Information and support for families and friends of someone with mental ill health and co-occurring mental ill health and substance use.
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Caring Voices Newsletter - June 2022
mental health families & friends TASMANIA
recognises the deep, ancient and everlasting history and culture of this island lutruwita upon which we learn, work, and live, and its people, the palawa people. We wish to acknowledge the traditional owners and continuing carers of the nipaluna land on which we have the privilege to meet on today. 

We acknowledge Elders past, Elders present, future and evolving Elders and pay our respects to those who did not and will not attain the status of Elder because of the ongoing pain and the legacy of colonisation. 


          MHFFTas News
          Events & Opportunities

          Talking Point
          Government Sector News
          Sector News

MHFFTas News

New Email Domain for MHFFTas

We are pleased to announce that we have a shortened email domain.  Our new email domain is  

Please update our staff email contact details as follows:
Glen O'Keefe - CEO |
Rahnee Butterworth - LEP Project Officer |
Flavia Young - Comms and Project Officer |
Sarah Beechey - Administration Officer |
Vicki Kember - Office Coordinator |

From the President - Lorelle Taylor

As I sit here, looking out at the glorious day, I feel a chill in the air. Winter is upon us! Although I feel the cold now, more than I did when I was young, sunny Winter days still make me feel exhilarated and alive. I hope that wherever you are, you are safe and warm.
I am pleased to report that our new CEO seems to be settling in well. Glen tells me that our team have made him feel very welcome and supported. Of course, I would expect nothing less from such a professional, caring group of people. Glen attended his first Board meeting, in his capacity as CEO, in early May. Listening to him speak, it was clear that he is passionate about MHFFTas and keen to build on the fantastic work already being done.   
We are excited for the future. We have a highly skilled and motivated team, led by an enthusiastic and passionate CEO. We also have a new Premier who has demonstrated commitment to mental health. We are excited for the support that we can give the families and friends who play such an important role in the lives of those living with mental ill health.

Stay safe and warm,

From the CEO - Glen O'Keefe

It is with pleasure that I provide my first contribution as CEO to the Mental Health Families and Friends Tasmania (MHFFTas) newsletter.  I would like to firstly acknowledge the significant contribution made by Maxine Griffiths over five years as CEO at MHFFTas. 
The organisation has grown in size and impact over this time and Maxine’s legacy as CEO will last for many years to come. We all wish her the very best for what comes next for her.

I would like to thank the board for providing me with this opportunity to step into the CEO role at such an important stage of the organisation’s history. I would also like to thank the wonderful staff here at (MHFFTas) for making me feel so welcome and for their amazing dedication that they show to their roles within the organisation. A big welcome also to Sarah Beechy who has recently started with us in the administration officer role.

After two months into my role, it is very apparent that the voices of families and friends are genuinely being listened to, respected, and are creating change for the better. There is a significant amount of reform currently occurring, including State-wide Mental Health, Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Alcohol and Drugs services, and it is very obvious that our involvement in the related steering groups and advisory committees is highly valued. The next three months will see our continued involvement in these reforms and there will be ongoing opportunities for our Family and Friends Representatives to participate.

The following months will also see the finalising of our advocacy workshop and toolkit project and planning is well underway for these workshops to be delivered around the state from September. We would like to thank the members of our Mental Health Family and Friends Tasmania Lived Experience Advisory Group (M-LEAG) for their valuable assistance and input into the advocacy workshops and toolkit project design.

Finally, it has been wonderful to meet with our key stakeholders and family and friends over the past two months as I continue to build my knowledge around our sector. I am a big believer in collaborations and partnerships and involving the voice of lived experience in everything that we do. My focus will be to continue this approach with the goal to further increase the positive impact and influence that MHFFTas has in our community.

Warm regards,

Introducing Sarah Beechey

I'm a mother of two boys and I'm passionate about gardening and animals and the small amount of free time I have, I volunteer at the RSPCA, cat centres and with wildlife.
I have a background in teaching and moved to the administration field fifteen years ago, working in government and not-for-profit organisations.  I'm excited to join the Team in the role of  Administration Officer, providing support to the MHFFTas Team.  I can be contacted at:

Family and Friends Representative Program

Since our last newsletter, our empowered Representatives have continued their advocacy efforts, sitting on a number of interview panels for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, and Adult Mental Health Services. 
We have also continued advocating in the Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) sector with representatives sitting on the AOD Reform Agenda Project Control Group, to have the voice of family and friends heard.  If you are interested in using your lived experience to create change in the AOD or Mental Health sector, please contact Rahnee.

Lived Experience Program

Since February, we have held six Peer Support sessions around the state and one Education and Information session, which received very positive feedback. 
The education session was held at Head to Health Launceston, a new adult mental health service.  Family and friends heard about the services they provide to you - the support person - and the person that you support. A mental health professional also shared information relevant to supporting someone living with schizophrenia.  Thank you to Brigid Pearce and John Findlay from Head to Health, and David Wilkes from Wellways.

