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.

ABC Your Mental Health

Your Mental Health Banner Watch Your Mental Health collection on iview

You know what I can’t WAIT to do once lockdown is lifted? Head to the beach.

Not for a swim (the waves freak me out – I grew up swimming in pools and placid lakes in Canada), but to watch and to listen.

To watch the waves swirling and crashing, to hear the roar as they smash into land. The birds. The wind. The salty air.

It’s been months since I’ve seen the open ocean, the coast is outside my 5km zone in Sydney.

I’m not alone in my yearning – nature can have a profound impact on our mental health.

So in this week’s newsletter, the first of a four-part series on the things that have been getting us through Covid, we bask in the power of nature. From a journey through the Australian landscape, to making the most of your backyard, to the quirky history of bushwalking.

Here’s to celebrating the great outdoors, in all its forms.

‘Till next time,

How to use your backyard to improve your wellbeing



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.

Alfred Mental and Addiction Health Carers Week Celebrations 11-15 October 2021

Celebrating our carers October 11 – 15

Carers Week 2021

Join us for a week of activities celebrating Carers Week. Family members and carers provide ongoing support, at times with no financial aid and with little reprieve. This year AMAH is celebrating Carers Week with yoga, storytime, trivia night and lots more. Spread the word, it’s time to celebrate………
For further information email: m.tsiros@alfred.org.au or j.legge@alfred.org.au or reach out to a Family/Carer Peer Worker.

You can access the complete timetable via the link below:

Carers Week 2021 Timetable v2



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.

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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.

Out Doors Inc. Newsletter October-December 2021

There’s never been a more important time to focus on our mental health, which is why we’re so excited about supporting National Mental Health Month throughout October. National Mental Health Month is an initiative of the Mental Health Foundation Australia to advocate for and raise awareness of Australian mental health.

Out Doors will be running a range of free events to attract and unite all Australians to raise awareness and promote better mental health for all.

You can access these free events via the link below:

To access our October-December 2021 Program Calendar, click below:
October – December 2021 Program Calendar

Process for getting onto programs

  1. Read through the calendar to find programs that suit your needs, preferences, and availability.
  2. Contact Out Doors Inc. via phone, email, or post to express your interest in the programs you wish to attend. Click below to download an Expression of Interest form.
  3. Out Doors Inc staff will then contact you to confirm you have up-to-date medical forms and a current service agreement (NDIS only – more info on page 3 of the Program Calendar). Once these details are current, ODI staff will confirm your place on the program and send you an invite where required.
  4. Once enrolled, refer to your program invite (Day trips included in this calendar/multi-day program invites will be posted individually), and please read through the COVID-19 health information (page 4 of the Program Calendar) to ensure you are able to attend.

To download an Expression of Interest form, click below:

Carers VIC Australia – Carer Wellbeing and Connection

Carer Wellbeing and Connection Program

We know that carers can often experience loneliness and can feel isolated. COVID-19 restrictions have only made it more complicated and difficult. If this sounds familiar, the Carer Wellbeing and Connection program may be right for you.

The four week, 90-minute online therapeutic group sessions aim to promote a deeper understanding of connectedness and personal wellbeing.

Register now for our final groups for 2021. Places are available in both mixed-gender and men’s-only groups.

Register now

To join Carers VIC click on the following link:

Special member offers

Club Shopper

New members will be sent an email inviting them to join Club Shopper.

If you’re already a member and would like to join the Club Shopper program, please email membership@carersvictoria.org.au

Hoyts Discounted Movie Tickets

Carers Victoria members can access discounted Hoyts movie tickets. As a member you can purchase an adult movie ticket for one dollar (maximum one ticket per day). You must be accompanied by the person you care for (they pay their normal ticket rate) and you must present your Carers Victoria membership card. Terms and conditions apply. This offer is valid until December 2021.

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