News and Events

Most recent stories are on the SFNSW home page...

It's time to take pets seriously as mental illness support, say scientists

Science Altert - 13 December, 2016
Pets can provide incredible value to our lives, but a new study suggests that it's time doctors and mental health services started considering them more seriously as a source of mental health support.

We don’t know enough about mental health in Australian medical students

The Conversation - 13 December, 2016
The highly regarded Journal of the American Medical Association has published a comprehensive review examining the prevalence of depression, depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts among medical students.

Mindfulness Intervention Effective for Distressing Voices in Psychosis

Psychiatry Advisor - 12 December, 2016
Group person-based cognitive therapy (PBCT), which integrates cognitive therapy with mindfulness, is effective in alleviating distress in individuals with psychosis who are hearing voices, according to a study conducted by a UK-based research team.

Media Release:  DPOA NDIS Civil Society Statement Dec 9, 2016

SFNSW has co-signed a letter  to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) along with other key policy makers expressing concerns with the NDIS. Among the many issues raised are implementation issues. Read on to find out more.

Young Australians believe mental health is one of the top three issues facing the country, survey finds

ABC Online - 7 Dec 2016
Young people have put the spotlight on mental health in a new survey, naming it as one of the top three issues facing Australia.

Carers' needs not being met under NDIS, Anglicare report says

ABC Online - Dec 5, 2016
A new report from Anglicare released today has suggested that carer's needs are not being met under the NDIS. What do you think?

Emotional CPR on All in the Mind

Dec 4, 2016 -  ABC Radio
Psychiatrist Daniel Fisher would like to shift the paradigm of mental health services and empower people to play a strong role in their own recovery so he’s teaching emotional CPR.

Teaching primary school children about mental health

BBC News - 1 Dec
The mental health of children is a rising area of concern and one which schools are trying to combat.

Emily wins 2016 NSW Children’s Week “Exceptional Young Person” award

Emily Holman is a young carer who is also a youth leader in our fabulous On Fire program. Great to see her getting recognition and being a wonderful role model for so many other young carers who go largely unrecognised by the rest of the nation.

Insurance industry stuck in 'dark ages', say mental health advocates

ABC Online  - ‎Nov 24, 2016
A year after one young woman's legal win over an insurer who denied her claim, mental health advocates say little has changed.

Inflammation an Accurate Biomarker for Bipolar Disorder?

Medscape  - ‎Nov 22, 2016‎  
Levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a known biomarker of inflammation, are elevated across all mood states in patients with bipolar disorder, with higher levels occurring during periods of mania, new research shows.

Largest study of its kind finds rare genetic variations linked to schizophrenia

Science Daily  - Nov 22, 2016
A study by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, published Nov 21 in Nature Genetics, analyzed the genomes of more than 41,000 people and reveals several regions of the genome where mutations increase schizophrenia risk between four- and 60-fold.

UCLA-led study explores how people with schizophrenia stay productive while managing symptoms

UCLA - Kathy Svitil  - Nov 17, 2016
People who have schizophrenia may be worried that the disorder will prevent them from living independently, pursuing higher education or holding down a demanding job. In reality, many people do manage their illness and live full and highly productive lives.

Efficacy of Lurasidone Assessed in Adolescents With Schizophrenia

Psychiatry Advisor - Nov 14, 2016
Sunovion have announced positive results from a study evaluating Latuda (lurasidone HCI) for the treatment of schizophrenia in adolescents aged 13 to 17 years old.

Understanding Bipolar Disorder with Dr Sarah Edelman

ABC radio Nightlife - Nov 14, 2016
What do we know about bipolar, and what kind of help is out there for sufferers? 47 min radio interview with Dr Edelman.

How to find a good app for mental health

The Conversation AU  - ‎Nov 6, 2016‎  
Search for “stress”, “depression”, “anxiety”, or “mental health” in the app store on your mobile device and you are confronted with a bewildering array of options.

Ground-breaking QLD schizophrenia research recognised

UQ News - Nov 6, 2016
The University of Queensland's Professor John McGrath has won a prestigious international fellowship in the Niels Bohr Professorship Program in Denmark to continue his ground-breaking research into schizophrenia.

Jeff Kennett says tie CEO bonuses to staff mental health

The Australian - October 24, 2016 - Ewin Hannan
Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett has called for performance bonuses of chief executives to be partially tied to the mental wellbeing of their employees under a radical proposal to be put to the Business Council of Australia today. more ... The Australian (subscriber access only)

'Double whammy' for lawyers' mentally ill clients

Lawyers Weekly - October 24, 2016 - Emma Ryan
Tens of thousands of Australians battling mental illness are being hit with a “double whammy” due to a chronic lack of legal assistance. As part of Mental Health Week last week, National Legal Aid revealed that Australia compares poorly with similar jurisdictions when it comes to providing legal representation for people forced to undergo mental treatment. more ...

