Latest News & Information


Review of the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act, 1994 - Consultations on the Second Exposure Draft: Wednesday 17 April – Tuesday 28 May 2013

The ACT Government’s Review of the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act 1994 is well advanced, with a final Amendment Bill expected to go before the Assembly later this year.

The Review, undertaken by the ACT Health Directorate and the Justice and Community Safety Directorate aims to ensure Canberra’s Mental Health Act will meet the needs of our community and bring Canberra’s legislation into line with important mental health reforms happening here and in other Australian states and globally.  A wide range of community organisations, stakeholders and interest groups including mental health consumers and carers has provided valuable input. Community feedback on the first exposure draft released late 2012 has been considered by the Review Advisory Committee and incorporated as appropriate in a second exposure draft.

The second exposure draft is now available for further public comment and submissions will be accepted until 28 May 2013.
Click here to register for the Carers ACT carers consultation on 29 April.


Boost in support for people with mental illness and their carers

Australians with severe mental illness, their families and carers will have greater access to support services and other practical assistance locally in their communities thanks to a $121 million boost from the Gillard Government. Minister for Disability Reform Jenny Macklin and Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler said the new and expanded services are part of the Government’s record $2.2 billion national mental health reform package. 

The boost to the Personal Helpers and Mentors program (PHaMs) will build on existing investments by delivering more than 230 extra personal helpers and mentors who will work one-on-one with people with mental illness across Australia. 
Click here to see the successful Personal Helpers and Mentors and Menta Health Respite Carer Support Providers, including Carers ACT.
Click here to read the full media release.


National Youth Week: a time to celebrate, listen and support young carers

Carers Australia reiterates the need for greater support for young carers, during National Youth Week.


ACT Ministerial Advisory Council on Women - Survey on how women with disabilities are faring

The ACT Women’s Plan 2010-2015 is undergoing a mid-term review. The ACT Ministerial Advisory Council on Women (MACW) is undertaking consultation on-line and in sub-groups to find out how all ACT women are faring. We have adapted a survey devised by members of MACW. Julia Gilchrist, our representative on MACW will take our feedback and ensure it is part of the review.  

WWDACT would be grateful if you could forward this survey to women with disabilities in your contacts -

There are 19 questions, but none are compulsory. Alternatively general comment can be directly to


Upcoming Mental Health Carers Voice forum: Second Exposure Draft, Mental Health (Treatment & Care) Act - 29 April

Second Exposure Draft, Mental Health (Treatment & Care) Act – 29 April

The Second Exposure Draft Amendment Bill of the Mental Health (Treatment & Care) Act will be available for comment from April 2013. Carers ACT will be hosting a consultation with mental health carers.
Date:                     29 April
Time:                    12.00pm – 2.00pm
Location:             Riley Hall, Pilgrim House Conference Centre, 69 Northbourne Avenue, Civic
Cost:                      Free. Lunch will be provided
RSVP:                    Phone Rosie on 6296 9900 or email if you would like to attend.


Report highlights the need to address multiple disadvantages and challenges faced by young carers

A Federal Government commissioned report by Rob Bray of the Australian National University’s Social Policy, Evaluation, Analysis and Research Centre provides multi-faceted and sometimes disturbing insights into the characteristics, experience and post-care outcomes for young carers receiving Carer Payments and Carer Allowances.

Young carers are children and young people up to the age of 25 who care for a relative, partner or friend who is frail aged or who has an illness, disability, mental health or alcohol or other drug issue. In Australia approximately 340,000 children and young people have caring responsibilities. Of these 20,363 receive financial assistance in the form of Carer Payments and Carer Allowances during the period covered by the survey.

“This report reminds us that many children and young people with caring responsibilities are living with great socioeconomic disadvantage” said Dr Tim Moore, President of Carers Australia. Click here to read the Carers Australia media release. Click here to download the full report.


beyondblue and MHiMA - Engaging CALD Communities Online Forum: Invitation to Participate

Are you working in the area of mental health providing services or support to people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds?

beyondblue and MHiMA are pleased to invite you to participate in an online forum which will take place from April 10th - 30th 2013. This forum has been developed as a space to explore issues related to engaging people from CALD backgrounds to reduce the impact of mental health issues. The forum will also provide opportunities for information sharing and collective learning across a range of disciplines, workplace settings and locations within Australia.

