Category Archives: Education

Stonnington Disability and Access Committee Film Screening 31 July 2021

Please join us in launching the very first Disability Forum-Film screening in partnership with Council’s Stonnington Disability and Access Committee.

Compelling and authentic. Two women on the opposite side of diagnosis, True Vision is an exploration of dealing with unexpected obstacles, and the perceptions that go hand in hand with diagnosis and disability. The film is written, directed and produced by documentary filmmaker Diana Fisk and executive produced by award-winning feature film and documentary producer Sue Maslin.

This special event includes a screening of the film (28 minutes) and a panel discussion facilitated by the fabulous Carly Findlay OAM, disability advocate and Australian writer. We will hear filmmaker and mother Diana Fisk, Australian Paralympian Jessica Gallagher, who both feature in the film and members from Councils Stonnington Disability and Access Committee.

When: Saturday 31 July, 2:00pm-4:00pm

Where: Malvern Banquet Hall.  In event of COVID-19 restrictions the event will be moved on-line.

The session is free, and registration is essential. Book here.

For further information contact 8290 1333 or

Please register your interest and share with friends, colleagues and networks.  We hope to see you there!

TheMHS Melbourne Conference 12-15 October 2021

TheMHS Consumer & Carer
Conference Bursaries

Applications Now Open!


The upcoming TheMHS Melbourne conference will bring the mental health community back together to share our learnings, insights and innovations.

The voices of people living with mental ill-health, and carers and families, will be at the core of this event.

You can access more information by clicking on the link below:


VicHealth How does alcohol affect the brain 29 June 2021

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: 

StarHealth is now offering COVID-19 vaccines

High Risk Accommodation Response Project

News Update

What a first half of 2021: a roller-coaster ride in Victoria to say the least. Tough days have shown levels of resilience and kindness that have shone through in our community during the pandemic, helped in no small part by organisations and groups such as yours. 

Keeping our community safe and well continues to focus our efforts. A leap forward in helping achieve this goal is the availability of COVID-19 vaccines.

StarHealth is offering COVID-19 vaccines to our community  through two clinics, the Prahran Town Hall clinic and the StarHealth mobile vaccination clinic.

Please help us spread the word! 

The StarHealth COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Prahran Town Hall (Greville Street side) offers AstraZeneca for those over 60 years of age, and will be offering the Pfizer vaccine for the 16-59 age group. Thousands of residents are vaccinated here each week, with our friendly, trained nurses administering under the eye of our on-site GP. Bookings at this clinic can be made by calling 9066 1601 or by visiting our website.

Our new StarHealth mobile clinic commenced last week to make access to vaccination easier. Pop-up sites across the Cities of Port Phillip and Stonnington will see the clinic visit for a week, and circle back again a few weeks later to administer second doses vaccines. Again, trained nurses and an on-site GP will make sure you are in good hands. No appointments are necessary at the mobile clinic, but appointments can be made by calling 0436 475 518 during office hours.

Please share the Mobile Vaccination Clinic information below with your group or members. For more information or to request the text-only version, email us using the button below.

StarHealth Mobile Vaccination Clinic

What is the StarHealth mobile vaccination clinic?

StarHealth’s mobile vaccination clinic is now operating in the Cities of Stonnington and Port Phillip. This program offers both the AstraZeneca  and Pfizer vaccines. It will pop-up at several different sites across the area for one week in each location and revisit the same location to deliver the second dose of vaccination for people. See table below for the schedule.

Who is it for?

While anyone over 16 years of age can be vaccinated at the StarHealth mobile clinic, it primarily supports more vulnerable residents in our community who may find access to health services difficult or who are more at risk of COVID-19 due to their health, ability status or residential setting. Residents of accommodation who are at higher risk of COVID-19 transmission due to shared facilities including laundries, stairwells, kitchens etc are  encouraged to be vaccinated.

Do I need to book?

You do not need to book at these clinics – simply go along on the day and time that suits you (see schedule below) and take your Medicare card if you have one. If you prefer to make an appointment, call 0436 475 518.

Please be advised that there might be a waiting time, and staff may suggest a time to come back later when it is less busy. Perhaps bring a warm coat and a book to read or something else to do while you wait.

What should I take with me on the day?

Take your Medicare card if you have one. If you don’t have a Medicare card, ask for an individual health identifier (IHI) at your nearest Medicare office. Please also take your identification such as a driver licence or similar and a contact phone number and your address details.

Which vaccine will I receive?

If you are over 60 years of age, you will be eligible for the AstraZeneca vaccine. This vaccine needs a second dose 12 weeks later.

If you are between 16 and 59 years of age, you will be eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. The second dose for Pfizer is due 3-6 weeks after the first dose.

Where and when can I go to the mobile clinic?

