The International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL) is a collaboration between eight countries that aims to improve mental health and alcohol and other drug services for people who need them and their families. The eight member countries are Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Sweden and the USA.
The collaboration was borne out of recognition that research evidence and clinical practice alone cannot ensure the success of community-based mental health services. The sector also needs skilled leaders who can promote and support the practices most likely to help people recover from mental illness.
One of the collaboration’s regular activities is a ‘leadership exchange’. Every 16 months, delegates from the eight member countries gather together to share innovations, to solve problems, and to network across countries and agencies.
In 2017, the leadership exchange is being held in Sydney from 27 February – 3 March and will be hosted by the NSW Mental Health Commission in partnership with the NSW Ministry of Health.
On the first two days of the exchange, delegates will disperse to one of 31 ‘matches’ (meetings) being held across Australia and New Zealand to explore specific topics in depth. Topics include perinatal and infant mental health; suicide prevention; working with older people; rural and remote care; physical health outcomes; indigenous leadership in mental health; and the lived experience workforce.
From 1 – 3 March, delegates will gather together in Sydney to share their learnings from the matches and to participate in further plenary discussions to be led by experts including:
- Tom Calma, AO, Co-chair of Reconciliation Australia
- Fay Jackson, NSW Deputy Mental Health Commissioner
- Helen Milroy, child and adolescent psychiatrist and Commissioner at Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
- Monique Faleafa, chief executive of Le Va, a national NGO focused on Pacific people’s wellbeing
- David Covington, leader of the Zero Suicide initiative
The 2017 IIMHL Leadership Exchange is being held alongside a similar event called the International Initiative for Disability Leadership (IIDL) Exchange, which aims to support leaders in disability services.