7th Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium announces first Keynote Speaker

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Associate Prof Nicole Lee is the first Keynote Speaker announced for the 7th Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium being held from the 26 – 28 October 2015 at the Novotel Forest Resort Creswick, VIC.

The Symposium 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. The Conference theme is Mental Health Future For All with topics across the broad spectrum of mental disorders including Anxiety, Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders, Bipolar, Dementia and Suicide.

Nicole Lee

Assoc Prof Nicole Lee

Assoc Prof Nicole Lee is one of Australia’s leaders in methamphetamine treatment and is internationally known for her research in this area. She is Director of LeeJenn Health Consultants, Associate Professor at the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA) Flinders University, Adjunct Associate Professor at the National Drug Research Institute (NDRI) Curtin University and a practising psychologist. She is a Deputy Editor of the Drug and Alcohol Review Journal and National President of the Australian Association for Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy (AACBT). Nicole has consulted to the WHO and the UNODC, as well as state and territory governments, on responses to methamphetamine and was a key consultant to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into methamphetamine in Victoria. Her publications include research articles, books and clinical guidelines on methamphetamine and effective practice and policy responses.

Sample of Assoc Prof Nicole Lee’s Publications below:

Flinders University publications
Are we in the midst of an ice epidemic? A snapshot of meth use in Australia
Ice age: who has used crystal meth – and why?
Explainer: methamphetamine use and addiction in Australia

Kids Helpline: Increase in children needing urgent mental health advice

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Bridget Brennan reported this story on Monday, April 20, 2015 12:56:00 on ABC News’ The World Today

Now to the 24-hour youth help service that’s reporting a huge spike in the use of its emergency services.

Kids Helpline

Bridget Brennan interviews Chief Executive Tracy Adams

Kids Helpline says its counsellors are now making more than twice as many emergency interventions as they were two years ago.

BRIDGET BRENNAN: The National Mental Health Commission says 600,000 Australian children between the ages of 4 and 17 are affected by a mental health problem every year.

Tens of thousands of those children make a phone call to get help.

Increasingly, they’re calling with an urgent concern, like suicide.

Tracy Adams is the chief executive of Kids Helpline.

TRACY ADAMS: Last year we had more than 1,600 of those such cases and they’re primarily related to young people calling who were in immediate harm, either through child abuse or who were undertaking a current suicide attempt.

BRIDGET BRENNAN: Over the last two years, more and more children’s counsellors are reporting serious calls, which need to be referred to emergency services.

TRACY ADAMS: Well, the counsellors obviously have to make a very critical assessment of what’s required at that time, and they’ll obviously keep working with the young person as a number one priority and then, and behind the scenes there’s a lot of work done to connect either with emergency services, ambulances, police, child safety officers.

BRIDGET BRENNAN: Tracy Adams says most of the 70,000 children calling Kids Helpline are worried about a family dispute or abuse.

TRACY ADAMS: Family relationships is the top concern for young people, for 5 to 12 year olds.

So we know that young people really worry and care about their family and often speak to the counsellors about their concern.

BRIDGET BRENNAN: The Federal Government released the National Mental Health review of Australia’s mental health sector last week; the Health Minister Sussan Ley received the report in November.

It recommended more targeted support for vulnerable children.

It says there’s been a big investment in teenage mental health, but not enough preventative mental care for children under the age of 12.

Associate professor Jane Burns is the chief executive of Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre in Melbourne.

She believes more online and e-health services should be funded for children’s mental wellbeing.

Listen to the interview below. Alternatively, for the full transcript please click here.

 

Monash doctors trial transcranial magnetic stimulation on depressed teenagers

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Published by Sydney Morning Herald 19 April 2015 by Julia Medew

In a world first trial, Melbourne doctors have started beaming magnetic fields into the brains of depressed teenagers in the hope it will treat their illness and improve their cognitive function.

Dr Michael Gordon with a machine delivering magnetic therapy to a teenager's brain to try to treat depression. Photo: Eddie Jim

Dr Michael Gordon with a machine delivering magnetic therapy to a teenager’s brain to try to treat depression. Photo: Eddie Jim

Head of Child Psychiatry at Monash Health, Michael Gordon, said his team was recruiting 40 adolescents with severe depression to see if 20 sessions of magnetic stimulation over four weeks would improve their mental health.

