In this issue

•  Tandem submission to Senate Standing Committee inquiry
•  New Practice Note on accessing documents released
•  Call for abstracts for the TheMHS Conference 2017
•  Parliamentary Advocacy Day
•  See Troy Casser-Daley in Bairnsdale

Regular features

Have your say
Ready, Steady, NDIS
Sane Forums
Training Opportunities
Carer Support Group Update
Have you heard?

Tandem lodges submission to Senate Standing Committee inquiry

Tandem has lodged a submission on the provision of services in the future for people with psychosocial disabilities related to a mental health condition. The inquiry looks at both the adequacy and eligibility criteria for services under the NDIS, and the services that will exist for people who will not come under the NDIS. Tandem has broadly consulted with members, and attended consultations through VICSERV and VCOSS  to compile the submission to The Joint Standing Committee inquiry. Many thanks to all who contributed. You can read the submission here.  

New Practice Note on accessing documents released

To ensure that Mental Health Tribunal hearings are fair, it is important that patients have the opportunity to prepare for their hearing. Patients’ rights to access documents, and applications to deny access to documents, raise complex issues and have been the source of confusion and uncertainty in the past. The Mental Health Tribunal has issued a Practice Note to guide conduct in matters before the Tribunal. More   

Call for abstracts for the TheMHS Conference 2017

Share your experience and your work with a presentation at TheMHS Conference 2017. Abstracts for consideration for the 2017 TheMHS Conference are now open and should be submitted online before 6 March 2017. Presentations may be in one of a number of different formats: papers, symposia, workshops, debates, brief papers, ePosters or round table discussions. All abstracts will be reviewed and assessed according to the guidelinesMore   

Parliamentary Advocacy Day

Thursday 23 March
Mental Health Australia: Parliamentary Advocacy Day at Parliament House in Canberra
Mental Health Australia invite everyone to participate in the Parliamentary Advocacy Day at Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday 23 March. Input on this day will help to push for the real reform needed in the mental health sector. More

Frank Quinlain's CEO update. More

Frank Quinlan’s open letter to the new Federal Minister for Health, Hon Greg Hunt. More   

See Troy Casser-Daley in Bairnsdale

If you care for or support a person with mental health challenges and are from East Gippsland or Wellington Shire, you are invited to a special FREE event. Please join the Latrobe Community Health Service at the Bairnsdale RSL on Thursday 16 March. Transport from Rosedale through to Bairnsdale will be provided by bus, as well as dinner before the show. More  

Show your support for fair rental laws in Victoria

The Victorian Government is currently reviewing our Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), which controls safety, security and privacy for 1.2 million people across the state. This is a rare opportunity to make positive changes to these laws, to improve safety, security of tenure and privacy for low and middle income tenants in Victoria. More

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


Study into the effect of the NDIS on Carers

Probono Australia interviewed researchers from Southern Cross University about their study to measure the wellbeing of carers before, during and after accessing the NDIS. The initial findings indicate that the wellbeing of carers caring for an individual participating in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) may not have improved compared to those not on the scheme. Researchers are looking for anyone who is a carer in Australia regardless of the person’s disability or whether they are in the NDIS or not to take part in the third stage of the survey. The research results will inform future policy of the National Disability Insurance Agency as to how the NDIS effects carers. Click here to participate in the survey.

Productivity Commission study into NDIS costs

The release of the Productivity Commission’s Issues Paper in the inquiry into National Disability Insurance Scheme Costs last week, is an important step in building a successful NDIS for all Australians. The closing date for submissions is Friday 24 March 2017. 

ANAO Audit now open for contribution: Decision-making Controls for Sustainability – NDIS Access

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) is conducting a performance audit on the effectiveness of controls implemented by the NDIA to ensure NDIS eligibility assessments that are consistent with legislative and other requirements. This audit is important given the mental health sector is reporting inconsistent outcomes from NDIS assessment of people with psychosocial disability. It is not clear whether inconsistency is occurring because of the impairment aspect of the eligibility criteria, or the tools being used by NDIA staff to assess functional impairment. The audit presents an opportunity to determine if there is inconsistency and why it is occurring, and to identify the mechanisms required for fair and consistent assessment of people with psychosocial disability. For further details see the ANAO website. Contributions close Friday 5 May.

