Josey Anderson, Lyn Anderson, Tom Brideson, Jenni Campbell (Chair), Maria Casaniti, John Feneley (Acting Commissioner), Irene Gallagher, Tim Heffernan, Daya Henkel, Cathy Kezelman, Rod McKay, Jenna Roberts, Alan Woodward.

Peter Gianfrancesco, Eugene McGarrell, Brian Pezzutti, Jaelea Skehan, Janet Vickers.

Louis Parry (Mental Health Commission of NSW)

Catherine Lourey (Deputy Commissioner, Mental Health Commission of NSW), Julie Robotham (Mental Health Commission of NSW), Sarah Hanson(Mental Health Commission of NSW), Erin O'Loughlin(Mental Health Commission of NSW), Aden Ridgeway (Cox Inall Ridgeway), Yatu Widders-Hunt (Cox Inall Ridgeway), William Trewlynn (Cox Inall Ridgeway).

1. Acknowledgements

Tom Brideson provided an acknowledgement of Country, Jenna Roberts provided an acknowledgement of people with lived experience of mental illness.

2. Commissioner update

John Feneley is pleased that Catherine Lourey will be taking on the role of Commissioner, commencing 18 August 2017.

John feels the most proud of 'us' - the Commission staff, the Community Advisory Council, and the Deputy Commissioners. These people provide the capacity for the Commission to fulfil its purpose.

Catherine Lourey thanked John Feneley for his stewardship, and for shaping the organisation.

3. The future of peer work

Tim Heffernan gave a presentation on the future of peer work. Information provided and topics covered include:

  • Tim and other attended a match at the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL) Conference earlier in the year
  • Match participants subsequently issued a Peer Work Leadership Statement of Intent
  • Recruiting correctly for peer workers is essential
  • A communique of the Community of Peers Project has been developed
  • The importance of the use of language, and not simply using jargon
  • Peer work is about sharing experiences and recovery
  • Peer work goals have been set too low
  • There is a need for workforce reform in mental health
  • There are no targets set for peer workers
  • The peer workforce is a small workforce
  • Other recent relevant reports are:
    • A report by Human Capital Alliance for the National Mental Health COmmission: Final report on tworkforce requirements in support of the 2014 National Review of Mental Health Programs and Services
    • The Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

Attendees raised and discussed issues including:

  • A power imbalance where the voices of peer workers aren't heard
  • The need to make it safe for people to identify as having had a lived experience of mental health issues
  • The need to partner with and acknowledge carer peer workers
  • The need to loook at the design structure of peer work
  • That the Commission can use its position to continue to advocate for peer workers
  • Local Health Districts (LHDs) are supposed to increase their peer workforce but there seems to be no accountabilityto ensure this happens.

4. Trauma/Blue Knot

Cathy Kezelman gave a presentation on trauma and the work of Blue Knot. Information provided included:

  • The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has provided an opportunity to:

    • tackle stigma and misconceptions
    • promote awareness and understanding
    • inform and educate
    • support help seeking
    • support and foster hope and pathways to recovery
    • prevent and intervene earlier.
  • Blue Knot Foundation has undertaken a project looking at Australian media depictions of child sexual assault. The project was funded by the Mental Health Commission of NSW
  • The project involved a literature review and a media analysis
  • Issues are often misrepresented in the media. Reported bias mean that other discussions cannot be had, for example around power and hierarchy
  • There is no uniformity in the regulations about reporting of sexual assault in the media
  • Guidelines exist on reporting of sexual assault in the media, but are not consistently used
  • The next steps to be taken in terms of policy around reporting in the media
  • There needs to be a balance between complexity and nuance.

Attendees raised and discussed issues including:

  • Engaging closely with schools and the Department of Education to inform children about trauma
  • Educating health workers about trauma-informed care.

5. Commission website and short videos

Julie Robotham gave a presentation on the Commission's recently updated website:

Erin O'Loughlin gave a presentation on the Commission's recently produced short videos on Profiling best practice, available in a Playlist on the Commission's YouTube channel at:

6. Aboriginal mental health policy mapping project

Aden Ridgeway, Yatu Widders-Hunt and William Trewlynn gave a presentation on the Commission's Aboriginal mental health policy mapping project, conductd by Cox Inall Ridgeway. Information provided included:

  • The mapping and review project looked at mental health policies in NSW that have a direct and immediate impact on Aboriginal mental health
  • The project looked at key Government departments. The researchers reviewed all public policies available online, and interviewed staff members
  • Overall, the project identified that there were vast differences between portfolio areas in their public policy development and commitments to Aboriginal mental health
  • There is a disparity between programs that address Aboriginal mental health and the policies designed to support them
  • Across NSW there are many well-functioning and innovative programs and initiatives, but these are not always anchored in a policy directive
  • Many policies mention Aboriginal communities, but the level of detail provided is not comprehensive
  • The role of carers and consumers in policy development or review appears to be very limited
  • Recommendations from the project include engagement with key Government departments, engagement with carers and consumers and engagement with experts in Aboriginal mental health.

7. Psychosis and offending database

Sarah Hanson gave a presentation on the Commission's recently commissioned psychosis and offending database. Information provided included:

  • The aim of the project ws to improve our understanding of the association between psychosis and offending behaviour in NSW, particularly:

    • The association between mental health service contact and offending
    • The rate and causes of post-release mortality in offenders with and without psychosis
    • To examine experiences in prison of those with psychosis
  • The linked data set was funded by the Commission and developed by the Kirby Institute
  • Now that the database has been established it will be available both for academic research and for government agencies to access to improve policies and programs.

8. Deputy Chair

The Chair called for nominations for the vacant position of Deputy Chair. There was one nomination, and Jenna Roberts was elected as the new Deputy Chair.

9. Other business

The attendees discussed matters including:

  • The Review of the Mental Health Commission Act
  • Inviting the Minister to a Council meeting
  • Recognition of the value of the work of Cox Inall Ridgeway, presented to the Council earlier in the day
  • The desire for the Commission to take a prominent role in suicide prevention
  • 4.48 Psychosis - a play by Sarah Kane, currently being performed at a Sydney theatre.




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Last updated: 22 June 2018