While the technique, known as transcranial magnetic stimulation, has been effective for about 35 per cent of adults whose depression does not respond to other treatments, it has only been tested on 19 adolescents across the globe.

The treatment involves placing a figure eight-shaped coil on the patient’s scalp  at the front of their head. Over about 25 minutes, it delivers magnetic pulses to the frontal lobe of the brain thought to control depression.

To read the full article click here.

Twitter: Sydney Morning Herald @smh  Julie Medew @juliamedew  Monash Health @MonashHealth

NT govt launches suicide prevention plan

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Article published in The Australia 10 April 2015

About 40 people take their own lives each year in the Northern Territory, with deaths on the increase among young and indigenous people.

Although overall suicides have decreased over the past eight years, the territory still has Australia’s highest suicide rates among indigenous people and the young.

The territory government is spending an extra $3 million a year to improve mental health services and build resilience in communities.

“These factors tend to lower an individuals’ ability to build resilience and create positive coping mechanisms,” the government plan says.

People are especially at risk in remote communities, where suicide is seen as an option for dealing with personal crises.

To read article in its entirety please click here.

NT Suicide Prevention Strategic Action PlanTo download the NT Suicide Prevention Strategic Action Plan 2015-2018 click here.

The Plan details six key areas of action:

Deliver targeted suicide prevention activities
Build strength and resilience in individuals and families
Improve wellbeing and resilience of communities
Coordinate approaches to suicide prevention
Improve the evidence base and dissemination of information
Implement high standards and quality in suicide prevention

 

Mental health dodges funding review bullet

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Originally published on The Land 10 April 2015 by Ruth Caskey

A commitment to mental health funding for the next financial year has been welcomed by service providers as the government continues its review of programs and services.

The federal government has extended the current funding, with $300 million for community-based mental health programs for a further 12 months.

Until last week’s announcement, many regional mental health care workers faced uncertainty in their positions as they were not guaranteed funding after June 30.

The announcement follows an open letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley from mental health care providers.

They asked for urgent action and said the issue had reached crisis point as staff were looking for new jobs and winding down services.

Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) President Professor Dennis Pashen was concerned regional mental health care workers would move to metropolitan areas to look for work if the funding wasn’t continued.

To read the article in its entirety click here.

Follow The Land @thelandnews and Ruth Caskey @rubywrites23 on Twitter

Professor Jane Pirkis presenting Keynote at IMHC

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Professor Jane Pirkis, Director at the Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne will present a Keynote at the 16th International Mental Health Conference (IMHC) being held at QT Hotel, Surfers Paradise Thursday 13 August to Friday 14 August 2015.

The 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. The Conference theme is Mental Health Future For All with topics across the broad spectrum of mental disorders including Anxiety, Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders, Bipolar, Dementia and Suicide.

JanePirkis3Professor Jane Pirkis is the Director of the Centre for Mental Health in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne.  She has undertaken a broad program of work on the epidemiology of suicide and mental health problems, and has conducted a number of large-scale evaluations of suicide prevention initiatives and mental health programs.

She has a particular interest in interventions that show promise in preventing suicide, and has recently been examining the benefits of different interventions at suicide hotspots.  She is known for her work on suicide and the media, and is currently focusing on ways in which traditional and newer media might be harnessed to prevent suicide.

Jane is the General Secretary of the International Association for Suicide Prevention, and a member of the International Academy of Suicide Research and of Suicide Prevention Australia.

 

Senate inquiry to look at defence mental health in wake of Williamtown suicides

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Original article published by ABC News, 2 April 2015.

The mental health of Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel is the focus of a Senate probe, at a time when ADF members are reeling from two suicides at the Williamtown Air Force base.

Photo supplied by  Defence Force

Photo supplied by Defence Force

The ABC revealed that an Air Force member from Williamtown committed suicide in February.

Another RAAF member took his own life at the Williamtown base in April last year.

The Senate is now conducting an in-depth inquiry into the mental health of ADF personnel who have returned from combat, peacekeeping or other deployment.

