Mental health reform is happening 

The Australian Government has made a number of announcements about the future of mental health services. The College is actively engaging with the Department of Health, the Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and other key stakeholders to ensure that the voices of mental health nurses are heard in this process, and that we are involved the decisions relevant to our members.

Reform is also happening across the health system in the management of chronic disease and alcohol and other drugs. We are working to involve mental health nurses in the discussions that are relevant to our role.

Below you will find a summary of the key documents regarding mental health reform, updates from the College, and comments from other organisations. If you have any questions about our work on these issues please contact our Policy and Stakeholder Engagement Manager Alexandra Anderson on 02 6285 1078 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. You can also keep up to date by signing up to the Primary Mental Health Care Special Interest Group and eList.

Release of Guidance Document for the Primary Health Networks on Commissioning Mental Health Nursing Services

The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses have been working in collaboration with the Department of Health to develop a Guidance document for the Primary Health Networks (PHNs) on the commissioning of mental health nursing services in primary care.

The document has now been finalised and is now available for your information and to support the Primary health Networks with their commissioning of mental health nursing services. We encourage you to circulate the Guidance document to your colleagues, employers and contacts at your PHN who may also find this reference useful.

We hope you find the document helpful and we encourage you to contact our Policy and Stakeholder Engagement Manager, Alexandra Anderson, who is happy to be contacted should you wish to discuss anything further.

Relevant documents and resources:

Department of Health information on MHNIP including claim forms and guidelines from 1 May - 30 June 2016.

Department of Health PHN Circulars -

Contributing Lives, Thriving Communities - Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services -,-thriving-communities-review-of-mental-health-programmes-and-services.aspx

Government Response to Contributing Lives, Thriving Communities

Department of Health Factsheet on the Government Response -

Ministerial Press Release on Mental Health Reform - 

A Healthier Medicare for chronically-ill patients - Press Release from the Prime Minister and Health Minister - 

Primary Health Care Advisory Group Report: Better Outcomes for people with Chronic and Complex Health Conditions -

Ministerial Press Release on Ice, Alcohol and Other Drugs -

PHN information, news and contacts -

Australian Health Care Reform Alliance Health Reform Summary March 2016

Updates from the College: 


5 July and 11 July 2016 – Update to the Primary Mental Health e-list and Tuesday Times - Reminder regarding MHNIP session payments for June to be submitted by 15 July

Reminders provided that claims for MHNIP sessions up to 30 June 2016 must be submitted to the Department of Health by 15 July or claims won’t be paid. The letter sent to EOs was also provided and MHNIP letter can be accessed here


17 June 2016 - Update to the Primary Mental Health e-list and 21 June Tuesday Times – MHNIP payments from the Department of Health

The ACMHN have been advised by a number of Credentialed Mental Health Nurses (CMHN) working in the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program (MHNIP) that there has been a delay in processing and receiving payments for sessions submitted to the Department of Health.

The ACMHN have spoken to the Department of Health so we could advise people on what the situation is.

The Department of Health have advised that there were delays in finalising their payment system but that they expect payments will go out this week (week beginning 20 June 2016). They also told us to advise that the payments will essentially be batched so that all payments can go out quickly and be received next week.

The Department of Health are also trying to follow-up as quickly as possible any issues that may have related to payments submitted to DHS prior to the changes, but were not processed by DHS. They will call any CMHN directly where this is the case, and likewise for any similar problems for payments submitted to Department of Health.

They have assured is they are processing as fast as possible as we know the problems this causes for people. 

31 May 2016 – Update from Kim Ryan, CEO ACMHN on meeting with the Department of Health

Just a couple of points. It is very clear that the arrangements through the PHN’s are all different some things seem to be going well for some and others still seem confused and not totally clear on what the end game is here, keeping services to the consumer.

The 6% is the percentage taken off the total funding provided to the PHN for the MHN services (MHNIP) to cover the operational costs it was not clear until yesterday to me that the 6% is out of the MHNIP money. They are being told to ensure the consumers continue to get CMHN services. There has been an underspend, and they have told them they can use other funds if needed to keep services to the consumers. If there are 10 clients in the PHN that is receiving CMHN services then 10 clients need to get MHN Services. The DOH assure us there is enough funding to maintain services. I know it is confusing and I know it is hard to make sense of and obviously in some PHN’s it seems to be more difficult.

There are 31 PHNs and in all reality each PHN will determine their own commissioning and contracting process. There will no longer be sessional payments and in many instances. In some PHN’s the nurses have sorted out what arrangements they will have with the PHNs others haven’t and in some instances may still need to work with the PHN to sort it out, a bit like back in the beginning when people had to sort it out with the EOs. People seem to be coming up with many different ways to sort this out.

We have developed a document – which is currently with the Department for approval – which will provide guidance to PHNs on commissioning CMHN. We will also prepare alongside this a document for CMHN providing advice on how CMHN can work with PHNs.

People should not be holding up signing contracts as their PHN is likely to have different arrangements to another person’s or PHNs. We will not have clear answers on payments as each PHN may be different. There is communication occurring between the PHNs through forums such as the AHHA and the PHN alliances, and more formally through Department convened PHN CEO meetings, and these sorts of issues will be discussed. However this is a moving feast and there are some things that neither us, the Department or the PHNs will be able to give you an answer to at the moment.

The changes occurring are big and it is going to be ‘messy’. We are doing as much as we can to raise with the Department any significant issues effecting the ability of people to continue services and at time just seeking further info and they have given us an undertaking that they will deal with each case and PHN. I am continuing to go to as many PHN meetings as I can to talk MHNIP, CMHN and PHN’s, off to the Gold Coast on Thursday.

I know some of you are very anxious and I know some of you are very excited about the opportunities ahead. We will keep you informed, send us an email or call, we are in regular discussion with the DOH and we can raise issues as they arise. We will ask the DOH to try and progress the commission documents as fast as they can. Some of you who have made arrangements and are happy maybe share your experiences they might assist someone else to sort out theirs.

Thanks to you all for working with us to keep the undisputed important CMHN’s services to the consumers, we don’t want this to go backward but steam ahead.


30 May 2016 - Update from Kim Ryan, CEO ACMHN on meeting with the Department of Health

As Amanda let you know, we met with Natasha Cole, First Assistant Secretary, Health Services today – who is managing the mental health funding transition to the PHNs.

We gave examples to the Department where inconsistent information is being given from PHNs to nurses – in terms of what the Department have communicated. We also raised our concerns, again, that you can’t give a PHN the same amount of funding and expect them to do more.

The Department said that 6% has been taken out of PHNs existing MHNIP budgets for operational costs, however the Department believe there is an adequate amount of funding to keep providing existing service or session levels. They said there was an under-spend.

They said they have explained to all PHN CEOs that the 6% is an administration fee and should not affect their service levels – as they have the same amount of sessions being given to them that they were already using. That is, the budgets they have been given for MHNIP reflects what they were already using. The Department also said those PHNs that are saying the 6% means there will be a reduction in service will be told they need to provide the same level of service.

We will be providing the cases nurses have reported to us to the Department, along with name of the relevant PHN, and the Department have given us an undertaking they will speak to these PHNs and address any problems that are occurring.

If nurses do have any cases or examples of problems occurring, as we have said before, please do bring them to us – if you haven’t already - and we will speak to the Department. You can also contact the Department directly if you’d prefer.

Regarding claiming for sessions from 1 July, the department also said they have told the PHNs that they should be working on this now – they have said this needs to be done and communicated well before end of June 2016. If your PHN hasn’t been in touch with you or the EO you work through, please let us or the Department know.

As I said if you have any issues please let us know as we will continue to meet with DOH on a regular basis.


30 May 2016 – Department of Health Claiming Process – Q&A from the Department of Health

The Department of Health provided the ACMHN with a Q&A on the Department of Health claiming process for MHNIP up until end of June 2016.

Download document


4 May 2016 - ACMHN Budget update

The one certain thing we can say about this budget that it is very much an election budget – no great new initiatives or spending announcements, and much that we already knew was happening. It’s probably safe to say the spending initiatives will be announce in the coming weeks as a part of the election campaign, which is likely called at the end this week.

