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The mental health and wellbeing of Australia’s population has been declining for the past decade, and is currently deteriorating even more rapidly in light of COVID-19 (high levels of anxiety and depression are expected to rise from 25% to 33%) and its socio-economic impacts.
With increased demand in mental health services, and new social distancing requirements, mental health service providers are facing an increased amount of challenges in their service delivery and reach.
Streaming live on 8-10th December, the Mental Health in light of Covid-19 Virtual Summit will provide attendees access to practical strategies and successful case studies from industry leaders on how to improve mental health services, service delivery and reach to meet current demands and needs

Who Should Attend

Advance your service outcomes through new and alternative service models

Improve suicide prevention and early intervention models

Implement support programs to meet the mental health needs of frontline workers and staff

Develop collaborative partnerships to mitigate service duplication whilst increasing service integration, reach and sharing resources

Better utilise technology to bridge service gaps and adapt to current times


Dr Ruth Vine

Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Mental Health

Australian Government Department of Health 

Prof. Patrick McGorry

Executive Director


Robyn Shearer

Deputy Director-General – Mental Health and Addiction

Ministry of Health NZ

Dr Michelle Blanchard

Deputy CEO

SANE Australia

Ivan Frkovic


Queensland Mental Health Commission

Michelle Azizi

Director, Engagement and Operations

Mental Health Commission of NSW

Michael Graham

Chief Executive Officer

Victorian Aboriginal Health Service, Chairperson - VACCHO

Gerry Georgatos

National Coordinator Poverty and Suicide Prevention Researcher

National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project

Eddie  Mulholland

Chief Executive Officer

Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation

John Edwards

Executive General Manager Services


Heidi Sturk


eMHPrac - Queensland University of Technology

Nick Tebbey

National Executive Officer

Relationships Australia

Nicolas Brown

Chief Executive Officer


Chris Lockwood

Chief Executive Officer

Mates in Construction Australia

Dr Addie Wootten

Chief Executive Officer

Smiling Mind

Dr Cathy Kezelman

Chief Executive Offer

Blue Knot Foundation

  • Day 1 (Dec 8, 2020)
  • Day 2 (Dec 9, 2020)
  • Day 3 (Dec 10, 2020)
  • Discussing the increased need for mental health services as a result of COVID-19 
  • Discussing the state/commonwealth funding divide 
  • Identifying, utilising and enhancing new service development and opportunities  

Dr Ruth Vine, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Mental Health Australian Government Department of Health 

  • Meeting community expectations and requirements in tackling rising mental health issues 
  • Discussing future plans and initiatives required to minimise the increase in suicides as a result of the implications from COVID-19  
  • Discussing short-term and long-term goals and required roadmaps  

Dr Ruth Vine Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Mental Health Australian Government Department of Health 

Robyn Shearer, Deputy Director-General – Mental Health and Addiction, Ministry of Health  Prof. Patrick McGorry, Executive Director, Orygen 

  • Examining and overcoming the risk associated with virtual assessments for clients 
  • Developing safety protocols for digital consultations  
  • Discussing the barriers of technology and how to humanise digital consultation and assessment 

Heidi SturkDirector, eMHPrac – Queensland University of Technology 

  • Developing partnerships between hospitals and community organisations to mitigate homelessness 
  • Identifying partnerships in order to provide better access to services for people experiencing homelessness 
  • Developing outreach programs to engage with people experiencing homelessness and with mental health needs 

Gerry Georgatos National Coordinator Poverty and Suicide Prevention Researcher National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project 

  • How to identify the particular needs of the individual family  
  • Collaborating across sectors to ensure families are provided with the right support at the right time 
  • How to effectively identify and reach at-risk families to mitigate further system escalations 

Nick TebbeyNational Executive Officer, Relationships Australia 

  • How to develop effective outreach services and engagement programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people during COVID-19 
  • Collaborating and co-designing services with Indigenous communities   
  • Working together with Elders and community members to ensure to build trusting relationships 

Michael Graham, Chief Executive Officer, Victorian Aboriginal Health Service, Chairperson, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation 


  • Discussing the principles and benefits of trauma-informed care  
  • How to foster a safe environment which builds trust and promotes healing  
  • The importance of relationship, choice and true collaboration 

