In this issue

•  Tandem December Members' meeting
•  Tandem is now on Facebook
•  We're taking a break
•  December Partnership Dialogue cancelled
•  Call for public comment: Fifth National Mental Health Plan
•  Draft model for future care support service system
•  Call for clinicians to boost patient safety
•  Supporting behaviour change in family based interventions

Regular features

Ready, Steady, NDIS
Sane Forums
Training Opportunities
Carer Support Group Update

Tandem December Members’ Meeting

Consultation and Celebration

December 8 was the last Tandem Members’ Meeting for the year. we took the occasion to consult members on our strategic direction for the next five years, and to host a consultation by KPMG on the new design of the clinical mental health system, before breaking for an end of year celebration. 

Thank you to all who contributed so productively during the Workshop for the Statewide Design, Service and Infrastructure Plan for Victoria’s Clinical Mental Health System (the Plan). The next steps: a framework will be developed by January 2017, then the Design Service and Intfrastructure Plan will be released in Feburary. If you weren't able to attend a presentation is available for download

Strategic planning. Tandem’s strategic planning process continued yesterday with the chance for members to give their opinions about priority actions for Tandem in the next five years. The Strategic Plan is being developed at a time of great change, and Tandem members welcomed the opportunity to talk about what they would like to see the organisation could achieve. Systemic advocacy to Government on behalf of carers was frequently highlighted as a key need, as well as the need for Tandem to continue to document difficulties in identifying and supporting carers. The current absence of an Individual Advocacy service was discussed, and the importance of Tandem continuing to be involved in reseach in family and carer related areas.

At the conclusion of the meeting, members, Board and staff celebrated the achievements and hard work of the year with lunch.
Retiring Board members Louise Phillips and Estelle Malseed were acknowledged by the Chair, Colin Fryer, and members during the lunch.
Judy Anderson and Maddy Dodds from Peninsula Health, and Annette Mercuri from NorthWestern MH at the lunch; retiring Board member, Louise Phillips and Tandem CEO Marie Piu.

Tandem is now on Facebook

Our new social media page is a place where we will share information, stories and news we believe are relevant to you. This will be a platform for all family and friend (carer) related news that we hope will help keep you informed and up-to-date. Please visit our page and press the like button to receive regular updates.

We're taking a break

This is our last eNews for the year, and will return in February 2017. We hope that you have enjoyed reading eNews and found it informative. At Tandem we always invite you to keep us up-to-date on what is happening in the community, so 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. In the new year we will give you more information on deadlines for publication dates.

Tandem will be closed from 5pm on Friday, 23 December 2016 and reopen on Tuesday, 3 January 2017.

Marie and the Tandem team would like to wish you the joy of family, the gift of friends, and the best of everything in 2017. 

December Consumer and Carer Partnership Dialogue cancelled

The Consumer and Carer Partnership Dialogue, which was scheduled for 13 December, has been cancelled and will be rescheduled for early next year.

"Dear Partnership Dialogue members,
I am writing to let you know that the  Consumer and Carer Dialogue meeting which was scheduled for 13 December has been cancelled and will be rescheduled early next year. There are many people unable to attend during this very busy time, including Dr Margaret Grigg, so best if we hold off until the new year. I apologise for any inconvenience and look forward to catching up with you next year. Best wishes for Christmas and 2017." 

Robyn Humphries
Assistant Director, Mental Health, DHHS

Call for public comment

Fifth National Mental Health Plan

The last day for providing your feedback is 9 December 2016

The Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Sussan Ley MP, has invited the community to have their say on the draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan. Minister Ley said the consultation draft for the Fifth National Mental Health Plan has been approved by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC) on behalf of all Health Ministers and is now ready for public comment. 'This is an important document and has been widely anticipated by the mental health sector,' Minister Ley said. 'The Fifth National Mental Health Plan articulates national priorities for collaboration across states and territories, the Australian Government, the sector and consumers on mental health for the next five years.The National Mental Health Plan aims to improve the lives of people with mental health issues. More details on the consultation process here.

We encourage you to complete the Fifth Mental Health Plan Consultation feedback survey
Written submissions will also be accepted. Please email your submission to

Draft model for future Carer Support Service System

Only 1 week left to have your say

Share your thoughts on a draft model for a future Carer Support Service System. The Australian Government is committed to supporting and sustaining the vital work of unpaid carers and has developed a draft Service Delivery Model for a proposed new Integrated Carer Support Service System. The Department of Social Services invites you to share your thoughts and feedback on a draft Service Delivery Model for a proposed future service by making a submission or by participating in the carer survey. Please visit to have your say before 5pm on 16 December 2016.

