Author: vtmh

Star Health Partnership

VTMH has been in partnership with Star Health since 2020.

Over the last 2 years, VTMH has assisted Star Health to employ numerous strategies to support their cultural responsiveness practices and meet their identified goals to embed these measures. Some of these are: 

  • Workforce capacity building including workshops and reflective conversations;
  • Provision of resources;
  • Refinement of Star Health assessment tools;
  • Mentorship of their project leads (Anna Browne and Dominic Hwang).

For the final year of the partnership (2022-2023) we are planning to deliver a ‘Train the Trainer’ program for Star Health. It is hoped this will help towards a successful and sustainable model for implementation of cultural responsiveness across the organisation.

Meaningful collaboration with Tandem contributes to greater support for those caring and supporting family and friends living with mental health issues.

Recommendation 31 of the recent Royal Commission into Victoria’s mental health services outlined the establishment of eight family and carer-led centres across the state, to better respond to the needs of those caring and supporting family and friends up against mental health challenges.

Tandem, Victoria’s peak body representing family and friends supporting people living with mental health issues, was tasked with facilitating a co-design process to develop tender specifications to guide those services or organisations wishing to tender to run one or all eight centers.

VTMH was grateful for the opportunity to join the “Co-design Governance Group to contribute to this process that considered the needs of all carers across the breadth of Victoria’s richly diverse communities. We were also grateful to work alongside group members who ensured a depth of knowledge and experience informed this important design phase.

VTMH is excited to see Tandem’s final tender design and watch as the process progresses towards establishing the eight operational family and carer-led centers across the state.

VTMH Rural and Regional Approach Implementation Project

As a state-wide unit, VTMH is committed to work with and support the mental health and wellbeing sector to enhance cultural responsiveness, across the state of Victoria. This includes the rural and regional areas. 

We recently developed a Rural and Regional Approach document which represents our commitment to strengthening the relationship between VTMH and mental health and wellbeing services in these areas. 

The overall purpose of the Approach is to ensure that VTMH’s programs and services take into account the unique needs of the rural and regional mental health and wellbeing sector. Furthermore, it ensures that their perspectives are included and considered across all of VTMH’s programs and services. This is a whole of VTMH approach which seeks to:

  • Improve engagement with the rural and regional mental health and wellbeing sector to understand and embed their unique needs into the planning and development of VTMH programs and services.
  • Ensure that rural and regional mental health and wellbeing services have more opportunities to access VTMH programs and services.
  • Ensure that rural and regional mental health and wellbeing services are kept updated and informed about VTMH programs and services.
  • Ensure that VTMH develops a coordinated and sustained approach to doing this work to support increased engagement with the rural and regional areas into the long term.

As part of this work, we have now established a VTMH Rural and Regional Liaison Group with representatives from across each of the rural and regional mental health and wellbeing services across Victoria. The next step will involve developing a project proposal to connect with members and to facilitate a scoping consultation plan to identify service needs and barriers and recommendations for VTMH. We look forward to engaging with this group in meaningful ways.

Recovery and Assessment Workshop – updated

Over the past few months Justin Kuay and Naomi Chapman from VTMH have been updating the Recovery and Assessment workshop and are pleased to say that we are now ready to present it.

We have split the module into three parts:

  • Recovery and Assessment Part 1 (3 hour workshop)
  • Online learning from the VTMH website (Part 2). See https://learn.vtmh.org.au/ and scroll down to click on the “Cultural Diversity and Assessment” module
  • Recovery and Assessment Part 3 (3 hour workshop)

    We presented the new module for the first time on Wednesday, 20 and Wednesday, 27 July 2022.

Learning together – What is the Mental Health and Cultural Diversity Community of Practice (CoP)?

Victorian Transcultural Mental Health (VTMH) has been facilitating the statewide Mental Health & Cultural Diversity Community of Practice (CoP) since 2020.

The CoP provides a space to support mental health clinicians to come together to critically reflect on cultural diversity and mental health with peers who share the same interest.

The CoP provides an opportunity to explore contemporary practices, and have robust and respectful conversations about ways we can make our practice more accessible and responsive to the diverse needs of local communities.

The CoP is a free, ongoing program, with membership renewed annually. The group meets quarterly via Zoom throughout the year and each meeting runs for 2 hours. The CoP is open to those working in Victoria’s publicly funded mental health services. For more information on becoming a member, click here

VTMH Psychiatry Registrar Group

The purpose of this monthly, one hour, online psychiatry registrar group is to promote culturally safe and responsive mental health care in clinical practice. This group provides an online space once a month for psychiatry registrars across Victoria to participate in discussions and reflections on cases involving transcultural themes.    

Meetings were held on Wednesday, 27 April 2022 and Wednesday, 25 May 2022 and we are continuing to host these sessions on the last Wednesday of each month from 2.30 – 3.30 PM.

If you are a psychiatry registrar in Victoria and interested in participating in these sessions, please email Dr. Justin Kuay at justin.kuay@svha.org.au

Community engagement project

At the end of 2021, VTMH embarked on a project to develop a suite of resources on community engagement to support the mental health workforce. The project advisory group (membership comprising community members, community engagement officers, people with lived experience and mental health clinicians) was set up at the inception of the project. We have since undertaken 10 consultations with diverse groups of people including community members, community engagement workers, mental health clinicians and other work people with diverse lived experience. The questionnaires presented to these groups were co-designed by the advisory group.

In the next phase of the project we will analyse the transcripts, which will inform the final phase – producing resources to support the mental health workforce in their community engagement endeavours.

We’re on the look out for a talented person to join our team! Vacancy for a Carer Consultant.

We currently have a vacancy available for a permanent, part time (22.8 hours per week) position for a Carer Consultant.

You will be responsible for providing education and service development support to mental health services in Victoria’s public mental health system, in order to improve the quality of service delivery to diverse communities. You will work across the four pillars: Collaboration, Support, Equip and Advocate at Victorian Transcultural Mental Health.

View the position description for the role HERE

We’re on the look out for a talented person to join our team! Vacancy for a Monitoring, Evaluation & Research Consultant.

We currently have a vacancy available for a permanent, part time (26.6 hours per week) position for a Monitoring, Evaluation & Research Consultant.

You would be responsible for maintaining and enhancing VTMH internal monitoring and evaluation processes, as well as assisting with evaluation and research of cultural responsive programs from the publicly funded mental health sector.

View the position description for the role HERE

VTMH’s online seminars for 2021

VTMH continued our seminar schedule into 2021, with our seminars continuing to be held online via Zoom.

We held 5 seminars between April and December this year and were thrilled to have the speakers join us.

It has been a wonderful experience for VTMH, holding these seminars online and being able to reach people around parts of Victoria and Australia, that otherwise would not have been able to attend our face to face seminars in Fitzroy. 

We started off in April with Emeritus Professor Andrew Markus AO from Monash University speaking about the findings of the Scanlon Foundation social cohesion surveys conducted in May, July and November 2020.

In June we welcomed, once again, Matt Ball from the Humane Clinic in South Australia who spoke about his “Suicide Narratives” approach which seeks to understand a person’s unique phenomenological reality and their current experience that life is unsustainable.

Matt teaches and consults nationally and internationally on humane approaches to working with a person in distress. Humane Clinic offers an alternative to pathologising and diagnosis-led mental health systems.

In August we had Professor Naomi Priest from the Centre for Social Research and Methods, Australian National University speak to us about her research into racism as a critical child and youth public health issue.

Our October seminar (which was rescheduled to December) saw us hear from Professor Rebecca Wickes, Director Monash Migration and Inclusion Centre (School of Social Sciences, Monash University).

Professor Wickes spoke to us about her research into the safety and security of refugee women in Australia which was eye-opening.

Our last seminar of the year had us hear from Feifei Liao who spoke about her work with international students and the use of innovative ways of leveraging storytelling, arts and lived experience to explore mental health challenges multicultural communities face and support them to navigate their own journey for prevention and recovery.

We thank everyone who attended and of course the speakers for so generously donating their time.

Our total audience for seminars for 2021 was 348 and we are so happy that we were able to deliver important information for such a broad group of viewers across Australia.

Our seminars will recommence in the first half of 2022.

To ensure you are notified of upcoming seminars, please add yourself to the VTMH mailing list here