Carer Representative Updates

If you have information, comments or feedback for any of our representatives, please contact Sarah on 6296 9936 or email

September 2016

John Tucker, your carer representative - MHJHADS  Corporate Governance Committee (formerly Executive Strategy and Business Planning)

The first meeting of the ACT Mental Health, Justice Health, Alcohol and Drug Services (MHJHADS) Corporate Governance Committee was held on 22 July 2016. The main functions of the Committee are to: 

Action is being taken to develop a Business Plan for consideration by the Committee.

Report from Carers ACT representative - ACACIA Advisory Group

ACACIA is committed to doing research with consumers and carers that allows them to contribute in a range of roles. ACACIA researchers all identify as MH consumers and / or carers and use their research skills alongside their lived experience when designing and conducting research. The Unit has an Advisory Group made up of representatives from consumer and carer organisations, independent representatives and policy makers. The Advisory Group provides practical advice from carer, consumer and policy perspectives.

An evaluation of the Partners in Recovery (PIR) program in the ACT is currently underway. PIR is a program that helps people with severe and persistent mental illness to coordinate their complex care needs across multiple services. A focus group of consumers and carers gave input into the development of the evaluation framework, to ensure it focussed on important mental health issues. The evaluation aims to contribute to improvements in the quality of services and inform the mental health reform process in the ACT.

Renzo Gobbin, your carer representative - Electronic Clinical Record Steering Committee and MHAJIC Advisory Committee

For the month of August the e-MHAJIC electronic record and advisory steering committee meeting activity was as follows:

1) The project team is continuing with the Implementation Planning Stage (IPS) of the project.

2) The IPS is complete, pending the contract change negotiations with Global Health, and clarifications on data dictionary work.

3) Business requirements specification document has been updated to include enhancements
and additional work agreed to by ACT Health.

4) The first task in the next phase of the project is to implement the ‘Out of the Box’ product MasterCare EMR into ACT Health Development environment.

5) Customisation, data migration and interfacing work will be done in the Development environment. Then penetration testing will be undertaken by SSICT before moving the MasterCare EMR product to the ACT Health test environment.

6) The Project Manager reports that project ‘Go-Live’ is on track to finish at EOFY 2017, with no further budget beyond this point.

August 2016

Janet Milford, your carer representative on the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum

The NMHCCF sent letters to party leaders and their mental health spokespersons and party directors prior to the Federal election. Responses were received from the Coalition and ALP. Click here for links to read the NMHCCF letter and responses.

Deanne Michaels, your carer representative on Partnering with Consumers Patient Experience Network

Currently exploring person and family-centred care and what it means when working with patients and carers in a hospital setting. Core concepts include respect, dignity, information sharing, participation and collaboration. We workshopped key priorities for the group for 2016. Items include goal setting for end of life, seeing the person rather than the disease, diversity of staff across the hospital, caring for the carers and more. We were given a presentation on the waiting room project- looking at the various waiting rooms across the Canberra Hospital (TCH) and how they inform patients and carers about health-related issues through the use of posters, brochures and interpreter services. A workshop discussed ways to identify person-centred practice on the wards of TCH. Resilience, kindness, caring and communication all need to be addressed at floor level on all wards of TCH.

July 2016

John Franklin, your carer representative, ACACIA

The Unit, commonly referred to as ACACIA, is a part of the National Institute for Mental Health Research within the ANU. It was established in 2013 and is funded by ACT Health. The aim of the Unit is to undertake research which is
relevant to and benefits the lives of mental health consumers and carers in the ACT. ACACIA places a strong emphasis on its research being underpinned by the ‘lived experience’ of mental health consumers and carers. In the short period since it commenced ACACIA has developed a reputation for being able to distil and communicate this focus. Staff members and students working at ACACIA have personal experience as mental health consumers or carers.  The Unit actively engages with the Mental Health consumer and carer community in formulating proposals and priorities for research and in the conduct of individual projects. Members of the Unit’s Advisory Group have similar life experience. An  Advisory Group engages the broader consumer and carer community in the process of research, and helps to develop research agendas and priorities. There are currently two members of the Advisory Group nominated by Carers ACT. There are also nominees of Mental Health Consumer Network and independent consumer and carer members, as well as members with specialised research knowledge. The Advisor Group meets every 2 months.More details of ACACIA can be found at

June 2016

Judy Bentley, your carer representative, Secure Mental Health Unit, Commissioning Steering Committee

Progress continues on the new Secure Mental Health Unit. An update on the project is available here.