Call for clinicians to boost patient safety

Doctors, nurses and other health clinicians are being urged to play their part in an overhaul of Victoria’s hospital quality and safety system with expressions of interest for the new Victorian Clinical Council now open. The establishment of the new Victorian Clinical Council is part of the Andrews Labor Government’s reforms to strengthen quality and safety and drive down avoidable harm in Victorian hospitals. The Council will put clinicians front and centre in providing clinical expertise to the Government, the Department of Health and Human Services, and health services on how to improve quality and safety, and provide better, safer care to all Victorians.

For more information on how to register interest for the new Victorian Clinical Council click here, or email or phone 9096 2159.

Supporting adult behaviour change in family-based interventions

The journal Advances in Mental Health: Promotion, Prevention and Early Intervention is calling for papers for a special issue of the journal titled Supporting adult behaviour change in family based intervention. The issue will focus on innovations in prevention and early intervention in family-based interventions aimed at supporting positive mental health among children and parents. 

The journal is seeking papers including research articles, case studies and reviews of literature that explores how interventions involving parents and other carers in the family as change agents can influence the functioning of family members across diverse populations, with the aim of furthering the understanding of how to best support the mental health of children and adults. Learn about the process for making a submission. Abstracts of 200250 words due 1 March, 2017. Full manuscripts of no more than 6000 words 1 May, 2017
Ready, Steady, NDIS

Ready, Steady, NDIS Facebook Page

The Ready, Steady, NDIS Facebook page will provide us an additional platform to share information, stories and news about the NDIS transition that is specifically relevant to Mental Health Carers. We will use this page to keep you informed of what we are up to, and to link you to relevant articles and resources to support you during this time of change. If you have a Facebook account please like our page for regular updates. 

Carers in the media  

Anglicare report on carers

Anglicare launched a report on Monday Sydney's Carers: Doing it Tough, Doing it Well which raises concerns about unmet needs of carers under the NDIS. It also indicates the need for more support programs for carers of people with a disability. The report echoes the concerns of many across the sector that carer supports and in particular access to respite will be diminished under the NDIS. View the media release and the full report.  
The report echoes some of what Tandem has been hearing from mental health carers on the ground, particularly the confusion and difficulties navigating the NDIS, concerns about loved ones who are unwell and lack insight into their condition not engaging in the NDIS, and support that will be available for them and their families.  Tandem will analyse the report and utilise the information to continue to advocate for mental health carers to have access to supports in their own right both in the NDIS and outside the NDIS.   

NDIS funding decision to be challenged in federal court

NDIS participant, Liam McGarrigle, is challenging the NDIA in Federal Court over its decision to only partially fund his taxi expenses to and from his support services. This is the first time the Federal Court will be asked to interpret key provisions of the NDIS.  
Represented by Victoria Legal Aid, the basis of Mr McGarrigle's claim is that the NDIA has no transparent policies around what it will fund in a plan, and provides no clear rationale about how its funding decisions are reached. 
Mr McGarrigle's mother has expressed frustration at the lack of concern shown by the NDIA for the burden placed on carers, telling the Geelong Advertiser, 'In our dealings with the NDIS through this process, the expectation they have of what families should do is above and beyond, and I personally feel that the agency is not seeing what it’s like on the ground for families and the clients themselves,' she said.
The lack of clarity and parity across planning decisions, as well as a reliance on carers, are common issues reported to Tandem in the wake of the NDIS. Tandem will be following the outcome of this case closely.

Carers NSW reports on the respite needs of carers

Carers NSW also released a 4 page booklet Give us a Break about the respite needs of carers across Australia. Survey findings highlight that carers see respite as being for the carer not just the person with disability yet government policy is shifting towards the view that carers will have respite as a result of the needs of the person with disability being met.  The implication is that the approach to respite in the NDIS may not address the needs of families and carers for support to maintain their wellbeing.

