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ACT Mental Health Sector Update: 24 November 2023

It is already late November, and the end-of-year season is just about here! As we approach the end of a transformative year, I have been enjoying my time recently with the MHCC ACT staff and Board team in planning a purposeful year ahead.

When there is so much activity going on in the mental health and community sectors, it can be difficult to set aside time for reflection and strategy. But it is energising to express our ideas, our goals, and our overarching vision so we can make best use of the opportunities available to us.

We are continually reminded of how important our advocacy pillars are as events unfold. One of our areas of focus is loneliness, which the World Health Organization has recently declared a “global public health concern”. Going forward, we will be playing our part in addressing this global issue in Canberra as we plan our submission to the Inquiry into Loneliness and Social Isolation in the ACT.

As a result of ongoing consultation with our members, MHCC ACT have also been able to conduct productive meetings with Members of the Legislative Assembly. This week, I met with Michael Pettersson, Leanne Castley, Emma Davidson, and Rebecca Vassarotti. We have more meetings lined up over the coming weeks, and into the new year. We have been pleased to see the genuine interest ACT MLAs have in mental health, and in our priority areas – including our upcoming budget bid which will focus heavily on the resourcing our sector needs for the commissioning process, as well as our key thematic priorities: loneliness, perinatal wellbeing, climate and mental health, and justice. We look forward to building on these discussions.

Next week, we will be hosting our Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 28 November from 4pm – 5pm at the beautiful KPMG Parliament Room, 1 Constitution Avenue, Canberra. We ask all members to join us for this important gathering as we share updates, discuss milestones, and set the stage for another year of meaningful work. As well, in accordance with the Rules of Association the appointment of board members will take place at the AGM. The following positions will be filled for a two-year term at the 2023 AGM:

· Full Member Ordinary Directors

· 1 x Lived Experience Director

Finally, an update to let you know that I will be heading on maternity leave soon, until July 2024. I am grateful to be able to leave MHCC in the very capable hands of our Chief Operations Officer, Jane Brownbill, and our wonderful team during this period.

I hope to see you at the AGM on Tuesday!

– Melanie Poole, CEO MHCC ACT

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