Initiatives which had already been announced in the transfer of mental health program funding to the PHNs and the Health Care Homes to coordinated chronic disease were ‘re-announced’. They are now in the budget as measures the government must report against. There is no specific mention of any of the programs, such as MHNIP. There does appear to be a change or reduction in funding in 2019-20, and we are seeking some explanations on this.

There is about $21.3million for the trial of Health Care Homes – there is no detail as yet about how these will work or what role mental health will have in this new initiative. We would assume, given the significant rates of mental illness and other chronic illness that there will have to be a role, but as I have said, very limited details about how this will work.

There is some funding for a new mental health digital gateway which the government has said will aim to streamline access to existing information, advice and digital mental health treatment and include a centralised telephone and web portal. The government has been implementing this in aged care, where there have been some teething problems, so it will be very interesting to see how this progresses.

The other new money which relates to mental health is $40million for veteran’s health and suicide prevention. I have included this link as the veterans’ health funding is not through health but the Department of Veteran’s Affairs

There is $800,000 for an online service for perinatal depression, which, however welcome, does not match the funding taken out of such services a few years ago. There is also $10.5 million from 2016 to 2020 to address Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

There are savings predicted through the Medical Benefits Scheme (MBS) review to amend or remove some items. I know mental health nurses continue to raise the issue of not being included in Better Access or being able to access some Medicare item numbers. The ACMHN has raised this on a number of occasions including in our most recent Federal Pre-Budget submission (link below). However given the move to reduce MBS items and the cashing out trails for Better Access, this is a fight we unfortunately are unlikely to win.

There is reference to the Rural General Practice Grants Program, where grants are provided to rural general practices to build infrastructure, increase levels of training and teaching and more opportunities to inform rural communities about healthy living. The grants of up to $300,000 from the government must be matched by the practice. It now states that patients will have access to GP’s allied health professionals, Aboriginal health practitioners and nursing practitioners (I can’t tell if they mean practicing nurses or nurse practitioners) with increased levels of teaching and training.

The comment I have made is that it’s not a very humanitarian budget. We are again seeing people on the Disability Support pension (DSP) targeted, which impacts on the people we care for as mental health nurses. Over the next 3 years up to 90,000 DSP recipients will have their DSP eligibility reviewed for their capacity to work. We know a significant number of these people will be people living with a mental illness, and it is seems to be an issue which comes up before an election.

There are also proposed changes to university fees in a discussion paper accompanying the budget, which include:

  • Increasing student fees but with limits on how much can be charged; 
  • Allowing universities to set their own fees for some elite courses; 
  • Requiring students to pay back their loans faster after graduating;
  • Recovering HECS debts from deceased estates; and
  • Retaining a 20 per cent cut to university course funding.

These are just points raised in a discussion paper not in the budget, however any such changes will have an impact on people making a decision about what they study and impact on people on lower incomes. This impacts all of us in the health professions, particularly attracting students to study and in particularly undertaking post-graduate studies. This links to comment from Universities Australia.

If there is any other news or updates we will provide them to you. There is a useful summary of the health budget on The Conversation which I have included a link to below.

Will keep you posted.


7 April 2016 - Excerpt from Kim's CEO Update

The Mental Health Reform agenda continues to change. We are continuing to meet with the Primary Health Networks (PHNs) to discuss the role of mental health nurses and the work they have been undertaking through the MHNIP.

The Department of Health’s Mental Health Reform Stakeholder Group has now met twice to provide advice and feedback on the guidance documents being provided to the PHNs. It is envisaged that this group will continue to meet over the course of this year.

The group will be charged with providing input into the governance advice being developed for the PHNs. There continues to be more that we don’t know than what we do know. We are working with the Department of Health, the PHNs, and a small working group of MHNIP nurses to develop models of MHNIP that could work in the new PHN structures. We have developed a section the website to keep you all updated on the Mental Health Reforms at

3 March 2016 - Update included in Tuesday Times 
Mental health and the PHNs - an update from the Department

The Department of Health has provided an update to the PHNs regarding the implementation of the mental health reforms. The update includes information about:

  • Needs assessment and planning
  • Approach to mental health needs assessment and planning.
    • 2015-16 Requirements 
    • Mental Health Needs Assessment
  • Regional operational Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan
  • 2016-17 Requirements 
    • Mental Health Needs Assessment
    • Mental Health Activity Work Plan
    • Regional Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan – developed with LHNs and other stakeholders
  • Update on other developments in mental health

For the full update visit:

1 March 2016 – Update sent to the Primary Health Care email list regarding the Mental Health Reform Stakeholder Group meeting

The below information was included for this update:

Kim Ryan attended the Mental Health Reform Stakeholder Group meeting on 22 February. Out of the meeting, the Department of Health has provided the below information to update the sector and this link to information presented on the day. 

Since the Government’s Response to the Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services was announced on 26 November 2015, implementation arrangements have progressed across key elements of the Government’s reform package.

  • Importantly, funded organisations were provided with advice in December 2015 about funding arrangements to apply to their projects from 1 July 2016. This includes Mental Health Nurse Incentive Programme, Partners in Recovery (refer below and attached), Day to Day Living, Mental Health in Rural and Remote Areas, Access to Allied Psychological Services, Suicide Prevention, headspace and the Early Psychosis Programme.
  • There will be a period of transition as existing funding arrangements between the Department and organisations are replaced by commissioning arrangements through PHNs. The Department is talking directly with affected organisations and PHNs to support effective transition arrangements. 
  • Effort is focusing on the priorities for 2016-17 implementation, including the expanded role for PHNs, programme transition arrangements, development of new suicide prevention arrangements and child and youth arrangements.
  • The level of funding flexibility from 1 July 2016 will vary across programme areas and in general this move will occur gradually, with many arrangements for delivery of services remaining effectively unchanged in 2016-17. A phased implementation approach over the next three years is being used to implement the more complex aspects of the reform package, including clinical care coordination packages for severe and complex mental illness.
  • A package of detailed guidance material is being developed to assist PHNs in the successful delivery of system change reforms. The guidance material is intended to support the delivery of key mental health objectives while allowing for flexibility and innovation. It is anticipated the detailed guidance package will be provided to PHNs in late March 2016.

To further support implementation of the reform package, a Mental Health Reform Stakeholder Group has been established to support sector engagement, inform implementation issues and enable feedback to the Department and PHNs. The Group has discussed the importance not only of providing detailed guidance to PHNs, but also of ensuring information flows over time to the broader non government sector about reforms, and to support mental health professionals as partners in implementation of the reform process. 

PHN lead sites are also being established to trial more complex aspects of the stepped care approach and to inform broader roll out in later years. An Expression of Interest process has been undertaken to select the lead sites and applications are currently being assessed. Selection of sites will aim to provide coverage across multiple jurisdictions and across metropolitan and rural areas, and enable development of: severe packages of care (including for youth); low intensity service models; and innovative models of stepped care.

Extension of the Partners in Recovery programme

The PIR programme has been extended for up to three years to support the transition of programme funding to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). National rollout of the NDIS commences from 1 July 2016, with full rollout to be achieved by 2019-20.

The extension will ensure service continuity for programme clients until NDIS rollout is completed in each jurisdiction. Funding arrangements will take into account the timeframes for transition of eligible clients to the NDIS and implementation of continuity of support arrangements for clients found not eligible for the NDIS.

The Department will work closely with organisations to support ongoing service delivery and the transition of programme clients to the new arrangements.

  • PIR funded organisations will continue to be block funded by the department through the transition. Programme contributions to the NDIS will be ‘in-kind’ during this time.
  • Each PIR funded organisation will support the transition of eligible programme clients to the NDIS in line with the transition schedule for their jurisdiction.
  • PIR Organisations will continue cross-sector collaboration to improve the service system for people with severe and persistent mental illness with complex, multi-agency needs.
  • System reform and capacity building activities will take into account the Australian Government response to the national review of mental health programmes and services and NDIS rollout.
  • Existing PIR boundaries will be maintained during NDIS transition. 

Further information on the funding extension process will be provided to PIR Organisations, together with programme guidelines for the transition period, in March 2016.

23 February 2016 - Update included in Tuesday Times
MHNIP Guidelines

The Federal Government's mental health reforms will create change for the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program (MHNIP). The Deparment of Human Services has updated the MHNIP Guidelines page with the latest information about the process.