NDIS falls short in meeting outcomes for ACT carers

A recent Carers ACT survey of carers and the impact of the NDIS on their caring role found that the NDIS had not improved outcomes for many carers in the ACT. "With a primary goal to improve the level of services people with disability receive under the NDIS, an expected NDIS outcome was carers would have more time to pursue work, education and other activities because of reduced time they spent caring", Ms Lisa Kelly, General Manager, Carer and Community Services at Carers ACT said. Carers ACT is concerned that our initial analysis indicated that without an adequate level of good and consistent replacement care built into an individual’s NDIS package the capacity of carers to continue to care is reduced, especially as carers age and have poorer health.

Tandem activities 

Barwon Mental Health carers share their stories

Tandem worked in collaboration with VICSERV and carer peer workers from Wellways and Barwon Area Mental Health Service to bring together a group of 13 mental health carers to learn more about their experiences of the NDIS within the Barwon trial site. Held on the 1 December, the Barwon Consultation enabled carers to tell their stories and raise their concerns with the NDIS rollout and to draw attention to the complexities of caring for someone with mental health issues.
The stories shared during the consultation will inform the VICSERV report Barwon Now, a follow up report to Learn and Build in Barwon. The learnings from the consultation will influence Tandem’s future NDIS readiness activities and highlight areas of key concern for mental health carers that require continued systemic advocacy.

Have your say: Every Australian Counts Survey

Complete a short online survey to let the Government and the National Disability Insurance Agency know what’s working and what’s not with the NDIS. Based on what you say, Every Australian Counts will release their Every Australian Counts NDIS Community Report Card in December which will be the first community report card tracking how the community thinks the NDIS is going as it is rolled out.

Other News

Submission to the NDIS Savings Fund Enquiry

In early November, Tandem made a submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry into the NDIS Savings Fund Special Account Bill 2016. Despite these concerns, the Committee recommended that the Bill be passed. Both Labor and the Greens made dissenting reports which stated they will not support the Bill in its current form.  

State Government developed Code of Conduct

In a media release on 23 November, the Andrews Government announced it would be introducing new measures to protect people with disability from abuse.  
The announcement is in response to the recent final report of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Abuse in Disability Services, which highlighted the need for a more responsive system supported by a skilled workforce to address issues of abuse.
The Government has pledged to enact a code of conduct, which would involve training the workforce to better recognise, prevent and report abuse as the state transitions to the NDIS. It has also announced an investment of $1 million to support the roll-out of a new client incident management system plus an additional $1.5 million to support people with a disability to access advocacy services.
Plans to enhance the functions of the Disability Services Commissioner, better training for Community Visitors to be able to identify and report abuse, and expand the Disability Worker Exclusion Scheme have also been announced.

NDIA releases Market Approach Statement

The Market Approach Statement, released 11 November by the NDIA, outlines how the NDIA will work with NDIS stakeholders to grow and upscale the number of disability support providers and services.
The document outlines the need to develop alternative business models to generate greater employment and discusses the NDIA's role as a 'market steward' - monitoring, facilitating and commissioning the marketplace. The statement acknowledges the impact of the new market on providers, who will have to adapt to the removal of bulk-funding, a competitive and commercial environment, new risks and new business processes.
The NDIA is committed to creating both a participant and provider-enabling environment and has outlined its planned activities until 2019 in the statement.

NDS State of the Disability Sector Report

NDS released a State of the Disability Sector Report 2016 earlier this week. The report paints the compelling picture that while the disability services sector remains committed to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), many providers feel uncertain about the future and are concerned about being able to meet the demand and the needs of people with disability.

Joint Parliamentary Committee to conduct special inquiry into NDIS

Mental Health Australia has advised that it has been engaging with the Joint Parliamentary Standing Committee on the NDIS and has learnt that the Committee will conduct a special inquiry into the NDIS.  Tandem looks forward to hearing more on the progress of this enquiry and will identify opportunities to feedback concerns about the gaps for those who will remain outside the scheme and the gaps for mental health carers specifically.   

National Mental Health NDIS Conference 2017

CMHA, will be holding the nation's first professional development conference on mental health and the NDIS in Sydney in November 2017.
Expressions of Interest are now open to representatives from within the Australian mental health sector to be part of the Conference Reference Group (CRG). The CRG's activities will involve:
  • providing advice and support to the conference operational team
  • providing advice to assist with strategic event decisions
  • contributing ideas and expertise, especially in the areas of theming, programing and sector engagement and
  • help to promote the conference across Australia’s mental health community.
The EOI applications are available online here. Applications close 13 December, 2016.