As an online forum member, you will be invited to participate in various topics relevant to engaging people from CALD backgrounds in the area of mental health. Questions will be posted and you can also add your own forum topics. Your experiences, ideas and suggestions of how to best engage people from CALD backgrounds will be useful to inform future practice for people working in mental health.


Justice of the Peace community service at ACT Libraries

A justice of the peace is now available at:
Belconnen Library every Thursday from 11.00am - 1.00pm
Erindale Library every Saturday from 11.00am - 1.00pm
Dickson Library every Friday from 11.00am - 1.00pm

They are available to assist with the:
• administering of oaths or affidavits, witnessing statutory declarations and taking affirmations
• witnessing of signatures
• attesting and certifying of documents.
No appointment necessary. This is a free service for ACT residents. Click here for more information.  


New Carers ACT Disability e-Bulletin

Carers ACT have released a new e-Bulletin to keep carers informed and up to date with the latest news about DisabilityCare. Click here to download the Disability e-Bulletin.



Mental Health Coordinating Council - Recovery Orientated Language Guide

"The Mental Health Coordinating Council have developed this Recovery Orientated Language Guide because language matters in mental health. We must use words that convery hope and optimism and that support, and promote a culture that supports, recovery". The guide can be downloaded here.


New study will try to save lives by better understanding suicide

A ground-breaking study will examine every Victorian suicide over a two-year period to try to save the lives of people who may be at risk of suicide in the future. beyondblue has joined forces with the Coroners Court of Victoria and The University of Melbourne to fund a study investigating over 1000 confirmed suicides and other suspected suicide deaths that occurred between 2009 and 2010. The $277,390 study will identify the frequency and nature of any contact these people had with health, housing and other services such as police, ambulance and health professionals before they died. beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell AO said the findings would be used to enhance Victoria’s suicide register, managed by the Coroners Court, to create a comprehensive map of the service pathways people used before their death. Click here to read more.


NDIS Public Forum - 3 April

The NDIS Launch Transition Agency on behalf of the Australian Government, invite you to come and hear about progress with the
National Disability Insurance Scheme: Click here to download the flyer.
Wednesday 3 April 2013
There are two sessions to choose from. Either:
Venue: The Hellenic Club, Woden (In the Apollo Room)
Assistance, including Auslan translation and accessible information, can be made available at this event on request ahead of the forum.
Please contact the NDIS Helpline on 1800 800 110 or by Wednesday 3 April 2013.


The Australian Health Survey shows we are keeping an eye on our health

In 2011-12 over half of us regularly checked our skin for changes in freckles or moles, according to the second set of results released today from the Australian Health Survey. People born in the UK or Australia were more likely to check their skin than those born in Asia (63% compared with 22%). Louise Gates, Director of Health at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, said the results from the Australian Health Survey give us an important insight into the actions people take in relation to their health, in order to understand how better to prevent illness and injury. Click here to read about the Australian Health Survey.


University Canberra Public Hospital project - Carer Representative Vacancies

Mental health carers are invited to consider nominating for a carer representative position, through the Mental Health Carers Voice program, on the following committee and user groups of the Canberra Public Hospital project:

  • Executive Reference Group Committee
  • Adult Sub-Acute Mental Health Inpatient Unit User Group (three meetings, first Monday 25 March, then one in April & May)
  • Adult Sub-Acute Mental Health Day Services User Group (three meetings, first Monday 25 March, then one in April & May)
  • Older Persons' Sub-Acute Mental Health Inpatient Unit User Group (three meetings, first Monday 25 March, then one in April & May)
  • Older Persons' Sub-Acute Mental Health Day Services User Group (three meetings, first Monday 25 March, then one in April & May)

ACT Health are very keen to fill these vacancies. If you wish to find out more information about the above committees/user groups, contact Rosie Fisk on 6299 9900 or email A Carer Representative Nomination Form, Terms of Reference and Code of Conduct for the Mental Health Carers Voice Program may be downloaded from the Mental Health Carers Voice website at, or give Rosie a call.


