Clarifying the way in which the media informs and misinforms the public in an area like mental illness is particularly important, because community understanding of mental illness is less than optimal and stigma and discrimination are not uncommon. A critical review, Mental Illness in the News and Information Media, was conducted in 2012 to inform the development of resources for media and other sectors engaged by the Mindframe National Media Initiative.

The study was an update of an earlier critical review which examined how the media represents mental illness and the impact of that representation on attitudes and behaviour in the. Read more here.



Media Release - 19 December 2017

Australian College of Mental Health Nurses Welcomes the Ratification of OPCAT

The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) welcomes the government’s announcement last week to ratify Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).

ACMHN CEO, Adjunct Associate Professor Kim Ryan said that this is a long-awaited victory for human rights and that the College is keen to see improvements made to the treatment of people in mental health units, aged care, immigration detention facilities, prisons and juvenile detention centres.

The ACMHN’s decision to be a signatory to the Australia OPCAT Network demonstrates the College’s position in supporting the Network’s objectives to share information about OPCAT and the benefits of preventive monitoring and to promote OPCAT ratification and implementation in Australia.

“The government’s move to ratify the OPCAT will require Australia to create a process for independent inspections for all places of detention, as well as allowing periodic monitoring visits by the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture” said Ms Ryan.

“No matter the reason someone is detained, or where they are detained; everyone should be treated respectfully and their human rights must be upheld.”

Ms Ryan further commented that, “as a nation, we are just one more step along the way to ensure we uphold our international obligations.”

The College will continue its work independently and collaboratively with others to realise the implementation of OPCAT in Australia.

Media Enquiries:
Sharina Smith 02 6285 1078
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Media Release - 21 November 2017


Joint winners of the 2017 Australian Mental Health Prize


Last night Minister Greg Hunt announced the joint winners of the 2017 Australian Mental Health Prize.

The prize was first established by University of New South Wales, through its School of Psychiatry, by Scientia Professor Philip Mitchell, Head of the School of Psychiatry. The Prize recognises people who have made outstanding contributions to mental health.

Adjunct Associate Professor Kim Ryan, chief executive of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses who is the recipient of the award in 2016 said, “both winners have made a very significant contribution to the mental health of the community.” 

For 37 years, Janet Meagher has been championing the rights of people with mental illness, the whole time that she has been living with schizophrenia.

“Janet has always kept us honest about our conversations around mental health and reminds us that consumers are at the centre of all we do”, said Ms Ryan. 

Professor Allan Fels maybe well-known to many as the Chair of the National Mental Health Commission, however, his work in establishing The Haven Foundation deserves the same recognition.

The Haven Foundation is a specialist accommodation in South Yarra, Melbourne, which helps provide long-term affordable accommodation, support and care for people living with severe and persistent mental illness.

Allan’s daughter was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 25, which provides him with an insight to the gaps that exist in the delivery of mental health care services from a consumer and carer perspective.

Ms Ryan said, “I am thrilled for both Janet and Allan in receiving the 2017 Prize as they are both supremely worth of such recognition”.

“It was a wonderful evening and everyone was very pleased for them”.

The ACMHN would like to recognise all 2017 nominees who are very worthy recipients.

All nominees should be proud of all the positive contributions they are making to the lives of people living with mental illness.

Media Enquiries:
Sharina Smith 02 6285 1078
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Media Release - 25 October 2017

Nurses call for change in seclusion and restraint practices in Australia

A new groundbreaking research project funded by the National Mental Health Commission reveals that despite best practice techniques being available to reduce or eliminate seclusion and restraint, national system-wide implementation is inconsistent.

The project conducted by the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) and led by Professor Eimear Muir-Cochrane from Flinders University; found that clinical factors stand in the way of achieving a restraint-free environment.

“We examined nurse perceptions of barriers and enablers to eliminating seclusion and restraint use in psychiatric inpatient settings and emergency departments,” Professor Muir-Cochrane said.

“Inhibiting factors include insufficient resources; inadequate staffing levels and nurses being time poor and having high workloads. There are also concerns around safety and duty of care.

“I hope the report can be the driver towards a positive change. A collaborative effort from different parties will be required for change to occur,” she said.