It will focus on post traumatic stress disorder, mental health policies, counselling services and record keeping for hospitalisations and deaths.

Read full article here.

Call for Abstracts for The 16th International Mental Health Conference closing 10 April

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The 16th International Mental Health Conference will be held at the QT Hotel, Surfers Paradise from Thursday 13 August to Friday 14 August 2015.  An optional half day of workshops will held on Wednesday, 12 August 2015.  This 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.

You are invited to join us as we address the conference theme “Mental Health Future For All” across the broad spectrum of mental disorders including Anxiety, Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders, Bipolar, Dementia and Suicide.

The conference program will be designed to challenge, inspire, demonstrate and encourage participants while facilitating discussion. The program will include an extensive range of topics with keynotes, concurrent sessions, workshops and posters. Topics will include:

  • Early intervention and treatment advances
  • Recovery oriented practice
  • e-Health, technology and social media
  • Suicide prevention and support
  • Child, youth and family mental health promotion and services
  • Demands for an aging population
  • Targeted services for vulnerable groups
  • Indigenous mental, social, emotional and environmental health
  • LGBTI mental health promotion and resilience
  • Workplace health and well-being
  • Mental health in the custodial and forensic setting
  • Consumer and carer participation and opportunities
  • Offering hope: stories from the front line and lived experience
  • Open topic

To submit your abstract, or for more information please click here.

16th International Mental Health Conference

Associate Professor Vijaya Manicavasagar to present Keynote at IMHC

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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.

The 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. The Conference theme is Mental Health Future For All with topics across the broad spectrum of mental disorders including Anxiety, Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders, Bipolar, Dementia and Suicide.

Vijaya ManicavasagarA/Prof Vijaya Manicavasagar is a Senior Clinical Psychologist and Academic within the Black Dog Institute and School of Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales. She currently also holds the position of Clinical Director of the Psychology Clinic which specialises in the psychological treatment of mood disorders including bipolar disorder. The Psychology Clinic offers a range of services including client assessments, individual and group treatments as well as providing expert opinion for psychological impairment. In addition, A/Prof Manicavasagar provides training to intern and registrar psychologists through the Psychology Clinic.

A/Prof Vijaya Manicavasagar’s clinical research interests are in the fields of anxiety and depressive disorders including bipolar disorder. She is the author of several academic publications, book chapters and books in these areas. She has been involved in the development of several online programs including ‘MyCompass’ for self-monitoring and managing mild to moderate psychological problems; ‘Bite Back’ a website which applies positive psychology techniques to improve youth wellbeing; and an app that helps adults discover their core life values (‘Spark’). A/Professor Manicavasagar is also the lead investigator in a series of studies on the development and implementation of wellbeing programs in schools utilising a combination of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Positive Psychology.

Link to more on A/Prof Vijaya Manicavasagar’s research

 

Mental health patients facing cuts to crucial services amid funding uncertainty: experts

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Published on ABC Radio Australia, Updated 24 March 2015, 10:50 AEDT by medical reporter Sophie Scott

Thousands of Australians seeking help for mental health problems face growing uncertainty because ongoing federal funding for hundreds of contracts has not been guaranteed after June 30.

Seventy mental health groups, including Mental Health Australia, Headspace, and the Black Dog Institute have written an open letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Health Minister Sussan Ley.

The letter reads: “We have not received any definitive advice regarding the future of programs.”

“Some agencies have indicated that without this advice, they will have to give staff notice of termination of employment in a matter of days.

“This ongoing uncertainty is causing a huge disruption to organisations and increasingly, deep anxiety amongst the people they serve.”

The National Mental Health Commission has completed a major review of the mental health sector, which is currently with Ms Ley but no date has been set for its release.

One provider, the MindSpot Clinic, already told patients free online and telephone support may not be available after April 15 due to funding uncertainty.

MindSpot is a free service for Australian adults with stress, worry, anxiety, low mood or depression.

MindSpot director Professor Nick Titov said the uncertainty is concerning for both staff and patients.

The service has helped 30,000 people and is seeing 300 to 400 new people each week, half of them from rural and regional areas where there are no face-to-face mental health services.

For the full article click here.

To read the Open Letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Health Minister Sussan Ley click here.