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

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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

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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.

David Meldrum to present at the 16th International Mental Health Conference

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David Meldrum, Executive Director, Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia will present at the 16th International Mental Health Conference at QT Hotel, Gold Coast 12-14 August 2015.

David Meldrum

David Meldrum

David is Executive Director of the Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia (MIFA). He is also Vice President, and immediate Past President of the Mental Illness Fellowship of South Australia, and has served on several other South Australian boards. Originally qualifying as a teacher, then as a social worker, he also holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.

His professional experience includes government and non-government leadership roles in health, education and community services. These have included Chief Executive Officer of the South Australian Mental Health Services, the South Australian Dental Service and Metropolitan Domiciliary Care.

Abstract Title: Developing and supporting new advocates with lived experience of severe mental illness

During the period March to October 2015, which will include both Schizophrenia Awareness Week and World Mental Health Month, the Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia is coordinating a number of processes to identify and prepare people with lived experience to become political advocates.

Activities will include:

Identifying key messages for advocates to use in visits to their local federal MP and Senator during the specified period. MIFA is working with the SANE ‘consumer and carer forums’ to validate and understand each of five initial priorities identified in recent lived experience surveys. This will be followed by reducing the priorities to three clear messages, each with its own description, ready for media as well as meetings.

Recruiting up to 100 people with lived experience, in locations across Australia, including making training opportunities available where no workshop has been planned by providing ‘scholarships’. Four cities have been chosen for the training – Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Townsville, and each host organisation has been matched with organisations in other states/territories. MIFA has partnered with Prahran Mission to conduct the training in Melbourne.

Providing direct input from the Chuck Harman, National Director of Strategic Alliances and Development with NAMI in the United States, and local politicians who will provide insights on what types of advocacy are most effective.

Providing the new advocates with training and ongoing support post the initial period to begin to form a network across Australia.

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

Dr Jan Orman from the Black Dog Institute to present on the eMHPrac project

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In 2014, only 70% of the Australians who needed mental health care received professional help. This figure has increased from 47% in 2010 and the 34% in 2007 and the improvement may reflect greater accessibility to services and the greater awareness of mental health treatment options.

Still, there remains a large gap between the number of people who need professional help and those who who receive it.

Dr Jan Orman

Dr Jan Orman

Dr Jan Orman, General Practice Services Consultant, Black Dog Institute will present on the use of technology to help in mental health care at the 16th International Mental Health Conference 12-14 August at QT Gold Coast.

Many practitioners are still not aware that there are reliable evidence-based, locally-developed resources and treatment programs on the internet. The eMHPrac project is a Federally Funded project that aims to educate GPs and allied mental health professionals  about the reliable online resources that are available and how to use them in clinical practice.

This presentation will provide an overview of these resources, including portals, websites and online treatment programs that are available for practitioners to recommend to their patients with mild to moderate common mental health conditions and to discuss ways of integrating these resources into their care.

To find out more about this presentation or to view the full Conference Program, please visit the conference website here.

Early Bird discount registration ends Friday 3 July 2015. Book now to secure your place.

Dr Tegan Cruwys to present on social group membership and mental health

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Dr Tegan Cruwys, Lecturer and Clinical Psychologist from University of Queensland will present at the 16th International Mental Health Conference at QT Hotel, Gold Coast 12-14 August 2015.

Dr Tegan Cruwys

Dr Tegan Cruwys

Tegan joined UQ in 2012 following completion of her PhD at ANU. Her research investigates how social relationships shape mental and physical health; work that is at the intersection of social, clinical and health psychology. She is a registered clinical psychologist and teaches into the postgraduate professional psychology programs.

Abstract Title: Social identification and depression recovery: The curative benefits of group membership

Social isolation is a well-established risk factor for depression. However, treatments for depression rarely address social factors. Here, we present evidence from three longitudinal studies that social identification predicts depression recovery. In Study 1 (N=52), disadvantaged participants who were at risk of depression joined a social group in a community setting. In Study 2 (N=92) adults with diagnosed depression joined a psychotherapy group in a clinical setting. Results indicated that in both studies, social identification with the group predicted recovery from depression after controlling for initial depression severity, frequency of attendance, and group type. In Study 3 (N=4087) people aged 50 years and older were followed up over 4 years.

We found that the number of groups that a person belongs to is a strong predictor of subsequent depression (such that fewer groups predicts more depression), and that the unfolding benefits of social group memberships are stronger among individuals who are depressed than among those who are non-depressed. Depressed respondents with no group memberships who joined one group reduced their risk of depression relapse by 24%; if they joined three groups their risk of relapse reduced by 63%. We argue that the facilitating social group memberships may be more cost-effective and less stigmatising than prevailing treatments for depression.