Adjunct Associate Professor Kim Ryan, CEO of the ACMHN outlined other factors which are currently hindering a restraint-free environment.

“There are inadequate practice development opportunities for staff and limited or no education for families about alternatives; conflicts between staff approaches; and communication difficulties. 

“The improvements needed must include strong clinical leadership, trained and experienced staff, adequate staffing levels, the establishment of constructive staff-consumer rapport and good therapeutic relationships with a focus on trauma-informed, empathic care and team collaboration and cohesion. 

“To achieve meaningful reform to reduce and ultimately eliminate seclusion, we need shared ownership of a national approach that reaches beyond mental health services to emergency departments and other health providers, schools, the justice sector and police and ambulance services,” Ms Ryan said.

Dr Peggy Brown, CEO of the National Mental Health Commission said sustained attention is required to reduce the use of all forms of restraint within mental health services, including physical, mechanical and chemical restraint.

“It’s important to have a focus on national efforts to reduce the rates of seclusion and restraint, and in particular for vulnerable groups, such as children and adolescents,” Dr Brown said.

“We recommend the consumer and carer voice is central to all change strategies and we call for national agreement to uniform definitions, targets and reporting. We also need to ensure seclusion and restraint practices and interventions are monitored and reported and prioritised by the executive of health services,” she said.

The Commission suggests a change to reduce the use of restrictive practices by increasing the use of the ‘recovery approach’ to treatment and care in mental health services.

To read the Report Summary, please click here.

Media Enquiries:
Sharina Smith 02 6285 1078
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Media Release - 19 October 2017
Mental Health Nurses enhancing practice and optimising recovery at ACMHN 2017 Conference

The 43rd International Mental Health Nursing Conference has attracted over 400 delegates across Australia and internationally to come together in Hobart to discuss, debate and explore ways of ‘enhancing practice and optimising recovery.’

Adjunct Associate Professor Kim Ryan, CEO of Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) said that “it is inspiring to see many who are committed to improving the mental health of the community come together at this conference.”

This year we have seen highly politicised and scrutinised discussions taking place about numerous sensitive issues, such as marriage equality, refugee policy and deaths in mental health units, and the impacts these have on people’s mental health.

With the life expectancy for people who have serious mental illness can be up to 25 years lesser than the general population - mental health reform is happening around the world, and mental health nurses will be central to the changes. 

“Internationally, there is an increasing focus on primary care delivery, the management of chronic disease, and the life expectancy gap of people with serious mental illness, Australia is no different," Ms Ryan said.
Australia has unacceptable levels of Indigenous suicide, high suicide rates among men over 85, and an average of eight people committing suicide a day.

“To address these health statistics, we need to expand the roles and opportunities of mental health nurses and other nurses to enhance their practice around mental health so they can capably and confidently support consumer and carers on the road to recovery,” Ms Ryan said.

The ACMHN strongly advocates for a nursing workforce that is responsive to the mental health needs across healthcare settings, cultural groups, spectrum of illness and lifespan.

“This year’s International Conference in Hobart provides a platform for the mental health nursing profession to come together explore how we can listen to the latest research, explore new and innovative practice, debate and discuss how mental health nurses can be the change we want to see," said Ms Ryan.

At the Conference, ACMHN will be announcing the findings from a ground breaking research project funded by the National Mental Health Commission around seclusion and restraint practices in mental health settings.

Media Enquiries:
Sharina Smith 02 6285 1078
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Media Release - 27 September 2017

ACMHN calls for legislative change of marriage equality to promote better mental health

The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) calls for the inclusion of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) and promotes the positive mental health outcomes of the probable legislative change regarding same-sex marriage.

Despite growing support in the wider community, the ongoing debate about same-sex marriage has heightened discrimination towards people who are LGBTIQ.

ACMHN CEO, Adjunct Associate Professor Kim Ryan commented that the constant dispute, inaccurate claims and image portrayal of LGBTIQ people can have damaging effects and exacerbates the inappropriate treatment of people and families within this community.

“We already know prior to this debate that there is a disproportion of LGBTIQ people who are experiencing mental health issues compared to the wider population. Discrimination, isolation and mistruths further aggravate their mental health state”, said Ms Ryan.

Numerous international studies provide evidence that same-sex marriage has positive effects including a reduction in suicide attempts and confirm that children raised by same-sex couples lead happy and healthy lives.

The myths spread throughout this debate has caused distress to many, and it has the power to distort views, perpetuating the existing stigma and marginalisation.

Available for interview or comment ACMHN CEO, Adjunct Professor Kim Ryan

Media Enquiries:
Sharina Smith 02 6285 1078
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Media Release - 21 September 2017

ACMHN welcomes government funding announcement for people experiencing eating disorders

The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) welcomes the announcement by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt to improve access to treatment and support for more than 1 million Australians living with eating disorders.

The $3 million boost in funding is a commitment made by the government to support more than 75 percent Australians living with eating disorders who are currently not receiving required treatment.

ACMHN CEO Kim Ryan welcomes the funding announcement by the government and encourages every effort to prevent the severity and impact of eating disorders.

‘People experiencing an eating disorder needs to obtain a multi-disciplinary approach to care, taking into account both their mental and physical health needs. However, the availability of these services is limited, and funding mechanisms are not inclined to support this approach at the level of intensity required to achieve and sustain recovery’, Ms Ryan said.

The additional $1.2 million funding for a training program for healthcare workers like GPs and nurses reiterates ACMHN’s position that the fundamentals of a robust workforce through upskilling will help improve community access to the multidisciplinary service model that is considered to be the ‘gold star’ of eating disorder treatment.

The ACMHN has provided information to the Commonwealth Department of Health regarding treatment available to people experiencing eating disorders particularly for those diagnosed with anorexia, which carries the highest rate of suicide of all mental illnesses.

ACMHN welcomes opportunities to continue working with the government, Butterfly Foundation, National Eating Disorders Collaboration and mental health sector in pursuit of this goal.

Available for interview or comment ACMHN CEO, Adjunct Professor Kim Ryan

Media Enquiries:
Sharina Smith 02 6285 1078
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Media Release - 2 August 2017

ACMHN President Appointed Mental Health Commissioner

The National Mental Health Commission has announced the appointment of five new mental health commissioners.

The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) welcomed the appointments and is particularly proud to see Professor Wendy Cross, the President of ACMHN appointed.

Professor Wendy Cross has over 38 years of knowledge and experience in mental health and mental health nursing and holds a number of leadership positions within health and education.

CEO of ACMHN, Kim Ryan said that "this is the first time a mental health nurse has been appointed as a commissioner which is a significant acknowledgement of mental health nursing."

"I do not doubt that Professor Cross will make positive and meaningful contributions to the work of the Commission while being an excellent representative of the profession", Ms Ryan added.

After her appointment, Professor Cross said that "I would like to acknowledge and commend the work and leadership of the outgoing commissioners and I am honoured to be appointed. Mental health nurses across the profession are keen to contribute to the work of the NMHC to realise improvements in the lives of Australians and their families living with mental health problems and for the Australian community generally."

Congratulations are also offered to the other four new high-calibre commissioners, Dr Harvey Whiteford, Professor Ngaire Brown, Professor Helen Milroy and Mr Samuel Hockey for their appointments.

Available for interview or comment ACMHN CEO, Adjunct Professor Kim Ryan

Media Enquiries:
Sharina Smith 02 6285 1078
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Media Statement - 22 May 2017

ACMHN response to recent tragic deaths in mental health units

Last week we saw the reporting of some very unfortunate circumstances where people have lost their lives in mental health services. Incidents like these are not the result of one particular factor, but rather reflect the end point of many contributing factors such as service design, culture and practice, education and training among many other things.
CEO of the ACMHN Ms Kim Ryan says, “There is no excusing the confronting scenes we have been exposed to in the media last week. However, we need to ask if we really need another enquiry or do we need action?”

Ms Ryan emphasised the importance of all the Australian government to not only identify, but “appropriately respond to factors known to adversely impact on individuals, workplace systems and cultures, that are barriers to providing contemporary practice in mental health settings”.