You can access the information on the Department's website at

Last week the Department of Health also issued an update on MHNIP. You can access the update online at

22 February 2016 – Update sent to the Primary Mental Health Care email list with information from the Department of Health on how the mental health reforms through PHNs will apply to MHNIP
This document was ciruclated.

10 February 2016 – Update from Kim Ryan, ACMHN CEO in CEO Update on mental health reforms
The update notes the following key points:

A very productive and positive meeting was held with Health Minister Sussan Ley’s Adviser on mental health. The adviser was very supportive of the Mental Health Nurse Incentive program (MHNIP) and the role of mental health nurses more generally. The meeting included a discussion that mental health nurses would be supportive of much more flexibility about what they can do under MHNIP and for them not to be limited to what the guidelines currently say, particularly where it related to their scope of practice. We know mental health nurses can do much more than the guidelines indicate at the moment.

It was clear from the meeting that the Government intends to have a completely flexible approach to the funding once it transitions to the flexible funding pool. The pool will be managed by the Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and is estimated to amount to $370m in 2017/2018. It is still unclear how this will all work and what the commissioning process for MHNIP will look like.

Meetings have been held with a number of PHNs to discuss how the commissioning may work, and to inform them of how MHNIP works. Some of them, such as the NT, don’t have MHNIP at present so it’s important to fill them in. We are meeting with as many PHNs as possible.

For more information about the mental health reforms visit

Meeting held with the Mental Health Services Branch of the Commonwealth Department of Health. We raised and sought clarification around a number of issues including MHNIP and the mental health reforms.

We let them know that there has been a great deal of discussion between the mental health nurses currently working in MHNIP about how the reforms are going to affect their work and the clients. It was noted that the Department is very keen to work with the ACMHN on the reform process for MHNIP, and asked us to pass them information and issues which come up through discussions with the PHN and the MHNs. We offered to develop guidelines on how MHNIP might work in the new commissioning role of the PHNs and they agreed this would be helpful.

The Department has written to all PHNs providing the contacts for MHNIP providers, and mental health nurses were encouraged to contact the PHN in their area. From discussions with the PHNs it was clear that they would be very happy to meet MHNs in their area.

In line with the mental health reforms the Commonwealth Government is establishing a Mental Health Reform Stakeholder Group. I have very little information around the role or activities of the group at the moment, but the first meeting will take place on 22 February 2016. Usually these are confidential groups, but I will keep you all informed as best I can.


3 February 2016 – Update from Kym Ryan, ACMHN CEO to Primary Mental Health Care email list on the mental health flexible funding pool with PHNs
The update notes the following key points:

  • The Department of Health is still working through the changes
  • The flexible funding pool means that the funds associated with a number a program such as MHNIP, ATAPS, Support for Day-to-Day Living in the Community, Headspace, Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs), Mental Health Services in Rural and Remote Areas (MHSRRA) will all be rolled in to one pool for the PHN to use as they have determined through their scoping of what the local community needs are.
  • The PHN will be able to commission services from who is available and can provide a service they are looking for, and MHNIP as it now exists may not continue in that format for the future including that PHNs may be able to commission services from a variety of people, and eligibable organisations as we know them now might not be required
  • May need to consider how mental health nurses can get together in a consortia type arrangement, as it might be difficult for a PHN to commission from every individual nurse working in MHNIP.
  • The Department of Health are working to achieve a more equitable distribution of MHNIP funding across the PHNs so that PHNs across the country can include mental health nurse services.
  • The estimated Flexible Funding Pool in 2017-18 is $370m
  • Some PHN are currently looking at how they can provide MHNIP we have already spoken with the NT who want to provide MHN service but currently don’t because they haven’t had a nurse and are considering how it might work in a remote area.
  • It is our continued goal to meet with the PHN’s and highlight the work of mental health nurses and we will continue to work with the Department of Health to look at how this will work in the future for PHN’s, mental health nurses and the community.
  • This link outlines the time frames -


2 February 2016 – Update from Kim Ryan, ACMHN CEO to Primary Mental Health Care email list on meeting with the Department of Health
As I indicated earlier in the week Amanda and I met with Department of Health today, the Mental Health Services Branch. We raised and sort clarification around a number of issues around MHNIP as well as the Mental Health Reforms.

We let them know that there has been a great deal of discussion between the mental health nurses currently working in MHNIP about how the reforms are going to affect their work and the clients they work with. Firstly, I can let you know that the Department are very keen to work with the ACMHN on the reform process for MHNIP, including for us to pass on to them information and issues which come up through the process. They are also seeking our advice on developing the guidance that will go to PHNs about the changes and how mental health nursing working in primary care and commissioning through the PHN’s will look in the future. I will be giving more thought about that and will indeed seek advice as we go along.

There are still many details being worked through including around the guidance that will be provided to PHNs and the support that will be provided to them, but we have been assured that the Department is in regular contact with PHNs, including fortnightly meetings, and that they will be working with the PHNs through the whole transition process, particularly those that are less experienced or in a more difficult position. Some of the PHN’s we have spoken to are clearly more organised and mature than others and this is probably because some were Medicare locals.

It was confirmed that the timeframe for the flexible pool to start is 2017-18, but that they expect the transition will be an incremental process and they want to ensure the process is done properly. As for now the guidelines for MHNIP haven’t changed and they are aware that some PHN’s are commissioning services directly from nurses and while that isn’t really the intention in the future they understand that that is what will happen during the transition phase.

The Department has written to all PHNs providing the contacts for MHNIP providers, so again we would encourage you to contact the PHN in your area as this letter will give them a further prompt. As I have said before, we see this reform process as an opportunity to direct PHNs and the Department as to how we think MHNIP should work and encourage PHNs who do not have mental health nurses in their area to see what an essential service this is. They once again reinforced that they want mental health nursing services more broadly spread across the country and in places where there are no services like the NT.

I think they are looking at a loosening of guidelines and provide greater opportunities for nurses, but we shall see.

The Department have said they will provide information and updates to the ACMHN, and we have said we will also do the same for them. One of the good things about this reform process is it seems that everyone involved is willing to work together to make these changes work, and we will be doing the same. I think the DOH need our help which of course we are happy to provide.

We want to work closely with the DOH to take full advantage of opportunities for nurses to work across many other areas and to their full scope of practice.

All in all I felt it was a very positive meeting

Please keep in touch as any issues emerge let us know so we can feedback to the DOH.


20 January 2016 – Update from Kim Ryan, CEO ACMHN to the Primary Health email list providing an update on the mental health reforms
To give you a quick update on the mental health reforms, on 19 January Amanda and I met with Minister Sussan Ley’s adviser on mental health. It was a very positive and productive meeting - he was very supportive of the MHNIP and the role of mental health nurses more generally. As I’ve mentioned in previous CEO Updates, I have also started meeting with PHNs across the country.

It was clear from the meeting with the Minister’s adviser that the intent of the Government is to have a completely flexible approach to the funding once it transitions to the flexible funding pool. This would essentially mean that PHNs establish their own processes of commissioning services. It is unclear, however, how the transition to the flexible pool will occur and the exact timeframe for this. There is an acknowledgement that there will need to be some level of guidance for PHNs through this transition, and we have agreed to work with the Government to look at what those transition arrangements might be for MHNIP.

Currently the PHNs are funded to continue with the MHNIP through a commissioning model – what this looks like is not exactly clear. I know from some of you that some MHNs have already made arrangements with the PHNs for MHNIP services.

There is strong support for mental health nurses and MHNIP from the Minister’s office, and for providing opportunities to look at different ways mental health nurses may be able to work with PHNs. I mentioned to Minister Ley’s adviser that mental health nurses would be supportive of much more flexibility about what they can do under MHNIP and for them not to be limited to what the guidelines currently say, particularly where it related to their scope of practice. We know MHNs do much more than the guidelines indicate at the moment. However, in order to support the mental health nurse workforce and delivering quality mental health care to consumers, some level of guidance to PHNs is needed.

The support we’re noting from the PHNs and from the Minister’s office may offer the opportunity we have long been calling for to allow mental health nurses to work to their full scope of practice. We will be working through all available opportunities to do this, and all initial discussions indicate this will be welcomed.

I am in the process of organising a meeting with the Department of Health to discuss MHNIP and the mental health reforms further, and I will also be keeping in frequent contact with the Minister’s office. I think there a number of things that the Government are not clear on yet, and in the meeting with the Minister’s office we raised a few issues that they seemed keen to investigate further.