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

E-mental health treatment could help remote areas according to Keynote David Butt

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Full article entitled Online chat rooms could be future of remote mental health, experts says published on ABC News 25 May 2015 by Katherine Gregory

Mental health experts say people living in remote, regional and rural parts of Australia are more vulnerable to mental health problems because of poor socio-economic conditions and a lack of accessible services.

David Butt Image Source ABC News

David Butt Image Source ABC News

The Mental Health Commission’s chief executive David Butt said bad housing, high unemployment and chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease all add up to increased levels of psychological distress.

“Access to health services, access to employment, education, all the other things that enable you to have a contributing life are really much lower,” he said.


Mr Butt and other mental health experts have said one solution to the accessibility gap is online treatment programs, otherwise known as E-mental health.

“We need to look at E-mental health as part of an overall treatment plan, not something separate. You’ll never have all the blocks and mortar in place to treat people face to face,” Mr Butt said.

Australia is the leader in creating programs such as online chat rooms and connectivity to practitioners, online questionnaires, mood trackers and interactive, educational programs.

The online treatment is based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which is designed to change negative patterns of thinking.

Mr Butt said evidence shows online programs are just as effective as face-to-face CBT.

“It’s certainly more effective than putting people on medications, particularly in the mild to moderate category of anxiety or depression,” he said.

“Drugs have shown to not really be that effective with that group, where as CBT online has shown to be much more effective.”

But delegates at the National Rural Health Conference in Darwin, who are also on-the-ground mental health workers, have said online therapy needs to be used in conjunction with traditional methods, medication and practitioners that are community or locally based.

Mr Butt agreed and said the next stage is ensuring an integrated roll-out, along with technological infrastructure in the remote areas.

Federal Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash said the Government is considering how to support E-mental health as part of its aim to plug the accessibility gap in remote Australia.

To read the full article entitled Online chat rooms could be future of remote mental health, experts says please click here.

7th Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium looks forward to welcoming David Butt as a Keynote speaker at Novotel Forest Resort Creswick Victoria 26-28 October 2015. To view all of the Keynote Speakers for the Symposium as well as their bios, please click here.

Tony Holland CEO of OzHelp Foundation to present on the men’s mental health and the workplace

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Tony Holland, Chief Executive Officer, OzHelp Foundation will present at the 16th International Mental Health Conference at QT Hotel, Gold Coast 12-14 August 2015.

Tony Holland

Tony Holland

Abstract Title: Healthy Men at Work, Healthy Men for Life

There is no doubt the cost to business and the wider community is huge when workplaces are unhealthy, and it takes just a few simple steps to make a big difference.

Since our inception more than 12 years ago OzHelp has recognised that the key to a happy, mentally healthy workplace is access to information about mental health and support, as well as advice about recognising signs of anxiety and depression in the people around us. The overall aim for our organisation being to reduce the incidence of suicide, particularly among men in hard to reach workplaces.

Services to men in hard to reach workplaces are limited. OzHelp Foundation has been running for over twelve years developing and refining services to connect with men in a way never done so comprehensively in workplaces.

By providing the right environment, opportunities and information and taking information and education to men in their own workplace has been a big factor in the success of OzHelp Foundation programs. Men are becoming more comfortable in seeking support through workplace health promotion programs and training events. As a result of OzHelp Foundation services, an increasing number of men are also identifying positive lifestyle changes benefiting their health and wellbeing.

This presentation will take a look at some of the challenges faced by men in hard to reach workplaces and how the range of proactive services engage men, and integrate with the busy dynamics of these men in workplaces.

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

Sponsorships and Exhibition Opportunities Available for the Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium

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The Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium is now in its 7th year and will be held at the Novotel Forest Resort Creswick, Victoria 26-28 October.

The event continues to grow from strength to strength and last year’s we received exceptional feedback from all involved including;

“I love this conference; it was my third attendance. I love the ideas and the inspiration from oral presentations. This program was well organised, well implemented and certainly involved the community.”

“It was an extremely informative and very well organised symposium. I’m recommending next year’s to all my friends!”

“Absolutely brilliant with so much information. Networking was second to none. I met so many new contacts.”

“I learnt so much and was very welcomed by everyone I spoke to – organisers and attendees alike.”