Report from your carer representative, Transition to Recovery Program (TRec) Advisory Group - Woden Community Services

The TRec program provides mental health support services to ACT residents including the 12 week recovery program to assist in linking with essential community services, outreach support after hours and weekends and strength-based case management. The advisory group meets quarterly to review the TRec program and includes carers and consumers in the group.

Report from your carer representative, Workforce Strategy, Development, Planning and Implementation Group

The role of this group is to oversee the growing of a workforce strategy, planning and development model to help create a sustainable pathway to effectively recruit, retain and develop Mental Health, Justice Health, Alcohol and Drugs Service (MHJHADS) staff. The working group includes a carer and consumer representative.

Reports from your carer representative, MHAGIC eR Advisory Committee & Electronic Records Steering Committee 

The new health integrated care e-Record system will go live March 2017 with gradual rollout across the services. The Implementation Planning Study has commenced and has discussed workshop training for medical staff to understand and use the new system as well as additional planning issues.

May 2016

Your carer representative, Electronic Clinical Record Steering Committee and MHAJIC Advisory Committee

The Electronic Clinical Records Steering Committee is responsible for monitoring and reviewing the implementation of the new Health Integrated Care e-Record information management system. The MHAJIC Advisory committee is a sub-group of the first committee and our role is to review data collection systems and monitor information dissemination. In summary the e-Record project is in design phase for rollout in 2017. Plans are being developed and processes/documents reviewed. Read the April report here. To read a list of Mental Health, Justice Health and Alcohol & Drug Services common acronyms and abbreviations click here

Deanne Michaels, your carer representative,  Seclusion & Restraint Review Meeting

There are strict requirements around the use of both seclusion and restraint measures in acute mental health facilities in the ACT. This group meets every six weeks to formally review all incidents of seclusion and restraints and comment on individual cases including management, medication, incidents and paperwork.

Hannah Redman, your carer representative on Primary Health Network Strategic Reform Group

In April the Strategic Reform Group conducted an all day workshop to work on how ACT can implement and deliver mental health services in line with the national step-up and step-down reforms. The group consists of a range of health professionals from ACT Health, Capital Health Network, GPs, Mental Health Community Coalition as well as consumer and carer representatives- who offer their lived experience with or supporting someone with a mental health issue. 

John Tucker, MyHome in Canberra

MyHome in Canberra  Incorporated Update A fundraising concert for MyHome in Canberra organised by the Woden Rotary Club was held on Saturday 30 April at the Irish Club in Weston.  The musicians who performed at the concert included the Ukulele Republic of Canberra, Fanklyn B Paverty, and the Canberra Salvation Army Band. The concert was a big success with about 100 members of the community attending, including some mental health carers.  MyHome in Canberra  would like to thank Woden Rotary  for organising the concert and their generosity. A special thanks goes to  the bands who entertained the audience with wonderful music.  This event  was the second concert organised by Woden Rotary to raise funds to help build the proposed  MyHome in Canberra supported facility  for people with mental illness. My Home in Canberra is examining the feasibility of a number of options for advancing its  project on a sustainable long term basis , including the development of  community social enterprises  and economic modelling. 

 April 2016

Janet Milford, your carer representative on the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum (NMHCCF)

The February meeting of the NMHCCF raised discussion about consumer/carer involvement in mental health, NDIS and mental health and effects of anti-psychotic drug treatment amongst other topics. Updates were received on a range of working groups and national committees. Read the entire report here

Murray Haines, your carer representative, for The Policy, Procedure and Guideline Development & Review Committee

The Policy, Procedure and Guideline Development & Review Committee is meeting regularly and is close to completing all document updates to comply with the new Mental Act 2015. One ongoing and complex issue is regulating the possession and use of mobile phones and electronic devices in in-patient units. 

