In this issue

Tandem State Election 2018
Tandem AGM 2018
County Court Community Engagement Day
Ready, Steady, NDIS
Be You
Christmas Toyshop Drive


Have your say
Training Opportunities
Carer Support Groups update
Have you heard?

Tandem State Election 2018

As 24 November approaches and Victoria heads to the polls, Tandem would like to briefly summarise the key mental health election commitments from both major parties.
Australian Labor Party Whilst not an election commitment, we have been assured that a re-elected Andrews Labor Government will implement the Victorian Carer Strategy 2018 – 2022 which was launched earlier this year. 
LiberalNational Coalition The coalition has not endorsed a Mental Health Royal Commission and Tandem remains unsure as to whether they will support the implementation of the Victorian Carer Strategy 2018 – 2022.

A New Tandem Board is Elected

On 8 November Tandem held its Annual General Meeting at our offices in Abbotsford. Tandem Chair Michelle Swann, reported on a fantastic 12 months and expressed her gratitude to Marie Piu and the Tandem team for their invaluable work. She also thanked the Tandem Board, particularly Rachel Lovelock, Frances Sanders and Colin Fryer who were all retiring from the Board.

Colin Fryer, who had served on the Board for 12 years, received the following words of gratitude from Margaret Leggatt:

"I would be grateful if you passed on to all present my profound gratitude to Colin for his extraordinary contribution to the governance of Tandem, given over many years now and given with unstinting dedication, clear-headedness, exemplary calmness and professional expertise. I had known Colin and his family for many years before his involvement in mental health, so I knew that in asking Colin to become involved first of all with SANE where he served on the Board there for many years, and then with Tandem, that he would make an invaluable contribution and he most certainly has. So, Colin, I want to personally say thank you for accepting my request to take on the role of Chairman of Tandem, and on behalf of all those at Tandem who have benefited from your dedication to the cause of families and carers, our heartfelt appreciation. Enjoy your retirement with the knowledge that your contributions have progressed our cause in so many ways and have set us on a path that will continue to flourish."
2019 Board Members
Michelle Swann (Chair)
Peter McKenzie (Deputy Chair)
Belinda Horton (Treasurer)
Simon Stafrace (Secretary)
Lisa Sweeney
Maurice Sheehan

Jacqui Hill
Cathy Spencer
Melissa Petrakis
Katrina Clarke
Margaret Leggatt
Violeta Peterson
Tandem would like to welcome all new and continuing Board members, and express our gratitude to the retiring Board members for their huge contribution over the past years.
Tandem 2019 Board members: Simon Stafrace, Belinda Horton, Melissa Petrakis, Michelle Swann, Jacqui Hill, Katrina Clarke and Peter McKenzie. (Absent: Lisa Sweeney, Maurice Sheehan, Cathy Spencer, Margarett Leggatt and Violeta Peterson).
Tandem's NDIS Engagement Consultant Tania Curlis with outgoing Board member Colin Fryer. Newly elected Board member Melissa Petrakis with reelected Chair Michelle Swann. Tandem's Andrew Day and volunteer Pat Rogerson facilitating the Board election. 

County Court Community Engagement Day

Tandem CEO Marie Piu was very pleased to be invited to the inaugural County Court Community Engagement Day last month. It was a unique opportunity to be in the company of so many diverse and inspiring CEO’s and community leaders to discuss issues relating to the objectives of the County Court and the complexities around sentencing.
"County Court of Victoria Chief Judge Peter Kidd, his team of Judges and the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre are to be congratulated on opening their doors and demystifying the judiciary. 

A personal highlight was the speed dating session with the judges. They were very approachable and thoughtful as they reflected on the complexities in sentencing where mental health and/or AOD and related issues are present.

I was reassured by the diversity and gender mix of the judges and their desire to engage and discuss issues for families and carers, as well as meet judges who they themselves have experience of supporting someone with mental health issues", said Marie.
County Court Community Engagement Day
Below are some resources provided by the County Court that you may find helpful:
County Court of Victoria  
Sentencing Advisory Council Victoria

Improved NDIS planning for people with complex support needs

On 16 November, Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services, Sarah Henderson, announced the commencement of the rollout of a new National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Complex Support Needs Pathway.

The new Complex Support Needs Pathway will provide specialised support for participants living with a disability who have many different challenges impacting on their lives such as mental health issues, incarceration or homelessness, and need a higher level of specialised supports in their plan.