Getting the right NDIS for carers and the people they care for

Flexibility, choice and accessibility were the key themes that emerged when policy experts discussed the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), at the Carers NSW 2013 Biennial Conference: Caring, Working, Living last week. Carers NSW CEO, Elena Katrakis said that the NDIS debate raised important issues that are relevant to all carers not just those who will be part of the NDIS. "The NDIS debate looked at whether the NDIS will do everything it needs to do and as part of the discussion the speakers considered the needs of carers as well as the potential opportunities and limitations of the NDIS," Ms Katrakis said. On the affirmative side, Scott Holz, State Manager, National Disability Services and Carolyn Quinn, Carer and Member of the NSW Carers Advisory Council focused on the benefits of individual funding packages which can allow carers and the people they care for to tailor support plans to suit their needs. Read more here.


Carers ACT’s submission to the 2013-14 ACT Budget

Carers ACT 2013-14 ACT Budget response focuses on four strategic priorities for carers and the people they support. These include:
  • Supported accommodation for people with disability and people with mental illness
  • Enhanced flexible respite services
  • Transition of young people with disability to adulthood
  • Training for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), aged care and mental health reform.
Click here to download the Carers ACT’s submission to the 2013-14 ACT Budget.


New guide on Borderline Personality Disorder

Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler today launched a new guide to assist health professionals to recognise and treat Borderline Personality Disorder. The Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Borderline Personality Disorder was developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) at the Government’s request. Mr Butler said Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) was the most serious and common of the personality disorders, affecting adolescents and adults. "Borderline Personality Disorder is estimated to affect at least one per cent of the population", Mr Butler said. "It is associated with a high risk of suicide and causes significant loss and grief for individuals, their families and friends". Read more here.


Quarterly Community Forum - The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) & MHCC Consumer and Carer participation

The Mental Health Community Coalition ACT, the ACT Mental Health Consumer Network, Carers ACT, and Mental Health, JH&ADS invite you to a forum to discuss:  The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) & MHCC Consumer and Carer participation.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Wendy Kipling – ACT NDIS Taskforce
Wendy will give an update on the progress towards preparing for implementation of the enhanced service offer from July 2013 and the NDIS in the ACT from July 2014. Wendy and MHCC also want to hear from consumers and carers in particular about what you know and want to know about the NDIS, what you want and need from the NDIS, and how we can help you prepare for the NDIS.
MHCC ACT consumer and carer participation
MHCC is about to embark on a project to explore how to make genuine and meaningful consumer and carer participation in MHCC governance and activities possible.


Mental Health First Aid Training for Carers

Mental Health First Aid Training for Carers
Subsequent to the Medicines forum, Len Kanowski has generously offered to provide Mental Health First Aid training at no cost to mental health carers:

Dates:                   Thursdays 23 and 30 May, 6 and 13 June
Time:                    1.00-4.00pm
Location:             Carers ACT, 80 Beaurepaire Crescent, Holt
Cost:                      Free to current mental health carers living in the ACT.

This is a wonderful training opportunity for mental health carers. Participants will be awarded a certificate of completion. It is therefore vital that you are able to commit to attending on each of the four, three hour sessions. Places are limited to 16 participants, so if you wish to undertake the training please reserve your place as soon as possible by phoning Rosie on 6299 9900 or email


Well Ways MI Recovery Canberra 2013


want to learn how to better deal with mental illness
want to meet others who are on a similar journey?
have a diagnosis of mental illness?
want to pursue your goals?
have the courage to make positive changes in your life?