Reports from John Franklin, your carer representative on his various committees:

Report from John Tucker, MyHome in Canberra

MyHome in Canberra (MyHome), Uniting, Woden Rotary are working hard to build and provide a safe, supportive and caring home for people in Canberra with an enduring mental illness who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness. The Woden Rotary Club has arranged a concert for Saturday 30 to raise necessary funds for MyHome. Click here for flyer or see below for concert details. 

MyHome has a draft Model of Care and is negotiating funding from the local/Federal Governments and the private sector to operate alongside an innovative social enterprise model. MyHome is seeking support from people with skills in law, economic  /financial modelling, architectural design, business development, project management and information technology. Contact John here

March 2016

News from Karen Wilson, your carer representative on the Capital Health Network Community Advisory Group (CHNCAG)

The Capital Health Network (CHN) commenced as the Commonwealth Government’s new primary health care organisation for Canberra on 1 July 2015. Primary health care organisations replaced Medicare Locals. Capital Health Network will respond to the needs and priorities of the Canberra community by commissioning programs and services that fill service gaps, and provide integrated care solutions. Their role is also to enhance the motivation, competency, empowerment, diversity and adaptive skills of local general practice and the primary health care organisation workforce in the ACT. Capital Health Network (CHN) have established a new committee to research and identify ACT health service priorities and gaps to guide future focus areas for funding including mental health, alcohol and drugs. A baseline needs assessment is currently being conducted with stakeholders (including MH carers focus group) to gain insight into current and potential service delivery. Read the report here 

Report from John Tucker, MyHome in Canberra

MyHome in Canberra (MyHome), Uniting, Woden Rotary are working hard to build and provide a safe, supportive and caring home for people in Canberra with an enduring mental illness who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness. The Woden Rotary Club has arranged a concert for Saturday 30 to raise necessary funds for MyHome. Click here for flyer or see below for concert details. 

MyHome has a draft Model of Care and is negotiating funding from the local/Federal Governments and the private sector to operate alongside an innovative social enterprise model. MyHome is seeking support from people with skills in law, economic  /financial modelling, architectural design, business development, project management and information technology. Contact John here

News from John Tucker, your carer representative on Mental Health, Justice Health and Alcohol & Drugs Service (MHJHADS):
Executive Strategy and Business Planning Committee

The role of the Executive Strategy and Business Planning Committee is to:

The Committee's functions are to: 

The Committee meets three times per year. Work is in progress to refine and update the MHJHADS Business Plan.

News from Murray Haines, ACT Adult Mental Service Inpatient and Community Smoke Free Environment Committee and Policy, Procedure and Guideline Development Review Committee (MHJHADS)

The ACT Adult Mental Service Inpatient and Community Smoke Free Environment Committee has reduced frequency of meetings as smoke free policy breaches have significantly reduced. In addition, most management issues surrounding smoke free environments have been resolved and agenda item numbers have dropped. As a result the committee intends to close, moving its agenda to an item under the Clinical Review Committee.

During 2015 the MHJHADS Policy, Procedure and Guideline Development Review Committee processed more than 1400 documents which required amendment to comply with the new Mental Health Act 2015 which came into effect on the 1st of March 2016.

News from John Tucker, MyHome in Canberra 

MyHome in Canberra is a not-for-profit organisation which aims to build appropriate long term supported accommodation and quality care for people in Canberraliving with enduring mental illness. MyHome’s facilities will provide people suffering mental illness with a place where they can live independently, with access to assistance they need to achieve their goals. In the coming months the Board will undertake strategic planning to develop new and sustainable enterprise models to enhance MyHome's long term economic viability and sustainability. My Home is seeking help from the Canberra community to assist in varying roles and capacities including strategic planning, marketing, legal help, community engagement and more. Read the full report here and visit the website

News from Judy Bentley, your carer representative on the Collaborative Engagement Forum (CEF) 

