11h 15m CPDConference

Sydney Mental Health Conference

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

Sydney Mental Health Conference 2019


Surry Hills
12 - 13 Dec 2019
Rydges Sydney Central,
28 Albion 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:

  • Mental health and the media
  • How to reduce your level of unconscious bias
  • Laying the foundations for personal resilience
  • Clinical assessment and management of an opioid overdose
  • Not a typical diagnosis – Atypical anorexia and much, much more…

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Day One

8:30 Registration for Day One


Welcome and Introduction

Elaine Ford

The Mental Health Journey: Acute Episode to Diagnosis to, For Some, Long-Term Mental Illness

Mental illness can be complex and, at times, unpredictable. Its prevalence and level of severity depend on an individual’s past experiences, genetic makeup, access to treatment, and support and education. This session will look into acute and long-term mental illness and how they differ. Topics include:

  • How should we view recovery?
  • Why is “hope for recovery“ so important for every person living with a mental illness?
  • What is the difference between acute and long-term mental illness?
  • How prevalent is acute versus long-term mental illness?

Laying the Foundations for Personal Resilience

Preventing and managing stress, burnout, and compassion fatigue lie in your personal ability to be resilient. You can learn skills to become resilient. Starting with a self-assessment, this practical session will demonstrate practical ways in which you can develop personal resilience. We will explore:

  • How can understanding yourself help you become resilient?
  • What impact does your belief and value systems have in helping you stay resilient?
  • What practical techniques help you build your own resilience?
10:45 Morning Tea

Elaine Ford

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?

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 some of the findings in the mental health inquests?
  • What can we learn from these?
1:15 Lunch and Networking


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?
3:15 Afternoon Tea

Elaine Ford

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?
4:30 Close of Day One of Conference

Day Two

9:00 Commencement of Day Two


Welcome Back and Review

Renee Hall

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 a mental health condition?
  • 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?
Adele Sheridan-Magro

Identifying 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 “forensic injury”, and how can we correctly identify and appropriately document it?
  • Psychological trauma – what does it look like?
  • How can we support a person in this situation?
11:00 Morning Tea

Tim Wand

The Use of Restraint – Whose Need Is Being Met?

Restraining a person using a device or medication should only be used as a last resort and only if the risk of harm is greater than not restraining. This session reviews the legal ramifications for the use of restraint and will include:

  • What is the legal definition of restrictive practices?
  • On whom can restraint be applied and in what circumstances?
  • What types of restraint can be used?
  • Is restraint an incident and therefore should it be documented?
Tim Wand

Psychotropic Drugs – Ending Our Complicity with Pharmacocentricity

Psychotropic drugs are believed to be effective for the conditions they treat, but research is limited as to their nature. This session will discuss:

  • What is the evidence that antidepressants work in the long run, considering clinical trials usually only last 6-8 weeks?
  • What is the evidence on the use of antipsychotics?
  • How can nurses help maintain the positive effects of psychotropics?
  • What can nurses do to support their patients regarding their concerns about the negative effects of their medications?
  • What are the alternatives for pharmacotherapies in these cases?
1:30 Lunch and Networking

Renee Hall

Saints and Sinners: Healthcare Professionals and Addictions

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

  • 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?
3:30 Afternoon Tea

Renee Hall

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?
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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To Be Determined

... Read More

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Elaine Ford

Elaine has 42 years' experience in nursing, focusing on mental health from the early 1980s. She has ... Read More

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Adele Sheridan-Magro

Adele Sheridan-Magro is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker. Manager - Domestic and Family Vio... Read More

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Renee Hall

Renee Hall is a registered nurse and Nurse Practitioner. She works in consultation-liaison in the em... Read More

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Tim Wand

Tim Wand is an associate professor of mental health nursing at the University of Sydney and the Sydn... Read More


12 - 13 Dec 2019


Rydges Sydney Central
28 Albion Street
Surry Hills NSW,2010


$610.00 (two days)
Book Online Now  

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