Excerpt from Andrew Leigh’s May Report 2024


How Social Media Fuels Teen Anxiety

Over the past fifteen years, the mental wellbeing of young Australians has become much worse. In a two-minute video, I look at the evidence on how social media and smartphones affect teen mental health, offering seven key facts and four solutions (click to view). And if you’re curious about the emerging debate, check out my review of Jonathan Haidt’s The Anxious Generation, recently published in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

Screenshot 2024-05-01 at 11.53.27 PM

Social media and mental health – click to play

Excerpt from Mental Health Australia Weekly Update 8 May 2024

For more information and news check website at Mental Health Australia Weekly Update

Australians for Mental Health

Australians for Mental Health

Did you catch Vanessa Kenny’s compelling story about her family’s struggle getting access to mental health services over the weekend?

In a very blunt and powerful open letter to the Australian people — particularly politicians and other decision-makers — Vanessa charts what it is like to love a child with complex mental health needs.

You can read Vanessa’s letter in full here.

“The health system, their executives and our own Ministers likes to say that he “fell through the cracks”.  This is not true.  This is a system that is designed to fail.  Designed to push somebody onto another public service so that they do not have to address the issues at hand” she writes.

“We have endured accusations of domestic violence simply because our son needed us to restrain him during neurological episodes, an act necessary to prevent self-harm.  We’ve witnessed the havoc wrought by potent medications, rendering our home unsafe for all.  Like Cauchi’s family we’ve hidden sharp objects, transforming our household into a battleground where safety is a fleeting illusion.”

“Amidst the despair, I would like to think there’s a glimmer of hope—a call to action for greater empathy, for a society that sees beyond the surface and acknowledges the humanity in us all. It’s a call to recognise that behind every headline lies a story, a struggle, a life worth fighting for.”

These are stories that need to be heard: that’s the only way change will be possible.  In coming forward, Vanessa is taking a stand for her family, and we stand with her.

If you have experience trying to access the mental health system, either for yourself or someone you love, and would be willing to work with me to engage politicians with our stories, I’d love to hear from you.

I’ll be holding a Zoom call next Tuesday evening, 7 May at 5:30pm Sydney time.  If you’d like to join in please RSVP here.

If you’d like to be involved but can’t make that time, please let me know by clicking here.

Chris Gambian
Executive Director
Australians for Mental Health

Inner South Family and Friends Upcoming Meetings and Social Events



Check In and Departure: 9.15 am Dan Murphy Car Park, 823 Dandenong Road, Malvern East (diagonally opposite Monash Caulfield, allow 15 minutes to walk from Caulfield Station)
The bus will leave on time and cannot wait for latecomers.  Bookings are essential as places are limited and must be booked by noon Monday 22 April. 
We are obliged to pay a week ahead and therefore must have bookings in time.
    Pensioners $18   Non-pensioners $36
The donation includes bus, entry and final drink. It does not include food/lunch, towels and robes.  You are strongly advised to bring your own lunch, towels and a towelling style robe in a bag to carry with you throughout the day.

To book

  1. deposit donation to Westpac ISFAF Community One Account: BSB 033-169    A/c No: 258307,
  2. make sure your deposit shows your nameand number of individuals in your booking
  3. email burstyner@gmail.comwith proof of booking
  4. confirmatory email will be sent Tuesday 23 April. If you do not receive confirmation and have paid, email burstyner@gmail.com urgently and by Wednesday 24 April.If you have questions regarding the bookings or the outing, please do not hesitate to contact me directly on mobile 0425 723 746 or judi.burstyner@gmail.com


Bookings by phone / text to the numbers shown are essential – times and starting points may vary.  Family members, including canines are very welcome.  Walkers generally meet at 1pm, with non-walkers joining us at 2.15pm for a drink provided by ISFAF.

Please book on the day prior to walk or by 10am on the day of the walk, phone Alexis 0423  939 949.   Meeting place will be advised when you book.

2024 Tuesday Walk ‘n Chat dates to diarise:  May 7 and 21, June 4 and 18, July 2 and 16.


GUEST SPEAKER  Taff Ruvaro, Co-ordinator, Bicultural Worker Research Project, AMAH/ Star Health
TOPIC  The Bicultural Project, Star Health


GUEST SPEAKER    Professor Lisa Brophy, Professor and Discipline Lead, Social Work & Social Policy, Department of Community & Clinical Health School of Allied Health, Human Services & Sport, Latrobe University

TOPIC  A Psycho-social perspective regarding supporting people experiencing serious mental illness 

Professor Brophy’s research ranges widely across mental health, including using highly participatory methods to evaluate interventions and models of care in areas including loneliness, recovery, social inclusion, residential services, human rights and smoking cessation. Her work is contributing to making a difference for people experiencing mental illness and psychosocial disability.


