In this issue

Victorian Carer Strategy
Sharing Minds Forum
• Chief Psychiatrist’s Forum
Ready, Steady, NDIS
National Multicultural Mental Health Project
New Victorian Transcultural Mental Health resource


Training Opportunities
SANE Forums
Carer Support Groups update
Have you heard?

Have you nominated yet?

The Tandem Awards for Exceptional Service to Family and Friends in Mental Health is your chance to nominate a person or service that has significantly improved the experience of family and friends supporting someone with mental health issues in Victoria.

Is there someone in your community that has demonstrated compassionate work practices with a family inclusive focus? Would you like to see them receive an award? Nominations are open until 31 August so we’d love to hear from you. Award categories and nomination forms can be found on our website.

Victorian Carer Strategy

The Victorian State Government has launched their eagerly awaited Carer Strategy, which spells out the government’s priorities in providing fairly for carers, improving the systems with which they are engaged, and recognising the important role they play in the community.

Five priorities were identified, together with detailed actions and strategies for achieving them. The priorities are:

Priority 1 Carers have better health and wellbeing.
Priority 2 Carers are supported in school, study and work environments.
Priority 3 Carers can access support and services that meet their needs.
Priority 4 Carers have less financial stress.
Priority 5 Carers are recognised, acknowledged and respected.

Tandem particularly welcomed commitments that will affect families and friends of people with mental health issues. Those that will have the most impact when implemented include:

  • A commitment to enhancing the Mental Health Carer Support Program. This program includes many services that have been of vital importance to families and friends of people using the public mental health services. It includes the Carer Support Fund, which has not increased in the last decade in a context of increasing need every year.
  • Funding for Tandem to work with the Department of Health & Human Services in implementing the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist’s Family and Carer Guidelines.
  • A recognition of the urgency of implementing the national Carer Experience of Service Survey in the Victorian public mental health system.
  • Exploring opportunities to enhance mental health carer advocacy options, to uphold the principles in Victoria’s Mental Health Act 2014.

Tandem congratulates Gabrielle Williams MP and the Victorian Government on the completion of the Strategy and is delighted to see so many of the issues and concerns raised by our members regarding the specific priorities of mental health carers addressed in the document. In other priority actions with application to all informal caring in Victoria, Tandem is delighted to see a commitment to:

  • Improving opportunities for carers to access respite for their own wellbeing.
  • An intention to work with PHNs to establish mental health and wellbeing support network options for all carers including access to e-health.
  • An intention to work with employers to develop and implement carer-friendly workplace guidelines that enable carers to continue to participate in work and promote wellbeing.
The launch of the Victorian Carer Strategy at Parliament House. L to R: Michelle Swann, Tandem Chair, Sue Peden, President, Carers Vic, Hon Daniel Andrews MP, Premier of Victoria, Scott Walker, CEO Carers Vic, Gabrielle Williams MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Carers and Volunteers, Madeline Buchner, CEO and Founder Little Dreamers, and Marie Piu, CEO Tandem.

Sharing Minds Forum

14 August, Darebin Arts & Entertainment Centre
Tandem and VMIAC are hosting a Project Showcase Forum next month, at the midway point of the Victorian Government Improving the Mental Health Literacy and Resilience of Refugee and Immigrant Communities Small Grants Program. Thirteen projects, where a variety of service providers, not for profit organisations and grassroots community groups are working with a wider number of new and emerging communities from all across the state will present their project work and outcomes. 

The Forum will take place at the Darebin Arts Centre, Cnr Bell Street and St Georges Road, Preston on 14 August from 10am–3pm, and will feature interactive discussions, performances and a wide variety of speakers.

Further details and booking information at Eventbrite here. For more information please email Cherie Windsor at VMIAC.

Chief Psychiatrist’s Forum

Advance Statements and Nominated Persons

13 August, Melbourne
Advance Statements and Nominated Persons were two mechanisms introduced as part of The Victorian Mental Health Act 2014, an Act that provided a new legislative framework to promote recovery-oriented practice, reduce compulsory treatment and safeguard the rights and dignity of people with mental health issues.

The Office of the Chief Psychiatrist (OCP) has looked at the uptake of these two mechanisms and whether people find them useful, and is hosting a forum to talk about what they have found and to present instances of good practice that have increased the uptake.

Maggie Toko, VMIAC CEO, and Tandem's CEO, Marie Piu, will be presenting the opening address at the Forum, Why are advance statements and nominated persons important in the context of human rights? 

