Category Archives: Education

Tandem eNews #148, 12 October 2021

Dear members and supporters,

Happy Carers Week, and Happy Mental Health Week to boot!

If there was ever a time for recognising and celebrating family and friends who care and support those with mental health issues, it’s now. Most people with caring responsibilities have been carrying an extra load over the last 18 months of the pandemic, and our own mental health has taken a hit too.

This year’s theme is Millions of Reasons to Care, which aims to bring attention to the 2.65 million unpaid carers around the country, and provide an authentic picture of caring in Australia.

In Victoria, there are 60,000 people caring for an adult living with mental illness, with about 9,000 of these being people under the age of 25.

We hope that you can find the time to attend some of the events for Carers Week and Mental Health Week/Month, and find some way to nourish yourself and acknowledge just how much you manage to do.

There are a range of events on to celebrate carers, and all are online & free! You can find an event calendar on our website.

To read the complete newsletter click on the link below:
Tandem eNews

And our Mental Health hero?

The staff at Tandem nominated our CEO, Marie Piu, as our Mental Health hero this Mental Health Month!

We nominated her for her advocacy work to ensure that the voices of family and friends in mental health are heard.

We’re sure that members will agree that Marie’s work is nothing short of heroic!

If you’d like to share a comment, head over to our Facebook post.

World Mental Health Day 10 October 2021


What will be your one thing this World Mental Health Day?

It’s nearly here! World Mental Health Day is this Sunday 10 October.

How are you planning to look after your mental health, and what might your #MentalHealthPromise be?

The Look after your mental health, Australia website has lots of suggestions about how families, workplaces, young adults and older Australians can look after their mental health and support others.

But between lockdowns, home schooling, essential outings, essential work, and working from home – it’s also not surprising to be feeling overwhelmed.

So, just pick one thing to focus on, or even to promise yourself. It could be a walk in nature, a screen-free day, cuddles with the kids or ‘fur-babies’, a phone call to a friend or five minutes of mindful breathing. Try to pick one. And just stick with that.

This World Mental Health Day – Sunday 10 October – to look after your mental health, remember to look up for the positives, look out for others and find something to look forward to. And to help reduce stigma and connect communities you can share that one thing by making a mental health promise via this link.

Thanks and cheers

The World Mental Health Day Team

PS For some fun or ‘funny’ ideas to #LookAfterYourMentalHealth check out this video below by comedians Claire Hooper, Carolyn Swindell, Mel Buttle and Dilruk Jayasinha.

National Carers Week 10-16 October 2021


Carers Week is almost here 

National Carers Week 2021 runs from 10 – 16 October and is a time to recognise and celebrate Australia’s unpaid carers and all they do.

1-in-8 Australians provide unpaid care and support to family members or friends with a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness, an alcohol or other drug issue or who are frail aged. We all know unpaid carers make an enormous contribution to our community as well as our economy . National Carers Week gives everyone a chance to show their appreciation.

In this email, find out how Carer Gateway is celebrating, and what free activities you can get involved in. Why not join us for Carers Victoria’s Celebrating Truly Incredible Carers National Carers Week EventRead more about this exciting event we’ll be presenting at below.

Vicki Down
State Manager, Carer Gateway

Join us on Monday 11 October to celebrate the launch of National Carers Week 2021. You’ll hear a special message for carers from Minister for Carers the Hon. Luke Donnellan MP, find out more about the Carer Gateway and meet Carers Victoria’s new CEO Judith Abbott.Wrap up the afternoon on a lighter note as we chat with comedian Georgie Carroll, known for her roles on The Project, Have Your Been Paying Attention and Talkin’ Bout Your Gen.

All attendees go in the draw to win some great prizes to keep you entertained during this extended period of time at home, including an iPad and Disney Plus subscriptions.

Register here!

Alfred Health Carer Services

Tai Chi, art workshops, meditation, chat groups, zumba and more!
Check out the Alfred Health Carer Services Online Events Program for more information here.

Vic Health – How does Alcohol Affect the Brain

Author: VicHealth works with health promotion experts to create a Victoria where everyone can enjoy better health and wellbeing.
Any information mentioned is accurate at the time this article was originally published (29 June 2021).

 In Australia, it is recommended that adults consume no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 4 standard drinks per day to reduce the health risks from alcohol. With this is mind, it’s important to understand how exactly alcohol affects our brain and what implications this may have on our overall health.

In this article you’ll learn: 

  • Short and long-term effects of alcohol products
  • Alcohol and brain damage
  • Tips on cutting back on alcohol consumption

Be Healthy was created by VicHealth to provide helpful tips and advice on how you and your family can stay healthy. You can read more Be Healthy articles here.  

