10h 30m CPDConference

Melbourne Mental Health Conference

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

Melbourne Mental Health Conference 2019


2 - 3 Dec 2019
Oaks On Collins ,
480 Collins St

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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 who have a mental illness will be admitted to hospital or enter a primary care clinic. Attend this conference to better understand:

  • No man’s land – mental health and the media
  • Masculinity and mental illness
  • Taboo – mental health in different cultures
  • Alcohol and drug-related brain impairment
  • Reducing your level of unconscious bias
  • Not a typical diagnosis – atypical anorexia and much, much more…

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Day One

8:30 Registration for Day One


Introduction and Welcome

Kaaren Dahl

The Beds Are Full: Why the Mental Health System Needs a Change

Mental health is a very important aspect of life, but what if the system designed to promote mental health is in need of reform? The ongoing mental health royal commission is listening to stories of both mental health patients and staff in order to make necessary changes to the system. This session will discuss:

  • What are the current conditions of the mental healthcare system?
  • Why is mental health a safety issue?
  • What can we learn from the findings of this commission?
Geoff Ahern

No Man’s Land: Mental Health and the Media

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?
  • Does the way we present mental health to the media give a realistic picture?
  • What happens when mental health goes beyond the professional and enters our personal life?
10:45 Morning Tea

Maria-Irini Avgoulas

Taboo: Mental Health in Different Cultures

Mental health is a sensitive topic in a lot of cultures due to the stigma attached to it. Though most cultures are beginning to discuss mental health issues, we still have a long way to go. This session includes:

  • How can we facilitate the discussion of mental health with our patient whose culture doesn’t normally discuss mental health?
  • Why is it that being removed from one’s culture may actually contribute to a decline in mental health?
  • What are the ways we can help a patient who is from a non-English speaking background get access to mental health services?
Geoff Ahern

Saints and Sinners: Healthcare Professionals and Addictions

The TV show Nurse Jackie showed us a healthcare professional with an addiction to prescription medication and, though people have complained about it, it highlights an issue that affects nurses and other healthcare professionals worldwide. This session will explore:

  • What are the reasons why some healthcare professionals become addicted to prescription medication, alcohol, and/or other drugs?
  • Are there any challenges faced by healthcare professionals who want to seek treatment for these addictions?
  • How can we help our colleagues who may be addicted to prescription medication, alcohol, and/or other drugs?
1:15 Lunch and Networking

Ella Smith

Alcohol and Other Drug-Related Brain Impairment

Brain impairments are associated with the excessive and prolonged misuse of alcohol and other drugs. This session will discuss:

  • What are the types of health conditions associated with alcohol and other drug-related brain impairments?
  • How can we care for patients who we suspect of having alcohol and other drug-related brain impairments?
3:15 Afternoon Tea

Geoff Ahern

We Need to Talk About This: Masculinity and Mental Illness

Men have traditionally been told that they have to be the strong ones, but they can only take so much. This session discusses why some healthcare professionals are advocating a gendered treatment approach and will discuss the following:

  • Why are men less likely to seek mental health services?
  • What are the mental health resources currently available to men?
  • How might masculine stereotypes play a part in men’s mental health?
4:30 Close of Day One of Conference

Day Two

9:00 Commencement of Day Two


Digital Health: Mental Health Apps

Mental health applications are becoming more and more common, but are they actually effective? This session will discuss the following:

  • How do these apps work to help with mental health conditions?
  • What are the examples of mental health conditions with an associated mental health app?
  • Is there any evidence that these apps can pose a risk to patient confidentiality?
Suzanne Wallis

Identifying and Responding to Potential Domestic Violence

Things are not always what they seem. Bruising sustained from a fall down the stairs or a head injury with a vague explanation may be hiding a story of domestic violence. A patient presenting for treatment who is accompanied by a partner may be in a highly controlling relationship. In this session, we will explore the challenging situation where we might suspect a person may be experiencing violence or abuse. Topics include:

  • What are the red flags that may indicate potential domestic violence?
  • What is a forensic injury and how can we correctly identify and have it documented appropriately?
  • Psychological trauma – what does it look like?
  • How can we support a person in this situation?
11:00 Morning Tea

Kristen Adams

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?
  • How can we structure communication with a patient with atypical anorexia?

Deaths in the Mental Health Unit

Though people end up in the mental health unit in order to protect them, some people fall through the cracks and end up taking their own lives. The current mental health inquiry, part of which is trying to understand how these things happen and how they can be prevented, is currently underway. Some preliminary findings tell us of preventable deaths. This session will discuss:

  • What are the new findings in the mental health inquests?
  • What can we learn from them?
1:30 Lunch and Networking

Geoff Ahern

Grey Rainbow: LGBTQI Mental Health

In Australia, people who identify as LGBTQI have the highest suicide rate of any group, but this rate could be even higher due to underreporting. This session discusses the mental health of those who identify as LGBTQI and includes:

  • Why are LGBTQI communities at such a high risk for suicide?
  • What are the ways we could better support our patients who identify as LGBTQI in accessing mental health services?
3:15 Afternoon Tea

Samuel Eddy

Disarm Stress at Work To Reduce Toxic Behaviour

Where does toxic behaviour in the workplace come from? Is it simply that people behave poorly at times or is there something underlying this behaviour? Almost half of Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime and almost all of us experience stress. In this session, you will learn:

  • The relationship between stress and toxic behaviour
  • Create awareness around your own relationship with stress
  • Understand the link between stress and blame, bias, judgement, and ego
  • The power of mindfulness to reduce stress, improve resilience, and increase clarity
  • Gain the skills to remain calm and diffuse toxic behaviour at work
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 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 be able to establish clear personal boundaries and maintain them to promote a strong, safe therapeutic alliance


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Geoffrey Ahern

Geoffrey Ahern is a senior mental health clinician and educator who splits his time between working ... Read More

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Kristen Adams

Kristen Adams is an accredited practising dietitian who works as a grade 2 dietitian and general man... Read More

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Samuel Eddy

As an executive coach and wellbeing trainer, Samuel Eddy helps organisations and individuals manage ... Read More

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Maria-Irini Avgoulas

Dr Maria-Irini is an academic, cultural counsellor, consultant, and researcher. Maria-Irini is a Gre... Read More

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Kaaren Dahl

Kaaren Dahl works as a Manager Resolutions and Review at the Mental Health Complaints Commissioner.... Read More

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Ella Smith

Ella Smith began her nursing career in alcohol and other drug services when she undertook clinical p... Read More

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To Be Determined

... Read More

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Suzanne Wallis

Suzanne Wallis is a Nurse Practitioner: sexual health at Goulburn Valley Health, Shepparton and The ... Read More


2 - 3 Dec 2019


Oaks On Collins
480 Collins St
Melbourne VIC,3000


$610.00 (two days)
Book Online Now  

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