Workshops – 11 October 2017

WORKSHOP 1 – 9:00am – 4:00pm – WARATAH ROOM
Includes morning tea, light lunch and afternoon tea

Treating Childhood Conduct Problems in Rural Australia

  • Ms Christina Thai, Clinical Psychologist, Access Early Intervention Project, Child Behaviour Research Clinic, School of PsychologyThe University of Sydney

About the Workshop

Disruptive behaviour problems are the most frequent reason for referral to child/adolescent mental health services and the most reliable precursor of all adult mental health issues. According to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, people who live in rural, regional and remote communities experience mental health problems at 28% higher rates than their urban counterparts, however less than 24% of children who require treatment access evidence-based interventions (National Mental Health Survey: Sawyer et al., 2000).

The University of Sydney and Royal Far West have partnered in the AccessEI project to implement and evaluate one of Australia’s first telehealth treatments for children with conduct problems. The upcoming workshops aim to train local practitioners in the identification and treatment of children with conduct difficulties and highlight innovative resources and referral options for families.

First principles, theories, practical strategies, and a process model of consultation, will be presented, which can be used across a range of child and family problems. This workshop will then focus on strategies that can be used to maximize parental engagement, reduce drop-out, and facilitate positive change, in challenging families. The topics covered in the workshop will be:

1) Conduct problems: Identification, diagnosis and conceptualisation.

2) Theoretical tools: Behavioural, attachment, structural, and cognitive tools.

3) Assessment and treatment strategies: Presenting a process model for family therapy and empowerment.

4) Working through barriers: Strategies to maximize parental engagement and overcome common barriers.

These workshops will be delivered through lecture, case presentation, group discussion, and participant role-play format. Each workshop is expected to be a full day workshops running from 9.30am to 4.00pm.


We invite medical and health professionals (e.g. general practitioners, paediatricians, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, counsellors, paediatric nurses) who work in rural and remote communities to support the mental health of primary school aged children and their families to participate in our workshops. Each workshop will have 20-30 allocated places.


The workshops will be run at no costs to practitioners, as part of the NHMRC partnership project ‘An evidence-based intervention for mental health disorders in rural children’. Practitioners interested in participating in the workshops will be asked to provide informed consent to participate in the research study, which will involve their completing questionnaires before and after the workshop.

About the Presenters

Clinical psychologists from the Child Behaviour Research Clinic and Royal Far West will deliver the workshops. All presenters have been trained and supervised in the behavioural family intervention by Professor Mark Dadds, Principal Research Fellow of the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, Professor of Psychology at the University of Sydney and Director of the Child Behaviour Research Clinic.

The Child Behaviour Research Clinic at the University of Sydney is a treatment, teaching, and research clinic interested in developing, evaluating and disseminating state-of-the-art treatments for young children with behavioural and emotional problems. Its main purpose is to offer help mothers and fathers who would like to learn better strategies to assist them in managing their child’s behavioural difficulties.

Royal Far West is a non-government organisation that has been providing health services to children living in rural and remote New South Wales since 1924. It offers unique integrated health, education and disability services delivered through a combination of residential, remote and collaborative programs, using the specialist staff at its centre in Manly on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.


For further enquiries, please contact Christina Thai (AccessEI Project Manager) on or (02) 8966 8506.

WORKSHOP 2 – 1:30pm – 3:00pm – STANLEY ROOM A & B

Communities Driving Solutions for Better Mental Health: The Queensland Regional Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub Initiative

  • Ms Jan Elston, Logan and SMBI Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub, Relationships Australia Qld
  • Ms Victoria Homer, Central Highlands Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub, CentacareCQ

About the Workshop

Good mental health and wellbeing is fundamental to all our lives and the foundation of flourishing individuals, families, and communities. It protects against mental health problems and suicide, and supports recovery.  The Early Action: Queensland Mental Health Promotion, Prevention and Early Intervention Action Plan 2015-17 (Early Action) contributes to improving the mental health and wellbeing of all Queenslanders and aims to reduce the incidence, severity and duration of mental illness. Under Early Action the Queensland Mental Health Commission is supporting three community organisations to pilot mental health and wellbeing hubs to develop, deliver and review the effectiveness of regional approaches to building capacity and capability for sustainable and evidence based mental health and wellbeing activity at the local level.

This workshop will outline the rationale and purpose of the Hub initiative, and the implementation approach in three regional areas to engaging and building local leadership, partnerships and capacity for improved mental health and wellbeing.  The workshop will involve learning through doing with participants experiencing a selection of evidence based tools and resources utilised by the Hubs to strengthen individual and collective wellbeing.

The workshop will explore what we can do at a community level to ensure individuals, services and agencies are informed and knowledgeable about mental health and wellbeing; are equipped to contribute to individual and collective wellbeing; and understand and respond to the mental health and wellbeing needs of particular groups. This includes responding to local needs and diverse populations.

