Thursday 09 March 2017 

Welcome to factsline
VICSERV's fortnightly e-newsletter with updates and news from the
community managed mental health sector


In this edition

VICSERV news & policy
Mental health news & announcements
Mental health opinion & analysis

Tribute to Jeff Cheverton

As many of you would have heard over recent days, it is with great, great sadness that we learnt of the sudden passing of Jeff Cheverton.
Jeff was one of the strongest and most passionate advocates for the community-managed mental health sector, and was central to the formation of Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA).
Jeff was the long term CEO of the Queensland Alliance for Mental Health from 2004-2012, and a former Board member and Deputy Chair of the then Mental Health Council of Australia. Jeff was most recently with the Brisbane North PHN – leading to it becoming the benchmark for successful PHNs in Australia. Jeff had not long started at North Western Melbourne PHN.
Jeff was never afraid to say what he believed about issues, which made him one of the most respected and loved voices in the mental health sector and beyond. Many of us are struggling to cope with what his loss will mean to the sector and he is truly irreplaceable.
On behalf of everyone involved with CMHA our thoughts are with Jeff’s family, friends and partner Roddie, along with everyone who has worked with, been influenced by and known Jeff.

Instead of buying flowers, people can give to a memorial fund to help his partner with expenses while he struggles to come to terms with his loss.

Everyone is welcome to attend the events to celebrate Jeff's life:

There will be a viewing at the Lonergan and Raven Clifton Hill Funeral home, 187 Queens Parade on Saturday 11th March, 2-4pm.

The funeral service will be in Melbourne on Sunday 12th March 2017, at Footscray Community Arts Centre, 45 Moreland St, Footscray from 11-1pm with a wake to follow at our friend's house in Newport on Sunday arvo.

Then on Saturday 18th March 2017, there will be a memorial event at Orleigh Park, Orleigh Street in West End from 3pm.

VICSERV news & policy

Former VICSERV CEO Kim Koop inducted into Victorian Honour Roll of Women

Former VICSERV CEO, Kim Koop, was one of twenty-five exceptional women inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women.

Each year, the Honour Roll celebrates exceptional women in Victoria who have made significant and lasting contributions to their local community, the nation or the world. 

Kim’s vision, dedication and passion for improving the care and outcomes for people with mental illness has been recognised and VICSERV congratulates her on this achievement. 

Parliamentary inquiry into NDIS and mental health 

VICSERV has made a submission to the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS.

In developing our submission we drew on the experience and expertise of community mental health organisations and workers, conducting two face-to-face consultations and an online survey, involving a range of mental health stakeholders.

Our submission provides detailed discussion of the key issues raised during the consultations, including practical examples and views shared by organisations experiencing the realities of the NDIS first-hand.

CMHA, our national peak body, also provided a submission, which includes input from the State and Territory peaks.


Productivity Commission Inquiry - NDIS Costs

The Productivity Commission has released the ‘Issues Paper’ for the NDIS Costs Inquiry. This study is a review of NDIS costs and aims to help inform the final design of the full scheme; it will examine factors affecting scheme costs in light of the benefits and impacts of the scheme on the lives of people with disability, and Australians more generally.

More detailed information can be found in the terms of reference.

Our national peak body, Community Mental Health Australia, will be making a submission to this Inquiry. If any organisations wish to provide input to the submission, please direct to Shauna McDonald by Tuesday 14 March.

Productivity Commission inquiry into competition and informed user choice into Human Services

CMHA made a submission to the Productivity Commission's Study Report largely reiterating issues that were made in the CMHA submission to the Preliminary Findings Report as the Study Report presents mostly the same issues along with comments from submissions to this report.

An addendum to CMHA’s submission to the Study Report was made after additional comments and information from the Northern Territory regarding best practice in remote Indigenous services. Other submissions to the inquiry can be viewed from here.

Mental health news & announcements

New residential care model 

The Victorian Government is working closely with the sector to develop innovative services for children and young people in, or at risk of entering, out-of-home care, as part of its $20 million South Initiative project.

A new Intensive Support Service aimed at assisting children and young people in residential care who have complex trauma and mental health issues, emotional and behavioural problems will be developed. The new service will provide intensive, trauma informed therapeutic interventions tailored to the individual needs of each young person in, or at risk of entering, residential care. It will initially be trialled and evaluated in Victoria’s south and it is envisaged that in the longer term there will be a broader roll-out of the new model across the state.

The department is seeking to discuss this work and the proposed approach with a broad range of organisations, to ensure interested stakeholders from a range of backgrounds have the opportunity to learn about this process and provide input into the future service model. A discussion paper with key questions has been circulated and a consultation was held on 27 February.  

