Stakeholder Connect July 2022 from the Commissioner

I would like to begin this edition of Stakeholder Connect by thanking all service providers for their continuous support to the health and mental health sector.               

I acknowledge the workforce shortages we are experiencing across the sector and the impact it is having on our frontline staff and encourage people to exercise patience and empathy.

Learning to live with COVID and the impacts it is having on many aspects of our lives, it’s important to remember that it's ok to feel stressed, anxious or overwhelmed. Whether you are isolating or not, it’s important to focus on what you can control and to look after your mental health just as you would your physical health. There are things you can do to improve how you feel and I encourage you to visit our Think Mental Health website for useful strategies.

Despite the uncertainty we have faced, we have continued to work together in our shared goal for communities across our state to experience minimal alcohol and other drug-related harms and optimal mental health.

The 2022-23 State Budget’s record $1.257 billion mental health investment will also aid us in this pursuit. This funding enables the Mental Health Commission (Commission) to continue to deliver new and expanded mental health, alcohol and other drug (AOD) services across WA, including development of a strategy to build a thriving state-wide consumer, family and carer Lived Experience (Peer) workforce. The WA Lived Experience (Peer) Workforce Strategy acknowledges that peer workers have the potential to significantly benefit the mental health and AOD sectors by improving outcomes and cultures of service. You can read more about how this important project is progressing in the Progressing Lived Experience (Peer) Workforces update below.

I hope you enjoy this edition of Stakeholder Connect and I would once again like to acknowledge the many people with Lived Experience who share their experiences, expertise and perspectives with the Commission. Your insights play a key role in the development of meaningful improvements to WA’s mental health and AOD system


1. The Youth Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Education and Support Program is Expanding
2. Youth Mental Health Long-term Housing and Support Program Model of Service nearly ready for your comment
3. Lived Experience Representatives join the Infant, Child and Adolescent Taskforce Ministerial Oversight Committee
4. Graylands Reconfiguration and Forensic Taskforce (GRAFT)
5. New Alcohol Think Again campaign empowers parents to keep under 18s alcohol free 

6. Take Home Naloxone included in the WA Naloxone Program

7. Help us develop an Immediate Drug Assistance Coordination Centre (IDACC)

8. Progressing Lived Experience (Peer) Workforces

9. Changes to Mental Health Networks
10. Engagement Opportunities

1. The Youth Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Education and Support Program is Expanding

The AOD Education and Support program is expanding to provide an additional Drug Education Support Services (DESS) worker at each of WA’s 17 youth crisis and transitional accommodation services (11 metropolitan and six regional).

DESS workers will support young people aged 15 to 25 years, who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, to address their AOD issues in a safe and supported environment.

A new Principal Workforce Development Officer - Youth role has been established at the Commission to build DESS workers’ capability to effectively respond to the needs of young people with co-occurring AOD and mental health issues. The position will also deliver relevant training modules, an online hub, and establish a regular community of practice for all DESS workers.

DESS Workers are progressively commencing, nine service providers in ten locations commenced on 1 July 2022, and an additional seven providers in seven locations expected to commence from 1 August 2022.

Email us at if you have any comments or questions.

2. Youth Mental Health Long-term Housing and Support Program Model of Service nearly ready for your comment

We’re currently developing the draft Model of Service for the Youth Mental Health Long-term Housing and Support Program (Program).

Once established, the Program will offer 20 packages for young people (aged 16-24 years) with mental health issues with or without co-occurring AOD issues. Packages will include access to accommodation, alongside coordinated clinical, psychosocial and AOD supports. The Program will have a phased implementation approach and we anticipate the first 10 packages will be available from late 2023.

We would welcome your comment on the draft Model of Service when we release it for public input in the coming months.

Should you have any queries regarding the program, email

3. Lived Experience Representatives join the Infant, Child and Adolescent Taskforce Ministerial Oversight Committee

In line with the immediate actions set out in the Infant, Child and Adolescent (ICA) Taskforce Final Report, the Commission is developing an implementation team to work with individuals of Lived Experience, Health Services Providers and the Department of Health to, in the immediate-short term, develop:

  • contemporary ICA models of care and design a staged implementation plan for these
  • a plan to recruit, retain and support the future workforce
  • a service guarantee that defines what all children, families and carers should expect to experience in all interactions with the ICA mental health system
  • a monitoring and evaluation framework, with a focus on outcome measures.

We’re pleased to be welcoming one consumer and one carer representative to sit on the Ministerial Oversight Committee (a newly established governance body) for the ICA Taskforce implementation following an expression of interest process last month. The successful candidates are expected to be appointed in late July 2022.

Further information is available on our project page.

4. Graylands Reconfiguration and Forensic Taskforce (GRAFT)

The Commission continues to support the Lived Experience Advisory Group (LEAG) and Clinical Advisory Group (CAG) to ensure that clinicians and people with Lived Experience are involved in all stages of service planning and development.

The Department of Health is overseeing GRAFT. In collaboration with the Department of Health, and with valuable input from LEAG and CAG, we have been working to identify and incorporate the varying needs of an older adult mental health system, forensic mental health services, and relevant community supports.

For further information, head to our project page.

Please contact us at should you have any questions or feedback.

5. New Alcohol Think Again campaign empowers parents to keep under 18s alcohol free

We’ve launched a new state-wide Alcohol Think Again campaign titled ‘We all need to say no’. It’s the newest instalment of our Parents, Young People and Alcohol public education campaign, which forms part of the Commission’s strategy to reduce harm from alcohol among young people.