Who should attend?
  • Mental health service executives, operational managers, quality and safety managers, nurse unit managers, psychiatrists, allied health clinicians
  • Health service executives and senior change managers
  • Consumer and carer representatives and peer support workers.
This is a state-wide initiative and although there is no cost to attend, registration is limited. More info

NDIS Mental Health Workshop

15 August, Footscray
Maribyrnong City Council is hosting a free workshop in partnership with Tandem and the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC). The NDIS will commence in Maribyrnong in October. These NDIS Mental Health workshops will provide insight and guidance on the NDIS application process. More info Register

NDIS and Mental Health Information Sessions

Tandem, the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC), and the Brotherhood of St Laurence are hosting several free NDIS and mental health information sessions. Topics covered will include:
  • What is the NDIS and is it for me?
  • Unpacking the NDIS pathway for psychosocial disability
  • Evidence gathering
  • Information for carers
  • Local Area Coordinators and the planning meetings
5 September Moonee Ponds (in partnership with the Moonee Valley City Council)
10 September Caroline Springs (in partnership with the Melton Shire Council)

NDIS and Mental Health Information Forum

28 August, Berwick
ERMHA’s Mental Health Peer Support Group will present this forum for community members with mental health issues, carers and service providers. The forum will provide the opportunity to:
  • Understand how the NDIS works
  • Learn more about preparation and planning for the transition to the NDIS
  • Understand NDIS and Mental Health
  • Ask questions about how the NDIS will impact you and your family. Register

Australian Federation of Disability Organisations

Understanding the NDIS Workshops

Outer Eastern Melbourne
Ringwood 8 August 
Wantirna South 11 August

Bayside Peninsula
Elsternwick 12 September
Southern Melbourne
Mornington 15 September
Dandenong 19 September
Dandenong 22 September
More info

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

Pakenham 15 August
Dandenong 12 September, 10 October, 14 November and 12 December
Springvale 7 September, 5 October, 2 November and 7 December

Youth Disability Advocacy Service

NDIS Readiness Workshops
These workshops are especially for young people aged between 12 to 25. Topics covered will include:
  • What is NDIS, how do you join, and what happens when you’re on the NDIS?
  • What do you want to do with your life? How to think about your goals and the support you need to achieve them.
  • How to speak up – What type of setbacks might come up when you talk to your family or the NDIS? How do you get the support to speak up?
Maribyrnong 16 August 
Maribyrnong 11 September

NDIS Support for Carers

8 August, 12 September, 10 October, 14 November, 12 December
10am–12pm, Dandenong Neighbourhood House, 34 King Street, Dandenong

NDIS starts in Casey, Cardinia and Dandenong in September 2018. These sessions will help your understanding and preparation in:
  • NDIS eligibility
  • Accessing the NDIS
  • Setting goals
  • Terminology
To join a session please register here or call 9239 2500.

NDIA Information Sessions

The NDIA holds regular events to inform the general public, potential participants, their families and carers, and providers.
My NDIS Expo
Ringwood 13 August
Getting ready for your planning conversation
Narre Warren 14 August
Community Information Sessions
Lake Boga 28 August
Swan Hill 28 August
Robinvale 29 August

Mildura 29 August
Red Cliffs 30 August
Ouyen 30 August

The Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria (ECCV) 

NDIS information session for culturally diverse communities
Wodonga 29 August
These information sessions aim to inform people from the culturally and linguistically diverse community about the NDIS by an NDIS Local Area Coordinator (Latrobe Community Health Service) and about NDIS Early Childhood Intervention (Link Health and Community). The sessions will also include an overview of disability and stories from people with a lived experience.

Session 1 11.30am–12.30pm (with Nepali interpreter)
Session 2 2.30pm–3.30pm (with Swahili interpreter)
Session 3 5.30pm 6.30pm (with Hindi & Punjabi interpreter)
For other NDIS events in Victoria, including events for NDIS providers, click here.

National Multicultural Mental Health Project

Mental Health Australia and project partners are calling on consumers and carers from multicultural communities to join an advisory group that will be a key source of advice to the national multicultural mental health project. The project represents a national focus on mental health for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and aims to support service providers to improve cultural responsiveness and accessibility. Applications open until 10am AEST 9 August. More info

New Victorian Transcultural Mental Health resource

'Cultural diversity and assessment: A resource for mental health practitioners' is now available via the Victorian Transcultural Mental Health resource( VTMH) website. This resource is designed to assist mental health practitioners to focus on cultural aspects of mental health and well-being in assessment. VTMH now has three free online learning resources for the mental health workforce. More info


Sunday 14 October, 1pm until late, Warrandyte
This 24 hour art and nature retreat in the beautiful private parklands of Longridge Park, Warrandyte is for all mental health lived experience advocates, people on the recovery journey, peers, our friends, family and mental health allies. Replenish your heart and spirit during Mental Health Week.
Creative and nature-based workshops throughout the afternoon, and overnight camping is available/optional to Monday.

