids ‘feel good’
ones we found interesting and relevant
to our community in Alice Springs.
Supportive training
The Mental Illness Fellowship of
Victoria is instrumental in developing
training packages designed to meet the
needs of people with a mental illness.
These nationally recognised training
packagesCertificates in General
Education for Adults and Introduction to
Community and Event Volunteering aim
to support people to return to study
and work in a conducive environment,
supporting them to gain confidence
to return to mainstream education
The MI Fellowship believes that
people with a mental illness should not
have reduced education or long-term
unemployment outcomes due to their
illness. Students study alongside other
people with a mental illness, making
issues around disclosure no longer
problematic; classes are supportive
and flexible, starting later than usual to
counter the morning effects of some
medications; and medical absences are
understood and worked around.
As a result of their studies
participating students experience:
u increased motivation
u more confidence
u a feeling of connection to
the community
u further education
u employment opportunities
Confidence in employment is gained
through working as a volunteer, with the
transition to volunteering done in a very
supported environment and experience
sort through the ‘Community and
Event Volunteering’ Course.
Building Bridges
The Building Bridges’ Project at
The Royal Children’s Hospital
– Mental Health Services aimed for
the employment of specific consumer
(and now carer) consultant positions to
become an integral component within
their mental health services.
This involves a critical shift in positioning
for service users from being passive
observers or receivers of a service to
providing a capacity to be ‘active agents’
impacting on their environment.
The project took six years to
create a secure position for
a permanent paid consumer
consultant within the
service. The responsibility
of the role is to advocate
on behalf of the client
group; facilitate consumer
feedback and recommend
strategies to address issues
arising; develop policies and
procedures in relation to
consumer participation; and
860 people from 44 countries attended over 370 presentations!
develop, implement and evaluate
strategies that focus on enhancing
Visiting schools &
consumer participation.
The changes have resulted in
talking about ‘life with
a range of improved outcomes for
a mental illness’ did
service users as a result of workers
being collectively more aware, sensitive
more than just educate
& respectful about consumer issues.
the students. It also
This would be an invaluable position
to have on any team working with
significantly helped
people with mental health issues.
Reducing Stigma
Researcher, Dr Debra Rickwood (Head
of the Centre for Applied Psychology
at University of Canberra) undertook
a project to help to reduce stigma
around mental illness. She identified
three main ways to reduce stigma:
1) protesting: suppressing negative
judgmental attitudes
2) education: correcting misconceptions
3) having contact with people of the
stigmatised group to hear their story:
the most useful
In this project, pairs of people with
mental illness visited high schools to
talk about their lived experience.
This was very successful in both
educating and
reducing stigma
among young
people, where many
retained increased
knowledge of mental
illness. Equally as
importantly, the
project significantly
helped the people
who conducted
the talks.
to raise consumers’
confidence, self-esteem
and sense of purpose.
The environment –
good for mental health!
There were many inspirational talks
about the positive influence of the
environment on our wellbeing and
mental health. We are fortunate in Alice
Springs to be so close to a ‘ticket’ to
health with our environment engulfing
us every minute of every day, cradled
to health with only a 5-minute trip to
solitude and connection with nature.
Outdoors Inc. highlighted the
therapeutic value of being in nature, as
valuable as seeing a counsellor. The aims
of the program are to reconnect to the
physical self, reconnect socially, being
connected with othersand challenged
by this alsoand to reconnect
emotionally and spiritually. Outdoor
Inc. promotes ‘discovery’ as a tool for
connecting. The landscape story is all
around and the focus goes from the
internal to the external. Outdoor Inc.
recently brought a group of people to
the Central Australian outback as
part of their journey.
( page)
Left: One of the highlights of the conferencehearing
The Choir of Hard Knocks at the Closing Ceremony
Bumps in
the Road...
The Bipolar Bears bringing down the house!
Power On
(from previous page)
With the Women’s Coffee Morning
sessions ending earlier this year, I was
pleased to hear of the Power On
Program run by Women’s Health West
(WHW). Power On works within
the western region of Melbourne in
partnership with women and a range
of organizations to meet the social,
emotional and physical health needs
of women in our communities.
I found the talk about this program
very inspiringand perhaps we can
adopt the model to once again give
women a forum to talk about their
issues. Power On consists of a 12week program of 2-hour workshops
delivered by a facilitator and peer
educator to cover topics such as: Selfesteem, Assertiveness, Body image,
Access to information, Communicating
with your Health Professional,
Menopause and your Menstrual Cycle,
Nutrition and Healthy Weight, Positive
thinking, Exercise and Wellbeing, and
Relationships: Connecting with Others.
