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Minutes 12-13 August, Canberra

National Mental Health Commission Meeting
12-13 August 2015, Canberra


Commission Attendees
Professor Allan Fels AO Chair
Mr David Butt Chief Executive Officer and ex-officio Commissioner
Mrs Lucinda Brogden Mental Health Commissioner
Ms Jackie Crowe Mental Health Commissioner

Professor Pat Dudgeon

Mental Health Commissioner

Professor Ian Hickie AM

Mental Health Commissioner
Ms Nicole Gibson Mental Health Commissioner
Hon Dr Kay Patterson Mental Health Commissioner
Commission Staff

Ms Sally Goodspeed

Executive Director

Ms Jane Moxon

Director, Policy, Strategy and Projects
Ms Kim Eagle Chief Operations Officer
Ms Trinette Kinsman
Communications Manager
Mr Tom Abbott Senior Policy and Project Officer
Mr Peter McDermott Project Officer and Secretariat
Mr Rob Knowles AO Mental Health Commissioner

Dinner 11 August 2015

The Commissioners and Commission Staff met with advisors to Minister Sussan Ley to discuss Contributing Lives, Thriving Communities, the Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services, and the Government’s response

Wednesday 12 August 2015

Item 1 Welcome and Apologies

Chair Allan Fels welcomed Commissioners and staff. An apology was noted for Commissioner Rob Knowles.

Item 2 Preliminaries

2.1 Register of Interests

Commissioners Ian Hickie and Nicole Gibson UPDATED the Register prior to the meeting. The Brain and Mind Research Institute is now called the Brain and Mind Centre and Professor Hickie’s new position title is Director Health and Policy.

It was NOTED that the Commission has received a Freedom of Information request that pertains to the Commission’s Register of Interests.

2.3 Previous Minutes and Actions Arising

The draft Minutes of the Commission meeting on 17 – 19 June 2015 were APPROVED without amendments and the Actions Arising were NOTED.

2.4 Operational Matters

Ms Kim Eagle, who recently started with the Commission as the Chief Operating Officer, DISCUSSED with the Commissioners a shift in local policy regarding travel guidelines. Commissioners can claim either actuals (actual out of pocket expenses) for day visits or an allowance, for travel requiring overnight accommodation.

Item 3 Presentations

3.1 Presentation from the Department of Veteran's Affairs

Sue Campion, First Assistant Secretary, Health and Community Services Division

Veronica Hancock, Assistant Secretary, Mental and Social Health Branch

Matthew Jackson, Director, Mental Health Services Policy, Mental & Social Health Branch

Wayne Penniall, National Manager, Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs presented on their mental health work including the At Ease Programme, The Right Mix, Touch Base, Trauma Recovery Programmes and use of technology including mobile phone apps. Future research including the Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme were also discussed. Commissioners were interested in issues related to carers of Veterans and the support Veterans’ Affairs provides them, and Indigenous veterans.

3.2 Presentation from the Department of Defence

Colonel Nicole Sadler, Acting Director General Mental Health, Psychology & Rehabilitation Branch, Joint Health Command

Colonel Nicole Sadler presented on the Department of Defence’s mental health work with active Defence Force personnel. This included the models that Defence uses, the research they have undertaken and key programmes in prevention and early intervention, service delivery, rehabilitation and transition into civilian life.

 Item 4 Commissioners, CEO and Project Updates

Due to time constraints, Commissioners did not provide updates.

Commissioners DISCUSSED the draft Review report communications strategy presented by Ms Trinette Kinsman, Communications Manager.

The Projects Update was tabled.

Lunch with the Parliamentary Friends of Youth Mental Health

The Commissioners met with the Parliamentary Friends of Youth Mental Health, co-chaired by Senator the Hon. Penny Wright. The Commissioners, Senator Wright and invited guests discussed youth mental health and early intervention. Commissioner Nicole Gibson discussed her experiences working with youth and their mental health

It was NOTED that the Seclusion and Restraint Position Statement and Paper were released at the 10th National Seclusion and Restraint Forum in Melbourne.

Item 5 Meetings with Members of Parliament, Senators and Departments

Commissioners met with Federal Members of Parliament, Senators and Departments to discuss the Commission’s work and the outcomes of Contributing Lives, Thriving Communities and explore options for progress. During Wednesday 12 August 2015 and Thursday 13 August 2015, Commissioners met with the following:

  • The Hon. Sussan Ley, MP
  • Senator the Hon. Jan McLucas
  • Senator the Hon. Penny Wright
  • Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson
  • Senator the Hon. Marise Payne
  • Senator the Hon. Concetta Fierravanti-Wells
  • The Office of the Treasurer
  • The Office of the Minister for Social Services
  • The Department of Health
  • The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

Thursday 13 August 2015

Item 6 Meeting Management Software Training

Commissioners were trained in new Board Portal software that will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Commission meetings. 

Item 7 Other Business

7.1 Event Management

Commissioners DISCUSSED upcoming events and meetings related to mental health.

7.2 Next Meeting

Commissioners DISCUSSED the next Commission meeting and DECIDED not to hold the next meeting in Broken Hill. The next meeting will be held in a National Disability Insurance Scheme trial site; possibly Newcastle & Sydney, NSW.

Item 8 Meeting with the Australian Bureau of Statistics

Michelle Ducat, Director Disability and Mental Health

Dr Paul Jelfs, First Assistant Statistician

Michelle Marquardt, Program Manager, Health and Disability Branch

The ABS presented on their latest work in relation to the Commission’s and ABS joint Data Linkage Project. It was agreed that interested Commissioners would be engaged in ongoing governance of this project and that this would include policy questions that could be answered by the data. Characteristics of families and carers, if the data permits, were NOTED as a priority for reporting.

Item 9 Visits

9.1 Visit to Lifeline

Ms Robyn Clough, Board Director

Mr Alan Woodward, Executive Director Lifeline Foundation for Suicide Prevention

The Commissioners and Commission staff visited the Lifeline call centre in Canberra to see and hear about the suicide prevention work being done by Lifeline. Following a tour of the facilities and the call centre, Ms Robyn Clough and Mr Alan Woodward presented the outcomes of their research into suicide prevention, their service model and the future directions of the service.

9.2 Visit to Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service 

Ms Julie Tongs OAM, CEO

Ian Bateman, Manager, Social Health Team

Dr Ngaire Brown, Clinician

The Commissioners and Commission staff visited the Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service to learn about the work of the service and the challenges they face in delivering health services including mental health and social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) support.  Ms Julie Tongs presented on the SEWB framework under which they operate and the range of services provided. This was particularly interesting for the Commissioners in comparing the service and its challenges to the Indigenous services visited during the Commission meeting in Darwin in June 2015. The Commissioners were impressed with the growth of their service and the quality and breadth of service delivery by highly skilled and dedicated health professionals.

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