Jenni Campbell (Chair), Jenna Roberts (Deputy Chair), Josey Anderson, Lyn Anderson, Tom Brideson,  Maria Cassaniti, Irene Gallagher, Peter Gianfrancesco, Tim Heffernan, Daya Henkel, Cathy Kezelman, Eugene McGarrell, Brian Pezzutti, Catherine Lourey.

Rod McKay, Alan Woodward, Jaelea Skehan

Louis Parry (NSW Mental Health Commission)

Karen Burns (Deputy Commissioner), Julie Robotham (NSW Mental Health Commission), Julie Zieth (NSW Mental Health Commission), Cathy Baker (NSW Mental Health Commission), Victoria Hirst (NSW Mental Health Commission)

1. Acknowledgements

Tom Brideson provided an acknowledgement of country.  Irene Gallagher provided an acknowledgement of people with lived experience of mental illness. In recognition of International Women’s Day being celebrated on the day following the Council meeting, Catherine Lourey provided an acknowledgement of women and their achievements.  

2.  Commissioner update

The Commissioner provided an update on recent highlights in the work of the Commission, and issues of concern. Topics covered and information provided includes:

The Commission’s Living Well Indicator report

This report is an update of 10 indicators that demonstrate how well government agencies are implementing the recommendations of Living Well: A Strategic Plan for Mental health in NSW 2014-2024 (Living Well), developed by the Commission. 

The Commission is also to commence a project to review the current set of indicators, to ensure they reflect changes in mental health policy since 2014, to provide a robust framework upon which the Commission can build its reporting and monitoring role over the next 3-5 years. The Commissioner would like this to be an inclusive process, and asked Council members to suggest any relevant data they may be able to contribute. The Commissioner also asked for suggestions of what may be meaningful for future indicator reports.  

Wellbeing Collaborative

The Wellbeing Collaborative is a group of government and community-managed organisations that are working towards wellbeing. The priority now is to develop a databank to for use across the sector to monitor wellbeing in the community, and across systems and processes. 

Suicide prevention

The Minister for Mental Health has asked the Commission to prepare a suicide prevention framework for NSW. This framework is to be finalised and presented to the Minister by August 2018, and is being undertaken in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and the Suicide Prevention Advisory Group (SPAG). It was noted that Deputy Commissioner Allan Sparkes is a member of the SPAG representing lived experience.

External review of the Commission

In accordance with the Mental Health Commission Act 2012 (NSW), a review of the Act and the Commission is currently being conducted. There is not yet a final set of recommendations. 

Report on seclusion and restraint

The report was written by a panel led by the NSW Chief Psychiatrist, and implementation of the report’s recommendations is the responsibility of the mental health branch of the Ministry of Health.  The Commission will keep sight of the recommendations, and will examine their implementation if necessary. 

Police response to people in the community with mental illness

Attendees noted that it is not the place of the Commission to be involved in police operational matters, but discussed supporting people to live in the community, treating people with respect and dignity, and the media coverage and language used. 

3. The Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan

The Commissioner spoke about the Fifth Plan and its Implementation Plan, which were endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments Health Council in August 2017. The Fifth Plan seeks to establish a national approach for collaborative government effort from 2017 to 2022 across eight targeted priority areas.  The Commissioner provided information about the priority areas that the Commission is focusing on, and asked for input from attendees, who suggested a broader focus on Housing. 

Tom Brideson gave a presentation on the work of National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health (NATSILMH), a core group of senior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experts working in the areas of social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention, and the impending release of NATSILMH’s report on the implementation and interconnectedness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention policies. 

4. Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention

 Julie Robotham and Victoria Hirst gave a presentation on the Commission’s Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention, including information on the Guiding Principles, the sub-group, and proposed consultation methods, and asked for input from attendees in relation to:

  • Contacts in any of the four community forum sites (Wollongong, South West Sydney, Lismore and Dubbo)
  • Contacts undertaking suicide prevention work
  • Networks or contacts with a lived experience of a suicide attempt or bereaved by suicide
  • Any consultation data in relation to suicide prevention in the last few years. 

Attendees asked for the Commission to consider how to improve involvement in the sub-group of diverse communities and people with lived experience. Attendees also suggested consultations with young people, and children of people with mental illness. 
Action: Members of the Council are to contact Victoria Hirst with input on the Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention. 

5. Mental Health Commission Strategic Plan

The Commissioner gave an update on the Commission’s draft strategic plan. Attendees provided feedback, including: 

  • Viewing collaboration and lived experience as a foundation of system reform
  • Looking more at prevention of mental ill-health.

6. Review of the Council's Terms of Reference

In accordance with the Terms of Reference, attendees conducted an annual review of the TOR. 
There was consensus that Clause 3 of the Terms should be amended to remove the specification of the number of members to be on the Council, and the Chair formally made this recommendation to the Commissioner. 
The Chair also brought attendee’s attention to Clause 8.2, and the expectation that members will attend no fewer than 75% of meetings per year. 
Attendees also discussed allocating membership to representatives of particular interest groups. 
These proposed amendments were supported by the CAC.
Action: The Secretariat is to revise the Terms of Reference, and distribute to Council members. 

7. Other business

Attendees discussed, and provided feedback to the Commission on, matters including:

  • Carers are seeking an appropriate formal complaints process within Local Health Districts
  • Broadening the definition of restraint: Whenever someone is given medication they did not want, it should be treated and recorded as an episode of restraint, especially where it is to sedate
  • The Council reflected on the forward role of the Commission: 
  • The Council expects the Commission to use its power of influence
  • The Council acknowledged that there is a lot of activity in the research space, so the Commission should concentrate elsewhere, including advocating social policy
  • The Commission could be meeting with the Minister for Police, the Minister for Housing, the Australian medical Association (AMA), and other areas of social determinants 
  • People or community groups in the sector who could be given awards for valuable contributions to mental health.  

The language and inclusion of people with lived experience and carers should not create a division between consumers and carers. Being and Mental Health Carers NSW could have a discussion around terminology and develop a consensus. This work should also involve the current work of the Commission on both terminology and co-design.

Actions arising

Agenda item 4. Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention - Members of the Council are to contact Victoria Hirst with input on the Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention
Agenda item 6. Review of the Council's Terms of Reference - The Secretariat is to revise the Terms of Reference, and distribute to Council members.

Minutes: Secretariat to provide members with draft Minutes to correct prior to next meeting.f the Council’s Terms of Reference - The

Next meeting: 13 June 2018


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Last updated: 22 June 2018