Ms Ryan says that the ACMHN is focused on improving standards and quality of mental health service provision through the profession of mental health nursing and is prepared to assist wherever possible. “The College is currently conducting a project on seclusion and restraint, funded by the National Mental Health Commission, and we would welcome the opportunity to contribute findings and recommendations to the inquiries.”

Ms Ryan said that she believed that the current research would provide the National Mental Health Commission with vital information to help solve the missing piece of the puzzle. “If we reduce and eliminate restrictive practices such as seclusion and restraint, we need to better understand the factors that impact on and influence the decisions of frontline workers such as mental health nurses. Safety for consumers, nurses and others is a primary concern.”

The ACMHN will provide recommendations to the National Mental Health Commission later this year. “Given all we have seen and heard last week, we hope that the College can contribute in a practical way, to help the sector achieve its goals in reducing and eliminating restrictive practices in mental health settings.”

Available for interview or comment ACMHN CEO Adjunct Professor Kim Ryan

Media Enquiries:
Sharina Smith 02 6285 1078
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Media Statement - 10 May 2017

ACMHN's Response to Budget 2017-18


The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) welcomes the announcement of additional funding for mental health and public hospitals.

ACMHN CEO, Kim Ryan, welcomed the additional funding for mental health but expressed disappointment that the Budget fails to provide a clear vision for health workforce development. “Workforce development and a commitment to developing the nursing workforce, the largest health workforce in Australia is imperative if the Government’s objectives under its long-term plan for health are to be realised,” Kim stated after the announcement.

Key budget measures include:

* Psychosocial support: $80m in Commonwealth funding, requires state and territory Governments to match, bringing total funding to $160m.

* $34 million to expand mental health services for veterans; plus $10 million for veteran suicide prevention; and $9 million for the veterans’ counselling service.

* Improving telehealth for psychosocial services in regional areas - $9.1 million

* Suicide prevention and support programs in hotspots (locations where suicide repeatedly occurs) and funding for small infrastructure projects - $11.1 million

* Support for mental health research - $15 million

* $2.8b in additional funding to go to the states and territories for public hospitals

The College now calls on State and Territory governments to match the $80m commitment made by the Commonwealth for psychosocial services to ensure that people with mental illness who are not eligible for the NDIS, still have access these services.

The announcement that will see people experiencing drug addiction cut off from welfare under a three strike income management policy is of particular concern to the College.

Kim says the move is “a punitive measure that further stigmatises people experiencing drug addiction and fails to recognise that drug addiction is an illness requiring treatment.”


Available for interview or comment ACMHN CEO Adjunct Professor Kim Ryan

Media Enquiries:
Sharina Smith 02 6285 1078
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Media Statement - 8 December 2016

PM announces ACMHN CEO Kim Ryan as winner for inaugural Australian Mental Health Prize

Mental health nurse and Australian College of Mental Health Nurses CEO Kim Ryan has been selected as the inaugural winner of the Australian Mental Health Prize.

Announced by the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, at an event held at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) last night (7 December), Kim was selected by the Australian Mental Health Prize Advisory Group from seven outstanding finalists - Annette Baker, Betty Kitchener, Prof Ian Hickey, James Prasevic, Joe Williams and John Mendoza.

ACMHN President Wendy Cross says the Board, Staff and Members of the College are extremely proud of this significant recognition of Ms Ryan's commitment to the profession and to the many Australians who experience mental health concerns.

"Kim is passionate about and committed to improving mental health outcomes for Australians who experience mental health issues. We see this in the way she has managed the College to date and in the collaborative relationships she has established across nursing, mental health and the health sector more broadly" says Prof Wendy Cross. "As the first executive of the College, Kim has demonstrated great strength and vision, and has represented the profession of mental health nursing admirably and with unrelenting enthusiasm. I think it is safe to say we couldn't think of a better recipient of this inaugural prize and that we are extremely proud of her."

Kim Ryan, who lives in Canberra with her husband Bill, and attended the UNSW event with her family, was surprised but thrilled with the outcome of the event. "I'm incredibly honoured and completely overwhelmed to have won this prestigious prize. I am fortunate to work with some incredible people and I feel exceptionally proud to be representing the profession of mental health nursing. To have been selected from such a high calibre group of finalists is very humbling."

