Brisbane Mental Health Conference

An Essential 2 Day Update for All Nurses and Midwives


Do you work in a hospital, in primary care, or in the community? Do you regularly care for people with a concurrent mental illness? Even if you are highly experienced in your speciality, are you confident in your knowledge of common mental health conditions? Many people who suffer from a mental illness will be admitted into a hospital or will enter a primary care clinic. Attend this conference to better understand:

  • Mythbusting borderline personality disorder
  • When trauma lingers – a look at PTSD
  • The unsavoury effects of antipsychotic medications
  • How to perform a mental health examination
  • How to reduce your level of unconscious bias
  • How to call time on wine o’clock and much, much more…

Brisbane Mental Health Conference 2019
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Day One

8:30 Registration for Day One

Dr Karen-Ann Clarke

When Trauma Lingers...

Many of us experience trauma. It is not always from typical traumatic events that can threaten our health and safety. Some of us may go on to further experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress or have a diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). What if a patient in your care is experiencing this? Providing comprehensive mental health care that is considerate of a person’s holistic needs is essential if we are to prevent re-traumatisation while in hospital. This session considers practical approaches to supporting a person with PTSD to feel safe during a hospital stay. It includes:

  • What is trauma and how does it affect a person?
  • What are the comorbidities that are commonly associated with PTSD?
  • How can we communicate with highly traumatised people?
  • How do we treat trauma-related mental illness and where can you refer a patient for help?
Sean Smith

Red Flags? Practical De-Escalation Techniques

Stopping smaller incidents from “blowing up” is much more favourable than dealing with a critical incident. It is known that, aside from body language, what we say and, importantly, how we say things is what makes a difference between a violent situation escalating or being defused. This may ultimately be the difference between you being injured or staying safe. This helpful session will provide you with an opportunity to:

  • Identify subtle changes in behaviour that may be a warning sign of aggression
  • Role play the following verbal communication strategies to defuse violence:
    • Words
    • Tone
    • Pitch
    • Pacing
    • Responding calmly with a trauma-informed approach
10:45 Morning Tea

Tim Emerton

The Psychology of Dependence

Why do some people develop a dependence on alcohol or other drugs while others do not? Nurses in a range of specialities and settings are very likely to come into contact with people who have become addicted to one or more of the variety of substances of dependence. An understanding of the psychology of dependence is essential if we are to provide care that is evidence-based, holistic, and free from stigma. This session will uncover:

  • The brain and addiction – what do we know?
  • What are the strongest influences on a dependence developing?
  • Why is dependence considered a chronic disease?
  • How is a person supported to manage a dependence?
Tim Emerton

How to Take a Drug and Alcohol History

How often do people in your care present with a coexisting or a past history of drug and/or alcohol use? It is essential that all nurses remain up-to-date in the appropriate care of those with a history of substance use. If you encounter patients who experience dependence or demonstrate related behaviours then assessment skills are essential. Are you confident that you could undertake a comprehensive assessment of a person who has or is using drugs or alcohol? This session reviews:

  • When might you need to inquire about a person’s history of drug and alcohol use?
  • What types of questions need to be asked and why?
  • How would you differentiate delirium from psychosis?
  • What if your assessment points towards a substance use disorder?
1:15 Lunch and Networking

Jane Stanfield

Unconscious Bias – We’re All Guilty

Unconscious attitudes and beliefs impact on everyday situations, without us even being aware that they are present. As a nurse, recognising unconscious bias towards patients can influence the way health care is provided. This session will encourage you to consider:

  • What is unconscious bias and how does it present itself in a healthcare setting?
  • How does unconscious bias affect care?
  • How do we become aware of our own biases?
  • Why might we need to change our unconscious attitudes or beliefs?
3:15 Afternoon Tea

Amanda Smith

A Practical Guide to Performing a Mental Health Examination

It is essential that all nurses, not just those working in mental health settings, have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to perform a mental health examination. This practical session will draw on relevant case studies to demonstrate how to assess a person who has a mental illness and may be experiencing mental distress. It includes:

  • What are the basic principles of a mental health examination?
  • When would you need to conduct one?
  • When should you escalate or refer to specialist mental health services?
4:30 Close of Day One of Conference

Day Two

9:00 Commencement of Day Two

Shae McCartney

From Mistakes, We Learn...

