Category Archives: Media

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.”


The ABC Your Mental Health September 2021

Your Mental Health Banner

Hello! Sana from ABC Radio National’s podcast All in the Mind here.

This week marked RU OK day, and really, are any of us fully OK, this long into the pandemic? The annual event has received a lot of criticism over the years about its perceived tokenism, its utility, and its purpose. Despite that, the original intent remains commendable: making space to talk about mental health. But really, that’s something we should feel OK to discuss every day! So, while the day has passed for this year, let’s keep the conversation going. In this newsletter, we look at why young people in particular are feeling lonelier in lockdown, practical ways to stay on top of your mental health, and why one woman wants to kick the stigma around taking anti-depressant medication. As for me, some days I’m OK — I can accept that life is just weird at the moment, but it won’t be forever —  other days, less so, but I muddle through. Then there are days where I’m totally not OK; panicked I’ll never see my family in Canada again (it’s been two years and counting), worried my friendships will dissolve without regular contact, and anxious my baby will never learn to connect with people who aren’t his parents. Luckily for me, those days are pretty rare. I hope however OK you are or aren’t, you can find some solace in the stories below.

Till next time, Sana


My Friend Fox – a message from Heidi the author


My new book ‘My Friend Fox’ lands globally on September 1, but if you live in Melbourne, please support your local booksellers by ordering through them – a lot of them are going through a hard time in lockdown. Here’s a few in Melbourne:

ReadingsCarlton, Doncaster, Hawthorn, St Kilda, Malvern, State Library:

Bourke St Melbourne
(Hill of Content Bookshop):

Albert Park, Elsternwick, Richmond
(Avenue Bookshop):

Please support my book. It’s taken over eight years from go to whoa to bring My Friend Fox to bookshops, and I’m indebted to good people who have and are supporting its journey. When you get your copy, I hope you like the little drawings I’ve put in the book, they are my photographs.


Heidi Everett

NOTE FROM WEBSITE MANAGER: My Friend Fox is also available from Benn’s Bookstore, 437 Centre Road, Bentleigh Telephone 9557 3969,

FAQs about COVID-19 Vaccines for People Affected by Cancer

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about COVID-19 vaccines for people affected by cancer

Cancer Australia has released Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) translated into 10 languages specifically for people affected by cancer.

People with cancer are more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 and are at an increased risk of more severe infection. The latest international evidence reassuringly shows that for many people affected by cancer, getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safe and effective way to protect them, their family and their community against COVID-19.

FAQs have been developed by Cancer Australia based on input and queries from the cancer community. The FAQs have now been translated into the 10 most commonly-spoken languages: Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Greek, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

To view the translated FAQs, visit

Tandem eNews 17 August 2021

Dear members and supporters, We are sending today’s eNews at what is once again a really difficult time for many Victorians. Feelings of exhaustion, apathy and irritability are so widespread at the moment that they’ve spawned a new term: ‘lockdown fatigue’.

Concerningly, for many people with caring responsibilities, lockdown fatigue adds to already significant carer fatigue or even burnout. Please remember that you can reach out to speak to our team on the Support and Referral Line from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday on 1800 314 325.

This is an enormously hard time too for our Afghan community, as well as for veterans who served in Afghanistan and their families. Please be mindful of how the situation is affecting you, and speak to someone if you need to.

With school closures extended, playgrounds closed and talk of how the delta variant of COVID-19 is spreading amongst children, many kids are having a hard time too – particularly those who were already struggling with anxiety or other mental health concerns.

We’ve included in this edition a section of resources for families with children, for members of the Afghan community, as well as some support services for veterans and families.

Lastly – and on a positive note – we’d like to thank all of our members who attended last week’s Members Meeting. The meeting included an initial consultation session on Victoria’s eight new family and carer-led centres. As always, the session involved vibrant discussion and produced a wealth of ideas that our team is now sifting through. Keep an eye on this space to hear more about our next steps!

