Sue Barnes Presenting on Employer’s Liability for Mental Health of Employees

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Sue Barnes is a Partner with FCB Workplace Law and will be presenting on employer liability of employee’s mental health at the 16th International Mental Health Conference will be held at the QT Hotel, Surfers Paradise from Thursday 13 August to Friday 14 August 2015.

Sue Barnes

Sue Barnes

Sue has over 25 years’ experience as a lawyer, the majority of those in workplace relations. She has acted for employers across numerous of industries including banking and finance, insurance, communications, IT and retail.

Sue is highly experienced in drafting employment contracts and policies, and acting in relation to post-employment restraints, harassment and discrimination matters—including the conduct of investigations and defence of litigation, and unfair dismissals.

Sue takes a pragmatic, solution focused-approach, based on a deep understanding of her clients’ businesses.

Abstract Title: Looking through a different prism: An Employer’s Liability for mental health of employees

Abstract: Employers are coming under increasing scrutiny for the mental health of their workforce.

An employer who fails to take sufficient care for the mental health of a worker can face up to 8 different forms of legal claims. Additionally, senior employees can themselves be held liable and potentially face  hefty fines and at worst, imprisonment.

In many pink collar environments stress is the highest risk factor for employees.

This presentation will cover the following topics.

  1. Trends in worker claims for psychological injury and the impact on productivity in the workplace
  2. An overview of several  workplace laws that impose  obligations on employers to care for employee mental health including anti-bullying orders, workers compensation,  general  protections, unfair dismissal and negligence.
  3. An in depth review of mental health as a Work Health and Safety issue including lessons learnt from  existing case law, and  the Australian Workplace Barometer Report on Psychosocial Safety Climate and Worker Health in Australia published by Safe Work Australia; and appropriate risk assessment of psychosocial hazards.
  4. Practical tips from a workplace law perspective to protect both employers and employees.

For more information on the 16th International Mental Health Conference please visit the website here.

To read more about FCB Group’s services, please visit their website here.



Help available for depressed teens, parents

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Article published by The Murray Valley Standard 18 May 2015

Parents concerned about their children’s mental health have a new avenue through which to find help.

HeadspaceYouth mental health organisation Headspace has extended its support line to parents, as well as adolescents, after publication of research found family members influenced young people who were considering seeking help for their problems.

After compiling responses from 31,000 young people across Australia, Headspace chief scientific advisor Debra Rickwood found 12 to 15-year-olds, especially boys, were more likely to seek help if family members recommended it.

Headspace chief executive officer Chris Tanti said parents were often the first people to notice something amiss with their children.

“Parents are key in driving young people to get the right support at the right time…but they often don’t know how or when to approach it,” he said.

“Parents might notice changes in their child’s behaviour over a period of time … however, what we consistently hear from parents is that it can be difficult to know whether to put this behaviour down to regular teenage moodiness or an emerging mental health problem that needs to be addressed.”

Mental health problems were the number one issue 5 to 25-year-olds reported to the Kids Helpline, a separate organisation, in 2014.

To read the full article please click here.


Professor David Kavanagh to present Keynote at 7th Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium

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The 7th Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium Program Committee is pleased to announce Professor David Kavanagh from Queensland University of Technology will be a Keynote Speaker for the event. The Symposium will be held 26 – 28 October 2015 at the Novotel Forest Resort Creswick, Victoria.

Professor David Kavanagh

Professor David Kavanagh

Professor David Kavanagh is a clinical psychologist with a PhD from Stanford, who heads the ePsych research team at Queensland University of Technology.  The group has developed a series of web programs and phone or tablet apps to support behaviour change. They are currently leading the Australian government’s e-Mental Health in Practice project, which is rolling out training and support for primary care practitioners to use e-mental health resources.

About the Symposium

The 7th Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium’s theme Innovation and Opportunity means being innovative in the delivery of services and entrepreneurial in the provision of mental health services to rural and remote Australia. The Symposium will hear from leaders in the field and discuss the opportunities not yet explored. Let’s explore what it means to be innovative and entrepreneurial.

Program Topics

  • Working smarter: overcoming the challenges and innovative solutions
  • Developing programs that build resilience, reduce stigma and offer accessibility to services
  • Service delivery strategies, development, implementation, management and evaluation
  • Child and youth mental health: prevention and early intervention
  • e-Health, tele-Health, technology and social media
  • Suicidal and self-harming: behaviour and prevention
  • Aboriginal health and engagement
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) community programs, support and education
  • Recovery in the Bush
  • Building healthy communities: policy, practice, community innovation
  • Employment opportunities for better health outcomes
  • The voice of the lived experience

For more information on the Symposium, please visit click here.

End mental health stigma, says partner at major law firm

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Article published in the Australasian Lawyer @Aus_Lawyer 18 May 2015 by Samantha Woodhill

A partner at a major firm has called on the profession to address the stigma around mental illness in lawyers.