ILC National Readiness Grants close 8 March

ILC National Readiness Grants close at 2pm AEDT on Wednesday, 8 March 2017. The question period is due to close at 5pm AEDT Tuesday, 28 February 2017. Any questions regarding this funding round will not be accepted after this time and date. 

If you have any questions or experience any technical issues, please email before the end of the question period.

Withdrawal of state funding for disability and mental health community support services

Further to the department’s written advice to state-funded disability and mental health service providers (on 6 April and 18 July 2016 respectively), the attached information sheet provides an update on the process and timing of state funding withdrawals as consumers transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Hon. Martin Foley talks to Tipping Foundation CEO on the NDIS

In the latest edition of CEO Talk – a series of videos and interviews with key voices in the disability sector – The Tipping Foundation CEO, Graeme Kelly talks with Hon. Martin Foley, Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing about the NDIS. They discuss how the NDIS requires a change in the mindset of people with disability, and the importance of an advocacy based system within the rights-based framework that underpins the NDIS. Click here to see the interview.


Peer-led NDIS mental health Information session resources Available Online

In 2016, Richmond Wellbeing were engaged by Mental Health Australia to deliver a series of workshops across Australia. These workshops were designed to build the capacity of people with psychosocial disability and their carers around the NDIS. The resources used in these workshops (NDIS: Sharing the Message, and Let's Talk About the NDIS) are now available online on the Mental Health Australia website.

Introducing ‘Nadia’ NDIA new virtual assistant

The NDIA has a recent innovation, a ‘virtual assistant’ – Nadia. Actor Cate Blanchett has donated her time to provide the voice of Nadia. Nadia has been co-designed by people with disability to provide people with disability with information about the NDIS, when and how they want it. Initially Nadia will be used to answer the most common questions people have about the Scheme, but over time and with your help, she will develop the capacity to provide detailed responses to a wide range of queries. The NDIA will hold information sessions to inform people how they can engage with and use Nadia over the next couple of months. Watch the video – The Making of Nadia.

New NDIS and Mental Health Publications from the NSW Mental Health Coordinating Council

The NSW Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC) has released its final two publications of the NDIS and Mental Health Analysis Partnership Project. These resources are to assist individuals and organisations during the scale up of the NDIS in NSW but also have relevance in Victoria.

Navigating the NDIS: Lessons Learned through the Hunter Trial is to support local communities in NSW to prepare for entry into the NDIS, including supporting people with high levels of psychosocial disability to access the scheme.
Guideline for Establishing a Local NDIS Community of Practice to Enhance Learning and Sector Reform is to encourage local community organisations in NSW to establish an NDIS Mental Health Community of Practice to enhance learning from NDIS implementation and mental health sector reforms. 

Meet two NDIS planners

Watch these two passionate NDIS planners, Anita and Rick, chat about what they find rewarding about their jobs.

Information sessions 

NDIS planning conversation webinar

On Tuesday 28 February between 2–3pm AEDT the National Disability Insurance Agency will be hosting a webinar on the NDIS planning conversation, how to prepare and what to do to put your NDIS plan into action. It’s free to watch, includes Auslan interpretation and live captions, and if you can’t join on the day, the webinar will be posted to the NDIS website following the event. If you have questions about the first plan process or want to hear about how you might best implement your plan, this is the webinar for you! Register

North East Melbourne: Information Session and Workshop, 9 March

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) in partnership with Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) are running monthly information sessions designed to help people find out more about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

NDIS Info Van tour in Loddon

In December 2016, NDIS LAC partner, Intereach, began their ‘Info Van’ tour of the Loddon area in Victoria. This includes the City of Greater Bendigo and the Shires of Campaspe, Loddon, Central Goldfields, Mount Alexander and Macedon Ranges. More

NDIS information sessions for carers

Carers Victoria Disability Program: Carers, Families and the System

Are you caring for a person with a disability? Do you want to know more about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)? This Carers Victoria program explores changes in the disability support system and discusses future planning with a family-centred approach.  The program consists of four weekly sessions starting on the 2 March from 10am to 1pm at Carers Victoria Footscray. Participants must attend the first session to continue in the program. Sessions are for carers only. 