Ita Buttrose, Chair of the Australian Mental Health Prize Advisory Group said of Kim's selection, "Mental health nurses are often at the frontline when it comes to working with people who experience mental health conditions in the community. The Advisory Group were incredibly impressed with Kim's commitment to advancing the profession of mental health nursing, and her tireless work advocating on behalf of mental health nurses. Kim's work demonstrates the enormous difference that specially trained mental health nurses can make in the recovery of people with mental illness."

Scientia Prof Phillip Mitchell, Head of the University of New South Wales School of Psychiatry, commented "Reviewing the entries in the first Australian Mental Health Prize has confirmed that Australia's reputation as a world leader in many areas of mental health is well deserved. Kim Ryan's work is an outstanding example of Australian innovation in the field of mental health nursing and the positive power of professional collaboration."

In addition to the Prime Minister, Pru Goward MP, NSW Minister for Mental Health (representing NSW Premier Mike Baird) and Ita Buttrose, Chair of the Advisory Group spoke at the event. The event was also attended by a broad spectrum of people from the mental health sector, including politicians, academics, advocates and service providers. Members of the Advisory Group in attendance included Prof the Hon Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, Prof Patrick McGorry AO, Jack Heath (CEO of mental health charity SANE), Jessica Rowe AM, Sophie Scott, and UNSW Scientia Prof Henry Brodaty, and Prof Perminder Sachdev.

Adj. Assoc. Prof Kim Ryan used her prize acceptance speech to call for support and development of the mental health nursing workforce, and better training and mental health literacy for all nurses and midwives - both now, and into the future.

Media contacts:
Fleur Townley
Lanham PR
P 0405 278 758

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Media Statement - 14 November 2016

CEO Nominated for inaugural prize

The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses congratulates CEO Kim Ryan for being one of the seven finalist in the University of New South Wales, School of Psychiatry Inaugural Australian Mental Health Prize. The seven finalists were selected out of over 130 very deserving applications.

The UNSW Mental Health prize recognises Australians who have made an outstanding contribution to either promotion of mental health, or the prevention/treatment of mental illness.

‘I am very proud to be among this outstanding list of nominees, and wish everyone luck! It is such an honour to have been nominated - I am overwhelmed and I have to say surprised. For me, this is really about recognition of the fantastic work mental health nurses are doing on a daily basis across the country’ said Adj. Associate Professor Kim Ryan.

Professor Wendy Cross, President of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses said ‘We know Kim as absolutely indefatigable when it comes to advocating for better mental health care, it is great to see her acknowledged in such a way and we wish her luck.

‘There are over 300,000 nurses and midwives in Australia. Imagine what an impact we will have if we all work together to better recognise and provide mental health care to people who need it - across every health care setting, to people from all cultural backgrounds, all ages and across the illness spectrum; together we will improve the mental health care of the community’ Ms Ryan said.

The winner of this award will be announced at an award ceremony on the 7th December at the University of New South Wales.

Media contacts:
Kim Ryan, ACMHN CEO, 0417 289 189

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Media Statement - 24 October 2016

Over 300 Mental Health Nurses' come to Adelaide to Tackle Disparity in Health Care to achieve better Mental Health Care for all Australians - 25-27 October 2016

Hundreds of Mental Health Nurses from across Australia and overseas are travelling to Adelaide for the ACMHN 42nd Annual International Nursing Conference with the theme Striving to Tackle Disparity in Health Care.

The conference provides an opportunity to showcase innovative models of care, develop partnerships and opportunities for collaboration, discuss workforce and community design, and highlight educational programs that promote improved outcomes for consumers and their families.

There are many factors that impact on the health of Australians, disparity, across any aspect of life, results in poorer health and mental health outcomes for people. Nurses are the back bone of the health system and in 2014 there was an estimated 20,000 Mental Health Nurses and close to 350,000 nurses across Australia that is an incredible workforce working in all our communities.

Adjunct Associate Professor Kim Ryan CEO ACMHN says "Nurses across all areas of practice can play a vital role in ensuring all Australians have access to high quality nursing care. Nurses are underutilised and all governments need to meet and discuss with nurses how they can help to reduce the disparity in health care. There has been much media around the rising rates of suicide with people experiencing a mental illness and health professionals alike; and the stigma attached to Mental Health that perhaps stops people from all socio-economic situations seeking help."

