The latest research on wellbeing and the value of psychiatrists with lived experience of mental health issues were among the items discussed when the Mental Health Commissioners of Australia came together this month.
NSW Mental Health Commissioner Catherine Lourey attended the Joint Commissioners Meeting in Adelaide on Monday 27 August, along with staff from Commissions in South Australia (SA), Western Australia, Queensland, Victoria, Australia and New Zealand. The meeting was hosted by the SA Mental Health Commission.
The Commissioners shared news from their regions, including the launch of a major report in Victoria about sexual safety within inpatient mental health services, called The right to be safe.
The Commissioners also received updates from two guest presenters. The Director of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)’s Wellbeing and Resilience Centre, Gabrielle Kelly, presented the latest evidence on how wellbeing and resilience can strengthen people’s experiences and participation in life and protect them from mental health issues. She shared how this evidence is being put into practice in South Australia. For example, the Department for Correctional Services has rolled out wellbeing training for its staff, reducing rates of sick leave, psychological injury and improving its performance management processes.
The second guest presentation was from psychiatrist Dr Rod McKay, who spoke on the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists’ (RANZCP) position statement The contribution to practice made by psychiatrists who have a personal experience of mental illness. In the statement, the RANZCP highlights the value that psychiatrists who have a personal experience of mental health issues can bring to improving care. Dr McKay noted RANZCP is the only College in the world to have issued such a statement.
On Friday 31 August, Ms Lourey and four other Mental Health Commissioners came together again to take part in a panel discussion at TheMHS Conference. The Commissioners shared with conference attendees how Commissions operate and the impact they have had on mental health care in Australia so far.
The next Joint Commissioners Meeting is due in late 2018.