If you are interested in attending the program, or if your Carer Support Group wishes to host the program please email or call 1800 242 636 and quote event number #4247. 

Carers Victoria Mental Health Program: Carers, Families and the NDIS

Carers Victoria is also running specific information sessions for carers and families who are caring for a person with a psychosocial disability commencing on 5 April at their Office in Footscray.

VALiD Families as Planning Partners course

VALiD is running Workshops to support families and carers supporting someone with disability to prepare for the NDIS planning conversation.
Kyabram Uniting Church Hall, Corner Union & Unit Street, Kyabram
13, 20, 27 February 2017 (optional 4th session 6 March 2017)

Macedon Ranges
Day: Tuesday 14, 21, 28 February, 7 March (optional 5th session 14 March 2017 will be advised on confirmation of registration)
Evening: Tuesday 14, 21, 28 February, 7 March (optional 5th session 14 March 2017 will be advised on confirmation of registration)
The 'Function Room' Campaspe Shire Offices, Heygarth Street, Echuca
20, 27 March, 3, 10 April 2017 (optional 5th session 24 April 2017)
Contact VALiD or phone 9416 4003 for further information and to register

Our Choice Expo in Bendigo, 16 March

Bendigo Exhibition Centre, Prince of Wales Showgrounds. More

Service provider workshops

NDS and VICSERV are offering a Workforce Planning Training for Community Mental Health subsidised training course in 2017. Spaces are limited. More      

Topic Tuesdays in March

SANE's online forums provide social connection and support in a safe, anonymous and caring online community. Moderated 24/7 by mental health professionals through our partnership with SANE Australia, each month we host special events on topics of interest to our members. Click here to join the events and register as a community member.

Carers 7–9pm AEDT Tuesday 21 March
'CBT for Carers', joined by an expert guest from Northside Community Forum, as part of Brain Awareness Week.

Lived Experience 7–9pm AEDT Tuesday 28 March
'Bipolar and Denial', joined by an expert guest from Bipolar Australia, as part of Bipolar Awareness Day.  

Alfred Health

Effective Communication in Mornington. This series of 3 x weekly workshop sessions commencing 1 March aims to provide carers with practical tips and strategies to help you communicate more effectively with friends, family and professionals. More

Anxiety Recovery Centre Victoria (ARCVic)

Parenting Anxious Children Seminar. 8 March, 6.30–8.30pm, Eltham. Does your child worry and feel anxious at times? Attend this seminar to gain a greater understanding of anxiety and learn some helpful strategies to support them. More

For a comprehensive list of ARCVic's upcoming events and seminars click here.

The Bouverie Centre

Fostering Realistic Hope. 21–22 April in Brunswick. This two day workshop is for carer families/partners supporting a family member with Borderline Personality Disorder. More

The Bouverie Centre offers an array of short courses for helping professionals. Download their 2017 calendar or for more course details and registrations, browse their range of workshops here.

Carers Victoria

Education Services Workshops. Carers Victoria offers carer workshops and educational programs to help carers and Carer Support Groups enhance their knowledge about how to best support themselves and the people they care for. Workshops include: Introduction to Aged Care System, Introduction to Dementia for Carers, Caring for Yourself and Aged Care Program: Families and the System. More


Rein it In. In partnership with Victoria Police, EACH presents 'Peaceful solutions for families: Supporting parents and adolescents in finding better ways to get along'. Contact Deb Bodsworth 8878 3809 for information and start dates. More

MIND Australia

Become a mental health peer worker. 7 March, Heidelberg. Do you have lived experience of mental ill-health and recovery and are thinking about becoming a peer worker? Learn more about using your experience in the peer workforce at this one-day workshop. More

Click here to learn more about other training and education courses for clients, their families and the broader community.

Mind Recovery College

The Mind Recovery College 2017 course guide is now available. Enrol in a course today and learn about mental health and life skills that help you build a more positive, connected and meaningful life. Courses are led by people who have been on their own recovery journeys. Courses are designed for everyone; including people experiencing mental ill heath, family members, carers or professionals looking for new understanding and insights into themselves and others.



Learning more about BPD: a Workshop for Families & Friends. 6 March, 9.30am–4.30pm, Fitzroy. This 1-day workshop for families, friends and others 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. Register


The VICSERV Training Calendar is available here.


