Thomas Brideson, Karen Burns (Chair), John Feneley (NSW Mental Health Commissioner), Paula Hanlon, Tim Heffernan, Diana McKay, Brian Pezzutti, Vince Ponzio, Yvonne Quadros, Erica Roy

Maria Cassaniti, Sue Cripps, Cathy Kezelman, Jenni Campbell

Katrina Davis (Mental Health Commission of NSW), Ben Harland-Cox (Mental Health Commission of NSW)

Additional Commission staff attended to discuss Commission projects.

1. Acknowledgements

Thomas Brideson provided an Acknowledgement of Country.

ACTION 2015.04: Commission to investigate if NSW Health has a Sorry Business policy.

2. Welcome

Karen Burns and John Feneley welcomed attendees.

3. Member update

The Member Update was noted and selected items discussed. Invisibility was a theme of the meeting in terms of lack of attention afforded to particular population groups such as older people. Invisibility for some population groups can a lso come from a lack of transparency in releasing policy documents. Stigmatised media reporting can provide unhelpful visibility.

4. Commission update

The Commission Update was noted. The meeting discussed the NDIS reform. Confusion and the dissemination of misinformation was noted. Briefings for Local Health District boards is a priority.

5. Medication and mental illness

Danielle Keogh provided an update on the Commission's medication and mental illness project. Extensive consultation has been synthesised in a draft report circulated to Council members. Council members echoed some of the key findings of the report. Feedback was provided including:

  • Key messages need tightening up to maintain the intensity of what people told the Commission
  • The quotes in the report are useful
  • The descriptor 'atypcia l antipsychotics' is no longer current
  • It's appropriately written at an accessible level for the whole community.

Commission members also provided insights on service delivery and reform issues regarding medication. These included:

  • Group medicine information sessions with registrars or other suitable practitioners would be useful
  • Clarification is needed regarding the role that Community Managed Organisation workers have in assisting consumers with medication issues,for example in getting a second opinion
  • A person's medical record including their medication details needs a central 'home'. GPs may have a role here
  • Some Local Health Districts require that people on Community Treatment Orders must pay for their own medication.

6. 2015 Progress Report update

Catherine Lourey (Special Advisor) provided a recap on previous Council advice regarding the 2015 Progress Report and gave an update on recent work and the process of gathering data. Council members asked about the balance of quantitative and qualitative data and the importance of having baseline data.

The meeting discussed the engagement of Ministers through a proposed event in Mental Health Month.

7. Community survey

Part of the data informing the 2015 Progress Report will be provided by a community/stakeholder survey. Neda Dusevic (Senior Advisor) provided an outline of the survey. The survey will focus on reform readiness. In addition to being an information gathering activity the survey will also serve to provide education about the reform and the reform process.

Council members provided feedback including:

  • It will be important to get the views of a range of roles - front line to board level - but especia lly those who should know the answers to the questions we're asking.
  • It will also be important to gather views from a range of organisations including the private sector and service sectors outside health.
  • The survey will need to be clear about which reform it concerns to avoid confusion with other reform activities. It could also ask about links to other reform activities.
  • It would be useful to ask about the barriers to implementation.
  • The findings of the survey will be able to validate other data gathering.
  • Reform fatigue may be an issue in the community.
  • Some thought needs to be given to accessing hard to reach groups.

8. Lived Experience Framework

Katrina Davis asked for feedback on the Commission's Lived Experience Framework project. The project aims to highlight all the ways in which consumer participation,influence and leadership can drive reform.The project is in a scoping phase and feedback from the Council included:

  • There are good examples of consumer run activities being established such as through the Peer Initiative Ignition.
  • Reform is required to develop the peer workforce.
  • It will be important to use the results of the Ministry of Health's participation consultation to inform this work.
  • Peer advocates are required in a range of sectors, not just health. Other sectors don't know enough about the potential of peer work. However, Health must remain a central focus for this work.
  • There may be value in a variety of options for first steps in this project including developing a consensus statement about where and how consumer participation should happen, a literature review or background paper, putting together a reference group,and developing a compilation of good practice.
  • Participation in training of mental health professionals and participation in own treatment and care were noted as important issues.

9. Living Well in later life

The iss ue of suicide in later life was raised in the Member Update and introduced as a topic for discussion. Danielle Keogh (Senior Advisor) provide information on the Commission's Living Well in Later Life project to identify key reform areas for this population. Issues discussed included:

  • 'Gatekeepers' such as staff running retirement villages need skills in how to prevent suicide among older people.
  • Older age can be associated with a range of losses and anxieties.
  • Peer support is a good approach,although support networks are ageing as we ll.
  • There's a lack of funding for services for people struggling with adjustment.
  • Isolation in public housing can be a significant problem. Good neighbours and in-reach services are important.
  • The financial costs of participation in community activities can be prohibitive. There can be other age-related barriers to participating.Connecting the very young and the very old is an approach worth exploring.
  • There's not always a single (downward) trajectory for older people.We need to be open to other paths.
  • There's not a recovery focus for this population.
  • Older people are a very low profile,or invisible, group within the mental health secto r.

10. Commission project updates

A series of updates were provided on Commission projects including:

  • Proposed Suicide Prevention Framework for NSW undertaken in partnership with the Centre of Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention.
  • The systems approach to suicide prevention scoping study undertaken in partnership with the Black Dog Institute.Online conversion of the Communities Matter Toolkit for suicide prevention in small towns in partnership with Suicide Prevention Australia.
  • Conversations Matter suicide prevention resources for professiona ls working with CALO communities undertaken in partnership with the Hunter Institute of Mental Health.
  • Revised iBobbly app to prevent suicide among Aboriginal young people in partnership with the Black Dog Institute.Stigma and discrimination data project accessing NSW specific data from the National Surveys of Mental Health Literacy and Stigma undertaken by the University of Melbourne.
  • NSW Population Health Survey project to address information gaps on the mental health and wellbe ing of the population and derive data to inform monitoring and reporting activities related to the implementation of the Strategic Plan.
  • Development of the Physical Health and Wellbeing: An Evidence Guide in partnership with the University of New South Wales and South East Sydney Local Health District.
  • Launch of the NSW Wellbe ing Collaborat ive and website to promote knowledge sharing and collaboratio n to improve we llbeing in NSW.
  • Promotion of the use of Mental Wellbeing Impact Assessments.
  • Stakeholder consultations to inform the development of a Wellbeing Language and Definitions Guide.
  • Work towards an agreement on Wellbeing Evaluation, Tools and Measures via an international experts' workshop in June 2015.
  • May and June 2015 visits to four Local Health Districts to discuss the Strategic Plan and reform readiness.

11. Other business

Progress against the Action Log was noted. The Chair will be contacting members shortly to conduct short one to one 'check-ins'.

ACTION 2015.05:Secretariat to work with Chair to arrange one to one check-ins with Council members.

The Minutes of the May meeting were noted with no amendments requested.

Diana McKay announced she will be moving on from the Council. Diana was thanked for her substantial contribution to the work of the Commission.  The Commissioner is working with the Minister to fill vacancies on the Council with a view to a full recruitment process in 2016.

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Last updated: 3 June 2017