Speaking at a mental health and the law forum at the University of Sydney last week, King & Wood Mallesons partner John Canning, called for the de-stigmatisation of mental illness in the legal profession.

Legal-Mental-Health“People can help breakdown stigmatisation by adopting the right policies and engendering a discussion,” Canning said. “Lawyers have come into focus because the statistics are one in three lawyers will suffer a depressive attitude in their life as opposed to one in five or one in seven in the general population. So we’ve got a propensity for it.”

Canning has been a strong advocate for mental health awareness since he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2008.

He said that mental illness should be treated like any other illness in the workplace in order for it to be properly managed, and noted that a cancer patient would make colleagues aware of the condition and be supported accordingly.  Mental health should be treated in the same way, he argued.

To read the full article, please click here to be redirected back to the Australasian Lawyer.

Helpful Resource:

If you would like more information on how you can create a mentally friendly workplace, join Heads Up for resources and information to help everyone at your workplace.

16th International Mental Health Conference Program has been released

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The 16th International Mental Health Conference will bring together leading clinical practitioners, academics, service providers and mental health experts to deliberate and discuss Mental Health issues confronting Australia and New Zealand Thursday 13 August to Friday 14 August 2015 on the Gold Coast.

The 2015 Program includes over 70 speakers, 50 poster presentations and interactive workshops. This dynamic and topical program will discuss a vast range of subjects including; workplace health, LGBTI mental health, early intervention and treatment, e-Health, suicide prevention and child, youth and family mental health services.

To view and/or download the complete program please click here.

Conference Program cover

Workshops – Wednesday 12 August 2015
Half day workshops are FREE to the first 100 Full Registration delegates. Book early to avoid disappointment as places are limited. For more details please check the conference website.

Early Bird Registration
Registration to this important event is available online. Ensure you register and pay by Friday 3 July 2015 to receive the discounted registration.

For more information on the 16th International Mental Health Conference , please click here.


David Butt, CEO of National Mental Health Commission confirmed as Conference Keynote

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The 16th International Mental Health Conference is pleased to confirm Mr David Butt,  CEO of the National Mental Health Commission, as a Keynote Speaker for the event – being held at the QT Hotel, Surfers Paradise from Thursday 13 August to Friday 14 August 2015.

Mr David Butt

Mr David Butt

David Butt was appointed CEO of the National Mental Health Commission in January 2014.

David has 30 years of experience in the health system, much of it at CEO and Executive level.

Prior to his appointment to the Commission, David was Deputy Secretary of the Australian Department of Health from August 2011, head of Rural and Regional Health Australia, and the Commonwealth’s first Chief Allied Health Officer.

This followed 15 years as CEO of three major health system organisations: Chief Executive of Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Health and Community Care, National CEO of Little Company of Mary Health Care (the Calvary group – one of Australia’s largest not for profit hospitals and health services providers) and CEO of the Australian General Practice Network.

Prior to this David worked as an executive in a number of positions in Queensland Health, including as Executive Director of Policy and Planning and for a brief time as Regional Director of Peninsula and Torres Strait health region.

Additional Confirmed Keynotes for the Conference are:

  • Professor Antony Jorm, Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne
  • Associate Professor Vijaya Manicavasagar, Director of Psychological Services and Director of the Psychology Clinic, Black Dog Institute, University of New South Wales.
  • Professor Jane Pirkis, Director, Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne
  • Allan Sparkes CV,VA, beyondblue Ambassador. Suicide Prevention Advocate
  • Professor Harvey Whiteford, Kratzmann Prof, Psychiatry & Population Health, University of Queensland
  • Alize Ferrari, BPsySc Hons, PhD, Research Associate, School of Public Health, University of Queensland

To read all of the Keynote Speaker bios, please visit the 16th International Mental Health Conference website here.

Australia lagging on funding for mental health services

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Article Australia lagging on funding for mental health services, says Mental Illness Fellowship Published by ABC News 11 May 2015 By Katherine Gregory

Services limited: health workers

Mental health workers are concerned schizophrenia treatments, beyond clinical services, are still limited.

“People with schizophrenia make up half the case loads of the public mental health services in most places,” said David Meldrum, the executive director of the Mental Illness Fellowship Australia (MIFA).

“They get a service, but they get a very basic service.

“Beyond basic medicine of dealing with medications you can’t rely on getting a range of other practical supports to get a life back,” he said.

Mr Meldrum has just started up workshops to teach schizophrenia patients and their carers how to lobby politicians to invest more in mental health services.

Budget gov auFederal funding for mental health has increased over the past seven years by about $1.5 billion.

Data from MIFA shows most OECD countries spend between 12 and 16 per cent of their health budget on mental health services, while Australia only spends eight per cent (see graph above).

“If you look at what’s called the burden of disease by the World Health Organisation, about 14 per cent of what gets dealt with by the health system is caused by mental illness,” Mr Meldrum said.

“And in Australia around about seven per cent of the health budget is dedicated to mental health. So that’s where the idea comes from. It’s only really getting half of what it should get.”