NDIA resources

Starting your plan factsheets
Tandem has been hearing that Mental Health Carers are having difficulties understanding NDIS plans and who can help their loved ones put the plan into action. NDIA has released new factsheets to help Mental Health Carers with the steps to take to start an NDIS plan. Starting your plan will give an overview of what to do. Starting your plan with a Support Coordinator helps understand how a support coordinator can help. Starting your plan with a Local Area Coordinator helps understand how an LAC can help start the plan. Starting my plan as an NDIS self-managed participant helps understand the steps if the person you care for is managing their own plan. There is also a factsheet, Accessing supports for my child, which provides information about Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI). You can find all of the factsheets on the NDIS website.
NDIA have released a factsheet Information about the NDIS for GP’s and health professionals with important information to be able to assist people with disability and their families and carers to access the NDIS.

Other resources

Mental Health Australia (MHA): Webinar available to replay: Mental Health Carers and the NDIS
Following on from a webinar in October 2016 to provide information for mental health carers on the NDIS, MHA has now enabled this event to be available to replay online.

In addition to the resources mentioned during the webinar, the National Disability Insurance Agency has recently released a new fact sheet on Psychosocial disability, recovery and the NDIS.

The resources mentioned during the webinar include:
NDIS Fact Sheet: Supports the NDIS will fund in relation to mental health services
Carers Australia’s Peer Conversation Partners Project
NDIS Guide and Checklist for Mental Health Carers
Discussion paper on Mental Health Carers and the NDIS

If you did manage to catch the webinar, MHA would like to know what you thought about it. Here is a link to a survey (which should only take approximately 5 minutes to complete) about the webinar on the landing page. Please give MHA your feedback to help improve similar webinars into the future.). If you would like to stay up to date on the work of Mental Health Australia and Carers Australia in relation to mental health carers and the NDIS, you can sign up to receive Mental Health Australia’s NDIS Mental Health Network Newsletter or Carers Australia’s Carers National News.
NDS Factsheet: Labour Force Participation
NDS released a factsheet comparing labour force participation of people with disability to people without disability in the workforce.
Guide to consumer rights in the NDIS
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released the new guide and resources to support people with disability in understanding and using their rights when buying goods and services under the NDIS. 

Information sessions and events

For people with disability, their families and carers
The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) Disability Loop project is running six NDIS Understanding workshops directly for people with disability and families across key regional areas in Victoria over the next few months, starting in Ballarat on 14, 15 and 16 December. These workshops will be facilitated by people with disability. For more information and to register see here.

Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) pre-planning workshops. Pre-planning workshops are being held across NEMA at all BSL offices and are designed to assist participants prepare for their planning meeting with a Local Area Coordinator. 

Locations, days and times
Whittlesea (1/1 Latitude Blvd, Thomastown), Wednesdays 10am–12pm, Thursdays 5.30pm–7.30pm.
Yarra (95 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy – Training Room 5), Fridays 10am–12pm.
Banyule and Nillumbik (65 Main Street, Greensborough), Tuesdays 10am–12pm, Wednesdays 5.30pm–7.30pm.
Darebin (293 High Street, Preston), Thursdays 10am–12pm, Mondays 5.30pm–7.30pm.
If you require any further information, please email Linkage Coordinator Maree Ellul, or call her on 9223 4208 or 0437 106 577.

NDIA events

NDIA are holding a range of information sessions in Central Highlands. Please click here for further details.

Service provider workshops

NDS and VICSERV are offering a Workforce Planning for Community Mental Health subsidised training course in 2017. Spaces are limited. For further details, click here

Lived Experience: Is it okay to ignore Christmas?

13 December, 7pm AEDT. The discussion will be about whether we should (or in fact, if we can) ignore Christmas and ways to manage our wellbeing throughout this time of year. Register

Carers: What gets you stressed over Christmas?

20 December, 7pm AEDT. Many of us us who have a loved one with a mental illness have the added concern for their wellbeing throughout the Christmas period. This forum will explore options to try to reduce your worries and help you relax.   Register 

Alfred Health Carer Services

The Alfred Health Carer Services website features a number of resources available for carers. They have developed a new promotional postcard for carers to see across the Southern region. Please contact Lindy on 9076 6204 or if you would like multiple copies of the postcard sent to you. Please list the number of copies required and address for postage.