The Collaborative Engagement Forum (CEF) oversees the collaboration of the Adult Mental Health Unit and its relationship with the community sector.  The CEF also manages the Consumer and Carer Feedback and Quality Committee; and Clinical Effectiveness Committee. CEF members draw broadly from the non-government mental health sector, staff from Mental Health Units and Consumer Network, a Carer Consultant and Carer Representative. The CEF assists with the development and review of Standard Operation Procedures and Policies which relate to the AMHU/MHSSU. CEF members from the NGO sector provide updates on their services and highlight any issues they may be having with patient relationships with their services. During the last CEF meeting 25 November 2015 the group discussed the change in care model (Mental Health Short Stay Unit) at the Adult Mental Health Unit - to comprise of 6 beds for use for up to 48 hours with Senior mental health clinicians working collaboratively with Emergency staff in triage and assessment. There will be 2 safe assessment rooms, medical and mental health triage and inclusion of a Psychiatric Registrar on weekends or on call. The group was also advised of changes in MHJHADS structure including the division of Adult Community Mental Health Services (ACMHS) from the Adult MH Inpatient services and the creation of 5 community teams. To read the full report click here

News from Karen Wilson, your carer representative on the ACT's Suicide Prevention and Early Intervention Working Group (SPEIWG)

The ACT Government’s Suicide Prevention and Early Intervention working group (SPEIWG) meet on 17 August. We were provided with an update on the draft Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework 2015-25, which has been through public consultations, consultations with NGO providers, and ACT Government Directorates. The Framework comprising 3 documents. The first is a strategic document that outlines the vision and objectives to promote positive mental health, prevent mental illness, suicide and self-harm, and ensure effective and accessible treatment. The second document provides a snapshot of key indicators of mental health, suicide and self harm, and risk and protective factors, comparing ACT and national data. The plan is to update the indicators across the life of the Framework. The third document is the evidence base that sets out the rationale for combining the previous suicide prevention and mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention plans. It outlines the need to invest in mental health and wellbeing, identifies at risk groups in the community, and provides the theoretical underpinnings to the objectives in the Framework.

The draft Framework will go to government at the end of the year for endorsement, including the reporting mechanisms for each Directorate on their flagship programmes that support the objectives of the Framework.

World Suicide Prevention Day is on 10 September. The government’s Lets Talk website has been updated ( A free community BBQ will be held on 10 September by ACT Health and OzHelp in Garema Place between 11am and 2pm. Its an opportunity to have a chat to the Health team and relevant service providers. There will also be at Gugan Gulwan in Erindale on 10 September.

Finally, ACT Health are investigating the possibility of trialling a suicide prevention model developed by Beyondblue. The model has been developed to save the lives of one of the population groups most at risk of suicide: people who have attempted suicide. The program uses non-clinical workers to help a person stay safe and connect with existing health and community services during the period of high risk. International research suggests that 15-25 per cent of those who have attempted suicide reattempt. For people discharged from hospital following a suicide attempt, evidence suggests that 50 per cent do not attend follow-up treatment, and of those who do attend follow-up treatment, 38 per cent stop attending within 3 months. The model has been trialled in NSW and NT as the Way Back Support Service, with encouraging results ( – go to suicide prevention page). 

News from Janet Milford, your carer representative on the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum (NMHCCF)

Release of mental health reports by the National Disability Insurance Scheme

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has published the following papers:

Click here to access the papers.

Families as Partners in Mental Health Care, by Margaret Leggatt
This thought-provoking article, published in 2011, explores the positive research evidence for working with families as partners in mental health care.  Click here to access the article.  Another piece of writing by Margaret Leggatt is featured under Carers Corner.

Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs Inquiry into the Social Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2015
Click here for a link to the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum submission to the Inquiry.

The National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum has released the report from the March 2015 meeting. A copy of the report can be found by clicking here.

News from Murray Haines, your carer representative on the Peer Workforce Development Project Reference Group

Murray has worked as a Carer Peer Support Worker over 10 years at Calvary Hospital and The Canberra Hospital.  Murray's article is a personal view based on his peer support work experience.  Click here to read Murray’s story.

