Early Bird Registration Closing Soon!

Published by:

You are invited to The 7th Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium, held from the 26 – 28 October 2015 at the Novotel Forest Resort Creswick, VIC.

Early Bird registration for the Conference will close Friday 18 September so make sure you have registered and paid by close of business 18 September 2015.

In 2014, this event sold out so you are encouraged to register at your earliest convenience to secure your seat. To view the conference program click here.

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.

To secure your discounted delegate rate before early bird registration closes, please visit the conference website here.

If you have any questions about the event, please do not hesitate to contact the Conference Secretariat on +61 (07) 5502 2068  or email ruralhealth@anzmh.asn.au


Nearly a Third of Med Students Have Mental Health Issues

Published by:

Discovery News, September 1 2015.

Thirty percent of medical students have received treatment for a mental health condition and 15 percent have considered suicide — alarming statistics, say experts.

“The number of students reporting mental illness or considering suicide is shocking,” Twishaa Sheth, chair of the British Medical Association’s student welfare committee, told Student BMJ.

The new analysis of over 1,100 medical students appears in the September issue of the journal.

What’s more, 80 percent of the student participants who experienced mental health issues didn’t feel like they received adequate support. In addition, nearly 16 percent said they smoked, one quarter said they engaged in binge drinking every week, and almost 11 percent said they had taken illegal drugs more than once.

“What is most concerning is that over 80 percent who have experienced mental distress have found the support they received only moderate or (they) received none at all,” Debbie Cohen, senior medical research fellow at the University of Cardiff, told the journal.

Medical students might be suffering at higher-than-expected rates because of a perfect storm of stressors: a competitive educational environment, intense course loads, an unceasing exam schedule and the emotional stress of caring for sick patients, writes Student BMJ editor Matthew Billingsley.

They may also face stigma from within the field, which keeps them from seeking treatment.

Read full article here.

Lack of rural mental health services puts youth at risk

Published by:

Originally Published by The Daily Examiner 12th Aug 2015

250815 Rural and Remote

RURAL and regional children are struggling to find the right mental health support according to an in depth Federal report into the mental wellbeing of our youth.

The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents report released by the Federal Ministry for Health revealed startling figures of young people dealing with mental illness.

A lack of access to mental health services in the Clarence Valley and other mitigating factors including cost, distance and privacy are combining to make it difficult for our kids to seek the help they need.

Mental health social worker at Greenway Cottage Jodie Johnson said the difference in government spending puts Clarence children at risk of developing serious mental health issues.

“Our mental health services are very full due to a lack of resources. Most community health services have backlogs up to six months.

“When it comes to dealing with the mental health of children the earlier you get in the better.

“It is really critical that children are looked after from an early age because children are developing all the time and illnesses such as anxiety, depression and ADHD can seriously affect their development process.”

The report also revealed that socio-economic and environmental factors played a major part in the prevalence of mental health issues in youths.

Children who were part of a blended family or a single parent family were twice as likely to be diagnosed with mental illness compared to those living with their original family.

In both of these demographics more than one in five youths were diagnosed with a mental illness and for boys in a single parent families the prevalence of mental illness climbed to one in four.

Ms Johnson is unsure of the first step in combating the problem which has remained the same since the last youth mental illness report in 1998.

“These rates really have not changed since 1989 which is quite scary,” she said.

“Things have not improved even with the increases in funding in the years since.

“The health service in Australia is in a crisis and it is now affecting mental health funding.

“We definitely need improved funding and improved services in regional Australia to help combat the issue.”

View the full article here.

Innovative patient profiling and outcome prediction tools to enhance routine psychological care

Published by:

pcmisPsychological therapy is a worthwhile and effective way to help people with various mental health problems. However, it is also widely recognised that not all clients have the same response to therapy. Some people appear to gain much more from these interventions than others.

It is important to identify cases at risk of poor response to therapy as soon and as accurately as possible, since many patients who drop out of care during the earliest therapy sessions tend to have poor outcomes. Being alert to cases at risk of poor progress may help clinical services to respond in a personalised way to address possible obstacles and to maximise the chances of improvement.

The 16th International Mental Health Conference will showcase a poster titled: “Different people respond differently to therapy: Development of a patient-profiling tool”. This study was conducted by Dr Jaime Delgadillo (Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust and Department of Health Sciences, University of York, UK), Mr Omar Moreea (Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, Leeds, UK) and Professor Wolfgang Lutz (Department of Psychology, University of Trier, Germany).


It aimed to identify patient characteristics that predict poor outcomes and to develop a patient profiling method to assist psychotherapists in routine practice. A weighting scheme called the Leeds Risk Index (LRI) was developed which can be used to alert clinicians to clients who may require close attention and additional support to maximise the chances of improvement.

The Leeds Risk Index (LRI) and Expected Treatment Response (ETR) models have been integrated into the PCMIS case management system, developed at the University of York in partnership with the Mental Health and Addiction Research Group. Working jointly with Flinders University Adelaide, PCMIS is used by psychological therapy services across Australia and can be used in a wide range of mental health services including adult, children and young persons, military veterans and research trials. PCMIS has the capability of alerting psychotherapists about cases at risk of poor outcomes in real-time, using information derived from validated psychometric instruments.