MI Fellowship will be running an 10 week peer education - recovery group starting on Tuesday 2 April. The group is called MI Recovery and we are currently seeking interested people to participate in the program. The program will run every Tuesday for 10 weeks from 1.00pm - 4.00pm at the Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria David Street Office at 41B David Street, O'Connor.

If you experience issues with your mental health and want to work on your recovery, this group may be for you.

Please take the time to have a look at the brochure or pass on to someone who may benefit from the program.


Government ammendments to NDIS Bill

The Gillard Government is today introducing amendments to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Bill, that respond to feedback from extensive consultations with people with disability, their families and carers, and with states and territories. The NDIS will provide peace of mind to people with a disability, their families and carers, and to Australians who may in the future acquire a significant and permanent disability. The NDIS will give people with disability choice and control over the care and support they receive, rather than exposing them to the cruel lottery that currently exists. The Government's amendments also respond directly to submissions made to the inquiry by the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee, which will table its report this week. Read the media release here.


The Defence Mental Health Crisis

Defence’s newly released mental health plan for the military is a welcome step towards dealing with the hidden wounds of war — especially the scourge of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

The ADF is still moving slowly and fails to recognise fully the extent of a problem one former general describes as "rampant", but, taken with previous studies and strategy proposals dating to 2009, the Health and Wellbeing Plan 2012-2015 amounts to a serious attempt to make progress on mental health issues. Click here to read more. 

Click here to download the Carers Australia (with contributions from Carers ACT and Carers VIC) Submission to Dept of Vet Affairs Mental Health Strategy 2013.


Draft Rules for the NDIS

On the 5 March the Gillard Government released further detail of the rules that will guide how the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) works for people with disability, their families, carers and service providers. The rules support the National Disability Insurance Scheme Bill, which is currently before the Australian Parliament. The Bill establishes the NDIS, including eligibility criteria and what constitutes reasonable and necessary support, and the NDIS Agency to deliver the scheme. Click here to read more and click here to  access the draft rules.


Mental health study identifies dementia carers’ suffering

A Queensland study has found people who care for dementia sufferers are more likely to contemplate suicide than the general population. About 300,000 Australians suffer from dementia and more than 65 per cent of those are cared for in their own home or by their family.

Dr Siobhan O'Dwyer from Griffith University says a survey of 120 carers in Australia and the US found that one in four had contemplated suicide more than once in the past year. "Our results are more than eight times what the general population say, and so if people are thinking about it we need to be really concerned," she said. Click here to read more and click here to download the study Suicidal Ideation in family carers of people with dementia: a pilot study.


New housing options for young mentally ill Canberrans

A new supported accommodation service has opened in Canberra for young people with a mental illness. Six people aged between 18 and 25 will be able to receive live-in care at a suburban house in Kambah as part of a Step-up, Step-down program. ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher says the service is aimed at early intervention and helping people avoid a hospital stay. Read more here and read the media release from the ACT Government here.


eheadspace is now available

eheadspace is a confidential, free and secure space where young people 12 - 25 or their family can chat, email or speak on the phone with a qualified youth mental health professional. Young people may contact eheadspace if they need advice, are worried about their mental health or are feeling isolated or alone. eheadspace can help with a broad range of issues like bullying, drug and alcohol issues, depression and anxiety, relationships, concerns about friends, fitting in and isolation. eheadspace also have experts who can provide work and study advice to young people and specialist support to parents and carers who are worried about a young person 12 – 25. Click here to go to the eheadspace website.


Mental Health Framework highlights role of pharmacists

A mental health framework which highlights the expertise of pharmacists and their roles as partners in mental health care has been released by the PSA in partnership with mental health stakeholders. Click here to read more.


February 2013 - Mental Health Foundation Directory of Services in the ACT

Click here to download the Mental Health Foundation Directory of Services in the ACT. Click here for more information about the Mental Health Foundation ACT.


New app "The Fifth Army" from Cotton On Foundation and headspace

Help raise awareness on depression, homophobia and bullying through this wonderful app: . For more information on Cotton On Foundation click here. For more information on Headspace, click here.