Sponsorship ProspectusOn behalf of the Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association and Symposium Committee, it gives me great pleasure to invite you and your organisation to join us at this important event as a sponsor, exhibitor and/or advertiser.

The 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 implemented. Let’s explore what it means to be innovative and entrepreneurial.

Join us in Creswick, VIC from the 26 – 28 October 2015. We have a large number of opportunities available starting as low as $450.

For more information, please contact the Symposium Secretariat via email on rrmh@anzmh.asn.au  or download the Sponsorship Prospectus here.

Michael Burge OAM FAPS to present on PTSD treatment methods at IMHC15

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Michael Burge OAM FAPS, Director of the Australian College of Trauma Treatment will present at the 16th International Mental Health Conference at QT Hotel, Gold Coast 12-14 August 2015.

Michael Burge OAM FAPS

Michael Burge OAM FAPS

Speaker Bio: Michael Burge is current Director of the Australian College of Trauma Treatment, a Director Board of Directors of the Australian Psychological Society and has had over 30 years experience in psychology, counselling, education and training. He has been working clinically in the area of PTSD for approximately 25 years. Michael has published both nationally and internationally in the field of PTSD, with a particular focus on psychosocial issues affecting Vietnam Veterans and their families.

During the early nineteen nineties, Michael introduced PTSD skills based short courses and workshops into Australia and as guest lecturer to most Melbourne Universities. In the 2010 Australia day honours Michael was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for service to psychology and to the community through the development of training and treatment protocols for trauma. He is former state president of the EMDR association, former chair of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Psychological Society. Michael was also a former long serving member of the Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop Medical Research Foundation Symposium panel and scientific committee.

Presentation Overview: Michael Burge OAM FAPS will explore emergent trends recommended from research that places increasing significance and emphasis on the utilization of interventions that promote an atmosphere of safety during the treatment of PTSD. Within this theme the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) recommended, empirically based, best Practise interventions for PTSD will be outlined. These include CBT, EMDR, CPT and emergent expressive therapies. The complications that may arise during the application of standard protocols’ that promote desensitization, habituation, processing and integration of traumatic memories, while minimizing aggravation or decomposition, will be discussed.  For instance, maintaining client safety when dealing with flashbacks and dissociation during trauma therapy.  The impact of perceived Mental Health stigma on the clients’ capacity to work through traumatic material will also be reviewed.

To view and/or download the full 16th International Mental Health Conference program please visit the website here.

Early Bird registration rates are available until 3 July 2015 – to secure your discounted delegate rate please click here.


Prof Terence V McCann to present on educating African migrant communities on mental health

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Victoria University
Professor Terence V McCann from Victoria University will present at the 16th International Mental Health Conference on educating family members of African migrant communities to seek help for mental health issues. The Conference will be held at QT Hotel, Gold Coast 12-14 August 2015.

Abstract Title: Bridging the gap: Educating family members from African migrant communities about seeking help for depression, anxiety and substance in young people

Background: Mental health issues in young migrants are compounded by the challenges of acculturation, pressures also associated with an increase in alcohol and drug misuse, and reluctance to seek help.

Aims: To identify barriers and facilitators to professional help-seeking for anxiety, depression and alcohol and drug use problems, for young people from recently established African migrant communities. To develop and pilot an innovative health promotion resource that encourages parents to support their son or daughter to seek help.

Methods: The project was conducted over three phases:

  1. Qualitative investigation of barriers and facilitators to help-seeking.
  2. A pictorial-based parenting health promotion resource was developed.
  3. The resource was piloted tested and evaluated.

Help-seeking barriers
Poor parental mental health literacy existed. While parents acknowledged problems associated with mental health issues and alcohol and drug use, they were often unsure how to address the issues with their son or daughter. Stigma about these problems deterred help-seeking. Differences in help-seeking were compounded by language and cultural differences, and differing levels of community connectedness. Parental concerns around health professionals cultural competency meant this form of support may not be viewed as a viable or preferred option. Financial costs deterred professional help-seeking.

Help-seeking facilitators
Trust and familiarity of close friends, and the bond between families facilitated help-seeking through informal sources. For young people, encouragement and emotional support from family and friends facilitated access to professionals. Strong cultural affiliations enabled parents and young people to capitalise on existing resources within their own community and as means of providing access to professional support. Perceived expertise of health professionals increased some young people’s confidence in help-seeking from formal services.

A health promotion resource addressing problem recognition and the stigma of openly discussing mental health, drug and alcohol problems, was developed, and is summarised in this presentation.