Tickets are $10, with only 30 spaces available. Info & bookings

Caring for Carers

Every Thursday, 6–7.30pm, Kellaway Avenue Neighbourhood Centre, Moonee Ponds
Moonee Valley City Council in partnership with Valley Carers, is offering an exercise program for those who care for someone with disability under the age of 65. There is no cost for carers residing locally in the Moonee Valley municipality, however carers who reside outside of the area pay $5 per class. There is no commitment to the classes, you can come and go as you please. All classes are professionally facilitated. Timetable More info

Self-care evenings for carers and the person you support

Various dates, 5.30–7 pm, Ermha, Dandenong
Join Ermha for an opportunity to leave your cares and worries at the door, while you enjoy time with others to relax and share new skills. Finger food and yoga mats provided. RSVP to or contact reception on 9706 7388. Timetable & activities

Paws for thought

Thursdays from 9 August, headspace Knox
Being around animals has a positive impact on mental health. headspace at Knox Ozone (2 Capitol City Boulevard, Wantirna South) will be running a drop-in group where you can pat, cuddle and chat with their therapy dog Billie. Please email Chenai Muposta or call on 9801 6088 for more information.

Loddon Mallee Mental Health Carers Network AGM

15 August, Echuca
Agenda for the day is as follows: Forum on Mental Illness and Housing: Representatives from Anglicare Victoria, Murray Primary Health Network, Haven: Home Safe, Northern District Community Health and Community Living & Respite Services will be joining them for a discussion around this important issue and possible project ideas. Register

Alfred Health Carer Services

Managing Carer Fatigue
23 August, 30 August & 6 September, Highett

Carers who live in the Southern region of Melbourne are invited to join a series of three workshops designed to help you learn techniques to relax, take care of yourself and practice self-compassion. RSVP is essential. More info

Carers Victoria

New Horizons: A program for bereaved carers
9 August, Footscray

Carers Victoria is offering a three-day program for bereaved carers, facilitated by a Carers Victoria counsellor. It offers an opportunity to explore issues of loss and grief in a safe and supportive environment. More info


After School Group
Starting 15 October, Narre Warren

CHAMPS is a group program for children aged 812 who have a parent or parents with a mental health issue including children who do not live with their birth parents. More info

Discovery College

Managing the Ripple Effect: Strategies for family, friends, and the healthcare team
6 September, Frankston

People connected to someone going through a hard time with their mental health can also have their own challenges. This course brings people together to gain some new insights into being able to support ourselves and others through these challenges. More info

Emerging Minds & MHPN

Webinar: Working with parents and children affected by intergenerational disadvantage
22 August, online

This will be Emerging Mind's first webinar in a series focussed on infant and child mental health. Attend this webinar to gain insights into practice that will help you proactively engage with parents experiencing adversity to create opportunities for early identification and intervention and reduce the impact on infant and child mental health. More info

Mental Health Victoria

Training Calendar
July – December 2018
Registrations are now open online for all courses to the end of the year. A number of new short courses are offered, including: 'Basic counselling skills for creating solution focussed conversations' and 'Mental Health Awareness'; 'Communicating your lived experience'. Courses can also be delivered at your service, with or without any additional customisation. You can view the training calendar here. For more information please call 9519 7000 or email 

Mind Australia

9 August, Heidelberg
Become a mental health peer worker

This one-day information session is for anyone with a lived experience of mental ill-health and recovery (either directly or as a carer) who is thinking about becoming a peer worker and would like some more information about what is involved. More info

SAFE in Oz

An Introduction to Working with Individuals who have Self-destructive Behaviour
This 2-day workshop aims to give participants an insight into the headspace of a person who participates in self-destructive behaviour/s in order to better understand their ‘real’ world and life experiences. The training encapsulates individuals needs throughout their lifespan and is flexible and responsive to the workshop participants. Registration form
Bendigo 27–28 August
Broadmeadows 30–31 August
Mildura 6–7 September
Horsham 10–11 September
Ballarat 24–25 September
Foster 8–9 October


Learning more about BPD: A workshop for families and friends
16 August, Richmond
This one day workshop for family and friends who support someone with BPD (or a likely diagnosis of BPD) provides information about BPD and how to best support the person whilst still caring for yourselves. The group will explore a number of educational and practical approaches to learning new skills in the context of a safe environment amongst other carers. Register

Topic Tuesdays in August

Lived Experience Forum
14 August at 
7pm AEST
Motivation. How do we find motivation in our day to day? What are our challenges and successes? Our inspirations and our obstacles? Explore these topics together with SANE. More info

Carers Forum
21 August
7pm AEST
Feeling excluded in a loved one’s treatment journey.
More info

