Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability

Carers Australia has welcomed the Royal Commission into the violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation experienced by many people with disability.

The Terms of Reference for the Commission have been released for consultation. Members of the public will have two weeks to give feedback on the scope and details of the proposed inquiry before the Royal Commission is finalised and before the Federal election is called.

When the Commission is established, submissions and the opportunity to provide witness statements will be available to both organisations and individuals.

 
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Productivity Commission Inquiry into mental health

The Productivity Commission has recently announced an Inquiry into Mental Health. Amongst other things, the inquiry is looking into improvements in mental health supports beyond healthcare, including education, employment, social services, housing and the justice system.

While not specifically focused on the NDIS, the Inquiry is interested in the possible impacts of the NDIS on the availability of support services and how both NDIS participants and people outside the Scheme are linked into support services. There is also a focus on whether the current investment in mental health is delivering value for money and the best outcomes for individuals, their families, society and the economy.

The Commission has published an Issues Paper to kick off the Inquiry which will take place over the next 18 months. Mental health carers have been invited to provide their input to the Inquiry via the official website. Comments will be published anonymously and should be submitted by 5 April 2019.

 
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NDS Victorian State Conference

Carers Australia exhibited at the National Disability Services (NDS) Victorian State Conference earlier this month to showcase two new Carers Australia website platforms, one for NDIS participants and one for young carers.

The first website, the Peer Support Network, is a free and anonymous online platform that facilitates supportive conversations about the NDIS between carers. The second website, the Young Carers Network, is a place for young carers to learn about support services, access resources and share their stories and opinions.

Carers Australia is excited to continue showcasing the Peer Support Network at events and to organisations that support carers in the coming months. If you or your organisation would like to learn more, email ca@peersupportnetwork.com.au.

 
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Get Prepared app

The Australian Red Cross has partnered with general insurer IAG to develop Get Prepared, a mobile app to help people prepare for disasters.

This free app is a personal tool to help people develop an emergency plan to protect the things that matter most. The app keeps key contacts, handy checklists and emergency actions in one place, and helps people recover faster from a disaster.

As a special offer to carers, the first 100 people to download the app will receive a $50 Woolworths voucher to help kick-start their household emergency kit. Head to the website and complete a few basic details for your chance to receive a voucher.

 
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It Takes A Village

Carers Australia has partnered with the Community Council for Australia for their It Takes A Village campaign, which aims to bring awareness to the role all Australians play in the education of young people. 

John, a young carer who looks after his mother, shared his story about how having a village of people around him helped him achieve his education goals. 

We all have a role to play in helping kids get a good education and achieve their dreams. To find out more about the campaign visit their website.

 
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Gerry Wood quits politics to become a carer

Long-standing Northern Territory politician Gerry Wood has announced his plans to retire from politics to care for his wife, who has been diagnosed with vascular dementia.

Mr Wood, who has stood for 17 years as an independent and holds the seat of Nelson, said his wife of 45 years, Imelda, was diagnosed 18 months ago.

“She has cared for me for many years whilst at the same time raising three daughters, a couple of nieces, [and] a few grandkids…so it is my turn to care for her, because it is my duty, because she has done so much for me and, more than anything else, because I love her,” he said.

Once he retires next year, Mr Wood said he would take Imelda on a trip around Australia and endeavour to take her to see an AFL match featuring her beloved Geelong Cats.

 
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Mental health stigma in regional Australia

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists has said that, anecdotally, the amount of medication being prescribed to regional Australians to help treat or manage an individual’s mental illness has increased.

Despite this, some professionals working in the mental health space have said a negative stigma in regional Australia has caused people to feel embarrassed about accessing medication. South Australian psychiatrist Ken Fielke, who specialises in rural patient care, said a significant number of people were not taking the medication that had been recommended, as patients felt uncomfortable about purchasing medication from their local pharmacy.

“In some respects, it’s great to be a rural community where you’ve got networks and people that support you,” said Dr Fielke, “But…you also want confidentiality and privacy and with mental health issues that is often the case.”

A new awareness campaign about the impacts of pill shaming’ hopes to remove the stigma around mental illness and taking medication.

 
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