I fully understand there is concern about the mental health reform changes particularly relating to the MHNIP, and we have made it clear that the ongoing uncertainty the nurses (and to a lesser extent, doctors) have had to work with over a number of years is unfair for all involved.

I think there are opportunities for mental health and nurses moving forward and we will need to work together to provide guidance and clarity to the Government and the PHNs on the role of MHNs. We’ll also start looking again at what the MHNIP evaluations and the National Mental Health Commissions’ reports indicated on how we can enhance the program.

Amanda Bresnan, our new Policy and Stakeholder Engagement Manager, is taking the lead on this work for the College. We will be continuing to keep you in the loop about the process through CEO Updates and our regular member communications, but if you would like to talk to us in more detail please get in touch with Amanda or myself in the national office.


15 January 2016 – Update from Kim Ryan, CEO ACMHN to Primary Mental Health Care email list regarding meetings with the Minister for Health’s Office, the Department of Health and PHNs
Kim Ryan provided an update on meetings being arranged and held with PHNs, including that the PHNs were very supportive of MHNIP; and meetings being held with the Minister for Health’s office and the Department of Health. This noted that issues around the uncertainty of the new arrangements would be raised.


22 December 2015 - Update included in Tuesday Times
Mental health reform in rural and remote Australia

On 17 December 2015 the National Rural Health Alliance held a webinar talking about the rural and remote implications of the Government's intended mental health reforms. The speakers were Ian Hickie AM, Mental Health Commissioner; Frank Quinlan, Mental Health Australia, and Russell Roberts, a rural and remote mental health service consultant.

A recording of the presentation and the slides will soon be available on


1 December 2015 - Update included in Tuesday Times
Mental Health Reform: It's happening!

On Thursday 26 November 2015 Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Health Minister Sussan Ley announced a structural reform package for mental health. Details about the reforms are still being announced, however, the Government's response to the Review of Mental Health Services and Programmes, and a factsheet about the reforms can be accessed on the Department of Health website at

The College is still discussing the impact of the reforms for mental health nurses and MHNIP with the Department. We noted in our initial response to the announcement that we are keen to work with the Government and the Primary Health Networks to ensure that nurses are involved in the implementation and evaluation of the changes. You can listen to Kim's interview with Nursing Review on the reforms on the Nursing Review SoundCloud.

26 November 2015 - ACMHN Press Release & media coverage

Additional CEO Updates

Please visit this page for CEO Updates prior to 15 January 2016 - - please note that this page is restricted to ACMHN members.

Comments from other organisations:

The comments below come from some of the key stakeholders in the Australian mental health sector. This list is a snapshot only and may not be the current position of the organisation listed.

Mental Health Australia -

Black Dog Institute -

Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre -

MindHealthConnect -


Headspace -

RichmondRPA -



OzHelp Foundation -


International Nurses Day

International Nurses Day takes place on 12 May every year and provides an opportunity to recognise nurses around the world for their contribution to health care. The day is celebrated on 12 May as this is the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth.  

This year the theme for International Nurses Day is 'A voice to lead: Health is a Human Right'

For International Nurses Day 2018, join ACMHN to be an advocate for better health and mental health of all Australians through our Thunderclap campaign. Find out how you can participate here.


International Nurses Day message from Frank Quinlan from ACMHN on Vimeo.



"Thank you to all the nurses who work professionally and compassionately in mental make a real difference and change lives. Your work is deeply valued by people who need you most. I grew up with a wonderful woman in my family; she trained as a mental health nurse before WWII and worked in the system in Toowoomba for over 30 years. She was a strong woman, proud of her profession and dedicated to service. These qualities reflect the heart of the profession".

- Senator Claire Moore, Labor Senator for Queensland



ChristineMorgan"Mental health nurses are on the frontline in working with those with eating disorders. Most importantly, and significantly, they set the 'tone' and basis of the relationship between the patient and the therapeutic team - and for those suffering from eating disorders the right initial approach is integral to whether they will engage with the team. Mental health nurses are the key to early intervention strategies and practices both in the illness itself and in each episode of illness. Most importantly, they are also an integral point of connection with families, providing information and support. 

Your role as a mental health nurse is critical, and integral to the delivery of mental health services in our communities. Your practice really matters and makes a difference to all patients, particularly those struggling with eating disorders. You are an essential point of connection between the patients, their family and the therapeutic team. Your experience is essential in informing the future development of services and how they are delivered. Thank you!"
- Christine Morgan, CEO / Director, The Butterfly Foundation



"Mental health nurses are the backbone of humane mental health care through their unique skills, flexibility and personal relationship with people with mental illness. They need to be more strongly supported in primary and community care.

Keep the faith and the focus on the person with mental illness."
- Patrick McGorry AO, Executive Director, Orygen





"As Australia's mental health nurses - working every day to make things better for people experiencing mental illness - you're in a unique position to help smash stigma: in your workplaces, amongst your peers, in other services and in the community. Thank you for the work you do."

- Georgie Harman, CEO, beyondblue




"It's their wonderful contribution of professional skill, and compassion for some of the most vulnerable people in Australia, that makes a mental health nurse's role unique. Time and again, I've seen them go 'above and beyond' for their clients - from providing medication and treatment, to offering essential encouragement and guidance, and a caring hand to hold, when the going gets tough.

You are worth your weight in gold. Don't ever underestimate the value of the life-saving work you do."
- Senator Penny Wright



JohnFeneley"On International Nurses Day I would like to applaud the phenomenal work of mental health nurses in NSW and Australia.

Every day you are at the frontline of our system's response to some of the most vulnerable people in our community. Day by day, hour by hour, you work alongside people who experience mental illness and their families. Your relationships with the people to whom you offer care and support are at the very heart of your work. You have committed to working in one of the most difficult parts of the health system. Our mental health system is under-funded and subject to extraordinary pressure. It often is not structured to help prevent people becoming acutely unwell.

As mental health nurses, you care for those who are in crisis because of those failings. That is draining and personally demanding, and I would like to acknowledge your resilience in the face of these challenges.

Slowly but surely, mental health responses are changing for the better. The evidence shows we must emphasise the needs and preferences of people experiencing mental distress, recognising their individual history and supporting their recovery.
You are at the forefront of this reform movement. Every interaction you have with a client or a colleague, and every clinical decision you make, is an opportunity to change the system for the better.

You have picked up this challenge with great enthusiasm. As I have travelled widely in NSW, meeting community-based and hospital mental health teams, I have seen the energy and creativity with which front-line nurses and those in management positions drive improved models of care that put people at the centre.

You are respected in our community because of your wealth of knowledge, the professionalism with which you carry out your work, and the trust you share with the people you support.

Your perceptions need to be central as governments – state and federal – seek new solutions to the organisation and funding of mental health services. I ask you please to speak up. You are more powerful than you may think!

Today I hope you will take time to reflect on your enormous contribution, and to feel some personal satisfaction in the difference you make."
- John Feneley, NSW Mental Health Commissioner


The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists acknowledges International Nurses Day as an opportunity to recognise the important contribution of nurses in the Australian health care system.

I would like to personally congratulate the College of Mental Health Nurses on the vital work mental health nurses undertake in tackling mental health issues in Australia. The clinical knowledge and skills of mental health nurses in caring for patients and supporting families through difficult and often uncertain circumstances is highly regarded by the psychiatry profession.

In my own clinical role, I work closely with mental health care nurses on a daily basis, being crucial members of the mental health team. As a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, I particularly value the support and care that mental health nurses provide to children and adolescents when they receive inpatient care.

The role of mental health nurses makes a difference for patients, carers, families and the surrounding community.

Congratulations and best wishes for International Nurses Day.
- Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair, Practice, Policy and Partnerships Committee, RANZCP





Useful links  l  MHNIP  l  FAQS  l  Other budget health measures


The ACMHN has been through the Budget announcements relating to health spending. We have identified a number of cuts and changes and have provided some analysis how these will affect members and the areas you work.

We've also provided links to commentary and analysis from industry experts. 


The Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program

Mental Health Nurse Incentive Programme — continuation

From the Budget Papers:
The Government will provide $23.4 million in 2014 15 to maintain existing service levels for the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Programme which provides coordinated support for people with severe and persistent mental illness. This funding will enable mental health nurses, who are engaged by community, based general practices, private psychiatric practices and other similar organisations, to continue to provide clinically relevant services to approximately 60,000 patients.