Anxiety Recovery Centre Victoria

ASIST: Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training. 1 December. Surrey Hills. For further information or to register, visit the ARCVic website.

Carers Victoria

NDIS Information Session For Carers. Thursday, 2 February 2017 10.30am–12.00pm. Come along to this information session if you would like to know more about NDIS and are a carer. Carers Victoria, Footscray. Click here to register and see Carer's Victoria courses and events for 2017.

MIND Australia

Mind offers a range of training and education courses for clients, their families and the broader community. Click here to learn more.


Certificate IV Mental Health Peer Work. VICSERV is pleased to announce that registrations are open for the 2017 program of the Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work (CHC43515), commencing in February 2017. More information can be found here.

The full VICSERV Training Calendar to February 2017 is available here.
13–21 December, Federation Square
'Diverse-CITY' Exhibition by ADEC’s ArtAbility.
 Now in its 12th year, ArtAbility® is an annual exhibition of visual art created by people living with a disability from multicultural backgrounds. This year’s theme is ‘Diverse-CITY’. Through the medium of visual arts, an individual can express him or herself, and the ArtAbility® program is designed to provide this opportunity to our participating artists. For more information and to download an invitation to the exhibition opening click here.

22 February 2017, St Vincents Hospital
FREE film screening: Chasing Asylum. From Academy Award winner Eva Ormer, Chasing Asylum gives us documentary insight into the lived experience of asylum seekers in offshore detention. This film does more than invite us to imagine the lives of others. It shows the stark realities of life in offshore detention. This is a special FREE screening of Chasing Asylum. A film about Human Rights. A film about Mental Health. A film about collective responsibility. It will be followed by a panel discussion.
Wednesday 22 February, 2017 at 2.30pm. Register
New Geelong Bipolar Support Group
Living, learning and laughing with Bipolar. The next group session will be Tuesday, 20 December, 6.30 to 8.30pm at Mind Works, 284 Latrobe Terrace, Newtown. More info

BPD Community Support Group
The next Information Night will be on Wednesday 8 February, 2017 at 7.00pm. The topic is Should we change the name? Presented by Prof David Castle, it promises to be an informative and engaging discussion. If appropriate, please print off the flyer in the newsletter and draw it to the attention of any who may be interested. Their Carer's Group continues to meet monthly. 

Wellways (formerly MI Fellowship) runs a range of programs, activities and events all year round. You can meet people, try new things and learn new skills in your local area. We hold events for people living with mental illness and their family and friends. Find out more about what's happening near you here.

Pathways for Carers
Tuesday 13 December and Saturday 17  December walks with guest walkers from the Carer Gateway and Carers Victoria. 
The Pathway for Carers project offers carers of people with a disability or a mental health issue, an opportunity to share walks in Maroondah, Yarra Ranges and Manningham with other carers and to learn more about news, services, supports available to carers. In addition to Tuesday and Thursday walks, there has been the recent introduction of a Saturday walk. This walk will run every third Saturday of the month. All carers welcome.
The guest walker for the next walk in Maroondah on Tuesday 13 December is Daniel Hurwitz who will be representing the Australian Government’s Carer Gateway. The guest walker for the next weekend walk on Saturday 17 December is Sonia Savannah, Carer and Community Education Officer at Carers Victoria. After the walk all carers are welcome to join in for a free coffee and a muffin back at Torrente Cafe. More info
23–24 Feburary 2017, Sydney
2017 TheMHS Summer Forum: Choice and Control, Personalising the Mental Health System.
This forum will investigate the impact of our evolving mental health system on people and services, and ask how citizenship for consumers can be achieved. Register here.

4–6 October 2017, Adelaide
Carers Australia is proud to host the 7th International Carers Conference. The conference aims to re-imagine caring into the future, providing a catalyst for innovation and collaboration; sharing improvements in the way we support unpaid carers, care-recipients, their families, networks and communities. For more information click here.
This issue of Tandem eNews is filled with information for mental health carers and the carer peer workforce, for carer workers and mental health staff, and those with an interest in this area. If you are not already subscribed, you can do so here.

Tandem is the peak body for mental health carers in Victoria. Tandem advocates for carer involvement in planning and care, participation in system change, and support for families and carers.

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 © 2016 Tandem Inc., All rights reserved.

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