Feedback from the women included:
u the women feel like they matter
u learning from others in the same
boat is rewarding
u women have a right to ask their
GP to prepare a plan to help them
u remembering that everyone has
good qualities no matter how unwell
they are. X
Like all organisations there are activities which flow smoothly at
MHACA and those which challenge us. We learn as much from what isn’t
working as from what does, by looking at the obstacles and being objective
about what needs improving. Here we identify some of the hurdles
we experience in our day-to-day programs:
Day to Day Living
uStaying well as support workers:
uUnexpected unplanned events:
We recently did some training in
Broken toes, impromptu Commonwealth
Vicarious Trauma where we were all
program evaluations and influenza are
challenged to keep ourselves well
just some of the unplanned events that
both physically and mentallyas support
have broken our stride in program work.
workers. The course discussed how
uPlaying catch up with paperwork:
listening to others’ trauma can significantly
affect workers, both physically and
emotionally. We also identified and
developed strategies for transforming
the impact of vicarious trauma through
effective participation in supervision
and stress reduction techniques.
“Be yourself. There is no one better qualified.”
and when it gets behind it assumes an
inordinately large place in your mind,
haranguing you until it is completed.
uHelping to find accommodation for
uFinancial difficulties can hinder
people is always an issue as Alice Springs
a person’s wellbeing and achievement
has limited good, cheap, quiet options
uWaiting times to see medical
uSometimes there is never enough
professionals is also a ‘bump’ for us at
time to do or say all the things that we
would wish; the thing is to do as much as
times. Not only in the doctors waiting
room when someone is unwell and not
we can in the time that we have.
wanting to be there, but also the time
Life Promotions
specialists can be frustrating for the
uAdvocating for open and honest
dialogue about the current systems of
support for people in a crisis of suicide.
uDespite the alarming rates of suicide
An abstract book on the conference is available at MHACA.
For further details or copies of
session recordings on CD or
MP3 visit the conference website
the least exciting aspect of the work,
there is still a reluctance in society to
openly discuss the issues around suicide
prevention. This is no doubt affected by
it takes for follow up appointments with
people we work with and ourselves.
uGetting onto tradespeople and
then getting them to come on schedule.
uWaiting on the Change of Building
Usage approvaland having to
the lingering stigma around the tragedy
constantly ring people is wearing.
of suicide. Breaking the silence and
uSuppliers not getting back to us;
misunderstanding around this sensitive
and having to constantly chase people
issue is difficult.
to get things done. X
An Awkward Fit:
A Mother’s Story of her son’s struggles
with mental illness, his suicide & coping with
grief after his death
by Rita Riedel
How do you cope when your child dies by suicide? Why was Stephen different, and
why did it lead to this? Mother and author Helen Maczkowiack visited Alice Springs
on 21 July to give a 1-hour community talk at about her son’s life, and how she
gradually came to face life again after his death. Following Stephen’s suicide and
then finding personal notes left in a journal, Helen felt compelled to write ‘their story,’
in the hope it will benefit others who may know or work with young people
similarly experiencing confusion in difficult times.
Sponsored by MHACA and Mental Health Carers NT, approximately 20 people
attended Helen’s talk about her son’s struggles and life after his death. I personally
found her honest and heartfelt presentation both moving and insightful. Helen
raised courageous questions such as, ‘Would I have been able to recognise some of
his warning signs if I’d been more aware? Would I have responded differently? Can
we as family and friends make a difference? The answer in all instances was ‘Yes’.
Stephen’s diaries and Helen’s unflinching honesty will touch all readers and
offer comfort and insight to those affected by depression and other related illnesses.
Helen’s book “An Awkward Fit” will be invaluable to:
♦ people in supportive roles in schoolseg. counsellors, teachers and support
workersas part of their developing understanding of children with talents
but who don’t quite fit in or gain peer acceptance
♦ people in supportive roles with older adolescents and young adults
♦ people providing direct services to individuals facing some
of the very complex multiple issues that Stephen faced;
♦ to offer comfort and provide knowledge to parents. X
MHACA has a few copies available for $20 - call Rita on
8950 4613. An Awkward Fit is also avail. for $24.95 from
Helen giving a talk at the
Alice Springs Town Council
SANE Australia offers
a wide range of resources
on suicide prevention. The
SANE Guide to Staying Alive
is a resource for people
with a mental illness who feel suicidal at times, developed
with the aid of those who kow first-hand what this is
like, as well as helath professionals and carers. The Guide
contains tips on recognising early signs of becoming
suicidal, information on where and how toa ccess hep, and
what you can do youself to redduce the risk.