In this eNews edition

      • Introduction
      • Our next Tandem Time with Victoria Police
      • Supporting children through extended lockdowns
      • Support for the Afghan community
      • Support for veterans and families
      • Are you experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19?
      • Senior Carer Peer Worker position – Mental Health Hospital in the Home
      • Family and Friend Support Program for people supporting someone using ice
      • Communicating with health professionals – Carers Victoria
      • The NDIS is seeking your feedback
      • Executive Director, Lived Experience – Department of Health
      • Depression Assist website
      • North Western Melbourne community needs survey
      • Do you live in Hume?
      • Tandem Support & Referral Line
      • Other Mental Health Helplines and Webchats
      • Join the Tandem Family


  • Our next Tandem Time with Victoria Police

    Our next Tandem Time is planned for Thursday 26 August 10am-11am

        • Day: Thursday 26 August
        • Time: 10am-11am
        • Where: online via Zoom.

    Our guest speaker will be Rebecca HalpinCommunity Portfolio Manager, Mental Health,Priority and Safer Communities Division, Victoria Police.

    Rebecca will provide information on the work that happens in the Mental Health – Priority and Safer Communities Division. As this will be a popular session we are asking members to submit questions beforehand.

    If you have any questions for Rebecca please forward to with the subject line ‘Tandem Time’.

    Are you experiencing hardship due to COVID-19?

    If you’re experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19 restrictions, you may be eligible for support  from the Victorian Government and/or the Federal Government.

    Regardless of whether your financial hardship is COVID-related or not, you can speak to a financial counsellor at the National Debt Helpline for free – they even offer specialised advice for people experiencing financial stress due to mental health concerns.

    Call 1800 007 007 Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 4.30pm.

    Depression Assist website

    Researchers at Deakin University and Barwon Health have developed a new website for family and friends of people with major depressive disorder, and are looking for people to test the website.

    If you’re interested, contact the researchers on 0456 755 552 or

    To read the complete newsletter click on the link below:


Probono News 17 August 2021

This article was published by Probono News on 17 August 2021

The carers flying under the radar during the pandemic

Maggie Coggan | 17 August 2021 at 9:03 am

 Each morning, lawyer and single mum of two Menoz Bowler wakes up knowing that she’s got a big, and possibly difficult, day ahead of her.

While most working parents can relate to the struggle of getting kids out the door with lunches packed, hair brushed, and shoe laces tied, Bowler is dealing with a raft of different and unique struggles.

Her youngest child, Andrew, is legally blind and has OCD tendencies, with the smallest of errors turning into a meltdown.

“For example, if I make spaghetti with the sauce mixed in and not on the side, he won’t have it… and then there’s the obvious meltdown,” Bowler told Pro Bono News.

“It’s just little things like that which make the day more challenging… It’s a different style of parenting and it’s a different quality of life when you have a child with a disability.”

She said that Melbourne’s elongated lockdown in 2020 was a particularly difficult and isolating time.

“Navigating parenting has its obvious challenges during COVID, but there’s an added layer of having a child with a disability because they have different needs,” she said.

“Because of the restrictions, Andrew didn’t have his speech or occupational therapies, and so he regressed… I can’t tell you how many meltdowns we had last year.”

Bowler is not alone in this struggle.

Victorian community health group Merri Health estimates that there are 720,000 Victorians caring for someone with a disability, medical condition, mental illness or frailty due to old age who are missing out on vital support services, with many unaware of the assistance available to them until they reach crisis point.

The pandemic was a particularly tough time for carers, with a national carer survey revealing that half of carers in Australia were experiencing high or very high psychological distress, with one in three reporting high levels of social isolation. One in three respondents also reported that they never get time out from their caring responsibilities.

To combat this, Merri Health has launched a new campaign to create awareness of the Carer Gateway program, a free national service that connects carers to people with lived carer experience for respite care, telephone counselling services, educational training sessions, and financial support packages.

Bowler, who was connected to Carer Gateway through one of Andrew’s support providers, said that having someone to talk to about what she was going through and being able to access respite care had been “priceless”.

“Our Carer Gateway case manager has taught me that I can ask for help, and has shown me that there are services and supports out there and they should be utilised,” she said.

“When I can debrief or work through problems, I do feel better about the problem, and it’s not such an insurmountable task.”

Many carers flying under the radar 

Vicki Down, the Victorian state manager of Carer Gateway, told Pro Bono News that one of the main reasons carers didn’t access support services was because they didn’t identify as carers.

“They might think, ‘well, I’m caring for my partner or my child with a disability… but I’m just a family member,’ and so they don’t identify themselves as a carer,” she said.