News from Susan Edmondson, your representative on the ACT Health, Promotion, Prevention, Early Intervention and Evaluation Working Group (PPEIEWG)

PPEIEWG has been contributing to the drafting of a mental health and wellbeing framework for the whole of the ACT to encompass all its departments or directorates under the leadership of the ACT health department.  When approved,  each directorate will  relate its policies to the framework,  and on a practical level be required to select several goals to which it can relate in the course of its services.  The framework will be presented to cabinet later this year.  The process has involved bringing together a large body of research,  putting mental health and wellbeing on a spectrum from health to illness,  and absorbing suicide prevention into the framework.  Mental health workers,  carers and consumers have contributed to discussion along with representatives from the various directorates,  the public advocate's office and other such related bodies. Carers in mental health may be encouraged by the inclusion of social connection and physical health measures in the research highlighted in the draft framework.

In creating a document which is succinct enough to be understood and applied,  the measures from readily available ongoing data collection are included for reference.

The contributors to this framework thus far have been managing their own particular concerns with what is reasonable or important for an overarching framework for policy and practice in the ACT.  How it will relate to mental health services directly has not been a subject for discussion. 

Susan Edmondson

News from Karen Wilson, your carer representative on the Advisory Group for Research Project on Suicide in the ACT

On 9 December 2014, Karen Wilson attended a meeting of the advisory group for research on suicide in the ACT as a carer representative.

The research team has now received coronial data for the period 2006 to 2013 and have begun to examine the data. As the data set is very large and based on coronial reports, the advisory group discussed ideas on how to focus the data analysis on key issues, including analysis of gender and age, employment and social connectedness, socio-economic status, family characteristics, and method of suicide. The research team is waiting for data from ACT Health on service usage and when this data set becomes available, they will be able to match it with the coronial data set and start exploring the use of health services prior to suicide.

Ethics approval has also been granted for face-to-face interviews with people with lived experience, mental health consumers, carers, and community members. These interviews will be conducted in early 2015 and recruitment will be through consumer, carer and other community groups. Please forward any questions or comments, including ideas for data analysis, to Karen at

 News from John Tucker, your carer representative on the Executive Strategy and Business Planning Committee

Update on MyHome in Canberra and Fundraising Concert  

MyHome in Canberra's vision is to provide a safe, supportive home to people with mental illness. We aim to have our first MyHome facility built on Uniting Church land at Curtin and ready to receive its residents as soon as practicable. To enable us to translate our vision into reality, we need to harness strong community support and funding from the ACT and Federal Governments and significant donations from philanthropists, businesses, community organisations and people in the Canberra community.
Attached is a flyer to promote the fundraising concert for MyHome in Canberra.  The concert is to be held from 2.30pm till 5pm on Saturday 29 August 2015 at Holy Trinity School Hall, Theodore Street, Curtin.  Please note that tickets are available via the Woden Rotary website. Click here for the attached flyer.

MyHome in Canberra - Bringing Vision to Reality
MyHome in Canberra Incorporated was established as a not-for-profit organisation on 28 February 2014. Our vision is to provide a safe, supportive and caring home for people with enduring mental illness who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, or who live in unsuitable accommodation and are unable to live independently.
On 24 September 2014 John Tucker, a mental health carer and Chair and President of MyHome in Canberra gave a presentation to the assembly of St. Francis Xavier (SFX) College. John called on SFX College to assist MyHome in Canberra to help improve the lives of people with enduring illness. Click here for a copy of his presentation.
On 10 December 2014 SFX College invited John to its final assembly of the year and presented him with a generous donation for MyHome in Canberra. The donation represents the proceeds from fundraising undertaken by the students and staff of SFX College on SFX day this year. The SFX community has advised that it would like to support the MyHome in Canberra group to bring its vision to a reality.
MyHome in Canberra Inc. is very grateful for the wonderful donation from the students and staff of SFX College. We believe that it represents a good step forward in helping to achieve MyHome in Canberra's target of establishing its first supported accommodation facility by 30 June 2016.

News From Your Representatives