Contact SANE on 1800 18 SANE (7263)
Farewell Felix ...
We’ll miss you
Laurencia, Kate, Em, Steph
& Lynne say goodbye to Felix
on his last day at MHACA
WHY have I resigned? What would possess a sensible chapsuch as me
to leave a good job and not even have another to go to? I have a workplace that
supports me like no other workplace that I have ever been in. I like (and love)
my workmates. They are good people: funny, friendly and kind. There is a workplace
agreement that is about to happen that will pay above the award wage. We have
a superannuation scheme set up that would help me save heaps. I have relationships
with the people on my case-load that I feel are very positive and rewarding.
What am I doing leaving MHACA?
I am leaving because I want to take on a challenge that I abandoned five years
ago. I began studying psychology in 2003 and, whilst I got a lot out of the experience,
I was not committed and discontinued shortly after my first year. I made a decision to
follow up with my desire to learn film-making and animation and to gain some practical
experience of working in the mental health field. Here I am, five years later, and I am ready
for my return to study to complete a Bachelor in Behavioural Sciences. I have a much
wider aperture on the lens I view the world through now and, armed with this insight,
I think I will make a better psychologist than I would have before.
Since I arrived in Alice and began work here at MHACA I have been welcomed
and looked after. My partner regularly comments on how supportive my workplace sounds
and it is true. I have watched as my workmates react to each other’s circumstances
and reflected that they are caring people and, that this is a unique workplace. We are
regularly trained and, for me, this is a new thing. In my years with my previous employer
I attended one session on group development and I cannot recall another. Since February
I have done the ASIST training, Mental Health First Aid, cultural awareness training, a
Helen Glover workshop, a vicarious trauma workshop and I have been involved in helping
brainstorm parts of the Strategic Plan. Full on stuff for a new lad! And great learning too.
To my workmates, past and present: Em, Laurencia, Joanne, Reets, Christine,
Kristy, Carmel, Claudia, Sue, Fee, Rangi, Bruce, Brian, Lynne, Donna, Danielle, David
and Sean (just arrived but newly befriended)you are all great people and I wish I could
figure out a way to keep you in my day. I wish that I could make little living copies of you
out of some sort of magical clay. You could sit on my desk with me while I study, offering
me encouragement and we could all have coffee breaks together. I could make you a little
cardboard MHACA and it would be like I never left. Happily I could now leave and not feel
as gloomy as I do. This is, however, a strange and impractical solution to my sadness.
Unfortunately, the closest that reality can come to this fantasy is for me to think about you
as often as possible; to drop by occasionally; to think about you and learn from
the lessons you have all taught me.
Without MHACA I would not have had the chances that I have had to change. My time
here has put me in the direction that I feel is the right one. I thank you MHACA for being
the edifice of goodness in the desert, that you are. I thank you all, members of MHACA,
for being the community of caring people that you are. You are like sprinklers
on a thirsty lawn. Thanksand I will see you around town.
The lounge will be empty without you Felix
Felix getting a helping hand from Bruce
“No Christine. Not the door!!”
A free Felix scanning yonder horizon for new shores ...
people profiles ...
The staff are extremely warm and
supportive and the consumers are a
breath of fresh air. It’s nice to see smiling
faces every day and get paid for it.
Why I like living in Alice Springs:
My family is here with me, so I have
fantastic supports. Alice is a small
community, only taking nearly 7 minutes
to get anywhere … not to mention the
beautiful weather and scenery.
Donna Ormsby
Position: Pathways to Recovery
Qualifications: Cert. IV in Business,
Human Resources, Business
Management & Business Administration;
First Aid Certificate. In 2006 I started
a Business Management Degree
completing 4 units, and then decided
to transfer to a Bachelor of Behavioral
Science which I am half way through.
I am also attempting to complete
a Cert. IV in Community Services.