South Australian Mental Health Commissioner Chris Burns, who will deliver the opening address at the Conference, paid tribute to the excellent work of mental health nurses who, with compassion and a practical attitude, place people with lived experience of mental illness at the centre of their work.

“Mental health nurses are the voice of people who at their most vulnerable and they create a safe environment so patients can eventually become empowered to make decisions that focus on recovery,” Commissioner Burns said.

The ACMHN has invited speakers and delegates to consider the many ways in which disparity impacts on mental health consumers and carers.

Adjunct Associate Professor Kim Ryan says “I look forward to the outcomes and discussions that eventuate from the 42nd International Nursing Conference and would like to thank the over 300 Mental Health Nurses who have traveled to Adelaide to join the discussion. Together by talking, sharing our stories and research we can make a difference and be heard to achieve better Mental Health Care for all Australians.”

The Opening Address will be delivered by the SA Mental Health Commissioner on 25 October at 9.00am Adelaide Convention Centre Hall M - Media are invited to attend.

Media Contact details:
Annie Frisch Communications ACMHN m: 0410 738 610
Joan Atkinson Communications SA Mental Health Commission m: 0422 916 496

11 October 2016

MEDIA STATEMENT - PM Announces $1.5 million funding to Australian College of Mental Health Nurses


The Australian College of Nursing hosted breakfast at Parliament House this morning where Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull launched the white paper Nurses are Essential in Health and Aged Care Reform and acknowledged the important role nurses play in the delivery of health care.

“Today’s launch will highlight that the voice of the nursing profession cannot be ignored in the health and aged care reform agenda.” said Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN, CEO of the Australian College of Nursing.

The Prime Minister took the opportunity to announce funding for the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses of 1.5 million dollars for ACMHN’s workforce initiatives and acknowledged that mental health nurses are crucial to mental health reforms.

CEO ACMHN Adjunct Associate Professor Kim Ryan welcomed the announcement “I am very pleased to see our Government investing in mental health nursing, this will in turn help to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues and provide better mental health care to the community.”

The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses looks forward to working with the Turnbull Government to strengthen the mental health system, and further support the great work of mental health nurses.

Available for interview or comment ACMHN CEO Adjunct Professor Kim Ryan

Media Enquiries Annie 0410 738 610

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The Mental Health Professionals’ Association is echoing the sentiments of the Australian public’s outrage to the footage obtained by the ABC’s Four Corners program at the treatment of young people at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in Darwin.

As the prominent mental health peak bodies we are offering our full support to the Territory and Federal Governments to assist in developing strategies to improve mental health care and outcomes.

MHPA has serious concerns over the likely mental health impacts that will be experienced in the longer term as a result of such treatment, and welcomes the immediate actions of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and NT Chief Minister Adam Giles in calling for the establishment of a joint Royal Commission into Northern Territory juvenile detention.

The footage, as disturbing as it is, demonstrates how vital it is to set up systems that provide education, better understanding, training and support for mental health needs. This is the time to look to our new Government to invest in mental health to support those in care and the carers, not only our youth in detention centres but in our Communities.

The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN), the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP), the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), and the Australian Psychological Society (APS) have offered, and continue to offer, advice and support to our new Government in strengthening our Mental Health system of care. 

ACMHN Kim Ryan - Member of the Mental Health Professionals’ Association is available for comment.

Media contact: Annie 0410 738 610

Released 28 July 2016


MEDIA RELEASE - Workforce announcement a welcome investment in the mental health system

Kim Ryan CEO of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) welcomed the election announcement by the Liberal party to fund mental health nursing workforce initiatives saying it will improve the mental health and well-being of all Australians.

‘An important strategy in improving the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians will be developing and sustaining a nursing workforce that is responsive to the mental health needs of the community – across all clinical settings, all cultural groups, across the spectrum of illness and over the lifespan’.