Family Relationship Support for Carers (FRSC)

This is a free statewide service providing counselling, mediation and future planning support for families caring for someone with a disability (including mental health issues). More info

Support for family and friends of those with mental health issues

Various dates through to November, Nunawading
A support group where you can discuss the problems of caring for a loved one with mental health issues with others in the same situation. The group will understand the complex emotional journey you and your family are on and can help with support and connection to other services if needed. Register

Uniting lifeAssist

Hampton Park and Pakenham Carer Hubs
Term 3 activities
These are spaces to connect with other carers, access carer supports, and look after your own wellbeing. You can attend the free events if you provide unpaid support for a person with mental health issues, an intellectual disability or autism, and live in the Council areas of Greater Dandenong, Casey or Cardinia.

Hampton Park – Every Tuesday during school terms  More info
Pakenham – Every second Wednesday during school terms  More in
Carer support groups in Victoria
28–31 August, Adelaide

TheMHS Conference

Hear the Whisper, not the Roar: Reform, reflect and review. This year's conference will showcase the evidence of how we reform, reflect and review the supports and services we all provide. The importance of meaningful input, both the whisper and the roar of people with a lived experience offers a unique opportunity to 'reform, reflect and review' mental health at all levels.

Tandem will be presenting three papers at the conference this year and participating in the pre-conference Carer's Day. We look forward to meeting you there. Register

3–4 September 2018, Melbourne

Fixing NDIS National Conference

Fulfilling the Promise to Revolutionise Disability Services
This Conference will seek broad input into the NDIS reform process. It will present papers and workshops on current practices and proposed improvements or alternatives. It will seek additional reform proposals, and invite campaign ideas for building broad public support for transformational change. Register

10–11 September, Brisbane

National Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Conference

The conference will highlight the many contributions of those with lived experience of BPD, and of everyone involved in improving treatment, care and support for people with BPD, their carers and families, to help people achieve a meaningful life. It provides a unique opportunity for clinicians, practitioners, consumers, carers and family members from across Australia to meet, collaborate, share experiences and learn. Register

14–16 September, Sydney

Australian Psychosis Conference

The Australian Psychosis Conference aims to bring together researchers, clinicians, consumers and carers, all interested in the best possible outcomes for people with a psychotic illness. The conference will showcase the latest research, discuss best practice and treatment, and debate on how best to encourage recovery. The program aims to synthesise what we know about psychosis, how best to treat it, and how to deliver treatment in our society. Register

Discounted registration fees are available for carers and consumers to attend the conference. Information on registration fees can be found here.

14 October, Burwood

Youth Mental Wellbeing Conference

A partnership between Deakin University and the Mental Health Foundation Australia, the conference will involve 30 secondary schools, 20 universities, 10 TAFE colleges and several private educational providers totalling 350-400 students. Topics of crucial importance to youth mental health will be discussed and a position paper, formulated from the perspective. Register

15–17 October, Hobart

10th Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium

The Symposium is celebrating 10 years of important discussions and education, providing a platform for collaboration of like-minded professionals who are passionate about improving mental health services and mental health outcomes within rural and remote Australia.

Suicide and harm prevention, physical health, digital and low-intensity mental health, child and youth, supporting the mental health workforce, and consumer-focused recovery are some of the topics that will be addressed at the Symposium.

People working within service delivery, public health networks, research and policy and most importantly working to change the stigma of mental health and consumer-focused recovery are encouraged to attend. Register

31 October – 1 November, Melbourne

2nd Annual NDIS & Mental Health Conference

The event will feature keynote presentations from international and Australian experts, alongside lived experience and service providers presenting on a diverse range of insightful and inspiring topics in mental health. The key focus areas for the conference will include:
  • Service safety and quality
  • Implementation of the 5th National Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Plan
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health
  • Integration of the NDIS into the broader mental health system
  • Co-design of integrated service models, and
  • The intersection of physical and mental health.
Call for submissions are open
You are invited to submit content to present at the conference. The conference theme is ‘Mental Health Policy, Practice & Reform: Getting it right in a time of change'. Submissions focusing on the key Conference Concepts are welcomed. Submissions due 27 July. More info
Full list of upcoming conferences

Here's what others are saying.

Alfred Health Carer Services. Newsletter 3 August. Read

BPD Community. August newsletter. Read

Carers Australia. August newsletter. Read

Carers Victoria.Voice newsletter. Read

Emerging Minds. eNews July. Read

Mental Health Australia. CEO Update. 27 July  2 August

Mental Health Victoria. Newsletter 1 August. Read

Sane Australia. Sane Express. Read

SEMHPN. Network News. Read

Victorian Transcultural Mental Health. July news. 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 join Tandem now by downloading the Membership Form. 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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