Mr Meldrum said it was not all about money but he hoped the federal budget would not decrease funding.

He said the latest national mental health review recommended more funding into community-based services.


To read the full article please click here.

‘ He never spoke of suicide ’: Brother says boys need to talk about mental health

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Originally published by on 8 May 2015

Nic Newling was the youngest of three brothers. Ben was into sailing, Christopher captained the rugby team and Nic was the theatre geek, the emotional one.

Source: article

Source: article

All three battled mental health problems as they grew up.

Many people thought Nic had the worst problems. He spent a lot of time on Sydney psychiatric wards, talked about his suicidal thoughts and struggled to comprehend reality.

Then, shockingly, Christopher took his own life at 17.

“We were both getting help, medication, seeing professionals,” Nic, now 28, “He was holding back from the issues more. He would never speak about being suicidal.

“He was higher in the social pecking order and probably felt he had more to lose.”

The family were destroyed by Christopher’s death. “Cricket” had always been shy and sensitive, but had worked hard to be seen as outgoing and confident. No one, from his brothers to his parents Phil and Jayne, had realised how deep his problems went.

Nic, who spent years battling dark thoughts and had electric-shock therapy at 16, now speaks publicly about suicide, encouraging young men in particular to feel comfortable discussing mental health.

“My brother was really scared of talking about suicide,” he said. “It’s emotionally disconnecting, covering your flaws and weaknesses because you’re afraid someone will pounce.”

Men account for 80 per cent of suicides in Australia. While more women will suffer from depression in their lifetime than men, men are less likely to seek help, with 72 per cent not accessing support, compared to 60 per cent of women, according to recent study Men, Depression, and Coping: Are We on the Right Path?

To read the full article please click here.


Are you a boy, teen or man looking for help or do you have a friend or family member who needs support, please visit MensLine Australia they also have a Facebook page and Twitter you can follow.

For additional helplines and websites to find assistance, please click here.


Additional articles on males, mental health and suicide:

Men do cry: one man’s experience of depression

Boys don’t cry: young men and suicide

Men and Separation: You will get through the future


Midsized business burnout and mental health policies

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Article original title ‘Burning Out Midsized Companies’ published by Business News Brisbane 6 May 2015

Burnout has been singled out as the major threat to Australia’s mid-sized business leaders, with investment in mental health policies rather than salaries being key to counteracting this.

Image Source Business News Brisbane

Image Source Business News Brisbane

Leaders spread too thin, over-competitive environments and technological advances have been highlighted out as driving this sector – which employs almost a quarter of all working Australians – towards burnout in Bankwest’s Future of Business Leadership Report.

The report canvassed more than 500 CEOs, CFOs and CIOs of mid-sized business with turnovers of $5 million to $250 million across various industries.

These business leaders largely reported they were facing burnout, and less than half (49.4 per cent) ticked the box of having good work-life balance.

Bankwest executive general manager of business banking Sinead Taylor says the current business environment is likely one that has never been experienced before.

“I believe many leaders are grappling with a market and competitive environment they have never experienced before and that can put enormous pressure on them,” she says.

Taylor says burnout has a network effect that can’t be ignored.

To read the full article click here.

Keynote highlight: Psychological Interventions and Treatments: Future Directions

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Associate Professor Vijaya Manicavasagar

Associate Professor Vijaya Manicavasagar

Associate Professor Vijaya Manicavasagar, Director of Psychological Services and Director of the Psychology Clinic, Black Dog Institute, University of New South Wales, BSc. Psyhology (Hons), M Psychology (Hons), PhD to present Keynote at the 16th International Mental Health Conference being held at QT Hotel, Surfers Paradise Thursday 13 August to Friday 14 August 2015.

Title Psychological Interventions and Treatments: Future Directions


This talk focuses on recent developments in psychological interventions including interest in therapies derived from religious and alternate philosophies such as Buddhism (mindfulness meditations) and Hinduism (Yoga) as well as the growing popularity of positive psychology – especially in the youth space in order to increase resilience and wellbeing. Another new area in psychology is in the use of Animal Assisted Therapies (AAT) to improve social, emotional, or cognitive functioning in humans.
This talk also touches on innovative ways in which ‘traditional’ psychological interventions have been adapted to deal with the issues of improving access to the most vulnerable and/or marginalised members of the community, and reducing overall costs such as through the development and adoption of eHealth initiatives. Other challenges include the economic costs of developing new evidence-based treatments and meeting the training and supervision needs of clinicians especially in rural and remote areas.

Finally, this talk attempts to highlight tensions between the need to use evidence-based treatments, the speed at which the therapeutic landscape is changing and the demand to adopt innovative (and popular) interventions. In conclusion, we as clinicians need to exercise our clinical and professional judgement on which psychological interventions we choose to use and how we choose to apply them in order to effect the greatest therapeutic change amongst our clients.

To read Associate Professor Vijaya Manicavasagar’s bio or for links to her research please click here.