The ACMHN five key election issues included a call for all candidates and parties to support funding nurse workforce initiatives that:

  • Provide a nursing workforce response to the mental health needs of Australians, across the spectrum of health and all clinical settings.
  • Improve the mental health knowledge and clinical skill of all nurses, especially general practice nurses, emergency nurses, chronic disease nurses and alcohol & other drug nurses.
  • Support and promote a more sustainable and flexible mental health nursing workforce.
  • Improve the mental health literacy of all nurses, beginning at undergraduate level.

‘We are very pleased to see that the Liberal party has recognised the need to invest in a nursing solution to Australia’s mental health needs’.

‘Mental health nursing has been identified as experiencing existing and predicted future workforce shortages of significant magnitude. If we don’t support nurses, this will have a significant impact not just the mental health system, but the overall health system’, Ms Ryan said.

‘The ACMHN’s wants to see a mental health and health system which provides all people with quality care. We look forward to working with the next Government to achieve this’.

27 June 2016

Media contacts:
Kim Ryan, ACMHN CEO, 0417 289 189
Amanda Bresnan, ACMHN 0417 193 407


MEDIA RELEASE - Don’t ignore the mental health needs of the Australian community – listen to, support and fund our nursing workforce

The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) launched its election campaign calling on all parties and candidates to commit to five key issues and to listen to, support and fund the nursing workforce. 

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MEDIA RELEASE – International Nurses Day – Nurses a force for change across the mental health system, a timely election reminder

Kim Ryan, CEO, Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) reminded all parties standing in the federal election that on International Nurses Day the theme of ‘nurses a force for change’ was never more relevant to them achieving their health and mental health promises.

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MEDIA RELEASE: ACMHN congratulates ACU for taking the lead in mental health nursing education

The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) congratulates the Australian Catholic University (ACU) for becoming the first to achieve National Framework Accreditation for their Master of Mental Health (Nursing) program.

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Kim discusses the program with Nursing Review -


The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses is a signatory to this letter to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop calling on the Australian Government to ratify the OPCAT.

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MEDIA RELEASE: Nurses play a key role in mental health reform
The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) is keen to work with the Government and Primary Health Networks on the roll out of the mental health reform package outlined by the Federal Health Minister.

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ACMHN has joined with a number of key stakeholders from the Australian health sector to call on the Prime Minister to release children and families from detention centres, and improve living conditions.

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MEDIA RELEASE : Collaborative and caring professional wins Mental Health Nurse of the Year 2015
The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) has named Canberra nurse, Bill Bailey, Mental Health Nurse of the Year, and awarded Francis Acquah of Melbourne the Mental Health Nurse Achievement Award.

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Bill's interview with the Nursing Review is available on their website at - you will need to sign-up for access.


Dear First Ministers, We are writing to implore you, the leaders of the states and territories and the Commonwealth of Australia, to urgently work together to reform our nation's failing mental health system.

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MEDIA RELEASE: Backbone of the healthcare system not included in ERG
The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses is amazed that the largest part of the healthcare workforce have been left off the Expert Reference Group advising the Commonwealth Government on its response to the National Mental Health Commission's recent Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services.

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JOINT MEDIA STATEMENT: Australia's health groups call for Australian Border Force Act to be amended
Australia's peak health professional bodies are voicing collective concern about the appalling secrecy provisions in the Australian Border Force Act 2015 which threaten jail for up to two years for health and medical professional who disclose information about the conditions in immigration Detention Centres.

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Media release: Mental Health Nursing guru to talk Safewards at international nursing Conference, 7 October 2014

Media release: Tireless and consumer-focused professional wins Mental Health Nurse of the Year 2014, 6 October 2014

Media release: Riding to raise awareness of Schizophrenia, 5 February 2014



Media release: Expert advice on asylum seeker health is crucial, 17 December 2013

Media release: Blanket decision to lock mental health units a draconian step backwards, 12 December 2013

Media release: Vital chronic disease and mental health eLearning resources launched, 23 October 2013

Media release: Trip to mental health nurse saves life, 22 October 2013

Media release: Dedicated professional wins Mental Health Nurse of the Year 2013, 21 October 2013

Media release: Eating disorders plan an important step, 17 September 2013

Media release: Mental health on the agenda, but no mention of the MHNIP, 6 September 2013

Media release: $210m for mental health nurse services welcome, 27 August 2013

Media release: Resettlement in Papual New Guinea is not the answer, 14 August 2013

