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3 February 2017

GPMHSC e-newsletter – Summer 2017

Message from the Chair

Happy new year from the General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaboration (GPMHSC) and welcome to the summer edition of the GPMHSC e-newsletter.

Since our last edition, the GPMHSC has been preparing for the new year by working with Focussed Psychological Strategies (FPS) providers to ensure they are compliant in the new triennium and by reaccrediting activities for the 2017–19 triennium as applications come through. We expect a swift turnaround so activities can be promoted through our website and made available to general practitioners (GPs) as soon as possible. Please inform the secretariat if you have any queries about the new triennium or the accreditation of programs. Contact the GPMHSC on 03 8699 0556 or email

The GPMHSC submitted a response to the Fifth National Mental Health Plan draft echoing the sentiment of the industry and Mental Health Australia regarding the lack of detail within the plan. The GPMHSC hopes the Government will heed this feedback to produce a new plan in the first half of 2017.

On behalf of the GPMHSC, I hope you had a relaxing break over the holiday season, and that you are feeling refreshed and ready for the year ahead to provide mental health services for the Australian public.

Assoc Prof Morton Rawlin

For GPs

Mental Health Practitioners Network

The Mental Health Practitioners Network (MHPN) released their  ‘At a glance achievements’ for 2016 continuing to build relationships across mental health services.

Take a look at the MHPN website to learn more about establishing or finding a network and viewing one of their many webinars.

SANE Australia milestone

National mental health charity, SANE Australia, recently celebrated their 30th anniversary by helping Australians affected by mental illness to lead a better life.

The organisation was recognised for their innovative approaches to online forums in the 2016 Mental Health Awards.

SANE offers a range of support services including a helpline, online chat function, forums, as well as practical guides for families, carers and employers. 

SMS4dads – A new health promotion initiative

A new health promotion program aimed at targeting new fathers’ mental health has been launched by researchers at the University of Newcastle. This innovative program provides new fathers with information by connecting to online services through their mobile phone. The text messages offer advice to help fathers understand their baby and to connect with them; and also helps them support their partner.

Find out more about the project.

Youth mental health

Calls to prioritise youth mental health is gaining significant momentum. Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health is calling for an urgent response to the rising rates of suicide among young Australians following the release of their report ‘Raising the bar for youth suicide prevention’ late last year. Mission Australia conducted a youth survey  which revealed that mental health was rated in the top three concerns for young people aged 15–19 along with alcohol and drugs, as well as equity and discrimination.

For training providers

Applying for course reaccreditation

The GPMHSC has updated the requirements for Mental Health Skills Training (MHST) and Focussed Psychological Strategies Skills Training (FPS ST) for the 2017–19 triennium to start in the new year. Take some time to review the details on our website including the new standards, application forms and meeting dates.

To begin the process, complete the reaccreditation process for the Education Activity Representatives (EARs) for the QI&CPD Program 2017–19 triennium. If you are unsure whether you have completed the entire training process, please contact your local QI&CPD office.

To ensure that training continues to meet the standards into the 2017–19 triennium, your application will need to respond to the content requirements for each of the new learning outcomes.

You will need to provide:

  • a cover letter outlining any changes from the original application that have been incorporated into the activity
  • relevant attachments reflecting these changes (eg updated program outline, case studies used, participant activities, changes to predisposing and reinforcing activities)
  • a copy of an evaluation form report containing aggregated data from the activities conducted in the previous triennium. The report can be identical to the evaluation report submitted to the RACGP and/or Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM).

If you have significant changes to your program, you may need to consider a new application (using the same form). Please be aware that new applications will need to be considered by the GPMHSC.

For more information including the new standards, application forms and meeting dates, visit the GPMHSC website.

Upcoming GP mental health training activities

Training activities

Look out for new activities available over the coming months. Access the list of available training opportunities.


Events of interest

18th International Mental Health Conference
Date: 21–23 August 2017
Where: Conference Centre, Sea World Resort, Gold Coast, Queensland
Call for abstracts closes 15 May

27th Mental Health Services Learning Network Conference
Date: 29 August–1 September 2017
Where: Hilton Sydney, Australia
Call for abstracts closes 6 March

7th International Carers Conference 2017
Date: 4–6 October 2017
Where: Adelaide Convention Centre
Call for abstracts close 10 Feb

Date: 26–28 October 2017
Where: International Convention Centre, Sydney
Call for abstracts close 2 Feb

In the media

News of interest

Impact of poor mental health costs nation more than $60 billion a year

Pets play an important part in helping people with long-term mental health conditions

Perinatal anxiety and depression can occur any time from start of pregnancy to one year after birth

More Indigenous psychologists needed to address gaps in mental health

Helping farming communities deal with suicide and mental health

Workplace mental health on the rise

Call for fast track services for transgender community

Schools programs important for addressing LGBTQi mental health

High impact of mental health in creative arts industry

Insurers not helping fight against mental health stigma

Smoking harms mental as well as physical health

Experiencing panic attacks

Mental health news in states and territories

ACT mental health unit opens

ACT Government to establish office of mental health

SA Recovery College graduates on road to better mental health

Victorian Black Saturday Bushfires lasting mental health issues

Victorian Mental Health Services Annual Report 2015-16 promises greater transparency