ACT Mental Health News and Research

Every month the team at Mental Health Carers Voice read through hundreds of articles, media releases, and research updates. Collating the information that we think would be of interest to mental health carers. 

ACT research: Listening to carers

Clinicians can rely on limited health information gained directly from a consumer, despite policy stipulating carer participation. This study interviewed mental health carers about the physical health of the people for whom they care. Inclusion of carer information provided key information about the consumer's mental and physical health and demonstrated the need for carer consultation with health professionals. Read the article here. 

Report: Inquiry into Youth Suicide and Self Harm in the ACT

The Standing Committee on Health, Ageing, Community and Social Services has released their report: Inquiry into Youth Suicide and Self Harm in the ACT including recommendations to best fund early intervention, education and access. Carers ACT submitted a response to the review and Carers ACT comments are contained in the report. Read the report here.

Mental Health Physical Health Research

A University of Canberra journal article has been published examining the treatment of physical health conditions for people receiving mental health services. The qualitative research examines the issue through the lens of a mental health carer (from Carers ACT). Click here to read the article

Snapshot ACT Housing and its effects

ACT Shelter, ACTCOSS, Women's Centre for Health Matters and the Youth Coalition of the ACT (with ACT Government funding) have researched local housing and homelessness issues. The report presents evidence of housing stress of ACT residents and the social, personal and economic impacts. The research mentions negative effects of housing issues on family structures and mental health/stress. Read the report here

Innovations from MI Fellowship

MI Fellowship have successfully gained funding to support a series of innovations to help people access NDIS and mental illness information and support.

ACT Peer Helpline

The MI Fellowship ACT Office has been successful in securing a Partners in Recovery Innovation Grant to establish a Peer Helpline in the ACT.  The Helpline will be run by volunteers with a lived experience of mental illness.  It will provide emotional support, information and referral, together with scheduled calls to people requiring additional social support.  The ACT Peer Helpline is a first for Canberra, and will be launched in June 2016.

Your Voice Your Choice - supporting people access the NDIS

MI Fellowship has been funded by the Commonwealth Government NDIS Sector Development Fund with support from the ACT Government to assist people and their families learn about and prepare for the NDIS. This includes offering the supports people need to engage in NDIS planning sessions. A consortium comprising MI Fellowship (lead agency), Imagine More and Community Connections are engaging with people who, due to language, culture or personal circumstances, have had little information about the NDIS or may require personalised support in order to engage with the scheme.   

Well Ways Snapshot for Carers

In autumn 2016, MI Fellowship will be delivering Snapshot, a 6 hour education program designed to give family members and carers hope as well as a more informed sense of what may be useful in supporting the recovery of their loved ones and themselves. The day will involve informal but structured learning, with a range of interactive group discussions, practical demonstrations & problem solving.

For more information about ACT Peer Helpline, Your Voice Your Choice or Snapshot training contact Doris Kordes on 02 6246 7116 or

ACT Recovery College - 2016/2017 Budget Submission

In this Submission, Mental Health Community Coalition ACT proposes to establish the ACT’s first Recovery College through an injection of ACT Government funding along with collaboration and support from key sector stakeholders. A Recovery College is an efficient, recovery-oriented mental health service that helps increase a person’s ability to more fully participate in life and to stay well; reduce the incidence and severity of relapse, and complements other mental health services.Click here to read the budget submission. 

Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm; an Australian and Torres Strait Islander drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre

The eight bed centre to be located in the bush to Canberra's west will provide rehabilitation services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from the Canberra region, with a focus on Indigenous spiritual healing. Click here to read more. 

Borderline Personality Disorder; research in the ACT shows stigma is still a large issue for those with BPD

Conducted by the Women's Centre for Health Matters (WCHM) the survey of 30 women in the ACT with BPD found that 87% of respondents had experienced stigma when accessing mental health service providers. Researcher Jane Yang said the results of the research indicated that stigma around BPD meant it was often difficult for those affected to get adequete treatment and support. Click here to read an ABC news article on BPD in Canberra.

Smoking Cessation Clinic @ Canberra Hospital

Dr Kalyana Rodrigo (Psychiatrist) has commenced a smoking cessation clinic at Canberra Hospital. The clinic primarily caters for patients who need behavioural/psychological interventions to assist them to quit smokingn. A GP referral is required to access this service. Service is available to ACT Residents only.

Further enquiries can be directed to: Dr E.K.Rodrigo ( )

Ending stigma surrounding post-traumatic stress disorder

The Mental Illness Education ACT launched a campaign to end stigma and start dialogue on Australia's second most common mental health issue, post-traumatic stress disease (PTSD). Approximately 10% of people will have PTSD in their lifetime and this launch aims to increase recognition and discussion of PTSD. Often seen as soley affecting military or emergency service personel, PTSD also affects those who have been in car accidents, natural disastors, sexual assualt survivors and those who have experienced domestic abuse amongst others. Acknowledging the effects of trauma and specifically the under-acknowledged impacts of PTSD is a significant step forward in mental health discussion 
Read more click here

Supportlink and working with families after a suicide or unexplained death has occurred

ACT Trauma Support Service, operated by the not-for-profit Support Link provide support workers to look out for families in the difficult time immediately following a suicide or unexplained death. When police are investigating the death, the Support Link worker is there to answer questions, explain what is happening and what will happen next. This can be a very confusing and emotional time and sometimes the 'what's going to happen now?' is the most difficult part for families. The support link worker can provide a service of connecting the family to the best supports for them whether that be regarding funeral arrangments, financial considerations, legal issues and/or counselling services. 

For more information click here to read an article or here to access their website. 

Obesity Management Service- ACT Health

Obesity can be a significant issue for those with mental illness due to many different risk factors and medications. The ACT Health are running an Obesity Management Service to support adults with obesity to improve their health and wellbeing. The service focuses on those who have high risk of developing complications from their obesity or those who have other additional health problems. The team includes doctors, nurses, psychologists, dietitians, physiotherapists and exercise physiologists. Click here for more information. 

ACT Budget 2015-16

The Mental Health Community Coalition has prepared an analysis of the the ACT Budget 2015-16 as it impacts on mental health and wellbeing in the ACT.  

Free Legal Services Guide

ACT Legal Assistance Forum has a guide of free legal services in the ACT. A copy of the guide can be found here.

New ACT Human Rights Guide

Dr Helen Watchirs, the ACT Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner, has launched a new Guide to assist individuals achieve better outcomes from service providers using human rights. The Guide was developed in consultation with a number of organisations including the ACT Public Advocate, ADACAS, Advocacy for Inclusion, the Community and Disability Services Commissioner, and the Children and Young People Commissioner.

A full PDF of the document can be found my clicking here.
More information can be found by clicking here.

Radio Show

The Opening Minds radio show is run entirely by volunteers and is a program of Mental Illness Education ACT (MIEACT). Opening Minds is the radio show that talks about mental illness on 2xx Community Radio 98.3FM.
Carers ACT has a quarterly time slot on Opening Minds.On 10 March 2015, on the eve of Carers ACT’s International Women’s Day breakfast, Doris interviewed Candy on working carer issues and supports provided through the Carers ACT Employed Carers program, and Karen, a mental health carer, on strategies for juggling multiple roles and responsibilities. 




Mental Health News