College comments:
The additional funding to MHNIP will allow the Program to continue to provide services at the same level as 2013-2014. The Department has sent the ACMHN a letter confirming the continued MHNIP funding, and all eligible organisations will receive a letter about 2014-15 in the near future. Click here to see the letter.

We will be requesting a meeting with Department of Health to seek further information on the management of the program over the next 12 months. We will be advocating strongly that a permanent funding allocation is made for a revitalised MHNIP through the National Mental Health Commission's Review of Mental Health Programs.

Department of Health MHNIP website



The below information was sent to the College from the Department of Health


Will the GP co-payment affect the MHNIP in anyway?

From 1 July 2015, all patients will be asked to directly contribute to their own health care costs. While the Government will continue to subsidise a majority of the costs of Medicare services, the rebate for most GP and out of hospital pathology and diagnostic imaging services will be reduced by $5.00.

Patients can expect to make a contribution of at least $7.00 to the cost of most visits to the GP and for out-of-hospital pathology and diagnostic imaging services. Doctors will be paid a low gap incentive – equivalent to the current bulk-billing incentive – to encourage them to charge Commonwealth Concession Card holders and children under 16 years no more than the $7.00 contribution for the first 10 visits in a calendar year. After the first 10 visits, the doctor will be paid an incentive if they provide the service to the concessional patient for free.

A wide range of MBS GP items will not be affected by the Budget measure, including health assessment, Chronic Disease Management and telehealth items. The MBS items for the development and review of a GP Mental Health Care Plan and the GP Mental Health Consultation item are not affected by the co-payment.


Will the co-payment be charged for GP consultations to prepare or review a mental health care plan?

No. Patients will not be expected to be asked to pay a patient contribution for GP consultations to prepare or review a mental health care plan. However, doctors can still set their own fees for the services that they provide. They will, therefore, still be able to ask the patient to pay a fee higher than the MBS fee for these services.

Credentialed Mental Health Nurses also use MBS items such as Pregnancy Support Counselling (Item number 81010) and for people with a chronic disease (Item 10956). Will these MBS Items be affected by the co-payment?

No. The new arrangements only apply to GP general attendance items and out-of-hospital pathology and diagnostic imaging services. Patients will not be expected to be asked to pay a patient contribution for services provided by Credentialed Mental Health Nurses.


Where can we get further information?

Explanatory information is still under development and will be added to the Department of Health's website as it becomes available. A copy of the Budget papers is available on the Department's website at


Will Nurse Practitioners using MBS items 82200, 82205, 82210, 82215 attract a co-payment?

No. The new arrangements only apply to GP general attendance items and out-of-hospital pathology and diagnostic imaging services. Patients will not be expected to be asked to pay a patient contribution for services provided by Nurse Practitioners.



Other Health Budget Measures

Partners in Recovery — reduced funding

From the Budget Papers:
The Government will achieve savings of $53.8 million by deferring the establishment of the remaining 13 Partners in Recovery organisations for two years from 2013-14. The existing 48 organisations will continue to provide people who have a severe and persistent mental illness and complex support needs with integrated support that coordinates clinical, housing, education, employment, income and disability services. This deferral will enable the effectiveness of the existing sites and their interaction with the National Disability Insurance Scheme to be assessed.

The savings from this measure will be invested by the Government in the Medical Research Future Fund.

College Comments:
Given that Partners in Recovery was a flagship of the previous Government, not proceeding with the remaining Partners in Recovery roll out is not unexpected. However, it is very disappointing that the savings are being invested into the Medical Research Future Fund, rather than in improving or increasing services for people with mental illness


Medicare Locals

From the Budget Papers:
Medicare Locals will be wound up by 1 July 2015. These will be replaced by Primary Health Networks. PHN are expected to align more closely with state and territory health network arrangements to ensure effective working relationship and reduce duplication of effort.

College Comments:
After all the speculation, this is a bit of an anticlimax. There are no savings or costs from the measure, and very little detail. The College will endeavour to find out what we can, and how this may impact on nurses working in the current Medicare Locals.


Commonwealth Public Hospitals — change to funding arrangements

From the Budget Papers:
The Government will achieve savings of $1.8 billion over four years from 2014 15 by ceasing the funding guarantees under the National Health Reform Agreement 2011, and revising Commonwealth Public Hospital funding arrangements from 1 July 2017. From 2017 18, the Commonwealth will index its contribution to hospitals funding by a combination of the Consumer Price Index and population growth.

The Government will not proceed with the previous Government's guarantees to increase funding to the States regardless of how many or how few public hospital services are delivered. Reward funding under the National Partnership Agreement on Improving Public Hospital Services will also cease. Funding for public hospitals will be indexed to a combination of growth in the Consumer Price Index and population from 2017 18 onwards.

The savings from this measure will be invested by the Government in the Medical Research Future Fund.

College Comments:

It would seem that the removal of the reward funding may now eliminate the targets associated with elective surgery waiting times and emergency department waiting time.

These targets were not measures of clinical outcomes and increased pressure in certain parts of hospitals and ignored more hospital wide issues.

This also indicates the Commonwealth is moving away from the Rudd Government agreement that the Commonwealth would pay a greater share in hospital funding. There is not reversal of Independent Pricing Authority or commitment to Activity Based funding. But at the end of the day, public hospitals will receive $1.8billion less funding.


GP Co-Payments appeared in the budget as follows:

From the Budget Papers:
Medicare Benefits Schedule — introducing patient contributions for general practitioner, pathology and diagnostic imaging services
The Government will achieve savings of $3.5 billion over five years by reducing Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) rebates from 1 July 2015 by $5 for standard general practitioner consultations and out of hospital pathology and diagnostic imaging services and allowing the providers of these services to collect a patient contribution of $7 per service.

For patients with concession cards and children under 16 years of age the MBS rebate will only be reduced for the first 10 services in each year, after which it will return to current benefit levels. A new Low Gap Incentive will replace bulk billing incentives for providers of these services. The Low Gap Incentive will be paid to providers where they provide services to patients with concession cards or children under 16 years of age and only charge the $7 patient contribution for the first 10 services in a year, or where they charge no patient contribution for additional services in that year.

The measure will also remove the restriction on State and Territory Governments from charging patients presenting to hospital emergency departments for general practitioner like attendances.

The savings from this measure will be invested by the Government in the Medical Research Future Fund.

College Comments:
Stephen Duckett, health economist describes this as the end of bulk billing.
There was much concern about the $7 co-payment at the Department of Health Budget lock up and how this would be implemented. The ACMHN shares the concern of many others that this will disproportionately affect people who are most vulnerable – people on low incomes, older Australians and people who have a chronic illness.


Medical Research Future Fund

From the Budget Papers:
There will be the establishment of a $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund which will be the biggest medical research fund of its kind in the world.
To help our doctors and health system finds treatments and cures for health conditions such as: dementia; heart disease; cancer; and diabetes through medical research.
Every dollar of savings from health expenditure reforms in this Budget will be invested in a new, capital-protected, Medical Research Future Fund until it reaches $20 billion.

College Comments:
While supporting research is always welcome, the potential problem with this is that the focus is on Medical research only. There was concern expressed at the Dept of Health Budget lock up last night by others as that it was made clear that the fund will focus on Medical research and seems to exclude broader health research. It is also a worry that the research funding will come from the patient co-payments for GP visits and cutting programs that provide direct services to patients, and indirect support for the health system.


Investing in the nursing and allied health workforce

From the Budget Papers:
The Government will provide $13.4 million over three years from 2014 15 to fund 500 additional nursing and allied health scholarships. Scholarships with a value of up to $30,000 each will target workforce shortages in rural and remote areas.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment. Further information can be found in the Coalition's Policy to Support Australia's Health System.

College Comments:
We are glad to see this additional investment in to nursing and allied health.


Smaller Government — More Efficient Health Workforce Development

From the Budget Papers:
The Government will achieve savings of $142.0 million over five years by abolishing Health Workforce Australia and consolidating its functions into the Department of Health. Savings will be achieved through administrative efficiencies, ceasing the planned expansion of the Clinical Training Funding Programme which is currently managed by Health Workforce Australia, and redirecting uncommitted funds in the Health Workforce Fund.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

College Comments:
HWA have produced some very important and relevant modelling for the future health workforce. I had a discussion last night with a staff member from the Department of Health and expressed my concern that the work of HWA does not get lost and I reinforced the need for investment in to the development of the workforce. She indicated they were cognisant of not losing the good work of HWA in the transition.

