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ACT Mental Health Sector Update: 15 September 2023

This week, I was delighted to join colleagues from around the country, particularly the CEOs of our fellow State and Territory peaks, in meeting with over 40 parliamentarians between us. The highlight was a roundtable with Ministers Mark Butler, Bill Shorten and Emma McBride with myself and the other Community Mental Health peak CEOs.

Our discussion focused on the current NDIS Review and the need for a significant boost to community mental health funding in order to address unmet psychosocial needs, something that we cannot rely on solely on the NDIS for. It was a great opportunity to raise a number of the key messages in MHCC ACT’s recent NDIS Review Submission.

Coming up, we’re in the swing of our preparations for Mental Health Month in October. We’re canvassing people and organisations to nominate an ACT Community Wellbeing hero for our awards. It’s been amazing seeing some of the initiatives happening in Canberra in recent years, I’m in awe of the work people are doing. So much work in the mental health sector goes under the radar – this is a wonderful opportunity to say thanks.

This year, we’re partnering with Riotact to tell the stories of our award winners. We want people to know how important community mental health is, and to know how people drive positive change.

There are a diverse array of awards open for nomination. Our awards celebrate research excellence, recovery, allyship, carers, lived experience, and more. Find out more information, and nominate someone – nominations close 24 September.

We’re also busy planning key Mental Health Month events. There’s a jammed-full calendar, but some important dates include:

  • Our Mental Health Month Launch on Tuesday 3 October, 9.30-10.30am at the Salthouse Community Centre in Braddon. The launch will include speeches from the ACT Minister for Mental Health, Emma Davidson, and members of our community.
  • On 4 and 5 October, I am inviting senior leaders of all community mental health organisations in the ACT to join myself and several experts in outcomes measurement for two focused half day workshops, designed to set us in good stead for the remainder of the Commissioning process (now extended to December 2025. Calendar invites for this have gone out, so get in touch with us if these did not reach you for any reason.
  • Our End of Year Celebration and Awards Night on Wednesday 1 November, 5-8pm in the  Juliet room (upstairs) in Verity Lane. Mark this one in your diaries! We do have a limit on the number of spaces – you can sign up here to ensure that you don’t miss outMinister Davidson will be joining us again, as well as Federal Charities Minister, Dr Andrew Leigh, who will speak about his work tackling the loneliness epidemic. We will also hear from other important leaders in the ACT community, including Sustainability Commissioner Dr Sophie Lewis, who will speak about the link between our wellbeing and our environment. We will be celebrating the Mental Health Month award winners.

We’re looking forward to celebrating mental health in our community. Mental Health Month celebrates the inclusion and care people and organisations throughout the ACT offer, and the insights gleaned from embracing lived experience expertise. We are also looking forward to sharing all of the amazing activities that our members and friends across the community are doing during this month – please reach out to our Communications and Media Manager, Erin Stewart, if we can support you during this time.

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