Tandem participated in the state ITF Complex Pathway Sub-Working Group with the Department of Premier and Cabinet as a contribution to the consultation towards these changes. Organisations involved in the Complex Pathway consultations have been messaging a need for increased hours of support coordination in complex circumstances, for this to be sustained rather than capacity building in its emphasis, and pricing and workforce development to reflect the needs of this group. As the pathway commences, we look forward to continued improvements to NDIS access and implementation for those most at-risk, with positive impacts for family and carers. More info

2nd Annual National NDIS & Mental Health Conference

Tandem staff recently attended Mental Health Victoria’s 2nd Annual National NDIS & Mental Health Conference at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre. With over 700 attendees over the course of two days, delegates engaged in countless dialogues, social events, met with exhibitors and 83 speakers shared their research findings, knowledge and experience.

This included a presentation by Tandem NDIS Engagement Consultant Tania Curlis and Future Social Service Institute researcher Amaya Alvarez, who discussed the experiences and challenges of mental health families and carers in the NDIS. The presentation was well received, in honestly representing the expectations placed on family and friends to gather evidence, coordinate supports, and manage the operational day to day gaps in services for a family member.

Visit the Conference website to get access to all presentations for keynote speakers, themed and panel discussions.

DHHS & NDIS Branch Forum

The DHHS and NDIS Branch Forum invited Tandem to present alongside the Association for Children with a Disability and Carers Victoria, to present the themes of NDIS transition, family and carer experiences and challenges, and hopes for the year ahead. It was a useful opportunity to share barriers to accessing the NDIS, the need for continuing support to families with the implementation of their plans, and to highlight challenges unique to mental health carers.

Majority of service providers think NDIS isn't working

While good outcomes have been achieved within the NDIS for some individuals, the sector is increasingly discussing challenges of implementation, including pressure on family and friends to support gaps in services, and challenges in accessing skilled support coordination. The ABC's Radio National breakfast program reported that 'a new report has found three out of four disability providers say the NDIS isn't working well and one in 10 has discussed closing in the past year'. NDS CEO Chris Tanti shares the ongoing concerns of service providers in an interview this week. 

Uniting NDIS Presentations

Learn about the NDIS and about how to get NDIS ready. Uniting will discuss eligibility and access to the NDIS; setting, reviewing and achieving your goals; NDIS terminology and experiences of working with the NDIS; and question time. More info

Dandenong 12 December
Springvale 7 December

NDIA Information Sessions

The NDIA holds regular events to inform the general public, potential participants, their families and carers, and providers.
Getting Ready for your Planning Conversation
Cobram 26 November
Wallan 4 December
Shepparton 6 December
Planning Conversation Workshop
Cranbourne 26 November  
Pakenham 7 December (Morning)
Pakenham 7 December (Afternoon)
Bring your NDIS plan to life & Drop in Q&A
Dandenong 22 November
Sale 27 November
Bairnsdale 28 November
Lakes Entrance 29 November

NDIS Forum
Highton 12 December (Information session with the Member for Corangamite)
For other NDIS events in Victoria, including events for NDIS providers, click here.

VALiD Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability

NDIS: Families as Planning Partners Course
This course is designed to assist parents/families of people with disability to get updated on the many changes in the disability services area.
It will help you to get ready for the transition to the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) through:
  • Planning – for now and the future  
  • How NDIS individual funding and support could work.
To register to attend this course click on the link in your area below, and download and fill out the Expression of Interest Form.

Mildura (day) 26 November, 3, 10 & 17 December (course has already commenced)​​
Mildura (evening) 10 & 17 December (course has already commenced)​

All enquiries to Donna Shaw on 0402 757 987 or at

Be You

beyondblue has launched Be You – a major new initiative designed to address mental health in schools and early learning services.

At its heart, Be You is online training and resources, backed by expert staff on the ground, to support busy principals, teachers and early learning professionals. More info


Christmas Toyshop Drive

Uniting Prahran and Stonnington Working Together Network are hosting a combined Christmas Toyshop Drive for 2018. The Toyshop gives parents, carers and legal guardians the opportunity to choose a free Christmas present for their children aged from birth to 15 years. More info

Barwon Health seeks Carer Advisory Group members

Has one of your family members or a close friend been a client of the Mental Health, Drugs and Alcohol Services (MHDAS) in the past three years? Would you like to join in activities to help improve the services that MHDAS provides to family members and friends?
Barwon Health is looking for members for a Carer Advisory Group (CAG) where you’ll get to have a say in how things work at MHDAS. Your ideas and feedback could lead the way to change and make a difference for yourself or another person or family member using the service.
CAG will meet for two hours once a month, starting in February 2019. More info