We will continue to lobby for a mental health nursing workforce strategy.


Discretionary Grant Programmes — cessation of certain programmes

From the Budget Papers:
The Government will achieve savings of $4.4 million over five years by not proceeding with funding for the following four grant programmes:

  • Australian Community Food Safety Campaign;
  • eHealth Summit and Implementation of Clinical Trial Functionality into
  • Jurisdictional eHealth Systems;
  • Flat Out Incorporated Outreach Support Services for Criminalised Women; and
  • Mental Health Better Access to Education and Training.
  • The savings from this measure will be invested by the Government in the Medical Research Future Fund.


College Comments:
The Mental Health Better Access to Education and Training covers several initiatives, including Mental Health Professionals' Network. However, I sought clarification from the Department of Health about what this means, and the good news is that MHPN will continue to be funded for another 12 months. The funding that has been removed means there will be only very small capacity to consider anything new in this area.


Health Flexible Funds — pausing indexation and achieving efficiencies

From the Budget Papers:
The Government will achieve savings of $197.1 million over three years from 2015 16 from a number of Health portfolio Flexible Funds by pausing indexation of the funds for three years from 2015 16 and reducing uncommitted funds.

The savings from this measure will be invested by the Government in the Medical Research Future Fund.


College Comments:
There are a multitude of funds managed by the Department of Health and they provide grants for many projects, initiatives and organisations. The ACMHN's Chronic Disease CPD Project has been funded through the Flexible Funds Program. What exactly will be affected is still unknown. But it is a concern to see that so much funding being transferred to the Research Fund from at the expense of so many other programs and initiatives.


World Health Organization — reduced funding

From the Budget Papers:
The Government will achieve savings of $2.3 million by reducing its voluntary additional contribution to the World Health Organization.
The savings from this measure will be invested by the Government in the Medical Research Future Fund.


E health

From the Budget Papers:
The Government has also committed an additional $140.6 million in funding to the continued operation of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR).



Useful links

Budget 2014-15 website

Department of Health - Budget website

Australian College of Nursing - Budget analysis

Croakey - Budget analysis

Mental Health Council of Australia - Long term mental health reform waits for NMHC review

Carers Australia - Carers face a tougher future under Budget changes

APS - Update on 2014 Federal Budget: Better Access Campaign

RACGP - $7 co-payment widens the gap to accessible healthcare

RACGP - Federal Budget delivers hits to primary health care

ACOS - Budget divides the nation, young and old, rich and poor

The Salvation Army - Federal Budget Response: Economics of the poor ignored



 Other Events



Our Events listing is monthly and if there is something you would like included on our calendar please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The ACMHN relies on members and organisations to provide us with information about upcoming events. 

Please note that the lectures, workshops, seminars and events listed below have not been endorsed by the ACMHN unless this is stated.

The ACMHN takes no responsibility for the organisation or content of the programs listed.


MARCH 2017 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Manisfestations and Current Thinking 

Mental Health Foundation of Australia (Victoria)

Event Details:

Tuesday, 7th March 7:00pm - 8:30pm
The Melbourne Clinic Isaac Schweitzer Room
130 Church Street
Richmond VIC 3121 (Enter via Tweedie Place)

FREE ENTRY (Gold coin donation welcome)

Contact Mental Health Foundation of Australia (Vic) to book your seat:
Call: 03 9826 1422 Fax: 03 9826 1411
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

More information 


Australian Healthcare Week Expo

Nursing & Clinicians Free On-Floor Program (earn 8 CPD Hours – ACN endorsed)

Event details:

Wednesday 8th - Thursday 9th March 2017
10am-4pm each day
International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour, Sydney


Register to enter:



Mental Health Foundation Australia (Victoria)

Schools' Creative Writing Competition 2017

Open to all students enrolled in Years 5 – 12 from schools around Victoria
Competition opens Thursday 9 March 2017
Competition closes Friday 4 August 2017

Monetary prizes will be awarded for upper primary (years 5-6), lower secondary (years 7,8 and 9) and upper secondary (years 10, 11 and 12) divisions. Prizes will be presented at the launch of Victorian Mental Health week on Monday 9 October 2017.

The piece should concern what students think, feel or have experienced about mental health issues, and aim to promote positive mental health and wellbeing. Entries should be maximum 1000 words.

For information can be found on the promotion flyer



Decision Assist - Free webinar
Jane does not want to go to hospital

Thursday 30 March 2017
1:30pm - 2:15pm AEDT

Proudly presented by Decision Assist, this webinar will focus on providing care that is consistent with individual goals, values and beliefs.

When Jane says she doesn’t want to go to hospital, what does she mean? Why is she saying that? What is important to her and what is she aiming to avoid? How do we work respectfully with her to understand what she is saying and what she means?

For further information and to register please visit


Symposium of Child Sexual Abuse Prevention

You are invited to join the Chief Justice of W.A., the Hon Wayne Martin AC, together with a panel of five experts who will present different entry points to the cycle of child sexual abuse (CSA).
1. Intervention from the child's position involving protective behaviours, training and appropriate sexual education.
2. A personal experiential perspective on CSA in families and as a counsellor.
3. Details of research with adult survivors of intra-familial CSA.
4. The importance of providing effective group and individual treatment to child sexual and internet offenders as an intervention into the intergenerational cycle of CSA to assist in its prevention and the healing of survivors, family members and the community.

5. A police perspective in examining the notion of success in sex crime investigation and to consider the disincentives for police in adopting a truly victim-centred approach.

The Chief Justice of W.A., The Hon. Wayne Martin AC will then chair a panel discussion of selected questions arising from the morning presentations.

On Friday 31 March 2017, 9.30am-4.00pm

Jull Common Room, St. Catherine's College UWA, Perth.

2 Park Rd, Crawley, Western Australia 6009


For brochure and other information : Jonathan Kester 0438929899 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

APRIL 2017

The Crafting of Grief: Constructing Responses to Loss, Grief and Death

Monday 3, Tuesday 4 April 2017
The Theatre Room, Technology Park Function Centre, 2 Brodie-Hall Drive, Bentley WA

Contact: Dr Ian Percy
0422 498 607 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Prof Lorraine Hedtke MSW PhD from California State University, San Bernardino USA teaches about death, dying and bereavement in North America and internationally. On Day One Lorraine will give the foundational assumptions of her work with innovative ideas and practices that represent a departure from the conventional models of grief psychology. The emphasis will be on therapeutic conversations that craft meaningful questions in the face of uncertainty and distress. She will focus on a more relational version of grief through the narrative approach of remembering. On Day Two Lorraine will offer a nuanced approach to constructing identity in the face of complex grief. She will review circumstances where there is distance, migration, and estrangement or where loved ones may have died by suicide or homicide. Participants will be introduced to storied ways of creating agency with clients and shown how complex shades of meaning can be teased out in different ways. Learning will be enhanced through Lorraine’s interactive style of teaching, participant exercises, live interviews and video.

Prof Robert Neimeyer: The Crafting of Grief represents an artful act of resistance against the dominant narrative of grieving, one that opens up space for alternative stories of hope, inspiration and meaning.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy for adolescents and adults - Advanced level workshop: An attachment-based intervention for depression and related disorders

6 and 7 April 2017


Presenters: Rob McAlpine PhD, MAPS & Anthony Hillin B Soc Stud (SW), M Adol MH (Certified IPT Trainers)

Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) is a brief, engaging, evidence-based therapy approved by Medicare Better Access and ATAPS.
This workshop provides a two-day intensive skill development opportunity with two expert trainers for clinicians with prior experience of IPT.

More information 

Forced adoption webinar: Providing support through search, contact and reunion

Register now for the next free forced adoption training webinar “Providing support through search, contact and reunion” to be held on Tuesday 11 April 2017 at 7pm (AEST).

The webinar is suitable for all mental health professionals, including mental health nurses and will feature a panel of experts facilitated by Dr Lyn O’Grady.

Register now: 

On April 13, 2017, FND Hope International will participate in the 5th annual International FND Awareness Day.