Kellie King is one of those people. She cares for her ageing parents, her daughter, who has an acquired brain injury, and her grandson who has autism. Yet, she said while she knew deep down she was in a caring role, she resisted the official title of carer.

“There was always this push back and resistance around wanting to identify as a carer,” King said.

Since discovering Carer Gateway, she has embraced her role as a carer and the importance of seeking support as part of her well being.

“Life doesn’t need to be so hard… [Carer Gateway staff] are amazing, they are supportive… Most of the people that I’ve spoken to have got lived experiences and it’s really made a difference,” King said.

New push to connect carers with help 

With the resurgence of COVID-19 and lockdowns enforced across many parts of Australia, Down said it was important that carers, and the communities around them knew that help was available.

“The campaign is about raising awareness for the carers themselves and the people around them,” she said.

“For instance, for young carers under the age of 25, it’s important for schools and universities to understand what carers look like and the support that is out there for them.”

If you are interested in finding out more about Carer Gateway and the services they provide, call the 24/7 hotline on 1800 422 737, or visit their website here. 

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.
PB Careers


Heidi Everett is Appearing at the Melbourne Writers Festival 10 and 12 September 2021

Heidi has been a guest speaker at our Inner South Family and Friends Support Group Meetings.  Bookings are available by clicking on the links below.


Extract from Melbourne Writers Festival website
Artist Bio

Heidi Everett

Heidi Everett is a proud neurodivergent artist, writer, mental health creative recovery advocate, social impact facilitator, producer and innovator in Melbourne. My Friend Fox is her first book, harnessing the living experience of hard-earned survivalism and freely found humanity which underpins all of Heidi’s work.

Appearing in:

Changing the Story
Sun 12 Sep, 10am


New Beginnings
Fri 10 Sep, 7pm


Register Your walk with Lifeline to Observe World Suicide Prevention Day 10 September 2021

Alternate text
Turn out in September
Be ready to walk
Let’s show the world
We’re more than talk
W T Herring, a farmer from Broken Hill, helpseeker
Friday, September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. Since 2012, Lifeline has been observing this day through our Out of the Shadows campaign.
This year, Out of the Shadows will again unite local Lifeline centres and individuals across Australia for a significant walk at sunrise and to remember and reflect on the nine lives lost to suicide in Australia every day.
Most importantly we’ll walk in solidarity to support those impacted by suicide; working together to create change and bring suicide out of the darkness and into the light. Will you join us?
Face to face or virtual – we can still walk as one.
Whilst COVID-19 continues to impact Australia this year, it is more important than ever to connect.  We can still unite at the same time on the same day to send a collective message of hope.
Lifeline centres will host face to face walks where possible and in accordance with state-based restrictions.  Join your local Lifeline centre’s Out of the Shadows community walk or register your own.
Set your alarm, put your shoes by the front door and take a walk on your own, with a friend (or a small group) and know that likeminded members of the community will be doing the same thing a couple of streets down, or the next town along.
Will you walk with us? We ask you to help us send the clearest message of HOPE yet to those who are struggling with the impacts of suicide.

Together we can ensure no person in Australia has to face their darkest moments alone.


Thank you.

Naomi Van Anen
Community Fundraising Executive, Lifeline Australia
On behalf of the Lifeline Network
Alternate text
If you or someone you know needs crisis support,
please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit
If life is in danger, please call 000
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Lifeline Australia

A Message from Heidi Everett, Producer and Film Director August 2021

Hi friends interested in mental health and/or the arts,
I’m very pleased to share with you my latest arts project around mental health and advocacy, Qualia *Original’ short film. It’s been a long time coming thanks to ‘covidity cancel culture’. 
This is a short film capturing the mood of Australia’s psychiatric system, through the eyes of three diverse people.
Qualia film isn’t about the usual desperate conversation around beds or illness prevention, but makes a clear statement about access and dignity that hasn’t been made apparent in mental health and humanity.
Please see link below and happy to chat further over email about any issues raised, or ideas about how we might improve things. I have a feeling the answers to our beleaguered mental health system don’t lie in building more hosptial beds.
The artists in the Qualia film are people with living experience of the story they tell:
Jessica Cochran, Maggie Toko and Xavier Guault.
The filmmaker is Rachel Edward.
Thank you,
Heidi Everett
Producer and Qualia Director.
Qualia *Original short film: