From the CEO

May 2024

From the CEO

Hello everyone.

It’s good to be back onboard after a 3-week holiday with my family. While I was away, I was deeply saddened by the tragic events at Westfield Bondi Junction on 13 April. My heart and thoughts are with the victims and their families during this difficult time.

Understanding situations like this can be challenging, especially when mental health concerns might be involved. It's important to recognise that such events can evoke a range of emotions within our community, including fear and apprehension. However, research and statistics show that acts of violence are not representative of the vast majority of individuals living with mental health challenges. These incidents do not define them or their experiences.

At One Door, we remain dedicated to people living with mental health challenges and their families. If you or someone you know need assistance, please reach out to us. My 30-year career in mental health has taught me the value of relationships and connections within our community, and I am continually inspired by the resilience and strength of the people we support.

Together, we can foster a community of understanding, compassion, and hope. Let us stand by each other and ensure that everyone has access to the support they need.

In early April, the team at Illawarra Clubhouse welcomed representatives from the Mental Health Commission of NSW, who were touring the Illawarra region to speak with individuals dedicated to mental health services. During the visit, they gained valuable insights into the challenges faced, the support networks available, and the range of programs provided by the Clubhouse. Following the meeting, Deputy Commissioner, Tim Heffernan, shared how impressed he was with the supports offered. I would like to thank the team for hosting on short notice and the Commission for an engaging visit.

I am excited to share the program for this year’s One Door Mental Health Symposium on 22 May. There is also an opportunity for the people to complete a short survey to share with us some of the challenges they face, which will help us to call out significant gaps during a collaborative workshop session – you can complete the survey here. If you haven’t secured your ticket yet, I encourage you to do so to make sure you don’t miss out.

Schizophrenia Awareness Week has been held in May every year since 1986 to coincide with World Schizophrenia Awareness Day on 24 May. In 2024, the week will be held from Sunday 19 May to Saturday 25 May with the theme set by MIFA “It’s time to do better”. The week aims to reduce stigma and bust myths about schizophrenia, and encourage people living with schizophrenia, their family and carers, to reach out for support.

Lastly, I was invited to be a part of a panel at the Members Policy Forum on 16 May hosted by Mental Health Australia, focusing on the merger with Mind Australia. Gill Callister, CEO Mind Australia and I shared our insights about the merger which marks an important step forward in the provision of mental health support nationally. The Forum provided an opportunity for those attending to hear directly from the Government about the outcomes of the Federal Budget, providing an opportunity for us to discuss innovations and challenges in lived experience leadership, and allowing us to address the gap in supports for people with complex mental health needs. I share Mental Health Australia's concern about the Federal Budget. I look forward to a stronger commitment to mental health reform and investment in Australia. Let's keep the dialogue going and work towards meaningful change!

Until next time …