With the theme “Solving the FND Puzzle,” the day will feature spreading awareness through social media, online doctor interviews, fundraisers, an online art auction, and patient support materials, highlighting unsung heroes (medical professionals and caregivers) and introducing our FND Scientific Registry for much needed medical research.

Last year over 53 countries participated in Awareness Day activities!

For more information, visit


MAY 2017


ACN National Nurses Breakfast 2017

Friday 12 May 2017

The ACN National Nurses Breakfast is hosted each year in celebration of International Nurses Day on 12 May. The campaign encourages nurses and their supporters to host a breakfast or get-together at their workplace, university or community centre to celebrate the invaluable contribution nurses make to the health of our society.

Register to participate for a free breakfast kit at 

Mental Health Foundation Australia Multicultural Gala Dinner

This year, the Foundation is taking a new approach to raise mental health awareness in various community groups in Victoria such as Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese, Sri Lankan, Fijian, Vietnamese, Cambodian, African, Greek, Italian etc. by organising a Multicultural Gala Dinner at the Hungarian Community Centre; 760 Boronia Road, Wantirna 3152 on 13th of May 2017.

To register visit 

Centre for Education & Research Nursing & Midwifery

Clarence and Eastern District

2017 Mental Health Lecture Series

Dr Jason Westwater
“Gender dysphoria”

Dr Jason Westwater did his undergraduate medical training in Glasgow. He trained as a
specialist Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, General Practitioner and latterly as a Family
Therapist. He moved to Australia 5 years ago. He did a Masters in Clinical Family Therapy in
Melbourne in 2015. He has had a specialist interest in gender dysphoria for the past 14 years
and was the first child psychiatrist in Scotland to be seeing young people. He works full time in a
government CAMHS service and also does some private work.

The talk will discuss the diagnosis of and terminology associated with gender dysphoria, gender
development, treatment, overarching principles and recent research.

A case presentation will also be used.

VENUE: Important information

*This month we have the main lecture site at St Johns Park

*Follow the signs at L2 Carruthers Building

*Other sites will be video-linked as normal state-wide and we are able to include all regions within THS

*Please contact Julie to ensure your preferred VC site is included

Refreshments from 12:45
Lecture 13:00 – 14:00
As refreshments will be provided

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Further enquires to Julie Porter
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Expression of Interest
Professional Development - Eating Disorder Essentials

Wellington, New Zealand 22nd to 26th May 2017

This 5 Day comprehensive course is in line with the latest thinking from a range of psychological approaches. You will learn practical and effective skills that will enable you to engage with clients and offer them constructive help with eating disorders.

To view EOI Form click here

14th Annual Conference of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP)

Sydney from 25th to 28th May 2017

Featuring a large group of local and international speakers, the conference will cover such topics as "Working with extreme states"; "Working with the trauma that results from abuse within institutional contexts"; Working with couples, young people and families; Issues of trauma, migration and neglect ... and much more.

Visit the website for more details 

JUNE 2017

Cancer Nurses Society of Australia 20th Annual Congress

Evolving Cancer Care - Enhancing Quality, Embracing Innovation 

15 - 17 June 2017

Adelaide Convention Centre
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ACN Nursing & Health Expo

Sunday 18 June 2017
Pavilion 2
Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre
8:30am – 1:30pm

Free Entry 
T: 02 6283 3424
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

JULY 2017

Making Sense Forum - 10 July 2017 with Daniel Fisher, Julie Jones-Webb and Max Simensen

*Making Sense – Sydney 10 July 2017

Making Sense – Melbourne 21 July 2017 

This one-day forum explores the relationship between personal meaning and recovery, and how we can navigate the differences in personal realities to create a pathway to shared understandings and more creative, hopeful and helpful responses to mental distress. Daniel will be joined by other well-known and well-respected speakers who will provide important perspectives on this topic.

In Sydney (10 July 2017), Daniel will be joined by Julie Jones-Webb and Max Simensen. In Melbourne (21 July 2017), Daniel will be joined by Indigo Daya and John Watkins – more details, bios and program coming soon! Click on the links below for a flyer and registration form.

For more information, visit website.

ACMHN Members are offered 25% off the full registration for this forum.

National Suicide Prevention Conference 2017 - Relationships, resilience and respect: Responding to vulnerability in life

Suicide Prevention Australia

Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA) presents the annual National Suicide Prevention Conference to benefit those who are working in, and supported by, suicide prevention programs. Attracting over 400 delegates, the conference is recognised by governments, sector leaders and people with lived experience as an important vehicle for ensuring that those with responsibility for delivering services, are able to provide the best available support to those who are vulnerable, at-risk and/or disenfranchised in a timely and effective manner.

Aims of the Conference
• Increase sector commitment to participate in a collaborative approach to suicide prevention
• Enhance community participation in suicide prevention activities
• Facilitate the continuation and development of quality suicide prevention initiatives

Event details:
Pre-conference sessions 25 & 26 July 2017
Conference 27 – 29 July 2017
Sofitel Brisbane Central
249 Turbot St
Brisbane QLD 4000


More information: 


The National Nursing Forum
‘Make Change Happen’

21 – 23 August 2017
Event Centre, The Star, Sydney

The National Nursing Forum (NNF) is the Australian College of Nursing’s signature annual event bringing together nurses, other health professionals and students from around the country and across the globe. The 2017 theme is, Make Change Happen, using the voice of health professionals to lead change in nursing, health and aged care. 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
+61 2 6283 3424


3rd Australian Nursing and Midwifery Conference
“Collective Conversations: Education, Quality and Research in Nursing and Midwifery Practice”

14th & 15th September 2017
Newcastle Exhibition and Convention Centre, Newcastle, NSW
More information

The Organising Committee of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Conference invites you to participate in the 3rd Australian Nursing and Midwifery Conference hosted by Hunter New England Local Health District, The University of Newcastle and The University of New England.

This conference provides a forum for clinicians, nursing and midwifery researchers and educators from Australia and internationally, to share knowledge and celebrate experiences of innovative nursing and midwifery led projects relating to clinical care, education programs and research.

Call for Abstracts

The Conference Committee are calling for papers and poster presentations which reflect one of the following conference themes:

- Care and compassion
- Innovation and evidence translation
- Partnerships

Abstract Submission Close: Friday 24th March 2017

To download the Call for Abstracts, please click here
For further information, as well as online abstract submission, please click here




Mental Health Week 2017 - Official Launch

Monday, October 9, 2017 from 5:00 PM - 7:30 PM

"Mental Health in the Workplace" We welcome you to join the Mental Health Foundation Australia 32nd annual Mental Health Week launch, as part of an international conversation. This community event is held in partnership with the Victorian State Government. It is aimed at encouraging us to influence and celebrate how Aussie workplaces can contribute positively to mental health and wellbeing of all community members in their working environments. Given 45.5% of the population will experience some form of mental illness in their lifetime, workplaces have a critical role to play. Prior to the formalities commencing at 5.00pm, for a 5.30pm start, there will be a public, community and industry information expo from 3.00pm.

Program includes Keynote speaker Keith Schleiger - Ch 9's, "The Block" foreman. with great appreciation to "DATS Environmental Services" Dr David Gillespie - The Hon. Federal Assistant to Health Ms Jackie Crowe - National Mental Health Commissioner George Donekian as MC And more Live performance by Wild At Heart Melbourne Mass Gospel Choir Heidi Everett Plus Awards to Artist of the MHW 2017 Community Poster, people's choice award Awards to winners of the creative writing school student's competition Please join us for an afternoon and early evening catered for function by The Streat. We can't wait to see you, your family, friends, work colleagues, team leaders, managers, employers, CEO's, board directors. Everyone is welcome!


For more information, visit the event website here.

The 2nd Annual Narratives of Health and Wellbeing Research Conference 

Rise: A conference exploring resilience, writing and wellbeing

26th and 27th Oct 2017, Noosa Queensland

Save the Date/Call for Abstracts

Pre-Conference Workshop and Welcome Events Thursday 26th October 2017

Conference Friday 27th October 2017

Link is: 
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Expression of Interest
Professional Development - Eating Disorder Essentials

Adelaide 6th to 10th November 2017

This 5 Day comprehensive course is in line with the latest thinking from a range of psychological approaches. You will learn practical and effective skills that will enable you to engage with clients and offer them constructive help with eating disorders.

