Author: vtmh

Seminars – a platform for trailblazers

We know that seminars at VTMH are a well-known fixture. A place to hear first-hand from advocates, researchers and practitioners. Thanks to committed speakers and audiences, we’re continuing via Zoom.  

We started off in May with Associate Professor Bianca Brijnath, Director of Social Gerontology at the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI). She presented on ‘Considerations for a population-level response to age, culture and COVID-19’.

Leaders in mental health interpreter education, Dr Shani Tobias, Dr Lola Sundin, Dr Jim Hlavac from Monash University led the July session on ‘Professional Development for Interpreters and Mental Health Clinicians – Recent Developments’. The August session featured Matt Ball. Matt is a leading innovator in mental health practice and spoke on alternative approaches to psychotherapy. 

Dr Charishma Ratnam at the Monash Migration and Inclusion Centre will join us on Wed 21 October, to speak about using technology to communicate and engage with diverse communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Partnership with cohealth

During this time, we have been able to successfully continue with our partnership work with cohealth. In late May, we facilitated two online Reflective Consultation Sessions with mental health teams from cohealth’s Western Psychosocial Support Services and Youth Residential Rehabilitation Services. Workers from both services were asked to reflect on their capacity to address diversity and enhance their own cultural responsiveness. The sessions generated enthusiastic discussion around opportunities to in-bed inclusive and culturally sensitive practices within their services. The teams will use this rich information to develop a service-specific cultural responsiveness plan to address the main issues that were identified. This will include both short term and longer-term goals and actions and will take into consideration their unique needs, capacity and other factors. 

We look forward to working with these services to implement some of their ideas and to support their work in this important area of mental health service delivery. 

We are hoping to plan more Reflective Consultation Sessions with other cohealth mental health teams in the coming months. 

Statement in support of equality, inclusion and diversity.

Information about human rights and ways to deal with racism can be found at Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission. Resources are available in many community languages.

In partnership with the communities we serve, we remain committed to inclusion and diversity. In the way we work with practitioners, teams, organisations and communities. And by advocating for a more socially just and equitable mental health service system.   

Join a community of people passionate about mental health and cultural diversity practice

The Community of Practice (CoP) in Cultural Diversity and Mental Health is a space for practitioners to meet, learn, share practice wisdom with peers, and challenge their thinking. 

So far, members of the CoP have met twice since an inaugural planning meeting in February. Their collective ideas are informing the activities that we’re exploring throughout the year.  

We’ve been using podcasts, facilitated reflective discussions and presentations to explore implicit bias, systemic racism and explanatory models in mental health practice.   

‘Thanks so much for facilitating the meeting today. It was fantastic – great discussion and excellent material presented to initiate this supported discussion!’ Laura, Senior Lecturer and Clinical Psychologist. 

People from a range of sectors are eligible to join. Current members include people based in clinical and community mental health services, schools, universities, community health and multicultural services. 

While for now, all meetings will be delivered using virtual platforms, the CoP was designed to include both face-to-face and virtual meetings. The community also has its own social network site that supports other activities and information sharing.  

New member registrations are currently open. If you would like to be part of this new initiative, please read the Terms of Reference and follow the prompts to register.

Foundations of culturally responsive practice – latest blended learning approach

Staff from STAR Health recently explored VTMH’s Orientation to Cultural Responsiveness, a self-paced learning module, attended a live zoom session, and will soon use small group reflective sessions to discuss core concepts and themes and explore areas that they want to consider in more depth.  

We’re excited about the possibilities of this new approach, for our ongoing work with STAR Health and beyond. An evaluation is currently underway. 

Talking about spirituality and diversity

These sessions support practitioners to deepen their understanding of ways to explore diverse spiritual beliefs in conversation with mental health consumers. 

Once again, we responded to current circumstances, and took the project online. Participants have enjoyed the flexibility. Attendance have increased and so has our reach. VTMH has been reflecting on what’s been learnt so far and are preparing to run another series later this year. 

‘Welcome!’ Dr Anita Tan, Manager

Anita has sat in senior executive positions in health, justice and community sectors to develop governance and change management initiatives based on organizational and service delivery needs. She has held clinical, management and consultancy roles in both Western Australia and Victoria in the forensic, family violence, child protection, and acute mental health arenas.  

Anita is a Registered Psychologist, with a Doctorate in Psychology and Masters of Applied Psychology (Clinical) and carries a deep passion for driving creative initiatives.  She has worked extensively with vulnerable populations including children, adolescents, people in custody, migrants and refugees, as well as the elderly.  

Anita strongly identifies with the core values that underpin the work of VTMH as a state-wide peak body for intersectional mental health, and is excited to be leading the team and working to strengthen the well-being of diverse communities by contributing to the shaping of high-level strategy, policy and governance.

COVID-19 – Community information and Resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources are now available in many languages. You will find up-to-date information at Health Translations, search ‘Coronavirus’ or COVID-19’. 

Posters, videos, and other information have been produced by the following sources: 

Government Information  

Australian Government, Department of Health

Victorian State Government, Department of Health and Human Services  

Victorian State Government, DHHS – Translated videos on mask wearing

Victorian Multicultural Commission – Community Ambassador Videos

North Western Melbourne PHN – Public health information in 18 languages

Other resources  

Tandem – Information for Carers, family and friends in mental health

Beyond Blue  – Coronavirus mental health support information

SBS Radio – Coronavirus Information in 63 languages

Australian Red Cross – Information on how to prepare for Coronavirus

Victorian Refugee Health Network – Multilingual and accessible information regarding mask wearing, testing and safe public transport use

Adapting our operations during COVID-19

We’ve been developing new opportunities for practitioners and teams to learn and stay connected online whilst our face-to-face events are on hold.  
Our existing range of self-directed online learning modules, covering a variety of topics on culturally responsive practice, are freely accessible to explore.  

You can also find links to translated information about Coronavirus (COVID-19) available in a range of community languages.

The VTMH team can be contacted via phone on (03) 9231 3300 or, and are utilising video and teleconferencing facilities as alternative ways to connect to continue to engage in project and partnership work. 

If you are interested in finding out about our upcoming online events and current news, please subscribe to our mailing list

We will continue monitoring the advice of relevant Government officials and look forward to connecting with you in new ways.