While more young people in WA are choosing not to drink alcohol, some continue to drink at high-risk levels and parents remain a key source of alcohol supply to under 18s.

Research with WA parents shows they commonly overestimate how many other parents give alcohol to under 18s, and this perception can influence their own decisions. WA parents have said they want to feel supported and empowered in their decision to say ‘no’. Therefore, this new campaign continues to raise awareness that no one should give alcohol to under 18s and calls for parents to join the two out of three already saying ‘no’.

You can see the campaign across the next 12 months on traditional and catch-up TV, outdoor and online advertising and in cinemas, and hear it on radio and select podcasts.

Learn more about the campaign and ways to promote it within your networks.

6. Take Home Naloxone included in the WA Naloxone Program

Did you know the majority of opioid overdose deaths (76 per cent) are attributable to pharmaceutical opioids?

Through our Overdose Strategy Group (OSG) we are reducing harms and deaths in our community. One of the OSG’s key initiatives is the WA Naloxone Program which has been implementing the Commonwealth take home naloxone pilot alongside New South Wales and South Australia. The recent Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Subsidised Take Home Naloxone Pilot report found 43,212 units of naloxone was dispensed, 1649 lives were saved (equating to three lives saved per day) in WA, NSW and SA over the 18-month evaluation period. As a result of these findings, the Commonwealth has committed $19.2 million over four years to a new take home naloxone program across all Australian states and territories. The program commenced on 1 July 2022.

Please email if you have any questions.

7. Help us to develop an Immediate Drug Assistance Coordination Centre

There are only a few days remaining for you to comment on the draft requirements for WA’s first Immediate Drug Assistance Coordination Centre (IDACC).

The IDACC is being developed so that Western Australian’s experiencing a crisis involving problematic AOD use can immediately access care and support in a coordinated and seamless way.

View the draft requirements and provide comment by 2.30pm, Friday 29 July 2022.

8. Progressing Lived Experience (Peer) Workforces

Over the past year we’ve been working with key sector stakeholders on the Lived Experience (Peer) Workforce Project (Project) to guide the development of thriving state-wide consumer, family and carer Lived Experience (Peer) workforces across the mental health (including suicide prevention) and AOD sectors in both paid and volunteer roles.

The Project includes developing:

  • strategies to build the capacity of the peer workforces
  • a Lived Experience (Peer) Workforces Framework.

The Framework is based on specific values and principles, including a commitment to social justice and human rights, and includes the Personal Lived Experience (Consumer) and Family/Significant Other workforces. It is in its final stages of completion, and we expect to share it with you in August 2022.

Find more information about this Project including implementation strategies.

Email us at if you have any questions.

9. Changes to our Mental Health Networks

The Mental Health Networks’ (MHN) Governance and Strategic Alignment Project (Project) has concluded with updates to the MHN structure ensuring strong alignment to the Commission’s governance groups and the Department of Health’s Health Networks.

As part of these changes, the MHN Executive Advisory Group (EAG) dissolved in February. We sincerely thank each member of the EAG for their valuable contributions.

We also say farewell to the Community Co-Lead, Mr Rod Astbury, as the Clinical and Community Co-Lead roles have transitioned into a full-time internal position of Manager, Mental Health Network at the Commission.

Rod’s dedication, enthusiasm, passion and commitment to the MHN since he began in April 2018 has been greatly appreciated by the Commission, the Department of Health, the MHN EAG and the individual Network members.

We wish Rod continued success in his future endeavours and look forward to his ongoing involvement in the mental health and AOD sector. 

The MHN team can be contacted at

We thought you’d also be interested to know that the Multicultural Mental Health Network Steering Committee has launched the latest edition of their newsletter, Cultural Lens

6. Engagement Opportunities

Consumer Representation Workshops  

Health Consumers’ Council is offering two free workshops for Lived Experienced consumers to learn how to be an effective consumer representative within a governance setting including government committees.

Introduction to Consumer Representation Wednesday 7 September 2022 -10.30am – 2.30pm via Zoom, join online or by phone

Register online

Advanced Consumer Representation  Wednesday 7 September 2022 -10.30am – 2.30pm via Zoom, join online or by phone

Register online

Finding North Network Perspectives 2022 Lived Experience e-Symposium
Held virtually over Zoom across two half-days - Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24 August 2022
Finding North Network’s Perspectives 2022 will feature a line-up of speakers, leaders and advocates in Lived Experience, mental health recovery, advocacy and leadership.

Register for the event.

7. Training

Lived Experience Australia
Online learning
Lived Experience Australia (LEA) is a national advocacy organisation, utilising Lived Experience to inform policy and mental health reform. LEA makes a difference in systemic advocacy by being informed about the issues facing people with mental health issues, their families and carers and using this to influence mental health policy, planning and decision making at local, state, and national levels.

View Lived Experience Australia’s online learning platform or contact the team about training at or 1300 620 042.

Stay up to date with Lived Experience Australia’s training, research, and advocacy by joining their subscriber list.

Australian Psychological Society
Online aged care courses
With funding from the Department of Health, the Australian Psychological Society is running two online aged care courses, free of charge. After 15 August 2022 these courses will revert to full price ($300/$375). 

Mental Health Awareness Training eLearning

This course introduces non-mental-health trained workers to commonly occurring mental health issues of aged care residents.

Applied mental health in residential aged care: Practical program for clinicians

For health professionals trained in mental health, the APS is offering training to enhance knowledge and skills when managing mental health in an aged care setting.




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