News & Publications
National Forum - Mental Health - Coordinated Care
On Thursday 11 August 2011, the Mental Health Council Australia (MHCA), invited MHCAA to a forum as part of a discussion of how to implement some of the federal government’s new budget initiatives for mental health.
The Background paper (download below) , sets out the proposal for increased coordinated care for people living in the community with complex care needs.
In brief the paper and proposal sets out –
Background Paper Coordinated Care Measure - MHCA forum.doc
Discussion Paper Flexible Care Packages .pdf
National Arafmi Planning
On Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th of July 2011, Mental Health Carers Arafmi Australia (MHCAA) committee members and staff from around Australia came together for the first face-to-face Planning Day since appointment of Warren Jenkins as Executive Officer in February 2011. Over the two days members accomplished a remarkable amount. We now have a work plan and strategy to guide us through the coming year. The hard work over the two days demonstrate the strength we have in the diversity of skills and services in the different states and territories and the same time re-affirming how united and determined we are to progress the cause of mental health carers nationally. The year ahead will be exciting mix of hard work and satisfying outcomes. We were most fortunate to have the two days facilitated by Mr Frank Quinlan of Mental Health Council Australia. We all very much appreciated Franks style and support and the insight from the peak body of the wider Mental Health community. I have added below an extract from Franks MHCA newsletter.
Personally I was most gratified by the support and constructive contribution of all members.
Warren Jenkins EO MHCAA
Shedding the Black Coat
- Jill Parris (Author), Kali Paxinos - (Narrator) A story about living well with schizophrenia
This book focuses on the life of one migrant family in Melbourne who have a schizophrenic son and explores the issues they have all faced. It highlights the stages of shock, denial, alienation and ongoing grief. It describes how the family, including the son with schizophrenia, reach acceptance and how this family’s resilience is central to rebuilding their lives. It celebrates the way in which Kali Paxinos, an indomitable Greek mother, has negotiated the mental health system and found a way for her and her family to live well with a mental illness, and then go on to support others.
The book begins by chronicling the lives of two generations of the Paxinos family. In the first part of the book the history of this eccentric Greek family captures the hereditary aspects of mental illness and how it was managed within the family in the Greek context. This narrative also captures the wounding effects of living within a traumatised family and continues tracing the impact of this wounding on the lives of the next generation.
The second part of the book offers a three hundred and sixty degree view of the illness (the person with schizophrenia, his mother and siblings, a case manager and a psychiatrist) and builds on this picture to describe how this family has managed and planned for the future of their mentally ill person.
Woven throughout the book is a description of how Kali has learned about schizophrenia and built on these learnings to support and advocate for other people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities within the mental health system and beyond.
Kali believes that it is through story telling that we learn, and the book is a series of wonderful stories of pain and joy, life and death, beginnings and endings.
The book is available for $25 including postage from: email@example.com
Shedding The Black Coat - a review
Review by Shirley Mill, July, 2011
Kali Paxinos is a legendary figure in Victoria, in her capacity as an advocate for carers, particularly those in the CALD community, through her work and her public speaking, where she can be relied upon to be the voice of courageous and compassionate reason.
Her story is fascinating. It is inspiring to read of her journey within her own family,
of Greek origin, where they had to overcome the cultural beliefs which contributed to exacerbation of the immense problems which can be associated with ongoing major mental illness. She has also been prepared to challenge aspects of the mental health system which made life harder for carers, eg. the failure to give clear guidelines for the management at home (or out of hospital) of the person for whom they care.
Her approach to helping carers, which is just as applicable to those whose first language is English, is practical, achievable and sustainable, and always based in respect, compassion and appropriate inclusivity. In particular, her approach to seeking optimum harmony within her own family whilst continuing to support their mentally ill brother is both instructive and impressive. Kali has been ahead of her time with her insight and her championing of those who do not have an adequate voice. Her willingness to continue her valuable work into her eighties is to be both admired and celebrated. The title, Shedding the Black Coat, reflects the realistic optimism of this most interesting book.
Shirley Mill is a Melbourne educationalist and writer who is a Board Member of Arafemi Victoria, a Carer and long time advocate for carers of those with a mental illness.