For more information on our Safe Space Peer Support and Education sessions, go to our website or contact Rahnee directly.

State-wide Advocacy Project
This year has been an exciting one for this project, particularly the capacity building self-advocacy toolkit and workshops that have been co-designed with our M-LEAG (Members of Lived Experience Advisory Group). 

Through our brainstorming sessions, ten key tools were highlighted to help support people to be their own best self-advocates while they navigate their support journey. 

In addition to the self-advocacy toolkit, we will be delivering free workshops across the state commencing September.  The workshops will be co-facilitated with members of the M-LEAG and well-respected mental health advocate, Jonathan Bedloe.  We will officially launch the project on June 21st at Moonah Arts Centre.

For more information about the toolkit and/or workshops, contact Flavia:

                                          email  | 6228 7448 | Web

Events & Opportunities

Conversations with Mental Health Services

This is an opportunity to meet with other family members and friends as well as representatives from the Tasmanian Government’s Mental Health and Alcohol and Drug Services. You can ask questions about upcoming changes and provide feedback on your experiences as a support person.
Brett McDermott - Professor of Psychiatry, Statewide Director of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and Dominica Kelly - Group Director of CAMHS, will be guest speakers for this session.

When:  Wednesday 27th July 2022
Where:  MHFFTas, 2 Terry Street, Glenorchy
Time:    10:00am to 11:30pm
Participation is either by face-to-face or via Zoom (the link will be emailed the day prior)

Light refreshments will be provided.

So that our sessions remain true to the experience of family members and friends, these sessions are not open to service providers or consumers.

 Face-to-Face | registration
Zoom  | registration

Registrations close Thursday 21st July 2022

Safe Spaces Peer Support Sessions

Are you helping a friend or family member with mental ill health or co-occurring mental ill health and alcohol and other drug use.  Then, this is for you!

Regardless of where you are at in your support journey, Safe Spaces Peer Support provides social support for family and friends experiencing similar circumstances.

At times it may feel like an emotional rollercoaster full of tears and triumphs. You are not alone. Peer groups provide an opportunity to listen and share your experience and wisdom with others like you. Connecting with others is important for self-care and your continued wellbeing. We invite you to come along to share your story and make friendships that will help you maintain resilience, cope with challenges, and strengthen your support role.   

State-wide on-line sessions via Zoom on-line platform
 Wednesday 8th June | 1:00pm to 2:00pm | Register 
When  Wednesday 8th June | 5:30pm to 6:30pm | Register
More Sessions
Hobart Face-to-Face
 20th July | 5:15pm to 6:45pm | Register
More Sessions
Launceston Face-to-Face
 Thursday 3rd August | 5:15pm to 6:45pm | Register 
More Sessions
Devonport Face-to-Face
 Wednesday 7th September | 5:15pm to 6:45pm | Register 
More Sessions

Safe Spaces Education and Information Sessions

These sessions are a time and place for families and friends to hear from guest speakers and gain information on an array of topics, in a safe and friendly space. 

Launceston | Register HERE

Topic: Introducing Alcohol and Drug Services and supporting someone who is using stimulants
When & Where: Thursday 2nd June | 10:00am – 11:30am | At Head to Health, 93 Paterson Street, Launceston 
More Sessions
Devonport | Register HERE
Topic: Drug Education Network
When & Where: Thursday 8th September | 10:00am – 11:30am | Devonport Football Club, James Street
More Sessions

Hobart | Register HERE
Topic:  Drug Education Network - Alcohol and other drugs and their impact on mental health
When & Where:  Thursday 28th July |10:00am – 11:30am | Clarence Adult Community Mental Health Services 16/22 Bayfield Street Rosny Park

Suicide Prevention Training

The training will provide participants with the essential skills to identify and respond to a person at risk of suicide.

About this training:

• To learn how to support a person at risk to access appropriate services and to develop their own safety plan

• To promote help-seeking behaviour before a crisis occurs

• Each participant will learn to identify their own self-care strategies

• An opportunity for participants to develop their own personalised safety plan

Burnie | 9th June 2022
 more information
Launceston | 16th June 2022 -
more information
Marrawah | 20th June 2022 -
more information

Men Care Too - Mates Coffee Club

Informal social and discussion hour for men who provide care and support to a family member or friend living with an illness or disability. 
10:00am every Mondays at Hennessy’s Café Bakehouse, Reibey Street, Ulverstone. 
Questions to Greg at
Watch a 3-minute video about Mates Coffee Club

LGBTIQ+ Carer Support Groups

Working it Out, with the support of Care2Serve and the Carer Gateway, is starting LGBTIQ+ Carer Support Groups across the state to help LGBTIQ+ community members who care for loved ones to connect with others and find support.
 email  |  6231 1200

Youth Mental Health First Aid Training Course

This course is an evidence based program that teaches adults how to confidently recognise and support yourng people developing a mental health problem or in crisis.
Topics include depression, anxiety, panic attacks, eating disorders and suicidal thoughts and behaviours.