Clinics are open Mon-Thurs 9:00 am -12:00 pm and 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, and Fridays from 9:00 am to 1:45 pm.

The upcoming clinics schedule is as follows. The next rounds of visits to the mobile vaccination sites will be published later in June for people who will need to return for their second doses in August through to October. Stay tuned for details or call our booking number on 0436 475 518.

COVID-19 Vaccination Information

In 2021, we all know much more about COVID-19 and how to slow the transmission risk than we did last year. Keep your information current and ensure it’s from credible sources.  Visit the StarHealth website for simple, easy-to-read Fact Sheets that tell you what you really need to know, without all the noise.

Translated Fact Sheets are also available in seven languages, and we are adding more on topics such as vaccination during pregnancy and breastfeeding, vaccination and drugs and alcohol, and common myths. We would love to hear from you if you have other questions.

COVID-19 Fact Sheets

Additional information & resources about the Vaccine

Click any of the links below to view the information

Frequently Asked Questions
General Information
How to book your appointment
How to prepare for your vaccine
Information for those with a weakened immune system
AstraZeneca vaccine information

Find out more about how COVID-19 vaccines are developed, tested and approved.
More information about how COVID-19 vaccines are being delivered in Australia.
Find information in your language – click here to view translated videos about COVID-19 & the vaccine.


Tandem eNews 15 June 2021

Dear members and supporters,

The State Government is progressing quickly on the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act.

The new Act aims to address 12 recommendations made in the Royal Commission’s final report, including recommendations 4, 30, 42-45, 53-56, and 61-62. You can read more about these on the Royal Commission website.

Now, the government has released an Update and Engagement Paper on the Engage Victoria website for public consultation, with submissions due by July 4.

The paper contains four key sections:

  • the objectives and principles of the new Act
  • non-legal advocacy, supported decision making and information sharing
  • compulsory treatment and assessment, seclusion and restraint
  • governance and oversight in the new Act.

Each of these sections explains which recommendations it addresses, includes the Department of Health’s proposals on how the new Act could meet those recommendations, and then poses a number of specific questions for public response.

After reading it, you may choose to make your own submission to the website – and the more submissions made that emphasise the needs and priorities of families and friends, the better.

You may also choose to contribute your opinions through Tandem’s submission, by participating in our consultation session this Thursday during our Tandem Time:

Tandem Time
10am to 11am
Thursday 24 June
via Zoom.

Knowing that the deadline set by the Royal Commission was tight (it recommended that the State Government “enact a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act, preferably by the end of 2021 and no later than mid-2022”), we have already been consulting with members.

Earlier this year, we surveyed family and friends of people with mental health challenges to capture your priorities for our new mental health laws, and to gather feedback on some of the specific issues raised in the Royal Commission final report for the new Act to address.

We received 112 responses to that survey, and 54 members also attended a consultation session held during our last Members Meeting on June 10. Thank-you to all who participated in these activities; as always, members were highly engaged and offered thorough and insightful responses to the questions asked.

Your feedback so far has been collected into a report which is available on our website, and summarised in eNews below.

We hope to see many of you at our Tandem Time consultation session this Thursday.

Click on the link below to access the complete newsletter:

Alfred Health Carer Services Carer eNews June 2021


Upcoming online courses from City of Stonnington

Reskilling in the Digital Age
Want to stay across the basics of workplace tech, but not sure where to start?

ReadyTechGo have agreed to offer a series of free sessions for Stonnington residents to keep up with the skills required to succeed in the digital era.

These sessions will include:

  • Microsoft Office
  • Utilising the Cloud
  • Staying safe online

Tuesday, 22 June 2021  – 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Tuesday, 29 June 2021  – 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Tuesday, 06 July 2021  – 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Tuesday, 13 July 2021  – 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

To register, click here

Click the link below to access the complete newsletter:

Tandem eNews 17 June 2021

Tandem: representing Victorian mental health carers



Dear members and supporters,

Victoria’s new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act is in development.

The Victorian Government has published a public Update and Engagement Paper for the new Act on the Engage Victoria website.

Public consultation is open until Sunday July 4th.

Tandem is preparing a submission on the behalf of members to address each section of the paper:

  • the objectives and principles of the new Act
  • non-legal advocacy, supported decision-making and information sharing
  • compulsory treatment and assessment, seclusion and restraint
  • governance and oversight in the new Act.

We would like to invite you to join a consultation session as part of a special Tandem Time from 10am to 11am next Thursday 24 June via Zoom.

The consultation session will help to guide our submission.

If you can, read the Update and Engagement Paper before next week’s session.

You may also want to make a submission of your own. You can also do this via the Engage Victoria site.

We look forward to seeing those of you who can join us next week.