Peer Support Charter
The Peer Support Charter and website - www.peersupportvic.org - were launched in June 2011.
Developed by men and women and their family members who have
lived through a range of mental health issues. The Charter aims to ensure that peer support services are available to consumers and carers when and where we need it.
Download: Charter in .pdf
The intent is that the Charter be endorsed by organisations currently running or intending to run Peer Support programs. It is the first time a document truly reflects how people value peer support services in the continuum of care to recovery and well being.
The Centre for Excellence Peer Support, also launched highlights the value of collective experiences and collaboration of organisations that have more than 220 years of experience in provision of peer support.
It brings together in one centre, up to date evidence based research, resources and support to encourage and engage organisations to share their knowledge and build capacity in the area of peer support.; It is hoped that there will be many contributors to the content of this site so that we can always be resourcing peer support with best practice and evidence based information.
The Charter and website are endorsed by:
Advocacy Disability Ethnicity Community
Anxiety Recovery Centre Victoria
Compassionate Friends Victoria
Eating Disorders Victoria
Post & Ante Natal Depression Assoc.
The film is a groundbreaking project developed by the Family and Carer Mental Health Program, Far West (NSW) Local Health District, with funding partners: My Time Project (Richmond Fellowship of NSW); Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Services, Far West Local Health District, CentaCare Wilcannia-Forbes; Far West Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre; and Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation.
ARAFMI NSW (Keiran Booth) has endorsed the Project. MHCAA is mentioned as a referral point for carers. The DVD will be released in Carers Week, 16th October and will be available through ARAFMI NSW. Information on obtaining a copy will be posted here when the DVD is released for sale.
by Alan Rosen, Psychiatrist
Intangible is a slightly offbeat documentary film portraying a highly evocative sequence of accounts of the years of experience as a being the family carer of a person with severe and persistent mental illness. It includes being a childhood carer growing up with a mentally ill mum, and the caring experiences, in both the Aboriginal and wider communities, of a highly respected Aboriginal elder woman.
Many of the carers demonstrate some of the creative interests that they pursue to sustain themselves through tough times, and talk to the importance of instilling and maintaining hope.
The film has been very professionally turned out by a team led by Tanya Clifton, with very high production values, through the creative editing and graphics by Visible Creations.
It deserves a prominent slot on National Television, then should be shown in major art galleries in conjunction with a touring exhibition of these carers' artworks, and perhaps of others of a similar high calibre.
Borderline Personality Disorder
Time is running out! This is a chance to ‘have your say’ - Surveys close 30th June
Are you a consumer or carer affected by the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder? We want to hear about your experiences.
We invite you to complete a survey! The survey will not identify you!
Complete the survey and go into the draw for one of ten $50 prepaid Visa cards.
Partnership through Advocacy
Michelle Swann has been employed by Arafemi Victoria as Carer Advocate over the last 18 months, and has assisted many families and carers to get the treatment and support they need from their local area mental health service. This project demonstrates the working partnership that can develop between services. Read More (PDF)
Executive Summary-Vic Carer Advocacy project.pdf
Federal Budget Leaves Mental Health Carers Out in the Cold!!
Response to the Budget from Mental Health Carers Arafmi Australia on behalf of Mental Health Families and Carers. May 11, 2011.
The allocation of $1.5 billion for mental health reform and growth of services is a big step forward in the development of a mental health system which meets the needs of Australians – well, most Australians, but not all. Read More (PDF)
Workshop: How to support family and friends of those people with mental illness who have died by suicide
People bereaved by suicide can be at higher risk of taking their own lives. Intervention at this stage is an important suicide prevention strategy.
Arafmi across Australia and SANE Australia have collaborated to design a workshop to assist services to give support to family and friends of people with mental illness who have suicided.
SANE has trained an Arafmi worker in each state and territory so they have the resources and capacity to deliver a ½ day workshop to other professionals in their state.
These workshops will give skills to the managers and staff of mental health services to recognise the importance of supporting bereaved family and friends of clients who have died by suicide. The workshop will also provide training on how to explore issues that may arise during the process.
Contact your local MHCAA member Organisation