Travel to Geelong – Group to meet at Southern Cross Station – approximately 9am, details tba  (or drive yourself)

11am Tour of Special Exhibition:  Cutting Through Time—Cressida Campbell, Margaret Preston, and the Japanese Print

Lunch  ‘Northern Italian Cuisine in the Heart of Geelong’ Caruggi, a short walk from the gallery

Enjoy a ramble around Geelong or revisit the gallery to view their permanent collection, or other special exhibits, including

  • the O’Donohue and Kiss Gift of paper works from a range of prominent artists
  • Dianne Fogwell’s multi-panelled installation, Prescience
  • Future Creativesshowcasing young peoples’ creative talents in art and design


Excerpt from Mental Health Australia Weekly Update 10 April 2024

NDIS Legislation Presentation

The National Disability Insurance Agency last week provided stakeholders with a sharable presentation about the recent proposed legislation to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The PDF presentation is attached.

Plain English/easy read material that explains what is included in the Bill, is also available on the DSS website.

The proposed legislation is the first important step to put in place the scaffolding needed to start making the NDIS stronger and to improve outcomes for NDIS participants.

The purpose of the legislation is two-fold, it:

  • Creates the scaffolding needed to progress key NDIS Review recommendations, in partnership with people with disability and the disability community.
  • Clarifies the intention of existing legislation to improve the delivery of the Scheme now. These adjustments will make legislation clearer and reinforce the original intent of the Scheme.

The proposed legislation is informed by feedback from people with disability, their families, carers and the broader disability community over many years—and importantly, it is informed by the NDIS Review.

In addition, the NDIS Amendment (Getting the NDIS Back on Track No. 1) Bill 2024 is available on the Parliament of Australia website and further information is available on the Department of Social Services websi

Inner South Family and Friends Monthly Support Group Meeting


GUEST SPEAKER: TING TING HUI, Graduate Clinical Nurse Educator, AMAH

The research study focuses on developing a co-designed lifestyle intervention aimed at improving the physical health of young people with early psychosis. The research team is currently seeking participation from carers or parents whose loved one is a current or past client of the Youth Early Psychosis Program at Headspace. The aim is to explore their views on the physical health and wellbeing of young people with early psychosis and what can be done to improve their physical health.


Viandro is a Teaching Associate at Monash University’s Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; Chair, SHPA Mental Health Leadership Committee. As well as his lead role in mental health pharmaceuticals at AMAH, he has been heavily involved in the roll out and implementation of the Take Home Naloxone Program across Alfred Health. His knowledge of medications is inexhaustible. Bring your questions and notepads and fasten your seat belts for a very worthwhile evening.

VENUE: AMAH Level 4, 549 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Lots of free parking in the centre lanes of St Kilda Road and Mowbray Street, with many trams stopping at the door.

If you are having trouble with transport, seek further information or just need a chat, about ISFAF and/or issues faced by carers please phone Judi on 0425 723 746 or Eleni on 0412 018 722.  Please come early to chat and to enjoy delicious snacks which will be available from 7.10pm.  For security, we are required to pay a concierge at the door of the building. Latecomers may not be able to enter.

From North Road Medical Centre News Letter – Advance Care Planning

Advance care planning can include:

  • Appointing someone – think about who you trust to make medical decision on your behalf if you were unable to. You can complete a legal form to appoint this person as your Medical Treatment Decision Maker
  • Chatting and communicating – talk to family, friends and doctors about what is important to you. Discuss your values, preferences and what you would find unacceptable in relation to your health.
  • Putting it on paper – you can write down your values, preferences and what is important to you in an Advance Care Directive.

Benefits of advance care planning:

  • Families of people who have done advance care planning experience less anxiety, depression and stress and are more satisfied with care received
  • It reduces non-beneficial transfers to acute care and unwanted interventions.
  • It improves end-of-life care, and person and family satisfaction with care

Find out more about advance care planning at:

Advance Care Planning Australia

Alfred Health Advance Care Planning

Department of Health