To view EOI Form click here

Nutritional Interventions for Eating Disorders & Obesity

If you are a professional providing psychosocial interventions to clients recovering from an eating disorder or managing overweight and obesity, it can be crucial that you have the skills and confidence to support their nutritional education, dispelling the myths from the facts and encouraging their behavioural change from a position of true understanding.

You will learn:
• How nutritional approaches can inform your practice and enhance your work with clients
• How the body uses food and nutrients
• Biochemical imbalances
• Blood sugar and hormone balance
• Digestion and metabolism
• Nutritional education and dietary choices
• Common myths about food, diet and weight control... and much more.

Join us for our Nutritional Interventions for Eating Disorders & Obesity 3 day course in:

BRISBANE 30th October to 1st November 2017
MELBOURNE 13th to 15th November 2017

Save over $200 if you book and pay before the Early Bird cut off date.
21hrs CPD

More information about the course can be found here or phone Allison on 0421 747 129 to discuss.
(Note: If you are an Accredited Practicing Dietitian our other courses are more suitable for you.)

National NDIS Mental Health Conference

Community Mental Health Australia is pleased to announce the National NDIS Mental Health Conference will be held on 16 and 17 November 2017.

The Conference is an opportunity for the Mental Health sector to work together to make the most of this new scheme. With the conference theme ‘towards a better life’, there will be a focus on the transformational potential of the NDIS for people living with a psychosocial disability.

SMC Function and Conference Centre, 66 Goulburn Street, Sydney

Register your interest and we'll notify you of important event updates and when tickets become available. It's free to register your interest, sign up now. 

Register Now!

Nursing and Midwifery Leadership Conference

Thursday, 30 November to Friday, 1 December 2017

The Conference Organising Committee is pleased to announce the preliminary Conference program is now available to view on the conference website. The theme for the 2017 conference will be 'Celebrating the Why'.

A large number of high standard, relevant and interesting presentation abstracts were received. At the conference, the program will feature an impressive line-up of national and international keynote speakers, as well as presentations from your peers from three streams; Organisation & Systems, Patients and Staff.

Please visit the conference website for further details regarding the conference sessions, themes and social functions.





The 2018 Hokkaido International
will be held at the family friendly, Kiroro Resort situated on the north island of Japan from 28th January to the 2nd February, 2018.

Allied Medical Professionals for Education and Development (AMPED) have been hosting medical events for over 21 years and are proud to be hosting this Workshop for mental health researchers, clinicians and those involved in the care and treatment of people who suffer from a mental health illness.

“A meeting of the mind body and soul, the 2018 Winter Workshop in Kiroro promises to deliver a potent blend of cutting edge research and clinical expertise leading to knowledge translation, understanding and better treatment of these complex illnesses” - Professor Patrick McGorry AO

Apart from boasting a fabulous ski resort that is renowned for having some of the best facilities and snow in the world, Kiroro Resort is a fully serviced resort. It has a large selection of rooms, restaurants, bars, shops, entertainment complexes, pool, gym, Japanese Onsens for male and females, and a huge merry-go-round, all indoors.
Key-note Speakers

Professor Patrick McGorry Melbourne, Australia
Professor Eric Chen Hong Kong
Professor Ian Hickie Sydney, Australia
Professor John Kane NY, USA
Professor Philippe Conus Lausanne, Switzerland
Professor Max Birchwood Birmingham, UK
Professor Sung Wan Kim Seoul, South Korea is the appointed travel agents for the conference.
Conference Registration: 
Conference Information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Flights & Accommodation: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 02 9938 9915

March 2018

April 2018

May 2018

June 2018

Cancer Nurses Society of Australia 21st Annual Congress

Theme: Science, Symptoms and Service Delivery
Dates: 21 – 23 June 2018
Venue: Brisbane Convention Centre 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 



July 2018





On Tuesday night I attend the Health Budget lock-up, where we in the health sector are normally provided with more detail around the health Budget measures that are about to be announced. Unfortunately, this year we received very little information - indeed not more than what was already in the Media.

Of course, I was very keen to hear about the ongoing funding for the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program (the MHNIP). There was no specific announcement in relation to the MHNIP on the night; however I have now received a letter from the Department of Health, indicating that the MHNIP will have a further 12 month funding extension, which is what we were expecting, I suppose, in light of the funding announcements for other mental health programs.

This was the third year in a row that we had to wait to find out about funding, which is unacceptable for everyone. At least this year everyone is in the same boat and it's not just us.

We have some very positive reports that describe the wonderful work of the mental health nurses and the flexibility of the Program. I will now continue to champion the need for growth and the redesign of aspects of the MHNIP, and the need for nurses to be included in the Government's Expert Reference Group for the review of the National Mental Health Commission's report and the Primary Care Review.

My advice from the Department of Health is that the administration arrangements for the MHNIP for the 2015-2016 financial years will be the same as those for 2014-2015. The Department of Human Services will write to all organisations shortly to advise people of the arrangements. As before, session allocation will be based on activity, SO IF YOU HAVE ANY OUTSTANDING CLAIMS LODGE THEM ASAP. This will ensure the current allocation can be reallocated, and if a review is requested it will support your claim. Those of you working in the program will know the procedure.

There were other announcements in the Budget which may be of more interest to us:

  • $2.4 billion is to be invested in improving primary health care and mental health outcomes.
  • $10.1 billion is to be spent on medicines this year, and
  • hospital funding will increase in 2015-2016 to $16.4 billion.

We have no detail around to what any of this funding is directly allocated, but there was mention of the need to more effectively and efficiently manage chronic disease.

There will be ongoing funding for E-health, and the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Care Record will be re-named to My Health Record.

There was an announcement that $500 million over the forward estimates (we don't know to what period on time this refers) will be withdrawn from the flexible funds programs, which are the:

  • Chronic Disease Prevention and Service Improvement Fund
  • Communicable Disease Prevention and Service Improvement Grants Fund
  • Substance Misuse Prevention and Service Improvement Grants Fund
  • Substance Misuse Service Delivery Grants Fund
  • Health Social Surveys Fund
  • Single Point of Contact for Health Information, Advice and Counselling Fund
  • Regionally Tailored Primary Care Initiatives through Medicare Locals Fund
  • Practice Incentives for General Practices Fund
  • Rural Health Outreach Fund
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Chronic Disease Fund
  • Health System Capacity Development Fund
  • Health Surveillance Fund
  • Quality Use of Diagnostics, Therapeutics and Pathology Fund
  • Health Workforce Fund
  • Indemnity Insurance Fund and
  • the Health Protection Fund.

Another announcement that will be of interest to the nursing workforce is the streamlining of workforce scholarships. There are scholarship programs for nursing and midwifery, allied health and medicine. Currently there are a number of scholarship schemes that are administered by different organisations, and the Government may be looking at efficiencies in administration. This has been tried before, unsuccessfully. For more information on this, click here.

In relation to College business, we keep going well with the C4N project, working with the other Colleges to develop a credentialing framework and an online application system. I am really keen to see how we can move forward with putting our credentialing system online, making things easier for everyone involved.

The Accreditation of Post Graduate Mental Health Nursing Courses project is getting close to being finalised, and we are about to undertake our second pilot site visit. This is such an exciting opportunity to promote standardisation and quality in post graduate mental health education.

I am looking forward to attending the Primary Health Care Nurses Conference this weekend on the Gold Coast, and I am particularly happy that they have invited Associate Professor Mary Moller to speak. Some of you may remember Mary from one of our early Primary Mental Health Care Conferences, so I will be keen to find out what's happening for psychiatric nurses in the US. Mary's presentation is entitled Every Nurse is a Mental Health Nurse: You Just Didn't Know It! The College has a booth there, so hopefully we can promote the need for greater mental health literacy for all nurses.

There will, of course, be a lot of noise around the Budget and now there is of speculation of an early election.

We will endeavour to get as much information as possible, and to keep you up to date as best we can.




Kim Ryan
CEO, Australian College of Mental Health Nurses


Useful links

Budget 2015-16 website

ACMHN's Budget 2014-15 analysis

Department of Health budget page

Australian College of Nursing's Federal Budget Submission 2015-16: funding priorities

National Mental Health Commission's Review into Mental Health Programmes and Services



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