 Short and long-term effects of alcohol

Before looking into the short and long-term effects of alcohol on the brain, it’s important to know that alcohol effects every person differently. Your gender, mental and physical health, medical conditions and use of other drugs and medication all play a key role.

It’s also important to keep in mind that alcohol can affect you more quickly if you:

  • Drink on an empty stomach
  • Weigh less
  • Have a lower percentage of muscle
  • Are a young person

No matter how little or how much you drink, alcohol effects our whole brain matter, causing both short and long-term effects. Brain matter is a major component of our central nervous system and when negatively impacted, it can have various short- and long-term implications.

Short term effects can vary depending on the amount of alcohol products we drink, but can include:

  • An interrupted sleep which can in turn have a negative impact your mental wellbeing
  • Alcohol slows your body down and changes the chemical makeup in your brain
  • It can alter our mood, energy levels, concentration and memory
  • It can alter our judgement and movement, create slurred speech, nausea, and vomiting
  • Create difficulty breathing and even be the cause of coma or death

Long-term, alcohol can affect both our brain and other parts of our body and can cause:

  • Ongoing mental health conditions
  • An increased risk of diabetes and weight gain
  • Increased risk of a range of cancers
  • Heart issues, such as high blood pressure, heart damage and heart attacks
  • Liver failure
  • Brain related damage impairment (ARBI)
  • Fertility issues

While alcohol consumed at even moderate levels can have a negative impact on the brain, this can become more dramatic depending on how often a person consumes alcohol and the amount they drink on each occasion.

Alcohol and brain damage

Alcohol’s toxic effect can cause significant brain injury, referred to as alcohol related brain impairment (ARBI) and is more likely to occur if a person drinks heavily on an ongoing basis over a long period.

ARBI can also occur over a shorter time frame, and this is dependent on the amount a person consumes. This way of drinking is often referred to as ‘binge drinking’ and that is when a person drinks a lot of alcohol in a single session on a semi regular basis.

Brain injury can be caused by alcohol because it:

  • has a toxic effect on the central nervous system (CNS)
  • results in changes to metabolism, heart functioning and blood supply
  • interferes with the absorption of vitamin B1 (thiamine), which is an important brain nutrient
  • may be associated with poor nutrition
  • can lead to falls and accidents that injure the brain

Does alcohol kill our brain cells?

Despite alcohol causing brain damage, it does not kill our brain cells. It does however damage the ends of neurons called dendrites, making it hard for neurons to relay messages to one another.

Tips for cutting back on alcohol

Alcohol products are heavily promoted yet alcohol companies often downplay the harm they can cause to our health. To cut through the spin, here are some tips from VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio on what we can do to reduce the harm from alcohol:

  • Learn to reward yourself or unwind without alcohol – you can get active, revisit old hobbies or try a new one, get a massage, call a friend or relax with a book.
  • Mix up your routine – go for a walk around the block instead of having a wine after work or replace your alcoholic beverage with a peppermint tea or soda water.
  • Focus on what you’ll gain by cutting back – you might be motivated by saving money, boosting your memory and concentration, sleeping better and having more energy and patience to do things you enjoy.
  • The Daybreak app from Hello Sunday Morning also helps – it provides confidential health advice and a supportive community to help people reduce their drinking and protect their health.

Read more articles like this:

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Mental Health Foundation Calendar of Mental Health Month Events October 2021

ANU: World Mental Health Day panel discussion

We are delighted to be partnering with the ANU for the World Mental Health Day online expert panel discussion on Friday 8 October at 12.30-2pm AEST. I will be joining a panel with Dr Hugh Mackay AO, Associate Professor Tegan Cruwys, Dr Amelia Gulliver, and Emeritus Professor Andrew Markus. The session will be moderated by Michelle Linmore from ANU Counselling. The panel will focus on practical ways to improve mental health, including ways to ease loneliness and create connections within our community. We hope this discussion will include ways that we as individuals can cope in the current context, but also ways in which Australia might best respond to emerging mental health challenges.

Daily ideas for looking after your mental health this October

Mental Health Australia has launched its October 2021 calendars for Mental Health Month ahead of World Mental Health Day on 10 October, including daily ideas for all Australians to look after their mental health in the midst of the ongoing pandemic. Mental Health Australia’s downloadable and printable calendars are tailored with some great tips for different audiences, including the general public, young adults, families, older Australians, and workplaces. Download the calendars here.

Wellways Advocacy Steering Group

Green, blue, yellow and purple blobs and the Wellways logo

I’m excited to let you know that we have just opened up Expressions of Interest for 5 members to join our new Advocacy Steering Group.

