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ACT Mental Health Sector Update: 9 February 2024

These past few weeks at MHCC ACT have flown by!  

We are making progress on engaging with our members, advocating for the sector, and laying more groundwork for future initiatives. 

MHCC’s 2024-25 pre-budget submission to the ACT government in January emphasised the importance of increased funding to the community-managed mental health sector to address the growing mental health needs in our community. We indicated how additional funding for prevention, early intervention, hospital alternatives, rehabilitation, and recovery would amount to a cost saving, and opportunities for our community to flourish. We advocate for a humanistic approach to the ACT’s mental health system, allowing for a greater peer workforce and training for providers to support people as they are, and when they need it. 

Members are invited to share their budget submissions, via email, so we can further our collective advocacy efforts through a media release and other opportunities. 

Our op-ed published in The Canberra Times raised concerns about the treatment of mental health emergencies. We believe that PACER – where a paramedic and mental health worker join police in responding to crisis calls – is a better alternative to police attendance on their own. That said, we share concerns that police themselves have raised, that our response to mental health crises need to be reconsidered. We were excited to share details of the important role our sector plays – and could further play – in reducing the incidence of crisis in the first place. 

The Outcomes Advisory Panel selection process is in its final stages.  This panel will play a crucial role in guiding the commissioning process, ensuring our efforts align with the diverse needs of the community. We received several Expressions of Interest, and we thank those who invested time and effort to put forward a submission. We will respond to all interested participants within the next few weeks. 

Our submission to the Inquiry into Loneliness and Social Isolation in the ACT is in progress. By addressing these issues, we aim to foster a sense of community and belonging, which are essential components of mental wellbeing. If you would like to share your story for inclusion in our submission, please reach out. We also encourage members to make their own submission to the Inquiry – submissions close on 23 February

A Member Advocacy Workshop will be held in March, to help inform our 2024 ACT election strategy. We are gearing up for an impactful campaign to garner commitments from all parties to uphold the mental health and wellbeing needs of Canberrans. 

Lastly, did you know about the multitude of fabulous and functional spaces for lease at the Belconnen Community Centre? Whether you’re a small group looking for a meeting space, a creative looking to showcase your work, or your needs require a space to fit the crowds, CRCS has you covered. You can can look through their spaces here

– Vicky Choice, Director of Engagement and Partnerships MHCC ACT

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