In this eNews edition

    • Introduction and invitation to a special Tandem Time
    • Co-researcher roles for family/carer lived experience workers
    • Special access tickets for Mental Health Victoria’s ‘Preparing for Reform’ symposium
    • At Home with Satellite – plus Satellite Slam postponed
    • Tandem Support & Referral Line
    • Other Mental Health Helplines and Webchats
    • Join the Tandem Family

Co-researcher roles for family/carer lived experience workers
Have you worked as a family/carer lived experience worker?  The University of Melbourne and the Centre for Mental Health Learning have paid ‘co-researcher’ roles available for people to join a co-designed research project investigating the experiences of family/carer lived experience workers employed in mental health services in Victoria.
The deadline for submitting an Expression of Interest has been extended to Monday 21 June. Find a copy on our website.

Special access tickets for Mental Health Victoria’s ‘Preparing for Reform’ symposium

MHV has a limited number of free tickets on offer for ‘Preparing for Reform’, their online symposium on 29 June 2021 from 9am-3pm.

These tickets aim to allow access for people with lived experience of mental illness, their family members and carers.

Simply contact with your details. For more info about the symposium see

At Home with Satellite – plus Satellite Slam postponed

At Home with Satellite is a fun, creative program that offers connecting activities for children and young people aged 8-14 years old (approx.) that runs during the school holidays.

Satellite’s ‘At Home’ program provides a curated selection of activity-based self-care packs and online workshops.

Their next ‘At Home’ workshop is a two-part series called All Superheroes Wear Masks. The first workshop will take place on Monday 28 June and the second workshop on Monday 5 July.

Monday 28 June and Monday 5 July:
10 – 11am
(for ages 8 – 11 years approx.)
1 – 2pm
(for ages 12 – 14 years approx.)

Find out more from the Satellite Foundation website.

The Satellite Foundation has also informed us that due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, Satellite Slam will now take place on Thursday 14 October and will form part of Mental Health Week from 9 – 16 October.

If you have already booked tickets, you will receive an email  about the change in date and your tickets. If you have not yet booked tickets, you can do so via the Satellite Foundation website.

You can access the complete newsletter via the link below:


Tandem eNews 8 June 2021

Dear members and supporters,

Happy Pride Month and welcome to the rainbow edition of eNews!

This edition creates an opportunity to share some of the recommendations in the Royal Commission final report that are specific to the LGBTIQA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer or questioning and asexual) community. We have profiles of some of our partners in the community – particularly Switchboard’s Rainbow Door service, which has been funded to play a significant role as an entry point into the mental health system for LGBTIQA+ people and their families moving forward.

We’ve collated a selection of resources that may be helpful for family and friends of LGBTIQA+ people, as well as our usual resources for all families and friends – including an update on the COVID-19 vaccination program, some ‘Pop Up’ wellbeing sessions for carers, new programs for young people from the Satellite Foundation and more.

Don’t forget to come along to our June Members’ Meeting this Thursday from 10am-12pm, which will include a presentation on the Royal Commission’s final report and an important consultation session; ‘What do we want to see included in the new ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing Act?’

We hope to see you there!

      • Introduction
      • The Royal Commission final report: What’s in it for our LGBTIQA+ community?
      • Next Tandem Members Meeting – this Thursday
      • Introducing Rainbow Door
      • Introducing queerspace
      • Resources for families and friends of LGBTIQA+ people
      • Update on the COVID-19 vaccination program
      • Free tickets for Mental Health Victoria’s ‘Preparing for Reform’ symposium
      • Pop Up wellbeing sessions for carers
      • At Home with Satellite – plus Satellite Slam postponed
      • Tandem Support & Referral Line
      • Other Mental Health Helplines and Webchats
      • Join the Tandem Family


    Your story is powerful

      • .  Join Tandem’s community of family and friends to advocate for a safe, inclusive, fair and funded mental health system in Victoria.


    The Royal Commission final report: What’s in it for the LGBTIQA+ community?

    The final report from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System recognised what many other reports have also found – that Victoria’s LGBTIQA+ community experience significantly worse mental health than other members of our community. Most frighteningly, La Trobe University’s recent Private Lives 3 study found that 74 per cent of LGBTIQA+ people have experienced suicidal ideation over their lifetime (compared to roughly 16 per cent of the general population), and that 40 per cent have experienced suicidal ideation recently (compared to just 5 per cent of the general population).

    It’s important to note that these mental health struggles don’t have anything to do with being LGBTIQA+ itself: they relate directly to the stigma and discrimination experienced by this community, including from mental health services.