Experience in mental health
or related fields:
My working history has been devoted
to an administration/payroll/taxation
background where I have worked in
various government departments both
here and in Darwin. However, the
position I held before MHACA was in
the community sector, where I learnt
a lot about this sector and myself, which
paved the way for my current study
and my position within MHACA.
What I like about working at
What’s not to like! MHACA is an
inspiring place to work. There is
something new to learn every day.
Favourite colour: Must be red,
although I like purple, green, yellow …
depends on my mood.
Things I enjoy doing:
Relaxing, when I have time! Spending
quality time with family and friends. Reading books (not text books), listening
to music and watching funny movies
(anything with Jack Black).
Qualities I like in people:
Honesty, optimism and compassion.
Mother Teresa says it all in this famous
quote:“Kind words can be short and
easy to speak, but their echoes are truly
Qualities I dislike in people:
Inconsideration towards others and
negative judgements.
A favourite movie:
The Pick of Destiny (Jack Black)
If I could go anywhere in the world
on vacation:
Back to New Zealand or a cruise in
the Greek Islands
One thing that would improve my
life right now:
My fitness. The will-power to stop
smoking! X
Sean BroughtonWright
Position: Day to Day Living and
GROW Officer
Qualifications: Grad Dip. Education
(Secondary), Bachelor of Arts (Psych
Maj.) Cert IV Workplace Training and
Assessment, Cert IV Government
(Procurement & Contracts)
What I like about working at
MHACA: The environment and the
Why I like living in Alice Springs:
Everything is just 5 minutes away and
I have a lot time after hours to do things
that interest me, no sitting in traffic 2
hours a day going to and from work.
Favourite colour: Green.
Things I enjoy doing: Working out,
writing, reading.
Qualities I like in people: People
who are open and willing to learn.
Qualities I dislike in people:
Willful ignorance.
A favourite movie: Lord of The Rings
Trilogy (extended editions).
If I could go anywhere in the world
on vacation: England and Europe for
the history or possibly the Middle East
for the same reason.
One thing that would improve my
life right now: Being able to surf kayak
in Alice Springs ( I know it ain’t gonna
happen). X
bOoks. . . reSouRceS. . . pUbLicAtiOns. . .
If you happen to have a psychiatric problem, advice will flow
from all quarters. Everyone has a mind so everyone is an
expert. Some advice is good but much of it is useless, unwise
or dangerous. Shrink-Rap publishes books about emotional
and psychiatric disorders, and each book explains a mental
health problem in a simple way. Shrink-Rap books are all by
experienced psychiatrists so, although the drawings are weird
and wonderful, the information is sound. Cartoons are ideal for
illustrating emotional turmoil as they allow you to look at and
understand things that are otherwise pretty hard to face.
For these and
other reader-friendly
books visit
Healthy Living
when you have a Mental Illness
A new SANE pamphlet explains
the importance of physical health
For a range of reasons, people
living with a mental illness often
have poor physical health too,
especially if affected by psychotic
conditions such as schizophrenia.
A new pamphlet in SANE’s
Understanding Mental Illness
series, explains the benefits of
living a more physically healthy
life, and offers positive, realistic
suggestions on steps you
can take to achieve this.
The pamphlet is a companion
to the more detailed SANE
Guide to Health Living, one of a series of helpful publications.
Contact SANE on 1800 18 SANE (7263)
Salvation Army DVD
The Salvation Army is working to
beat depression in regional Australia.
The Salvation Army has
launched it’s ‘Braver, Stronger, Wiser’
project in a bid to help those living
with depression in rural Australia.
A DVD has been produced for
the initiative with information on
managing depression, and includes
the journey of four regional Australians ... who worked
through depression and have emerged successfully.
To find out more or order your DVD visit
wHat’s On. . . WorKshOpS. . . cOnfeREnCes. . .
Summer Forum
Leadership for
Mental Health Services
of the Future
26-27 February 2009
Positive Schools
22 May 2009
in mental health services.
The conference offers principals,
teachers, psychologists and other
educational professionals opportunity
to better understand mental health
issues with a clear focus on finding
solutions and achieving sustainable
positive outcomes. This 1-day event
offers an unbridled opportunity
for participants to gain a positive,
solution focused approach to social
and psychological issues facing
schools and colleges Australia wide.
For more info contact [email protected] or visit
Contact: Positive Schools 2009
[email protected]
leadership in mental health services.
The 2009 Summer Forum takes
up the challenge of leadership in
mental health. Strong leadership
is about systems and the people
who work in these systems.