Dr Cathy KezelmanPresident, Blue Knot Foundation 

  • Collaboration – a partnership approach with young people at the centre of service design and delivery  
  • Creating tailored outreach programs focused of the needs of young people and families 
  • Engaging leaders with lived experience to effectively align supports to the mental health needs of the young person   

John Edwards, General Manager Services, Queensland Wellways Australia  

  • Examining existing service gaps and duplications in Australia’s mental health sector  
  • Building on existing foundations to minimise service duplication  
  • Discussing the roadmap for a more integrated, collaborative and effective mental health sector  

Prof. Patrick McGorry, Executive Director, Orygen 


  • Developing a holistic approach that puts people above everything 
  • Creating systematic change and policy innovation to improve the nation’s mental health 
  • Collaborating with community organisations to ensure service integration and access to socio-economic support 

Robyn Shearer, Deputy Director-General – Mental Health and Addiction, Ministry of Health  

  • Identifying what makes a successful co-design and how to build organisational co-design capability  
  • How to effectively engage people with lived experience, carers and families in service design 
  • Creating a co-design framework that fits your consumers’ needs 

Michelle AziziDirector, Engagement and Operations, Mental Health Commission of NSW 

  • Examining the importance of holistic services and collaboration across sectors 
  • Strengthening community partnerships to better educate and create awareness around the dangers of drugs and alcohol and the connection to mental health 
  • Developing better partnerships and support services to engage with and ensure effective reach in high-risk communities 

Ivan FrkovicCommissioner, Queensland Mental Health Commission

  • Discussing the impact of socio-economic barriers and the need for a holistic approach  
  • Developing a community-led approach to suicide prevention and early intervention  
  • How to identify people at risk of suicide  
  • Collaborating with the local community and its members to ensure resources are appropriate and easily accessible 

Eddie Mulholland, Chief Executive Officer, Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation 

  • Creating an integrated approach to suicide prevention 
  • Examining various suicide prevention strategies 
  • Collaborating with schools and creating school programs to mitigate youth suicides 
  • Examining how to effectively utilise technology as a suicide prevention model 

Chris Lockwood, Chief Executive Officer – NationalMates in Construction Australia  

Nicolas Brown, Chief Executive Officer, batyr 

  • Spreading awareness and educating on mental health   
  • Championing youth leaders to be mental health advocates and to empower future generations  
  • How to effectively engage young people in the project design to ensure services are relevant and appropriate  
  • Engaging people with lived experience to share their stories to break down stigma 

Nicolas Brown, Chief Executive Officer, batyr 

  • Examining the organisational and community benefits of a peer support program and the positive outcomes for all stakeholders  
  • Applying a community driven approach to the workplace context 
  • Building trust and ‘buy in’ as a foundation to a successful peer support program 

Chris Lockwood, Chief Executive Officer – NationalMates in Construction Australia  

Australian healthcare and frontline staff have experienced a very challenging year and the impact on mental health cannot be underestimated.  

The impacts are broad and far reaching, from significant mental health concerns through to the impact on physical and mental wellbeing and family relationships. But this group of professionals are often the most difficult to reach and support.  

Designing and introducing tools, practices and resources that busy frontline staff can integrate into their busy work environment is critical in reducing the burden on their mental health and wellbeing. Taking a digital led approach, Smiling Mind has developed a new resource to support healthcare workers to take a positive and proactive approach to manage the emotional impact of their work environment, learn new skills and connect with peers in new ways.   

Attend this practical workshop and learn how to:  

  • Recognise symptoms and signs of the emotional impact of the work environment 
  • Build trauma-informed staff and resilience workforce  
  • Create opportunities for “brain breaks” and connection with peers 
  • Explore the role of mindfulness in managing the transition between work and other areas of life 
  • Explore the ways in which digital tools can be used to support mental health on the go 

Dr Addie WoottenChief Executive Officer, Smiling Mind 

Australia’s Indigenous population are experiencing mental health issues at a much higher rate than the non- Indigenous population.  

The issues keep worsening, despite ongoing efforts to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It’s therefore critical to ensure that services are both culturally appropriate and easily accessible to Indigenous communities and people. 

Attend this practical workshop and learn how to: 

  • Collaborate with Indigenous communities to build trust and strong relations 
  • Develop cross-sector partnerships improve services and client outcomes 
  • Create culturally safe and inclusive environments 
  • Effectively reach and engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and people 
  • Co-design services and service delivery  

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