Victorian Government funding to prevent violence in hospitals and mental health services 

On 23 February, Minister for Health Jill Hennessy and Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley announced that 30 rural hospitals, nine metropolitan hospitals, and 10 mental health services will share in more than $7 million in funding.

The funding will see significant safety and security upgrades at these services, including additional CCTV, more personal duress devices and alarms, and new infrastructure such as security doors, windows and restricted access areas.

Eastern Melbourne PHN 2x RFT: Deliver Innovative Low Intensity Psychological Strategies & Develop And Deliver Psychological Strategies Therapeutic Groups

Eastern Melbourne PHN has released 2x Request for Tender:
  • to deliver an evidence based psychological strategies program to people with or at risk of mild to moderate mental health disorders. This program will require a mental health treatment plan for access with a focus on GPs at the centre of care.
  • to develop and deliver evidence based psychological strategies therapeutic groups to people with or at risk of mild to moderate mental health disorders.

EMPHN aims to improve sector efficiency and support better patient management across the continuum of care and these tenders form a significant component of the emerging stepped model of care.
Interested parties are required to register via TenderSearch which is EMPHN’s eTendering portal. Information regarding the RFT can only be obtained after registration. 
Once you receive a confirmation email of your registration, you will be able to login and: 
  • view and download documentation for this RFT;
  • use the Question Forum, anonymously and confidentially, to ask questions and see answers to the questions related to this RFT; and
  • submit your RFT response electronically.

National LGBTI suicide prevention strategy 

The National LGBTI Health Alliance has released the National LGBTI Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Strategy, to help reverse the alarming statistics surrounding LGBTI people and their mental health. 

The Strategy includes recommendations across the breadth of approaches in Australian mental health work including promotion, prevention, intervention, treatment and maintenance; and provides Strategies for Action that will ensure that targeted responses adequately and appropriately support the needs of LGBTI people and communities as a priority. 

Access the National LGBTI Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Strategy

Watch a broadcast of the launch here

LGBTQ-specific online peer support service

Youth mental health body Headspace will soon launch a new LGBTQ-specific online peer support service, looking to give young gay people assistance in coming out and dealing with personal issues.

The new service, Qheadspace, will be an anonymous online chatroom staffed by both gender and sexuality diverse (GSD) peer support leaders and professional Headspace counsellors. Users can log on, ask questions about how the peer support leaders navigated their youth -- from topics like being confused about their sexuality, coming out to parents and friends, sex, and LGBTQ support services -- or simply watch the discussion as it develops. Headspace counsellors will be on hand to provide more in-depth support or referrals if needed.

Mental health opinion & analysis

Target-setting is great for progress, but is it right for suicide prevention?

The Guardian included an opinion piece on whether setting targets for suicide prevention is an effective way of measuring achievement and progress. 
  • What should the targets be and where should the accountability for achievement against targets rest?
  • Is setting targets a way to communicate and engage with the wider community in results-based suicide prevention?
  • Does a focus entirely on reducing deaths diminish our understanding and empathy with the profound despair and pain felt by suicidal persons – whether or not they actually attempt suicide or die?

Strong calls on suicide and justice: "Keep out of prison those who should not be there”

Efforts to prevent suicides among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should include a focus on reducing over-incarceration, according to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP) report.

An article released by Croakey on February 28th, provides insight into the development of The ATSISPEP report highlighting the impact of the high rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment on suicidal behaviours. 

The value of a peer operated service

The Conversation circulated an article sharing key insights from a Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis of a 100 per cent, peer operated service run by Flourish Australia (previously RichmondPRA) in Hervey Bay, Queensland.

The SROI analysis was used to demonstrate where the main value is created and to highlight the key features of the service that create that value.

For further reading, the Summer edition of newparadigm - the theme of which focused on workforce issues in the mental health sector, also included an article from Flourish in relation to development of their peer workforce

Other news

Make Renting Fair Campaign

VICSERV is one of a number of organisations supporting the Make Renting Fair Campaign. The focus of the campaign is to make renting fair for everyone and to prevent it becoming an option of last resort for people on low and middle incomes.

The Victorian Government is currently reviewing the Residential Tenancies Act, which controls safety, security and privacy for 1.2 million people across the state. This is a rare opportunity to make positive changes to these laws, but there is also a risk that consumer protections for tenants will be weakened. If this happens, more vulnerable tenants will be the ones hit hardest.

The groups most impacted would include people who have been homeless, people living with mental illness, people with a disability, older tenants, students, people from CALD backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women and children, and low income households.