Media release: Queensland Government stuffing their pockets while drastically cutting health services, 10 July 2013

Media release: Nurses and Midwives will be hardest hit by proposed cap on education deductions, 9 July 2013

Media release: Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program receives modest increase to funding, 14 May 2013

Media release: Mental health of those in immigration detention needs to be protected, 9 April 2013

Media release: Minister must act on Nauru conditions, 8 February 2013



Media release: Report on eating disorders highlights need for more support, 13 December 2012

Media release: Nurse practitioners leading the way, 11 October 2012

Media release: Consumers key to Partnerships in Wellbeing Awards 2012, 4 October 2012

Media release: Enthusiastic professional wins Mental Health Nurse of the Year 2012, 4 October 2012

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Media release: Doctor's suspension highlights greater need for mental health nurses, 11 August 2012

Media release: Government can't provide reason for freezing funding to vital mental health nursing program, 21 May 2012

Media release: Government delivers a slap in the face for nurses in International Nurses Week, 12 May 2012

Media release Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program funding frozen, 11 May 2012

Media release: Department refuses to release vital mental health details, 28 February 2012



Media release: Detention centres admit they cannot provide proper mental health care, 9 November 2011

Joint Media Release: Leading health organisations demand immediate action on mental health standards in immigration detention, 1 November 2011

Media Release: Partnerships in Wellbeing Awards 2011, 7 October 2011

Kim Ryan comments ABC News: Nurses talk mental heath services, 6 October 2011

Media Release: Committed and dedicated professional wins Mental Health Nurse of the Year 2011, 6 October 2011

Media Release: International Conference highlights the changing roles of Mental Health Nurses, 5 October 2011

Joint Media Release: Government must investigate the standard of mental health care in detention centres, 5 October 2011

Joint Media Release: Detention centres failing to meet minimum standards of mental health care, experts say, 29 August 2011

Media Release: Detention Centre sacking outrageous, 18 August 2011 

Media Release: Mental health costs of detention are too high, experts say, 18 August 2011

Media Release: Mental health nurses the solution to improve services for people with complex mental illness, 26 May 2011

Budget analysis: of the mental health package announced in the Federal Budget, 13 May 2011

Media Release: Mental Health Nurses applaud well-balanced investment in mental health, 11 May 2011

Media Release: Mental Health Care Dependent on Diagnosis, 17 March 2011



Media Release: Urgent action needed to treat depression in cancer patients, 25 October 2010

Media Release and Survey Summary:Building mental health workforce vital to accessing care, 10 October 2010

Media Release: Minister for Mental Health a promising start, 13 September 2010

Media Release: Deborah Nelson Mental Health Nurse of the Year 2010,  31 August 2010

Mental Health Connect: Nurses speak out about mental health, 31 August 2010

Kim Ryan on ABC News Hobart Nurses call for mental health focus, 30 August 2010

Kim Ryan ABC Radio with Joel Rheinberger, 30 August 2010

Media Release: Standards ensure quality care for people with mental health issues, 30 August 2010

Media Release: Mental Health Nurses – rowing with a team or paddling alone?, 30 August 2010

Media Release: Mental Health Nurses frustrated with mental health system. 10 August 2010

ACMHN 2010 Election Statement, 10 August 2010

Media Release: Opposition investment in mental health will have winners and losers, July 2010

Media Release: Gillard appointed as Prime Minister, 24 June 2010

University News: A catalyst for action, 24 June 2010

Australian Nursing Journal: Mental health: everyone's business, 1 June 2010

AGPN Primary Mental Health Care Conference Melbourne, 24 May 2010

APNA Conference: What do they do? the role of MHNs in general practice, May 2010

Media Release: Letter to the Prime Minister, 29 April 2010

Media Release: Mental Health Nurses: The Front Line of Mental Health Reform, 21 April 2010 Remember us, we're called nurses! 19 April 2010

Witness to Senate Committee Hearing on Suicide, 1 March 2010

Kim Ryan ABC News Nurses call for improved eating disorder treatment, 16 Feb 2010

NCAH Newsletter: Mental health nursing remains a vexing issue, 12 Feb 2010



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