11h 30m CPDConference

Gold Coast Mental Health Conference

An Essential 2-Day Update for All Nurses and Other Healthcare Professionals

Gold Coast Mental Health Conference
Gold Coast


31 Oct - 1 Nov 2019
Oaks Calypso Plaza,
99 Griffith Street

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Why Attend

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 living with a mental illness will be admitted to hospital or enter a primary care clinic. Attend this conference to better understand the following:

  • Mythbusting borderline personality disorder
  • When trauma lingers – a look at PTSD
  • The unsavoury effects of antipsychotic medications
  • Your practical guide to taking a drug and alcohol history
  • How to reduce your level of unconscious bias
  • Discussing diet and exercise safely and much, much more...

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Day One

8:30 Registration for Day One

Deb Mooney

When Trauma Lingers…

Many of us experience trauma. It is not always 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:

  • Recognize precursors to both ASD and PTSD
  • Recognize the early onset indicators
  • Understand the screening process
  • Evaluate assessment tools used in primary care settings
  • Understand what is involved in a comprehensive client assessment
  • Re-stabilize the distressed client
  • Elicit information from a deeply traumatized client
Karen-Ann Clarke

No Man’s Land: Mental Health and Stigma

Mental illness can be complex and, at times, unpredictable. With a public hungry for more information, how do we look behind the numbers and examine the real effects of mental health on the individual? Topics include:

  • Why so much stigma, shame, and embarrassment around mental illness versus physical illness?
  • How can an unrealistic depiction of mental illness promote stigma?
  • What happens when stigma becomes discrimination?
11:00 Morning Tea

Jason Coates

The Psychology of Dependence

Why do some people develop a dependence on alcohol or other drugs and 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 chronic?
  • How is a person supported to manage a dependence?
Karen-Ann Clarke

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
  • Strategies to defuse violence:
    • Words
    • Tone
    • Pitch
    • Pacing
  • Respond calmly with a trauma-informed approach
1:15 Lunch and Networking

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 thought? 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?
3:15 Afternoon Tea

Kate Murphy

Not a Typical Diagnosis – Understanding Atypical Anorexia

Often, anorexia nervosa is associated with an unhealthy low weight range. This is not always the case. This session will explore atypical anorexia and the consequences that may occur when there is a poor relationship with food. Topics include:

  • What is atypical anorexia and how does it differ from “typical” anorexia nervosa?
  • What are the signs and symptoms?
  • What are the behaviours of someone with a poor relationship with food?
  • Over-exercising and counting calories what’s the danger?
  • Can diets cause an eating disorder?
4:30 Close of Day One of Conference

Day Two

9:00 Commencement of Day Two


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?

Not Just a Bit Down – Depression and Its Debilitating Effects

Depression is a disorder that affects many people in Australia. It is an illness that can be debilitating to the person and their carers, as well as a challenge to treat. This session will look at:

  • The difference between normal ups and downs and clinical depression
  • Risk factors for depression: from genetics to circumstances to lifestyle – why all are important
  • Treatment options for depression – there’s more to it than just medication
  • Communication skills that are helpful when interacting with someone who experiences depression – why patience, compassion, and empathy are so important
11:00 Morning Tea

Treasure McGuire

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 suboptimal 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
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

Karen-Ann Clarke

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

Kathleen Baird

Identifying Potential Domestic Violence

Things are not always what they seem. Violence and abuse are experienced in many different ways. It is not always easy to identify if you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or is in an abusive relationship. Topics to be covered in this session include:

  • What are the red flags that may indicate potential domestic violence is happening?
  • The Psychological trauma of domestic violence – what does this look like and how do we support a person in this situation?
  • What is best practice for health care providers so that they are better prepared to care for victims who report a history of strangulation?
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 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 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 be able to establish clear personal boundaries and maintain them to promote a strong, safe therapeutic alliance


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Treasure McGuire

Dr Treasure McGuire is a medicines information pharmacist, pharmacologist, educator and researcher. ... Read More

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To Be Determined

... Read More

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Jason Coates

Dr Jason Coates is a psychologist at the Alcohol and Drug Assessment Unit (ADAU), Princess Alexandra... Read More

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Karen-Ann Clarke

Dr Karen-Ann Clarke is a registered nurse and a specialised mental health nurse with 30 years’ exper... Read More

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Kate Murphy

Kate Murphy is a Consultant Psychiatrist with Queensland Health based at the Gold Coast and has been... Read More

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Deborah Mooney

A triple-certificate nurse by profession, a counsellor by vocation, and a graduate from universities... Read More

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Kathleen Baird

Dr Kathleen Baird holds a joint appointment as Associate Professor with the School of Nursing and Mi... Read More


31 Oct - 1 Nov 2019


Oaks Calypso Plaza
99 Griffith Street
Coolangatta QLD,4225


$610.00 (two days)
Book Online Now  

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