Collaboration with Maudsley International is providing the Hubs with access to evidence based tools and resources including the Wheel of Wellbeing (WOW) and Mental Wellbeing Impact Assessment Tool. The workshop will explore how WOW, used extensively and successfully in the UK and Europe, translates to the Australian context as a resource for improving mental wellbeing and reducing vulnerability.

WORKSHOP 3 – 1:30pm – 3:00pm – STANLEY ROOM C

ASSIST on Ice – Screening and Brief Intervention for Crystal Methamphetamine Use in Rural and Remote Settings

  • A/Prof Robert Ali, Director, DASSA-WHO Collaborative Centre, University of Adelaide
  • Ms Jennifer Harland, Senior Project Officer, DASSA – WHO Collaborating Centre, University of Adelaide

About the Workshop

Crystal methamphetamine (Ice) use can have a detrimental effect on an individual, their family and the broader community. Crystal methamphetamine can exasperate mental health issues and pose a challenge for health care professionals working in rural and remote areas. Screening and brief intervention has been found to be effective in identifying the risks associated with substance misuse and support people to make different choices. However, research has found that health professionals lack of confidence around asking a person about their substance use and the perceived length of time to administer a screening tool are barriers to implementing screening and brief intervention in health care settings.


This workshop will showcase the benefits of screening and brief intervention for clients with mental health issues in rural and remote settings. Using the ASSIST on Ice training resource, it will demonstrate how administering the Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) can identify the risks associated with crystal methamphetamine use and when linked with a brief intervention can change the trajectory of a person’s recovery.

The ASSIST was developed by the World Health Organization and is a validated screening tool that is used extensively across Australia and Internationally.  It takes approximately 10 minutes to administer and screens for a range of substances which is particularly useful in the context of polysubstance use associated with crystal methamphetamine use.

Who should attend?

This workshop is suitable for all health care workers and professionals working in rural and remote settings.

Structure of the workshop

This interactive workshop will provide a snapshot of crystal methamphetamine use in Australia and show how the ASSIST can be used effectively in the management of clients with co-morbid mental illness and substance misuse. Participants will be provided guidance on how to administer the ASSIST in a range of settings (instructional video and facilitated discussion). Via role-play activities, participants will have the opportunity to administer the ASSIST in a supported environment.

Copies of the ASSIST on Ice resource (instructional video and manual) will be available free of charge to all participants attending the workshop.

WORKSHOP 4 – 3:30pm – 5:00pm – STANLEY ROOM A & B

The Practitioner’s Digital Toolkit: How to Evaluate, Select and Utilise Digital Mental Health Programs and Resources

  • Mr Simon DuBois, Psychologist and Research Consultant, University Centre For Rural Health
  • Ms Jenny Bird, Digital Mental Health Consultant and Training Facilitator, eMHPrac (QUT)

About the Workshop

Digital mental health (dMH) comprises services, programs or applications that may be self-driven or guided by a clinician or other support person.  dMH interventions are a useful and practical resource particularly for people in rural and remote regions where face to face services maybe limited.  These programs can be useful both as a prevention and early intervention strategy, as well as part of a treatment and intervention program for people with enduring mental health issues.  dMH may be used by individuals prior to engaging with mental health professionals, as an adjunct to therapy, or be used by practitioners as a tool to assess, support or otherwise engage a client in treatment.

This ‘how-to’ workshop aims to introduce dMH programs and resources in an interactive, hands-on way, so that health and support workers can begin to develop their own digital mental health toolkit.  In addition the workshop will explore how to assess and evaluate dMH tools and what to consider when selecting and using a dMH program or application. The session will include group discussion, activities and a web tour.  Participants will be encouraged to explore and assess dMH programs using ipads/notebooks, smartphones or laptops. This workshop also highlights a range of dMH resources that could be of particular use for people living and working in rural and remote regions.

Please note: iPads and laptops will be available, however, participants are encouraged to bring their own iPad, laptop or smartphone for the ‘discovery’ section of the workshop.

WORKSHOP 5 – 3:30pm – 5:00pm – STANLEY ROOM C

The Emerging Use of Telehealth and MHealth for Treatment of Mental Health Issues in Regional and Rural Australia

  • Dr Qusai Hussain, Founder & CEO, Cyber Clinic

About the Workshop

With advances in technology and the emerging use of Tele-health in the health profession there are many positive implications for mental health professionals.

Participants will be provided with information on the changing landscape of Mobile and Tele-health in mental health treatment and, in combination with the popularisation of smartphones, how this can be used to provide treatments for hard to reach populations (i.e. rural and remote areas), engagement with early adopters such as young people and offer a blended approach to treatment.

Participants will be introduced to existing tele-mental health treatments including the purpose-built software platform Cyber Clinic that has been developed to enhance user experience and engagement in delivery of face to face online counselling. Clinical practice adoption of Tele-health treatment will be discussed and start-up challenges will be canvassed for sole practitioners, group practices and community based organisations.  

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