Engagement, engagement, and a bit more engagement

Wednesday 8 March 2023

A key function of the College is to be representative across many areas and fields.

Over the last two weeks very productive meetings were held with various organisations.

Our neighbours Mental Health Australia (MHA) whom ACMHN has had a very long partnership, are co-located in the building in Deakin (Canberra) and a catch-up meeting with Acting CEO Harry Lovelock rekindled like-minded thinking and support of a collegiate mental health community. I have reached out to incoming CEO for MHA, Carolyn Nikoloski, who has an excellent reputation and background and will be joining them 12 April 2023. We welcome Carolyn to the role and look forward to continuing our good work together in our sector.

The College also met with APNA, an organisation we have enjoyed a long association with over the years. The meeting between Karen Booth and myself covered topics such as Equally Well – important discussion regarding chronic disease, discussion on Self Care Alliance, focus on primary care centres – nurse lead – with a focus on inner city, co-promotion of events, introductions of key staff, and far-ranging discussions including single employer models for rural placed nurses, similar to discussions held by AMA on behalf of rural GPs.

My first meeting as a Director on the Board of the Mental Health Professional Network (MHPN) took place last week with an excellent first Board meeting for the year. Sincere appreciation to the team at MHPN for the products they have invested and developed during COVID on production of informative podcasts and other online support work. The ACMHN is a key partner in this and looks forward to growing our involvement throughout the year.

I also attended a meeting last Wednesday with a variety of NFP’s (Not-For-Profits) including Lifeline, MHA, Women’s Legal (ACT), Soldier On where discussions about computer security and systems were front and centre. The challenges of increased
security demands for NFPs were an important discussion, especially given the recent Optus and Medicare issues. The ACMHN team have recently completed security training as part of the ongoing upskilling required.

There was an excellent review and discussion with Professor Ann Bonner (Deputy Chair) from the Council of Deans of Nursing and Midwifery (CDNM) regarding the ACMHN’s joint review of the current nursing student cohort. Challenges on global nursing student numbers still present a need for increased collaboration in this area and the ACMHN is playing its part in ensuring mental health nurses have a strong profile. A big challenge being the need for more trained, skilled academics to help bolster faculties across many of our universities.

Friday saw an excellent meeting with the Department of Health (Federal) in the National IAR EAG where discussion continues regarding identification and standards for Primary Health Networks on mental health processes. The key focus being for
doctors and specifically for GPs. We have been invited to contribute on this body of work that will help provide a framework for a practical clinical engagement and escalation process. Joining us at the meeting were ACRRM, MHPN, MHA, RANZCP, and

The Council of Branches met last week for the first time this year, with Chair Matt Ireland facilitating the meeting. Further work is under way to support the Branches, and meetings will be held over the next two weeks with Matt to work on ways the
College can assist, with anticipation of further branch engagement in the coming months.

To ensure the SIGs are provided similar support to bolster engagement with members and promote upcoming events, the College has locked in meetings with their respective Chairs over the coming weeks.

A shout out to all the team involved in the excellent Trauma Informed Care (TIC) Symposium in Queensland last week. A sincere thank you to Event Manager Ellen Fraser and the rest of the ACMHN team of Lauren Tait as well as Angus Jolly and Sophie Howard. Working with Chair of Queensland Branch Vikki Green and collaborating with the RANZCP (QLD Branch) and the Department of health (Qld), a sold-out event of 200 with an additional 78 online attendees heard from a fantastic line up of professional speakers including one of the College’s Board Directors Associate Professor Richard Lakeman.

Excellent work also from the WA Branch and Chair Monica Taylor and the team, collaborating with the ACMHN head office staff on a sold-out movie viewing, and are continuing to diligently promote and organise the 19 May 2023, Western Australian
conference. We also have a very important call-out from Tessa Moriarty about a newsletter article she is writing for Nurse and Midwife Support. Tessa is seeking mental health nurses who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander to speak with her about their experiences. To find out more, click here.

Next College Connect there will be detail relating to the recent initiative to improve the College’s member database, which is a large body of work that will improve a system that is out of date and several years old.

NOTE: The ACMHN will be closed this coming Monday (13 March) for Canberra Day. We will happily assist you with all enquiries when we re-open on Tuesday the 14th.

Yours in mental health

Adrian Armitage



You may also like

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}