PCMIS has been designed by clinicians for clinicians and was the first evidence-based patient administration system in the UK. It enables clinicians, supervisors and managers to manage numerous individual patient pathways quickly and safely.

Find out more about PCMIS by visiting the stand at the conference or on our website http://www.pcmis.com

Further information about our research group: http://www.york.ac.uk/healthsciences/research/mental-health/

Rural and Remote Mental Health and Suicide Prevention: An Update on Progress

Published by:

Mr David Butt,  CEO of the National Mental Health Commission, will present an update on the progress in rural and remote mental health and suicide prevention in a Keynote presentation at the 7th Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium.  The Symposium will be held at the Novotel Forest Resort Creswick, Victoria 26 – 28 November 2015.

Keynote Presenter: David Butt

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.

Keynote Presentation Overview

Abstract Aims
Location matters for the mental health of approximately thirty per cent of Australians who live outside our major cities. But there is no agreed national approach to mental health service delivery in regional, rural and remote areas and for ensuring a fair and equitable share of resources. People living outside of metropolitan areas experience persisting inequity both in terms of their health and in getting access to the right services. The impact of these inequities is particularly significant for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in these areas.

From the Commission’s National Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services and the 2014 National Report Back on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention a picture of progress will be presented.

Central to proposed reform is a person-centred approach to mental health care, and the development of integrated care pathways to improve outcomes for people experiencing mental ill health and their families.

The Review found that in rural areas:

  • Mental health services are transient, face significant workforce shortages and are decreasing;
  • Programmes are given inadequate funding for the additional demands and costs of service delivery; and
  • Access to services could be improved by wider use of technology and increasing community capacity.

Although some improvements to the workforce situation, and Access to Additional Psychological Services (ATAPS) has directed resources towards high community need, the service deficit in rural and remote locations remains significant. The lack of psychiatrists and psychologists is particularly acute.

What does success look like for rural and regional communities? Review recommendations include planning and providing services based on a whole-of-person approach, service integration that is locally targeted and more equitable distribution of Commonwealth funding across Australia. The Government has set the newly established Primary Health Networks with six key priorities for targeted work, including mental health, with the aim of providing localised health care services. Services need to include those that are mental health-specific, delivered through health and non-health portfolios, e-mental health and other phone and online services, as well as broader services which contribute to physical health. Regional mental health and suicide prevention strategies need to be developed. The Review found high levels of unmet mental health need in rural and regional communities which requires immediate attention.

To register for the 7th Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium please click here.


Michael Burge to Keynote at the 7th Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium

Published by:

Michael Burge will present at the  7th Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium being held at the Novotel Forest Resort Creswick (Vic) 26-28 October 2015.

Speaker Bio: Michael Burge is a retired Army Warrant Officer of 20 years service and has been advocating for consumers and carers for approx 20 years (seven years with Veterans’ Affairs and 13 years with Qld Mental Health). He has represented consumers and carers on numerous local, state and national committees and written many articles for Mental Health Magazines.

His passion has seen him visit over 50 mental health organisations in Canada, the UK and the United States visiting organisations like Recovery Innovations Phoenix Arizona, Fountain House New York, Scottish Recovery Network Glasgow, and many more.

Michael is an accredited Master Mental Health First Aid Instructor and has conducted more than 93 courses throughout rural and remote Australia. He is a former Consumer Chair of the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Advisory Forum (NMHCCF), member of the National Advisory Council on Mental Health (NACMH), National Mental Health Workforce Advisory Council (MHWAC) and Chair of the Australian Mental Health Consumer Network. He is currently full time Advocate for the Toowoomba Mental Health Service since 2002.

A major highlight of his career was providing a keynote address on Consumer and Participation in mental health systems change at the International Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL) Conference in Ottawa, Canada 2007.  Michael has also recently participated in the IIMHL exchange to Ireland in May 2010 and Clubhouse training at Fountain House New York in December 2010.

Michael was awarded an OAM in June 2014 for his services to Mental Health Advocacy in the community. He is very passionate about his work and is committed to improving the quality of life for both consumers and carers.

Rural and Remote Mental Health – Innovation and Opportunity

Published by:


Rural and Remote Mental Health in Australia – Innovation and Opportunity

Mental health services in rural and remote Australia have unique challenges compared to metropolitan centres due to distance, remoteness and isolation. These challenges can create barriers to the effective provision of services. However they also provide the opportunity for the application of innovative approaches and technological advances.

The 7th Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium will be held from the 26th to the 28th of October 2015 at the Novotel Forest Resort Creswick, VIC. Creswick is 75 minutes’ drive from Melbourne or 70 minutes from Tullamarine Airport.