    There are two recommendations within the report that are specific to the LGBTIQA+ community:

    1. To provide recurrent funding to Switchboard Victoria to deliver its Rainbow Door program, at scale, to support LGBTIQA+ people to navigate and access the mental health and wellbeing system (part of recommendation 34 – ‘Working in partnership with and improving accessibility for diverse communities’ – which you can find in Volume 2 of the report) and
    2. To co-produce an aftercare service for LGBTIQA+ people following a suicide attempt (part of recommendation 27 – ‘Facilitating suicide prevention and response initiatives’ – which you can find in Volume 3 of the report)

    Recommendation 34 contains other aspects that will impact the LGBTIQA+ community too. These include a recommendation to collect and report data on diverse communities and to support community-led organisations to design and deliver mental health and wellbeing information and awareness campaigns, and to assist their communities to navigate the mental health and wellbeing system.

    Numerous recommendations mention ensuring that people from LGBTIQA+ communities are included and represented.

    Recommendation 41 aims to address stigma and discrimination, and recommendations 16 and 17 focus on creating mentally healthy schools and workplaces, including through anti-stigma and anti-bullying programs.

    It’s important to note that the publication of the final report is only the beginning of the process of mental health reform: we are now entering a period of intense discussion and consultation that will determine how each of the recommendations are implemented, and where the inclusion of LGBTIQA+ voices will be important.

    If you’re part of the LGBTIQA+ community and care for or support someone with mental health issues, we would like to encourage you to join our carer register as one way of participating in consultation sessions as part of the mental health reform process. If you’re interested, please email

    You can access the complete enews via the link below:

Tandem eNews 18 May 2021

Dear members and supporters,

We are resending yesterday’s edition of eNews, as we published an error in the progress update from Mental Health Reform Victoria. In the introduction to this section yesterday, we mistakenly referred to the Lived Experience Advisory Group as being from MHRV, which is not the case.

This has been corrected, and we apologise for the mistake.

Today’s version also contains a notice about Health Condition Support Grants available to Victorian peer support groups, so is well worth a reread!

We’re extending our survey one last time to capture the voices of as many family members and other carers and supporters as possible.

If you haven’t completed the survey yet, please do so today by clicking on this link.

Please also forward this edition of eNews or a link to the survey to your networks, and encourage anyone who has experience supporting a family member or friend with mental health issues to complete it.

There is a lot happening in mental health right now: in this edition of eNews we also have an update to share on how things are going with implementing the recommendations from the Royal Commission’s interim report, as well as information on the Federal Budget and our commitment to promote equality for, and end discrimination against, the LGBTIQA+ community by signing the Embracing Equality Charter and Pledge.

We are pleased to let you know adults and children with underlying medical conditions(which includes those with severe mental health conditions) and their carers are eligible for phase 1b to receive a COVID – 19 vaccine.

Finally, don’t forget that Tandem Time is on next Thursday May 27, featuring guest speaker Rebecca Halpin from the Mental Health Priority Communities Division at Victoria Police. Rebecca will share information and hear your concerns about situations when you call the police for the person that you’re caring for or supporting.

    • Introduction: We extend our survey again
    • An update from Mental Health Reform Victoria
    • Our digest of recommendations 3-7
    • The Tandem team goes rainbow
      Tandem marks the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia & Transphobia
    • Tandem Time with Victoria Police
      What to expect when calling the police in a mental health crisis
    • Next Tandem Members Meeting – Thursday June 10
    • The Federal and State Budgets
      A short update on the Federal Government’s $2.3 billion mental health spend – plus what we know so far on the State Budget.
    • LGBTIQA+ Health and Wellbeing Reports
    • Health condition support grants program applications open
    • Tandem Support & Referral Line
    • Other Mental Health Helplines and Webchats

You can access the complete enews via this link:

Tandem eNews special edition 4 May 2021

Dear members and supporters,

Act for an inclusive mental health and wellbeing system

In 2019, Tandem made a submission to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. We produced this based on extensive consultation with you, our members.
We learnt that you support a mental health system that is Safe, Inclusive, Fair and Funded.
We now have the final Royal Commission report in our hands. We can hear your voices resonating throughout the 3000 pages informing the recommendations.
The final report highlights the need for a system that is safe and inclusive for family, carers and supporters. We now need to ensure that the reforms implemented reflect the intentions of the report.

We need to ask for your help again.

Please complete this survey by end of Monday 10th May to inform the implementation of:

  • Recommendation 42: A new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act
  • Recommendation 44: A new Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission
  • Recommendation 54: Towards the elimination of seclusion and restraint
  • Recommendation 61: Sharing mental health and wellbeing

    Information In this eNews edition

      • Introduction: Act for an inclusive mental health & wellbeing system
      • Tandem Members Meeting – Thursday June 10
      • COVID-19 Mental Health Packages no longer available
      • Tandem Support & Referral Line
      • Other Mental Health Helplines and Webchats

    Thank you for your ongoing support. We will keep you informed of any consultation opportunities that arise.

    To join the Tandem register to take part in working groups and consultations, contact us at can access the complete newsletter via the link below: