Category: Highlights

VTMH Rural and Regional Approach Implementation Project

VTMH continues to strengthen its relationship with the rural and regional mental health sector through the VTMH Rural and Regional Approach Implementation Project Showcases.

The showcases provide an opportunity for participants to communicate the needs of their organisations as well as forging collaborative relationships with VTMH.

To date, we have showcased our services and programs to six of the eight rural and regional mental health services:

  • Bendigo – March 2023
  • Goulburn – April 2023
  • Loddon Mallee (Mildura) – April 2023
  • Albury/Wodonga – May 2023 (Online)
  • Grampians (Ballarat) – July 2023
  • Barwon (Barwon Health) – November 2023

We have also showcased our services at:

  • Eastern Health Allied Health New Graduates Day – July 2023
  • Tasmania Victoria Multicultural Advisory Forum – September 2023 (Online)
  • Ballarat Mental Health Collective Expo – October 2023

We are planning to showcase at Latrobe Valley Mental Health Services (Gippsland) in April 2024 and Warrnambool Mental Health Services (South West) in June 2024.

We believe showcasing our services in the rural and regional areas is having a positive impact on the sector. We have observed a significant number of registrants for our monthly Spirituality and Diversity Discussions and Seminars from Bendigo, Shepparton, Mildura, Ballarat, Albury/Wodonga and the Latrobe Valley Health mental health services. We hope the numbers of participants from all the Victorian rural and regional mental health areas will continue to rise.

We are grateful for the hard work of the Rural and Regional Approach Liaison Group members in facilitating our visits. We look forward to working together on the next stage of the project.

Staff Retreat Day

In October, the VTMH team came together with Education Changemakers for a team culture retreat day.

The team, with no knowledge of what the day would hold in store, met at Free to Feed in North Fitzroy. What transpired was a day of story-sharing, cooking, and connection to each other and the values and pillars which guide our work.

The VTMH team were honoured to connect with the values, mission, chefs and stories within the Free to Feed team and enjoyed preparing and sharing lunch together.

We thank Free to Feed for hosting us and the team at Education Changemakers for facilitating a wonderful retreat day.

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.   

Highlights from the Cultural Portfolio Holder Network Oration Evening

Cultural Portfolio Holders came together on Thursday 15th November to network, reflect and celebrate their achievements over the last 12 months.

The evening was held at the Melbourne Museum and opened with a spirited musical performance by Indigenous singer/songwriter Benny Walker. Benny’s performance was followed by an address by Cultural Portfolio Holder Network member, Michael Pauly, who reflected on his experiences as a Cultural Portfolio Holder, and the impact that holding this portfolio has had on his practice. 

This year’s Oration speech was given by award winning journalist and documentary film maker, Santilla Chingaipe. Through stories, Santilla reflected on her role as a journalist, and how she came to the realisation of the lack of racial literacy in the media. Santilla also spoke of the devastating impact on communities when there is no space or opportunity to have informed conversations about race. The speech was following by lots of pertinent questions and conversation from the audience. 

ABOVE: Musical performance, Benny Walker.
ABOVE: Cultural Portfolio Holders and Guests.

The energy and comradery in the room on the night was overwhelmingly positive. We would like to thank all those who attended, and we look forward to hosting thought-provoking events such as this to support the mental health workforce across Victoria.  

Cultural portfolio holders (CPHs) are individuals working in mental health and related organisations who undertake a role to drive culturally responsive practice. People holding positions that lead cultural diversity initiatives, are invited to register with the Victoria Cultural Portfolio Holder Program, facilitated by Victorian Transcultural Mental Health (VTMH).