Sign the Make Renting Fair petition

For more information regarding the campaign email or visit

Engaging with mental health carers: changing workplace practice

A Practical Guide for Working with Carers of People with a Mental Illness was released in 2016 and recognised that carers are a crucial component of any partnership approach to service delivery.

A follow-up article in the recently released summer edition of newparadigm, written by Jenny Branton of Mental Health Carers Australia, discusses the guide in more detail and provides an indication of how mental health practice can change through the adoption of a practical guide for working with carers of people with a mental illness.

Future Social Service Institute announces recipients of PhD Scholarships

The Future Social Services Institute have announced the recipients of the 2017 PhD scholarships. The scholarships are aimed at generating new research for the benefit of the community services sector and the people who use their services.

The recipients of the 2017 scholarships are Amaya Alvarez and Liz Dearn.

Amaya's research will focus on carers' response to the marketisation of disability services and the movement for carers rights in Australia and the UK. Liz will be exploring the impact of the marketisation of disability services in marginalised people with mental illness.

Read more about the PhD scholars and their research

VICSERV training

Introduction to Motivational Interviewing

Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th March 2017

This two-day workshop introduces participants to the basic principles and practices of motivational interviewing. The participants will gain an awareness and understanding of the principles of motivational interviewing, practice some of the techniques and build upon their current level of counselling skills.

The main topics include:
• History and theory of motivational interviewing
• Stages of change
• Five principles of motivational interviewing
• Importance and function of “change talk” and dealing with ambivalence and resistance.

For further information and to register, click here.

Effective Documentation

This one-day workshop will provide practical tips and guidelines for documentation of the care and support provided to consumers, families and carers.  There will be a focus on clear documentation according to legislative requirements, organisational policy and procedures and sector best practice.

For further information and to register, click here.
To view all scheduled VICSERV training click here. For more information about any training course call the VICSERV training team on (03) 9519 7000.

Events & opportunities

Grampians Mental Health Conference

The bi-annual Grampians Mental Health Conference is a combined initiative of Regional Mental Health and AOD Providers in the Grampians region; and has been responsible for facilitating Mental Health Conferences since 2000.

The theme of the upcoming conference in March 2017 is ‘Resilience through the Lifespan’.

Experts in their fields will share their expertise on where Mental Health and AOD are headed in the immediate future.

Date:             Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd March 2017
Location:       Mercure Ballarat Hotel & Convention Centre
                      613 Main Rd, Ballarat
For further information please go to the conference website.

Mental Health Week Art Competition

The 2017 Mental Health Foundation Art Competition is now open.

The competition will be showcasing entrances in Mental Health Week (8 – 14 October 2017).

For further information and entrance details

National Indigenous Human Rights Awards

The National Indigenous Human Rights Awards recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons who have made significant contribution to the advancement of human rights and social justice for their people.

Nominate someone for the awards
For further information, please also read the Awards Guide

18th International Mental Health Conference - call for abstract submissions

Abstract submissions are now being accepted for the 18th International Mental Health Conference, being held on the Gold Coast, QLD on 21 – 23 August 2017. This year’s conference will examine a range of issues from the perspective of Primary Interventions, Promoting Recovery, Preventing Relapse and the latest Policy Initiatives.

International participants needed for research project: People who have experience with depression    

To inform an update to the current mental health first aid guidelines for depression, published in 2008, Mental Health First Aid is looking for 30 people with a lived experience of depression, 30 people who have cared for or provided significant support to someone with depression, and 30 professionals with experience researching or treating depression.

Learn more about the project

Employment opportunities

Client Services Manager

An exciting opportunity exists to join the EDV team based in Abbotsford. The Client Services Manager reports directly to the CEO and has oversight for a range of new and established programs including the Eating Disorders Helpline, support groups, clinical services and a range of projects in partnership with public and private health services. You’ll work closely with other EDV staff, volunteers and a range of external stakeholders across Victoria.

Learn more about the position

Access and Support Worker

Provide support to those members of our community who have difficulty accessing the services they need due to their diversity. The ideal candidate will have experience working in the mental health field, enthusiasm, excellent organisational skills, the knowledge and ability to engage with varied stakeholders, and experience working with people from diverse backgrounds. This is a 12-month position and will continually be evaluated to ensure positive outcomes are achieved for our client group.  

Learn more about the position

For your calendar




Indigenous Human Rights Awards
Applications close



Mental Health Week

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Mental Health Victoria · PO Box 1117 · Elsternwick, Victoria 3185 · Australia