Disability advocates call for NDIS to reverse payments decision

ABC PM - October 20, 2016 - Alison Branley
From July 1 the agency that administers the scheme stopped giving people a month's payment in advance, instead asking participants to obtain receipts and claim money back. more ...

 How the net connects rural Australians with mental health support

ABC News - Oct 12, 2016 - Michael Collett
How do you reach people in rural and regional areas who are dealing with mental illness when there aren't any professionals in their town?  Technology can help. more...

 NDIS scheme in ACT reaches full capacity

The Australian - October 14, 2016 - Rick Morton
The $22 billion national disability insurance scheme has reached total capacity in the ACT less than half a year after full rollout in the region and new participants who are eligible for support are being turned away. more...

Mental Health Week is more than just a hashtag, experts say  

ABC News - October 10, 2016 - Eliza Buzacott-Speer and Edwina Seselja
Experts say awareness about mental health needs to go beyond simply sharing a social media post or using a hashtag if the stigma attached to the issue is to be dismantled. more...

ABC NewsSeptember 22, 2016


Adelaide tops mental health hospitalisation rates, while ACT records lowest, new data shows

read more ...

SFNSW Media Release re AIHW Report
September 21, 2016 - Rob Ramjan

Hospital stays for people with mental illness avoidable. New report highlights need for investment to ease pressure on hospital system

(22 September 2016) A report released today from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has highlighted that overnight hospital stays for people with mental illness accounted for 14% of all nights that Australians spent in hospital in 2013/2014.

“The majority of readmissions (30%) occur within the first three months post-discharge. Suicide is most frequent in the first two weeks after leaving hospital, with most occurring on the first day. “One of the most vulnerable times for someone with a mental illness is post-discharge. We need to ensure that when they leave hospital that they are transitioned into a safe, secure and supported environment. SFNSW’s Hospital 2 Home program was highly successful in filling this very need.

“Of our Hospital 2 Home participants since December 2015, zero people have presented at emergency and none have been readmitted to hospital.” Despite its success, SFNSW’s Hospital 2 Home program has recently been defunded. See the Hospital 2 Home video on the RHS. Read the full media release and view the AIHW report.


healthlineHilary Clinton healthline 6Sep2016September 6, 2016

What Hillary Clinton's Mental Health Reform Plan Would Accomplish

It's the kind of proposal mental health advocates say they have waited years to see. Last week, Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, unveiled her comprehensive plan to reform mental healthcare in the United States. The candidate says she ... more

PsychiatryAdvisorSeptember 6, 2016

Cannabinoid Receptor System Dysregulation in Schizophrenia

The latest pre-clinical and clinical data indicate a possible role of cannabinoid receptors in the development of neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. Investigators affiliated with the University of Illinois at Chicago, University of ...more

MedCity NewsSeptember 5, 2016
Mark Taylor

Hopkins, Salk seek new treatments for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder

A new, $15.4 million national collaboration between four academic research centers and two pharmaceutical industry partners aims to develop new ways to study and screen drugs to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The National Institute of Mental ...more

Huffington Post AustraliaSeptember 5, 2016
Kate Stone Matheson

We Need To Put Our Heads Together Over Youth Mental Health

According to the latest figures released by KidsMatter, nearly half of all adult mental health issues begin before the age of 14, with three in four emerging before age 24 ...more

ABC NewsSeptember 1, 2016

Drought-stricken communities waiting for mental health services

Drought-stricken areas of Australia are still waiting for crucial mental health services to be restored, leaving many in the bush dangerously vulnerable ...more

The Washington PostHilary Clinton Washington Post 29Aug2016August 29, 2016
John Wagner

In latest policy rollout, Clinton puts forward agenda to combat mental illness

 Hillary Clinton put forward a package of initiatives Monday aimed at improving the plight of tens of millions of Americans coping with mental illness ...more

ABC NewsItsOKToTalk ABC News 20Aug2016August 20, 2016
Eliza Laschon

#ItsOKToTalk: Australian men join viral selfie mental health campaign

Thousands of Australian men have joined a viral selfie campaign to promote open conversations about suicide and mental health. The #ItsOkayToTalk campaign has gathered momentum globally after UK rugby player Luke Ambler posted a selfie... more ...