People who enter a general setting with a physical illness and have a concurrent mental illness require all of their care needs to be met. This session will draw on relevant case studies, where mental health care may have been sub-optimal in a general health setting. In so doing, it will reinforce key legal and professional issues relevant to the care of a person with a mental health illness in a general health setting. It will consider the significance of:

  • Thorough risk assessment
  • Clear communication
  • Correct documentation
  • Prevention of medication errors
Anne-Marie Parisi

The Unsavoury Effects of Psychotropic Medications

There is a range of commonly prescribed medicines for mental health conditions that can have significant impacts on a person’s physical health. Metabolic syndrome associated with the use of antipsychotic medications can create a cascade of poor health outcomes. However, with careful monitoring, identification of risk, and correct treatment, the progression to type 2 diabetes can be prevented. This session looks at:

  • What is metabolic syndrome?
  • Why is it linked to antipsychotic agents?
  • What factors lead to a patient having vulnerability to metabolic syndrome?
  • Why is appetite affected with such medications?
  • Can we reduce the progression of metabolic syndrome to type 2 diabetes?
  • How can monitoring make a difference?
11:00 Morning Tea

Dr Karen-Ann Clarke

Understanding Personality Disorders – Sorting Myths from Facts

Personality disorders are some of the most complex mental illnesses. They can be associated with deeply ingrained, extreme, inflexible and maladaptive patterns of relating to and perceiving both the environment and themselves. There is a need for all nurses to identify and clearly understand personality disorders if people in your care are to receive the best possible health outcomes. This session will include:

  • How are the terms “personality” and “personality disorder” defined?
  • What are the characteristics of a personality disorder?
  • Why can they be challenging?
  • What are effective communication strategies when caring for people with a personality disorder?
Dr Treasure McGuire

Beware! Antidepressants in Older Adults

Antidepressant medicines are one of our most commonly prescribed medicines. In older adults, we must be aware of the possibility of profound side effects that are particularly potent to this vulnerable group. This session will highlight the issues surrounding the prescription of antidepressants. You will learn about:

  • How an older adult is deemed suitable to start on an antidepressant medication
  • Monitoring for wanted and unwanted effects
  • Interactions with over-the-counter medicines
  • Deprescribing antidepressants or changing treatment
  • Evidence on psychotherapy, nutrition, and other adjunctive therapies
1:30 Lunch and Networking

Elaine Painter

The Diet that Triggered an Eating Disorder – Discussing Diet and Exercise Safely

A rising number of the population are at risk of developing an eating disorder when diet, exercise, and weight are put under the microscope. Eating disorders are a complex set of illnesses that have both significant (and often chronic) effects to the mental health and physical health of the sufferer. This session will look at:

  • What are eating disorders?
  • Who is at risk of having an eating disorder?
  • What are the consequences?
  • How can we discuss diet and exercise in a safe manner without “triggering” disordered eating?
3:15 Afternoon Tea

Dr Karen-Ann Clarke

Recognising and Responding to Self-Harm and Suicidal Thoughts

What would you say and how would you respond to a person who has disclosed self-harm or suicidal thoughts? How would you ensure their safety? A risk assessment is essential if we are to recognise a change in a person’s mental state that may place them in danger of self-harm or suicide. This session looks at how to recognise and respond to a person who may be experiencing self-harm or suicidal thoughts. It includes:

  • What’s the difference between self-harm and suicidal thoughts?
  • What are the common triggers for these feelings?
  • How is a risk assessment conducted?
  • What are the approaches to managing patients who present with self-harm or suicidal thoughts?
4:30 Close of Conference and Evaluations

The Goal

Need for Program

People who enter a general healthcare setting with a physical health complication and also have a concurrent mental illness must receive comprehensive care. The ability of nurses and other health professionals to provide holistic health care to all people with a co-existing mental illness is highly dependent on a sound knowledge base. There is a timely need for an evidence-based update on a range of common mental health disorders and conditions so that informed health professionals are better positioned to support a person with a mental illness.

Purpose of Program

To provide nurses and other health professionals who work across a range of general healthcare settings with a comprehensive update on common mental illnesses so as to improve a person’s health outcomes.

Your learning outcomes:

People in your care who have a concurrent mental illness will experience a trauma-informed approach to care
Your improved understanding of mental illness will result in greater patient satisfaction in general healthcare environments
People hospitalised with a physical health complication who have a concurrent mental illness will feel safe and secure as a result of practical techniques being employed
You will establish clear personal boundaries and maintain them to promote a strong, safe therapeutic alliance


Brisbane Mental Health Conference



Brisbane Mental Health Conference
11 Hours | 0 Mins



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