FaPMI Family Fun Day

25 November, 11am3pm, Ringwood
This is a free multi-age event offering activities for families with a parent or carer experiencing mental health issues. Bookings essential. More info

Registration form
Photo consent form
Volunteer form

Carers Social Club

7 December, Flemington
If you care for someone with disability, mental health issues, or someone who is elderly and want to meet other carers, share experiences, and widen your social network Moonee Valley City Council invite you to attend a free card making class and lunch at Crown Street Stables. 
Limited space available. Please email for more information or call 9243 1036. More info

Christmas Buffet Lunch

20 December, Geelong
Carers/support persons are invited to join Barwon Health for a Christmas buffet lunch. Please bring a wrapped Kris-Kringle gift to the value of approximately $5. Bookings essential. To register your interest in attending please contact Pamela on 42152418 or mobile 0437 663 845 or email

Alfred Health Carer Services

Dealing with Carer Stress
6 December, Berwick

These three workshops will help you deal with stress and will provide carers with practical tools and tips so you can care for yourself while caring for another. Participants are encouraged to attend all three sessions to gain the full benefit of the program. More info

Mental Health Victoria

Supporting Self-advocacy
4 December, Elsternwick
Learn the skills and knowledge required to encourage, support and promote self-advocacy, in order to contribute to a person’s self-determination, empowerment and rights. More info


30 November, Frankston
Employment Training for Parents and Carers
Do you support someone with a disability who wants to gain meaningful employment? Would you like to find out how to support someone to start their own business? Would you like to see what is possible through NDIS support, even before school finishes? You are invited to register to attend the upcoming training workshop called 'Transition to Work for People with Disability using the Customised Employment Approach and Discovery Process'. More info


Snapshot Program
24 November, Fairfield
27 November, Sunshine

The Wellways Building a Future Snapshot Program is a 2-session mental health education and support program for families of someone experiencing mental health issues. See locations above for more information.

BBQ Boys Male Carer Group

First Tuesday of each month, Carrum
The BBQ Boys is a carer group especially for men who would like contact with other male carers to gain and share information. The group invites you to join them and experience some 'me' time as well as opportunities for outings in a safe, non-judgemental environment with other male carers. More info
Carer support groups in Victoria

TheMHS Summer Forum

28 February – 1 March 2019, Sydney
Community Mental Health Systems: Human Rights and Services

The Forum will examine international, national and local policies, research and practice to build a picture of what is needed to enable a person with lived experience of mental health issues to attain or retain their full citizenship in society. Speakers include Maree Teesson, Patrick McGorry, Barbara Disley, Peter Hawkins and Graham Thornicroft. More info
Full list of upcoming conferences

Here's what others are saying.

Alfred Health Carer Services. Weekly newsletter. 16 November

Bouverie Centre. Bouverie Connect. Read

Barwon Health. Dec/Jan Family and Friends Newsletter. Read

Inner South Family & Friends. Spring Newsletter. Read

Mental Health Australia.CEO Update. 9 November  15 November

Mental Health Victoria. eNewsletter. 15 November  

Wellways. November eNews. Read

Be included in our eNews

If you are an organisation or support group, and would like us to spread the word about something that is happening in your area, please contact us to enquire about having your event included in eNews.
This issue of Tandem eNews is filled with information for family and friends (carers*  and former carers), regional carer networks and support groups, organisations with a significant mental health focus, and those working in the sector. If you are not already subscribed, you can do so here.

Tandem is the Victorian peak body representing family and friends supporting people living with mental health issues. We advocate for family and friend involvement in planning and care, participation in system change and support.

To do this, we need your voice. There is strength in numbers and your story, your experience, and your recommendations count. You can become a Tandem member here. For more information please call our office during business hours on 8803 5555.
Tandem Inc. acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the traditional owners of the lands and waters of Australia. Tandem is committed to working in partnership to support the principles of self-determination and ensure the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health carers are heard and considered.
Disclaimer. Tandem endeavours to provide a broad range of mental health carer-related information and other opportunities in this publication. This does not imply endorsement, recommendation or a direct reflection of Tandem's values and aims. Tandem attempts to ensure that information published is up-to-date and correct at publication.
Copyright © 2018 Tandem Inc., All rights reserved.

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