UQ News - University of QueenslandAugust 18, 2016
UQ News

Boost for UQ researcher to develop schizophrenia diagnosis technology

A University of Queensland researcher who is developing new imaging technology to diagnose and treat schizophrenia has received a $200,000 project boost. more ...

Woman's DayWilliam, George & Kate Woman's Day 15 Aug 2016August 15, 2016    Woman's Day

Duchess Catherine lends her support to kids' mental health

Duchess Catherine has publicly declared that she and Prince William “wouldn't hesitate” to seek support and assistance if Prince George or Princess Charlotte ever needed assistance with their mental health. more ... August 11, 2016
Kara Vickery

Malcolm Turnbull to review ADF mental health services

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the review, to be conducted by the National Mental Health Commission, would ensure ex-servicemen and women and their families were better supported. more ...

BBC Stephen Fry - Adam Deacon BBC 8 Aug 2016August 8, 2016
BBC News

Bipolar: Adam Deacon and Stephen Fry on 'lifelong struggle'‎                    

Bafta-award-winning actor Adam Deacon says he once worried that bipolar disorder, a condition that causes extreme mood swings, would end his career. more ...

Financial ReviewJuly 25, 2016

Social Services Minister Christian Porter has nominated a $1.4 billion budget saving to be re-directed to NDIS

The saving comes from ending the payment of carbon tax compensation to new recipients of government welfare benefits. more ...

Independent UKJuly 25, 2016  Independent (UK)

Mental illness has become a convenient scapegoat for terrorism – but the causes of terror are rarely so simple

The media glosses over the specifics in favour of creating a kind of homogenised bogeyman figure: a religious fundamentalist afflicted by mental illness and immune to rationality. more ...

Medical DailyJuly 24, 2016 Samantha Olson

Kids With Anxiety Disorders 'Significantly' Benefit From Mindfulness Exercises By Changing Brain Activity

Anxiety disorders plague more than one in four adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18, and many of them are treated with antidepressants and other medications to try and help them live a relatively healthy childhood. more...

Sydney Morning HeraldJuly 21, 2016
Bridie Smith

Blood test being developed could pick up Alzheimer's disease clues long before symptoms show

La Trobe University researchers have identified abnormalities in the blood linked to the degenerative condition, which affects more than 350,000 Australians. more...

Money and Mental Health Policy InstituteJune 13, 2016

Money and Mental Health Report

UK charity says that you’re up to 6 times more likely to have debt problems if you have a mental health issue.  Urges changes to approach by retail, financial organisations and mental health professionals. Read Money on Your Mind Report ...

ParliamentHouse-SydneyHon Scott Farlow
June 2, 2016   Legislative Council


Hon Scott Farlow Motion - Schizophrenia Awareness Week

that this House: note Schizophrenia Awareness Week, commend SFNSW for range of activities inc Symposium and Parliamentary Luncheon, commend NGOs for role in mental health sphere, support aims and initiatives to destigmatise mental health illnesses. Read full motion...

Jennifer Westacott speech SFNSW Parliamentary Lunch 2016SFNSW Parliamentary Luncheon
2 June 2016

Jennifer Westacott - Chair of Mental Health Australia gave a very inspirational speech at our Annual Parliamentary Luncheon.  She talked about our duty of kindness to the 1 in 5 Australians who experience mental illness, the need to set targets: bridging the life expectancy gap for people with a mental illness, significantly increasing the employment rate of people with a mental illness, increasing life expectancy, reducing suicide (now higher toll than road deaths.  read the entire speech...


Mental Health Australia - MHAMIFA

Letter re NDIS - maintain mental health programs

MHA and MIFA have written to the Minister for Social Services supporting NDIS, however asking for the rollout to be consistent with the National Mental Health Commission’s report, which recommended: Do not cash out existing mental health and other associated programmes (e.g. carer and respite programmes, D2DL, PHaMS and PiR) into the NDIS until there is evidence as to eligibility for people with a psychosocial disability, and clarity about ongoing support for those who are eligible for Tier 2 support. READ THE LETTER...

Rotary Club Earlwood - Recognising Carers SAW 2016Rotary Club Earlwood - Recognising Carers

The Rotary Club of Eastwood, in conjunction with the Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW held its second annual Schizophrenia Awareness Week function to recognise the contribution of carers of people living with Schizophrenia. Read more ....


The Age EditorialMay 16, 2016  Age Editorial

... After years of evidence the mental health system was failing, the Turnbull government has started to shift the emphasis to prevention and early intervention. In light of this week's report that antidepressants are far more effective when used in conjunction with psychotherapies, and given the massive cost of not properly treating mental illness, we urge lawmakers to restore the policy of subsidising up to 16 visits to a psychologist. ...more...

