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Minutes 9-10 April, Melbourne

National Mental Health Commission Meeting
9 – 10 April 2015, Melbourne 


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
Mr Rob Knowles AO Mental Health Commissioner
Ms Nicole Gibson Mental Health Commissioner
Hon Dr Kay Patterson Mental Health Commissioner
Commission Staff

Ms Catherine Lourey

A/Deputy CEO

Ms Jane Moxon

Director, Policy, Strategy and Projects
Ms Ros Johnson
A/Manager Policy, Strategy and Projects
Ms Ashliegh Mills A/Manager Data, Analysis and Reporting (attended 9 April 2015)
Mr Tom Abbott Senior Policy and Project Officer (attended 10 April 2015)

Item 1 Welcome and Apologies

Chair Allan Fels welcomed Commissioners and staff. There were no apologies.

Prof Fels congratulated Ms Lourey on her secondment to the NSW Mental Health Commission as Senior Advisor.

Item 2 Preliminaries

2.1 Register of Interests

The Register of Interests was tabled, noting that some updates are required.

2.2 Previous Minutes and Actions Arising

The Minutes of the Commission meeting on 20 February 2015 were APPROVED. Actions arising from the meeting were noted.

2.3 Operational Matters

Commissioners noted difficulties in accessing documents through the Govdex website.

Item 3 Commissioners, CEO and Projects Updates

3.1          CEO Update

CEO David Butt provided a verbal update. Mr Butt advised he and Professor Fels met with the Minister for Health.

Mr Butt advised the release of the Report of the National Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services (“Report”) appeared imminent and noted the National Mental Health Commission (“Commission”) will place the Report on the Commission’s website and provide briefings for key groups following its release.

Mr Butt advised of changes to the organisational structure of the Commission with two sections established (corporate and strategic policy and projects). Recruitment is to commence shortly for vacant positions.

Mr Butt noted the correspondence with the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority regarding costing of mental health services. Commissioners DISCUSSED the components to be considered in the costing model for mental health services and noted factors such as the cost of family support are not included.

3.2          Commissioner Updates

Commissioners provided updates on their recent Commission-related activity and upcoming activities.

3.3 Projects Update

The Director, Policy, Strategy and Projects updated the Commissioners on the Seclusion and Restraint Position Paper (to be released at the 10th National Seclusion and Restraint Forum); the Mental Health Champions (which aims to develop a cohort of trainers for the Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Workforce); and the work of the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance.

Item 4 Presentations

4.1 Child and Youth Area Partnerships

Ms Bec Olsen, Team Manager, Vulnerable Children Reform Unit, Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria. 

The Child and Youth Area Partnerships aim to develop local approaches to support children and young people by mobilising a range of organisations within a geographical area (including schools, sporting clubs, workplaces, health services, and police). Challenges include engaging people with lived experience and involving them in the design of strategies. The Partnerships are being trialled in eight sites.

4.2 National Disability Insurance Scheme

Ms Annette Gath, Director, Quality and Safeguards and Ms Karen Pickering, Branch Manager Mental Health Branch Department of Social Services.

The consultation paper on the Quality and Safeguarding Framework describes options to manage potential risks associated with the National Disability Insurance Scheme in the areas of provider registration; system for handling complaints; ensuring staff are safe to work with participants; safeguards for participants who manage their own plans; and reducing and eliminating restrictive practices in NDIS funded supports.

The Commissioners identified people managing their own plans as a particular area of risk with potential for exploitation and DISCUSSED access to the NDIS for people with mental health issues noting the episodic nature of mental health issues and the recovery approach.

Item 5 Government Response to the Review

The Commission has prepared Fact Sheets, Q & A and a media release in preparation for the release of the Review Report. Prof Fels will be the key spokesperson.