Two Workshops for Family Carers - CIT

Mindfulness & Relaxation

This four week course will explore ways to create more time for ourselves despite often having to juggle competing demands and caring for a family member. Taking time to care for ourselves is time well spent for our well-being and health. Each week there will be a discussion on various aspects of mindfulness and meditation and the benefits of relaxation.
Each session will include practical exercises and conclude with a relaxation practice or mindfulness exercise. Click here to access the flyer.


This course is about gaining an understanding of how our emotions affect us and how we can use them to improve the quality of our life. The price we pay when we shut down our emotional expression can be loss of energy and passion for life and feelings of tiredness and fatigue or disease. Also expressing too much emotion or letting our emotions overwhelm us can be damaging to our relationships, wellbeing or success in life. 

The technique of Meridian Tapping will be discussed and The Tapping Solution DVD will be played in week 2. This method for emotional freedom is easy to learn and literally taps into your body’s own energy.


Carers Circle Issue 1 2013

The first issue of Carers Circle for 2013 is now available. Click here to download a copy.


Neighbourhood cohesion linked to resilience of rural women

Emerging evidence suggests that older women living in Australia’s rural areas have better mental health than their sisters in the cities. The findings come from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) and will be examined in a colloquium on Resilient Rural Women at the 12th National Rural Health Conference to be held in April this year. The longitudinal study provides information from three birth cohorts of women - those born 1973-1978, 1946-1951 and 1921-1926 - and the focus of the colloquium will be urban-rural differences in women’s mental health and wellbeing.

Sue Conrad’s paper on Neighbourhood cohesion among middle-aged women is a good news story for rural women who report better neighbourhood safety and connection, and better neighbourhood attachment and trust than women living in cities. Click here to read the media release and for details of the conference.


$21 million to support young people with mental illness

The tender for twenty new Family Mental Health Support Services that will provide intensive support to vulnerable children and young people at risk of mental illness, as a result of over $21 million from the Gillard Government, is now open.

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin and Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler today called on community organisations across Australia to apply for funding to establish the services.This funding will deliver much-needed services to more than 16,000 children and young people across the country who are experiencing or are at risk of mental illness. Read the full media release here. To find out more about the application process and to apply visit:


Mental Health Carers Voice Program Survey

New closing date for submitting the Mental Health Carers Voice Program Survey is Thursday 28 February. The Survey includes sections for government and community organisations to complete as well as for carers and carer representatives. Your feedback will inform this program’s ongoing quality improvements, so please take a few moments to complete the Survey. A copy of the Survey may be accessed here

A report on the Survey findings will be distributed via E-Bulletin during March 2013. Surveys may be emailed to or posted to Carers ACT, Attention: Doris Kordes, 80 Beaurepaire Crescent, Holt ACT 2615. Please give Doris a call on 6296 9900, or email if you have any questions about the Survey.


Australia’s doctors to be surveyed on their mental health

beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell AO has encouraged Australian doctors and medical students to participate in a world-first survey.
Her comments come as 50,000 doctors and medical students across the country, including all of those in rural and regional Australia, receive questionnaires this week as the unprecedented attempt to assess the mental health of Australia’s medical professionals enters its main phase.

The National Mental Health Survey of Doctors and Medical Students takes place amid continuing concern for their mental health. Around 3,000 doctors and medical students received the questionnaires as part of the pilot in November with 20 per cent returning them. Ms Carnell said this time she hoped that at least 50 per cent of recipients will complete the survey, which is completely anonymous. "We understand Australian doctors and medical students are incredibly busy," she said. "The response rate from the pilot program demonstrates that they are time poor and shows why their mental health is of concern to us, meaning that the insights this survey will provide are incredibly important. The more doctors and students who fill out the survey, the better our insights will be.