Ostara AustraliaTerence WhittingtonMay 18, 2016 Ostara

Schizophrenia Awareness Week: a schizophrenia diagnosis doesn’t have to come between a person and a job

Tom Baxter, CEO of Ostara Australia, sees Terence’s story as a significant outcome, finding employment that suited him, and who now has a much brighter future. “People with mental health conditions like schizophrenia face a range of unique challenges to finding work, so we work with our participants like Terence to help them overcome these challenges, build their vocational skills and look for work.” more...

SBSMay 17, 2016  AAP

William, Kate, Harry tackle mental health

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry have boxed their way to mental wellbeing as they launched an ambitious campaign to help tackle the nation's psychological problems. more...

ABC-AMMay 13, 2016  Michael Brissenden

Drought affected communities to lose vital mental health services

Thousands of farmers and families in drought-affected areas are finding out they'll no longer have access to crucial mental health services and counselling. With suicide and depression a crippling factor in the bush, mental health service providers are being told their federal funding won't be renewed. more...

Mental Health Australia - MHAMay 3, 2016  Peter O'Rourke

2016 Federal Budget - Mental Health Australia Summary

On 3 May 2016, the Federal Government presented its Federal Budget for 2016-17. Mental Health Australia compiled an initial summary of the Budget measures impacting the mental health sector. Additional analysis outlines further information specifically relating to changes in funding arrangements for some services. more...
Download PDF summary.   Download PDF Additional Analysis.

ABC logo4 May, 2016
Larissa Romensky

Art therapy classes help Bendigo patients who have mental health issues

An externally-funded art therapy program in Bendigo for people with serious mental health issues aims to reduce stigma, with a call for classes to be an ongoing part of therapy. more...

The Huffington Post Australia29 April 2016
Rebecca Koerber

New Study Finds Mindfulness Therapy Can Be Effective For Depression

Breathing meditations, yoga, and conquering mindfulness of thoughts and body could be effective in reducing the chance of a relapse in people with depression and anxiety, according to a new study. more...

Milton Ulladulla Times logoApril 20, 2016


Ulladulla Hearing Voices support group provides a safe space

The Ulladulla Hearing Voices support group is a community initiative to promote recovery for those who hear voices and reduce the stigma associated with hearing voices. more...

Psychiatry Advisor John Kross
April 18, 2016

Current Status of Clinical Practice Guidelines in Schizophrenia

Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines can potentially enhance treatment quality and overcome existing disparities in the management of this disease. more...

Psychiatry Advisor Tara Haelle
April 14, 2016

Improving Muscular Fitness May Benefit People With Bipolar Disorder

Muscular rehabilitation interventions may help people with bipolar disorder improve their ability to perform daily life activities. more...

March 21, 2016
Regina Titelius

Mental health services map project could help ‘lost’ patients

A NEW project to map out mental health services throughout WA is expected to help a “dysfunctional system” and prevent patients getting lost in the “mental health maze”, says WA’s leading medical group. more...

 smh-com-au.jpgMarch 9
Jane Lee

'More mental health services needed'

Aboriginal health advocates are calling for better access to mental health professionals in remote communities. more...

Psych Central logo1 Mar 2016
Traci Pedersen

Reducing Inflammation May Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia

Cognition may improve significantly in schizophrenia patients when they are given anti-inflammatory treatment along with standard schizophrenia therapy, according to researchers at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. more...

ABC logoFeb 18, 2016
Lindy Kerin

Mental health experts gather to talk about ice addictions, treatment and solutions

Drug treatment services are still waiting to receive the $241 million the Federal Government promised in response to the National Ice Taskforce's report. more...

Live science logoChristopher Wanjek
February 10, 2016

Low B12 Seen in Aging, Autism and Schizophrenia

The brains of the elderly and younger people with autism and schizophrenia may share a common link: Both have low levels of vitamin B12, researchers say. more..

The conversation February 10, 2016
Carlo Caponecchia 

The design of work needs to change to prevent mental illness

Workplaces need to move beyond promoting mental health awareness and start changing the way work is designed to prevent psychological harm. more...

The conversation February 3, 2016
Allan Fels

Australians are spending more on mental health services and employers need to take notice

New data released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows that Australians spent an estimated A$8 billion on mental health related services in 2013-14.more...

ABC logo12 Jan, 2016
Bern Young and Damien Larkins

Photographer Steve Parish focuses on helping others through mental illness

For more than 50 years, Steve Parish has been photographing Australia's unique places, plants and animals and sharing his knowledge with others. Now he is using his skills to help people dealing with depression and anxiety. more...

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