The Symposium will include keynote presentations, panel presentations and concurrent sessions. The delegate dinner will take place on the 27th October, complimentary coach transfers to and from Creswick and the Tullamarine are available for full delegates. See the website for full details. http://anzmh.asn.au/rrmh

Rural and Remote Mental Health in Australia – Innovation and Opportunity

Minister for Health to present Keynote at Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium

Published by:

The  7th Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium is pleased to announced the Hon Sussan Ley MP, Minister for Health and Minister for Sport, will present at Keynote 26 October 2015 at the Novotel Forest Resort Creswick (Vic).

The Hon Sussan Ley MP

The Hon Sussan Ley MP

Keynote Bio: Sussan Ley’s career path has been wonderfully varied, with odd jobs

on the way to a pilot’s license – roles as an air traffic controller, stock-mustering pilot and occasional shearer’s cook followed!

While raising three children on a family farm, ten years of study led to a senior position at the Australian Taxation Office before she successfully sought Liberal Party pre-selection for Farrer (NSW) in 2001.

Winning the seat narrowly in 2001, after being re-elected in 2004 Sussan was offered the added responsibility of Parliamentary Secretary for Children and Youth Affairs, then Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry in 2006.

Shadow portfolios for Housing and Women followed in 2007 – Justice and Customs /Assistant Treasurer in 2008 -2009, then Childcare, Early Childhood Learning & Employment Participation from 2010.

On the election of the Abbott Government in September 2013, Sussan took on the role of Assistant Minister for Education before being appointed Minister for Health and Minister for Sport in December 2014.

About the Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health 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.

Optional half day of workshops is being held on the 26 October 2015. Places are free to the first 50 full registration delegates that book. We invite those that can join us early to network with your colleagues at the Welcome Reception from 5:00pm on the 26th October. The Symposium dinner will take place on the 27th October.

Program topics include:

  • 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 about the Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium and to register, please visit the website here.



Early Bird registration for the 16th International Mental Health Conference closes this Friday!

Published by:

You are invited to the 16th International Mental Health Conference being held at QT Hotel, Surfers Paradise 13-14 August 2015.

Early Bird registration for the Conference will close this Friday so make sure you have registered and paid by close of business 3 July 2015.

In 2014, this event sold out so you are encouraged to register at your earliest convenience to secure your seat.

The theme this year, Mental Health Future For All will discuss topics across a broad spectrum of mental disorders including Anxiety, Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders, Bipolar, Dementia and Suicide.

IMHC ProgramTo view and/or download the 16th International Mental Health Conference program, please click here.

To secure your discounted delegate rate before this Friday, please visit the Conference website here.

If you have any questions about the event, please do not hesitate to contact the Conference Secretariat on +61 (07)  5502 2068  or email conference@anzmh.asn.au.

Dr Sarah Hetrick to present on treatment or prevention of depression of young people

Published by:

Dr Sarah Hetrick, Senior Research Fellow, Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health will present at the 16th International Mental Health Conference at QT Hotel, Gold Coast 12-14 August 2015.

Dr Sarah HetrickDr Hetrick is a clinical psychologist and Senior Research Fellow in the Centre of Excellence, Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, Melbourne University and headspace The National Youth Mental Health Foundation.

Within the Centre of Excellence she leads the area of knowledge translation and exchange and holds an NHMRC training fellowship, the focus of which is on evidence implementation for youth depression. She devised and leads a major initiative called ‘evidence mapping in youth mental health”, the end product of which is located on the headspace website. She leads and provides methodological consultation to a large number of systematic review teams, and is the lead author on a number of Cocharne and non-Cochrane reviews about interventions to prevent and treat young people with depression. She is an Editor with the Cochrane Depression Anxiety and Neurosis Group, with an international profile in Cochrane Systematic Review Methodology.

Abstract Title: Serious games for the treatment or prevention of depression: A systematic review

Abstract Overview

Background: Depressive disorders affect up to 25% of young people by the age of 18. Ensuring evidence based treatments are delivered is critical but many young people do not receive such treatment. New media offers promise in terms of expanding the reach of evidence based interventions to those who need them. Australia’s Fourth National Mental Health Plan contains the action item to expand and better utilise innovative approaches to service delivery including telephone and e-mental health services.

While there is a growing body of evidence that shows computerised or online interventions (particularly CBT) can be effective in preventing and treating depression in young people, there are challenges in maximising the uptake of computerised therapies. The incorporation of gaming elements is one approach that may address this. Serious games (computerised interventions which utilise gaming for serious purposes) have been shown to increase motivation for learning, improve attention and problem solving and been shown to be effective for improving knowledge and adherence to treatment in conditions such as asthma, diabetes and cancer. We aimed to review the evidence regarding serious games for depression.

Methods: We undertook electronic searches of Medline, PsycInfo and EMBASE using terms relevant to computer games and depression. We included full-text articles published in English in peer-reviewed literature since 2000, where the intervention was designed to treat or prevent depression and which included pre-and post-intervention measurement of depression.

Results: Nine studies relating to a total of six interventions met inclusion criteria. Most studies were small and were carried out by the developers of the programs. All were tested with young people (ages between 9 and 25 years). Most reported promising results with some positive impact on depression although one universal program had mixed results.

Conclusions: Serious gaming interventions show promise for depression, however evidence is currently very limited.

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