Mental Health Council welcomes new Chair of it's Board

The Mental Health Council of Australia has announced the appointment of Jennifer Westacott as Chair of its Board. Ms Westacott has been Chief Executive Officer at the Business Council of Australia since 2011 and was previously a Senior Partner at KPMG. She has extensive policy experience in both the public and private sectors and has over 20 years’ experience in leadership positions in the New South Wales and Victorian Governments, including as Director of Housing and Secretary of Education and Training in Victoria. Ms Westacott led a major review of the NSW Health system in 2000, entitled the Health Council Report. Jennifer was also a Commissioner on the Commonwealth Grants Commission. Click here to read the full media release.


Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs Inquiry: National Disability Insurance Scheme Bill 2012

Carers Australia make several recommendations on the NDIS Bill 2012, offering the perspectives of carers in order to fulfil the promise of a National Disability Insurance Scheme. Click here to download the submission.


Speaking Up, Advocacy and Juggling – A course for family carers

Topics covered:

  • Speaking Up and Advocacy: why is it an issue? What is it all about?
  • Managing conflict, juggling people: deciding how to respond to conflict and which people you need on side
  • Speaking up assertively: putting your words and yourself together
  • Looking after yourself and trying out new approaches

Facilitator: Annette Matheson is a Community Educator with both professional and personal experience in the disability sector.  Annette has worked for many years with families in Future Planning and Family Governance and has a particular interest in Advocacy.  She is currently a coordinator with CIT Skills for Carers and a teacher in Disability Studies courses at CIT.


Beware of scammers asking for NDIS fees

People are being warned to beware of contact from anyone claiming to work for the Government who tries to make them pay an administration fee to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

These claims are false.

There is no need for people to pay a fee to join the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The Gillard Government is investing $1 billion to launch the first stage of the NDIS in five sites across the country from July this year.

The NDIS Launch Transition Agency will deliver the first stage of the NDIS and in the lead up to launch will communicate with many people with disability in the launch sites.

However, the Agency will not be seeking fees from anyone to participate in the scheme.

People should be very wary of anyone asking for payments for Government schemes, including the NDIS.

If people are concerned that their privacy has been breached or they have provided personal details as a result of one of these calls, they should report it to the police.

People can also report a scam and get further information at the Government’s Scamwatch website,, or call the hotline on 1300 795 995.

If you have any further enquiries about this scam email

If you


VACANCIES - Mental Health Carer Representative Positions

Mental health carers are invited to consider nominating for a carer representative position, through the Mental Health Carers Voice program, on the following committees and working groups:

Calvary Hospital Mental Health Management Committee

For more information about this Committee, click here for a copy of the Terms of Reference.  Further questions about the role may also be directed to Chrissy English, Volunteer Services Manager, on 6201 6646 or 0467 790 863.

Health: Division of Mental Health, Justice Health and Alcohol & Drug Services (MHJHADS)

  • Risk Management
  • Smoke-Free Evaluation Working group and Smoke-Free Working Group (Community)
  • MHAGIC (Mental Health Assessment Generation Information Collection) Advisory Committee

MHJHADS Redesign Projects

  • Alexander Maconochie Centre Medication Management
  • Steering Committee for the redesign projects

Community Sector

  • Mental Health Community Coalition ACT: Peer Workforce Steering Committee.

If you wish to find out more information about the above committees/working groups, contact Rosie F


WA Carers Guide

A guide for carers on information sharing with mental health clinicians has been developed in partnership between the School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, University of Western Australia; the Mental Health Division; the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist and Carers WA. The Guide relates to the WA Mental Health Act, but its content is relevant to all carers, consumers and mental health service providers. You can access the Guide here.


Australian Human Rights Commission: Launch of Investing in care

Launching the Commission’s Investing in care: Recognising and valuing those who care report in Sydney, Commissioner Broderick said that the majority of caring in our community was undertaken by women and that the current superannuation, taxation and employment systems severely disadvantaged them.

“People who make the valuable contribution and personal sacrifices of caring for parents, in-laws, children, grand-children and others in our community with disability, chronic illness or frailty due to old age are penalised by a system that does not recognise this invaluable personal and socio-economic contribution,” Commissioner Broderick said.

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Mental Health Carers Voice Program

Carers ACT
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