Leadership at all levels is needed
to drive the changes necessary to
promote reform and culture change
Forward Looking
Mental Health
& Wellbeing
It is time to re-view, re-assess,
re-invent and re-invigorate
Australia & New Zealand
Mental Health Association
13-14 August 2009
Surfers Paradise
Celebrating 10 years of
‘Advancing with Knowledge’,
the 2009 conference will focus
on reviewing the accumulated
knowledge and clinical wisdom
over the past 10 years for the
High Prevalence Disordersanxiety
conditions, mood disorders
and substance abuse.
The conference theme is year is
‘Moving ForwardLooking Back’.
For further info:
Conference Secretariat
[email protected]
For a comprehensive list of the latest conferences visit the Auseinet Conference website
Mental Healt
Carers NT
(formerly AR
ing Tea
Carer’s Morn
f each month
10.30am - 12.0
lth Carers NT
at Mental Hea
Alice Springs
s, Stuart Tce,
Salvos Upstair
8953 1467
d Phone (08)
Contact Trac
[email protected]
Carers NT Meeting
(jointly run with MH
Carers NT)
3rd Thursday of ever
y month
At Carers NT we work
together with each carer
offer a range of services
that specifically cater to
and their situation. Supp
ort is offered through ref
erral to the Carer Respite
Centre (right next door
) and
other appropriate servic
es, counselling, support
advocacy, information, ed
ucation and training.
For more info contac
t Carers NT on
8953 1669, PO Box 49
29, Alice Springs
“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common seanse.” Buddha
 Mental Health Diary . . .
2nd Tues. of month
4th Tues. of month
2nd Wed. of month
GROW Peer Support Group
Healthy Living & Lunch
GROW Peer Support Group
Consumer Action Group Lunch Consumer Forum Dinner
Committee Meeting
Claudia 8950 4612
8950 4612
8950 4614
8950 4600
8950 4600
8950 4601
The Day to Day Living Program offers a variety of creative, social and recreational activities. These vary each month
depending on interest and opportunities, and we welcome your ongoing feedback, input and ideas.
“ There is always something to be thankful for. ” Anon
MHACA Membership
(please photocopy)
To become a member of MHACA and receive a copy of
our quarterly newsletter inBalance and be kept informed
about what’s happening in the mental health sector
please send us your details:
Membership fees (please tick):
Individual $15
$5 Organisation/Corporate
Do you or your organisation represent any of the following?
Consumers  Carers  Indigenous  Rural Remote 
MHACA . . .
Building a Better Community
The Mental Health Association of Central Australia (MHACA) is
a non-profit, community-based organisation that provides:
individual support to people experiencing mental illness
a drop-in centre, group activities & peer support program
research and support in relation to suicide prevention
training in mental health first aid & suicide intervention
mental health promotion to help raise community awareness
advocacy at local, state & national levels
Pathways to Recovery Program -
offers rehabilitation and outreach services which provide recovery-focused
living-skills, training and support. We assist people with mental health issues
to set and achieve goals aimed at independent living and integration into
the community.
Prevention and Recovery Program -
Organisation/Dept (if applicable):_ _________________
provides intensive support to consumers experiencing a relapse of a mental
illness so we can reduce hospitalisation. We seek to reduce the impact
of an acute episode by delivering individualised care packages.
Day to Day Living Program -
Address:_ ___________________________________
aims to help improve the quality of life for people experiencing mental illness
by providing a range of weekly activities and support. These include
a GROW drop-in centre and peer support program.
________________________ Code______________
Mobile (if applicable):___________________________
Email:_ _____________________________________
Please complete and send with cheque or money order
to MHACA, PO Box 2326, Alice Springs NT 0871
Phone: (08) 8950 4600 Fax: (08) 8953 5577
Email: [email protected]
Life Promotion Program works with Central Australian communities to develop strategies to address
suicide and self-harm. The LPP team run a range of projects to help agencies,
individuals and groups learn more about issues related to suicide.
Training & Promotions MHACA offers a range of services to help raise community awareness about
mental health issues. These include training in Mental Health First Aid,
the newsletter, community stalls and forums, and the MHACA website.
Advocacy & Participation MHACA advocates on behalf of consumers, carers and other stakeholders at
local, state and national levels. We support consumers’ participation on advisory
committees (to influence government policy making & service provision),
recruitment panels and the MHACA management committee.