Item 6 National Mental Health Commission workplan

Commissioners DISCUSSED the draft Work Plan and ENDORSED the following priority areas - data (including use of data linkage to identify regional variation); economic benefits of investment in mental health (with the Mental Wealth of Nations work providing a possible framework); reporting on mental health and suicide prevention with targeted reporting on a limited number of well scoped issues including issues identified in the Review and previous National Report Cards (with indigenous mental health a key issue); the physical health of people with a mental health problem; workplace mental health; suicide prevention and mental health and primary health care.

Commissioners considered Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and mental health of vulnerable populations fundamental components of each area of work.

Item 7 Visit to SANE

Commissioners were welcomed by Jack Heath, CEO, SANE who provided an overview of the services provided including Helpline; media monitoring of reporting on mental health (with feedback provided to journalists); training on work place mental health; and web based forums for SANE and a platform for other organisations. Future directions include better analysis of the data from social media posts; and development of apps in mental health.

Commissioners NOTED the collaborative approach to providing a platform for web based forums for other organisations.

Dinner Thursday 9 April 2015

Professor Graham Meadows, Professor of Adult Psychiatry, Monash University and Dr Joanne Enticott presented on “Data and the Issue of Equity in Australian Mental Health Care System”.  Ms Liz Carr from Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council and Ms Julien McDonald from Tandem (with consumer and carer experience respectively) were welcomed as guests.

Item 8 Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on 18 - 19 June 2015 in Darwin. Commissioners DISCUSSED the proposed agenda. Areas of interest include urban and rural indigenous mental health issues.  

Commissioners AGREED the meeting be over two days with a full day visit on Thursday 18 June 2015 and business meeting on Friday 19 June 2015. Commissioners to advise of travel requirements. Commissioner Dudgeon has provided direction regarding liaison with the community and visits.

Item 9 Presentations

9.1 Victorian Suicide Prevention Register (VSPR)

Judge Ian Gray, State Coroner, Ms Samantha Hauge, Chief Executive Officer, Dr Lyndal Bugeja, Manager Coroners Prevention Unit, Dr Jeremy Dwyer, Senior Case Investigator and Ms Mary Hyland, Mental Health Case Investigator Coroners Court of Victoria.

Commissions NOTED the presentation on the Victorian Suicide Prevention Register operated by a team with different backgrounds including clinical mental health, information systems and injury prevention and aims to provide better information on the path to suicide. The Register has been populated for 201 variables for suicides from 2009 – 2012 and can be interrogated to provide information on a wide range of issues e.g. factors linked to suicide, location of suicide.

Future directions include further data linkages e.g. with Ambulance Service. The register is currently funded through grants and in kind support from the Victorian Coroners Office with future funding not assured.

Commissioners NOTED the presentation and the valuable contribution of the Victorian Suicide Register to the knowledge base about suicide and DISCUSSED the extension of the Register to other states and territories.

Item 9.2 Use of Pattern Recognition and Data Analytics in Mental Health and Suicide Prevention and Intervention

Prof Svetha Venkatesh, Professor of Computer Sciences and Director of the Centre for Pattern Recognition and Data Analytics Deakin University.

Machine learning has been used to review the Electronic Medical Records of people presenting to an Emergency Department following a suicide attempt. Key linked factors identified include gender (male) and postcode changes; hospital admission (when, why and how often); lethality of attempt and emergency admissions (when, why, how often). These factors have been used to stratify the suicide risk of those who have attempted suicide. Commissioners DISCUSSED the use of risk stratification and asserted the need for all people who present following a suicide attempt to be considered at risk.

Another potential application is the use of the affect and content expressed in blogs to identify signs of mental distress.

Item 10 Visit to St Vincent’s Hospital

Commissioners were welcomed by Ms Bridget Organ, Manager St Vincent’s Mental Health and met with clinical staff and consumer and carer peer workers.

Commissioners NOTED the presentations on the use of data to improve service delivery; the programme to improve the care of delirium and the Mental Health and Hospital Admission Reduction Programme (HARP) and undertook a tour of the Mental Health Inpatient Unit.

Next Meeting 

The next meeting will be held on 18 and 19 June 2015 in Darwin.



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