This new group will provide guidance and oversight over the development of Wellways public policy positions and advocacy activities.

If you are committed to ensuring the mental health, disability and carer services systems respond to the needs and issues of people with lived experience, families and carers we want to hear from you!

This is an opportunity for staff, supporters and lived experience representatives to play an active role in improving mental health, disability and carer services.

You do not need to have previous experience in a similar role.

Requirements for steering group members:

  • A commitment to initially meet once a month during business hours to consider immediate advocacy opportunities. There will also be times when you might need to provide feedback in between meetings.
  • Lived experience representatives, or family/carers will be paid in accordance with Wellways Paid Participation Policy.
  • Staff members of Wellways participating on the Advocacy Steering Group, do so in a voluntary capacity.
  • We will be meeting online so you can live anywhere in Australia.

Members of the steering group will be supported by Wellways policy advisers to stay across issues and our areas of work.

To submit your expression of interest email a one-page letter telling us about your experience and why you want to be involved. Expressions of interest are due by 5pm Friday October 15.

Expression of Interest

We will be providing more opportunities for you to become involved in our advocacy work in the coming months.

Yours sincerely,

Gerard Reed
Director Business Development
Chair Advocacy Steering Group

Alfred Health Carer Services presents Carer Events for October-December 2021

Important information about our events

Are you attending one of our events for the first time?

  • You must register with us to attend our events.
  • Express interest in events by following the links in the “How it Works” section for each event, below.
  • If you are not already registered with us, we will email you instructions on how to register.

How will I know if I can attend?

  • We will send you an email to confirm you can attend the event.

Can anyone else attend with me?

  • Some events are listed for “carers only”, this means only you can join the event.
  • Some of our events are listed for “carers and friends”. This means, you, your close family/friends and the person you care for can join in the event with you. Please do not share links to events with anyone outside of your home.

What will I need?

  • For online events you will need a smart phone or computer with internet to be able to join in.
  • We will send you the ‘link’ you need to join in.
  • Some events offer a kit or ‘extras’ that will be sent to you in the post. There is no cost for this.

Subscribe to our e-Newsletter via to find out about new events, updates or changes to the events program.

To access events click on the link below:

COVID-19 Vaccines Questions and Answers


It’s natural to feel anxious about COVID-19 so we wanted to provide some straightforward answers to your COVID-19 vaccine questions.

Associate Professor Margie Danchin

We’ve asked Associate Professor Margie Danchin, from the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, and Group Leader of Vaccine Acceptance, Uptake and Policy at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, to answer some key questions about COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination.

Click on the following link to access information on COVID-19 vaccinations:

Report from Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch

scam australia loss
NEVER let someone on the other end of a phone call talk you into opening your computer for them, or answer questions about you to someone you do not know – especially if they claim to be from a well known organization such as Tax Office, NBN, phone company etc.

Scams cost Aussies $211 million this year

Australians have lost a record $211 million to scams so far this year, with people bombarded by bogus calls and texts purportedly from well-known businesses or the government.

The losses between January 1 and September 19 this year have surpassed the $175.6 million reported to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch throughout 2020.

This represents an 89 per cent increase from the same period last year and people are urged to be extra vigilant.

About a third of the 2021 losses, worth more than $63.6 million, are through calls and texts purportedly from well-known businesses or the government.

Of the 213,000 reports received from Scamwatch so far this year, 113,000 were about phone scams.

“Scammers are pretending to be from companies such as Amazon or eBay and claiming large purchases have been made on the victim’s credit card,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said on Monday.

“When they pretend to help you process a refund, they actually gain remote access to your computer and steal your personal and banking details.”

The average loss so far this year is about $11,000, compared with $7000 for the same period in 2020.

Over-65s make up 23 per cent or $49.1 million of this year’s losses and people for whom English is a second language nearly 14.4 per cent or $29.9 million.

Indigenous Australians reported losses worth $4.3 million, an 172 per cent increase from the same period last year.

There was explosion in new Flubot malware voicemails and parcel delivery scams in August.

They led to more than 13,000 scam reports in eight weeks.

Reports of identity theft have increased by 234 per cent, and phishing and remote access scams by 261 per cent and 144 per cent, respectively.

“The rise in identity theft related scams is particularly concerning as scammers can use the personal information they obtain for use in other crimes,” Ms Rickard said.

She urged people to report scams even if they haven’t lost any money.

“Scammers are conning people out of more and more money, so it’s really important that everyone knows what to look out for and how to protect themselves.”