After welcoming people from 12 countries including USA, UK, Canada, Netherlands, Israel and South Korea, the 17th International Mental Health Conference ended last week with our delegates feeling inspired that although there are many challenges, the changes occurring within the sector will be supported with positive guidance.
Tom Brideson, Executive Group Member, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health noted to all the delegates in our closing session that for the indigenous community ‘change continues as a compelling fact in history for us’ and so the change continues.
Held at the Sea World Resort Conference Centre on the Gold Coast, Qld the 2016 conference brought together leading clinical practitioners, academics, service providers and mental health experts to deliberate and discuss Mental Health issues not only within Australia and New Zealand, but also on an international scale.
The conference was opened by Frank Quinlan, CEO Mental Health Australia and David Butt, CEO National Mental Health Commission who both outlined the key areas of change including the role of the PHNs, e-health, NDIS, stepped care, suicide prevention, childhood mental health pathways and the integration of youth mental health services as well as services for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
Although the 5th National Mental Health Plan was considered elusive, our keynote speakers were able to provide valuable information on suicide prevention, improving the mental health of vulnerable young people and taking a healthy lifestyle approach to living well with mental illness. Dr Louise Byrne closed the conference with a focus on the value of the lived experience and recovery.
With nine keynotes speakers, over 80 concurrent presentations, workshops, panels and poster presentations the conference received very positive feedback from the over 400 people who attended. The Book of Proceedings and podcasts will be available to all delegates.
A special thank you to this year’s keynote speakers:
Professor Helen Herrman, Professor of Psychiatry, Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, and Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Director, WHO Collaborating Centre in Mental Health Melbourne, President Elect, World Psychiatric Association
A/Prof Peter McGeorge, Director Inner City Health, Clinical Director Mental & Homeless Health Services, Integrated Care Clinical Stream, St Vincents Health Network (Sydney)
Ms Mary O’Hagan, Mental Health Entrepreneur and Former NZ Mental Health Commissioner
We would like to thank everyone who attended the 17th International Mental Health Conference and we hope to see you again in 2017.