Snapshot is an education program designed to assist family members and carers to maintain their own wellness and support the recovery of their family member or friend with a mental illness. The next program is on 18 March. More   

28 February 2017, 10am–3pm, Preston
East North West Melbourne Advocacy Workshop. Consumers, families, community organisations are individuals who are interested in learning about advocacy, and creating community based plans, are encouraged to attend. More

1 March 10am–12pm, Dandenong
Mental Health Compass: Mental Health Service Information Session.
Are you a carer or consumer and would like to know more about the mental health system and how better to navigate to reach better outcomes sooner? More

7 March, 7–8.30pm, Richmond
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Manifestations and Current Thinking.
In this important talk, Jim Goodin, President of the Mental Health Foundation of Australia (Victoria), gives the latest insights and treatment options for OCD. The seminar will present very useful and current information to both  consumers and professionals. More 

28 March, 2–8pm, Wangaratta
The Thrive Health and Wellbeing festival – the first of its kind – aims to empower and educate the Hume community to improve their understanding of the areas that can impact on mental health, and provide some strategies that they can use to promote their own positive health and wellbeing. More

5–7 April, Mt. Eliza
Wellways Youth Peer Support Camp.
This camp is specifically aimed at young people aged 1318 who are caring or living with someone who has a mental illness. More  


Family and Friends Peer Support Groups. Grow provides free and on-going support to carers who are caring for their loved ones experiencing a mental or emotional health issue. The groups are open to anyone over the age of 18 who supports a family member or friend and recognises the need to also look after their own well being. Groups are currently held in Caulfield South, Noble Park, Nunawading and Reservoir. More

Mind Australia

Melbourne East Family and Carer Respite has some new activities in 2017. In addition to their monthly activities they will also be providing two carer support groups, a carer fitness program and a mindfulness program. Enquiries to Alicia on 9872 2221 or or Mignon on 9872 2220 or


Mental Health Education Programs Calendar: February – April 2017. These education programs provide an opportunity to learn about mental health and recovery. Designed for individuals experiencing mental health issues, families and community groups, these programs facilitate learning through the sharing of up to date information and personal experience. More

Pathways for Carers

Come relax and share a walk with other carers. The Pathway for Carers project offers carers of people with a disability or a mental health issue, an opportunity to share walks in Maroondah and Yarra Ranges with other carers and to learn more about news, services, supports available to carers. More

Uniting Care Life Assist

Hampton Park Carer Hub. Caring for someone can be a tough but rewarding experience. It is important for carers to connect with other carers, access carer supports and look after their own well being. The Carer Hub offers you a chance to chat, share with other carers and find support. More 

For Tandem's comprehensive list of Carer Support Groups please visit our website.   
29 August – 1 September, Sydney
TheMHS Conference 2017: Embracing Change through Innovation and Lived Experience.
Mental health services across Australia and New Zealand have undergone unprecedented change over the past 10 years. Adherence to the principles of recovery and recognition of lived experience as key to mental health reform are expanding the range of choices beyond traditional illness management.This conference will explore new directions and conversations that are based on building on the extraordinary strengths found in individuals, families, and communities. More

4–6 October, 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.

11–13 October, Albury NSW
9th Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium. 
Mental Health reform in rural Australia – Working Together, integrating care. More   

Here's what others are saying.

Alfred Health Carer Services. Alfred Health's Carer Services weekly newsletter is an up-to-date comprehensive resource of events, workshops and support groups in Melbourne's south east. More

Carers Vic. For a comprehensive look at what Carers Vic are up to check out their regular newsletter Voice. More
Centre of Excellence in Peer Support (CEPS). The February CEPS e-zine is out now. More

Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI). COPMI February eNews is out now. More

Loddon Mallee Mental Health Carers Network (LMMHCN). The inaugural edition of Carers Corner is out now. More

VICSERV. See what VICSERV is up to in their newsletter Factsline. More

Wellways. Take a look at what Wellways is up to in their regular newsletter. More    

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. Material deadline dates for the first quarter are: 10 March, 24 March and 7 April.  
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 © 2017 Tandem Inc., All rights reserved.

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