Delivery:  Blended - self-paced e-learning followed by a full day face-to-face session led by two Mental Health First Aid Instructors.
When:  Thursday 21st July 2022
Time:    9:00am - 5:00pm
Where:  Glenorchy Library - 4 Terry Street, Glenorchy
Cost:      $280.00 per person

Web | Register

Talking Point

In this video, you'll hear from Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor Peter King, as he explains the connection between substance use and mental health challenges.
When an individual is struggling with both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder, the two conditions are referred to as “co-occurring disorders,” or “dual diagnoses.”

Often, a mental health issue can lead to a substance use problem and sometimes substance use can actually trigger a mental health issue.  Because of the overlap in symptoms, it’s very important to accurately assess and treat both challenges together. If not treated this way, recovery can be much more difficult, as treatment may only be focusing on one half of the problem.

If you or your loved one is working towards recovery and a whole, healthful life, it’s important to find a support program that understands and treats co-occurring disorders effectively.
If you need support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14

Government Sector News

Recovery College update - Mental Health Reform Program May 2022

The Recovery College is one initiative through the ongoing Tasmanian Mental Health Reform Program. 

The college aims to build mental health in our community through an education focus. College’s value the diverse skills, experiences and perspectives in our community and have a focus on recovery at an individual, family, community, and system level.

Community forums occurred in March this year supported by Flourish and Mental Health Families and Friends. There was great attendance, and they gave us an opportunity to start the co-design process.

Read More

Have your say on the next Tasmanian Drug Strategy

Submissions close Sunday 3 July 2022

Visit community consultation:  Tasmanian Drug Strategy 2022-2027

The Tasmanian Drug Strategy is a whole-of-government and whole-of-community strategy.
It aims to create a Tasmania where people make healthy choices about alcohol, tobacco and other drugs use, and can access support where and when they need it.
To achieve this, it provides a framework to:
  • guide collaborative action and activities across both the Government and community sectors, and
  • support agencies and organisations to consider the impacts of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs (ATOD) use and harm in their strategic policy responses.


Take control of your mental wellbeing with MindStep.  
MindStep is a confidential mental health coaching program for anyone struggling to manage low mood, stress or anxiety in their everyday life. MindStep uses cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help you learn practical strategies for handling low mood, stress or anxiety, so you are more successful in managing and enjoying your life. It is based on a mental health program in the UK which has helped more than 1 million people. 
  • Work with your own dedicated coach over the phone every week to learn practical skills and strategies 
  • Access online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy  courses
  • You can participate even if you are accessing other mental health support programs or counselling
  • MindStep is available at no cost for Tasmanian residents
  • You don't have to visit a GP or get a referral to access the coaching program
  • Supports for families, friends and consumers
MindStep is not suitable for young people under the age of 18, people with severe and enduring mental health problems and those who are in crisis or at risk of immediate harm. For those that are currently experiencing higher intensity or severe symptoms, please get in touch with your GP or contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. 

Family and friends’ experiences supporting people with mental health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic within Australia

We are seeking participants who have been family, friends, carers or supporters of people with mental health challenges, mental illness or psychological distress, during the COVID-19 pandemic to complete a survey.
The survey will ask for information about yourself, your support role and the person you support (you can choose whether to answer all questions). You will not be able to be identified. At the end of the survey, you can choose to enter a draw for 3 vouchers of $100 to thank you for your participation. 
The survey is open until the 13th June 2022.


Read More 

Psychosocial Disability Recovery-Oriented Framework

The vision is that participants living with psychosocial disability are supported in their personal recovery and have access to supports that enable independence and social participation.
NDIA has developed the framework to improve the experience of NDIS participants with psychosocial disability, and the framework sets out principles and strategies to achieve this vision.

Workshops have been held with over 450 stakeholders to develop this Recovery Framework. Thank you to the participants, families and carers and people with lived experience who were involved.

NDIA are now planning, researching and engaging with stakeholders to implement the Recovery Framework initiatives over the next 12-24 months.

Read More

Carers Small Grants Program 2022-2023

The Tasmanian Government has announced the Carers Small Grants Program 2022-2023 which is open until 15 August 2022.

Tier One - Health and Wellbeing Support

  • Applicants can apply for funding of up to $2,500 to raise awareness of health and wellbeing services for Tasmanian carers. Carers will be invited and encouraged to participate in these services.
Tier Two - Events
  • Applicants can apply for funding of up to $500 for events to celebrate National Carers Week  (16-22 October 2022) or for a community event that celebrates/supports carers that benefits carers in 2022-23. Carers will be invited and encouraged to participate in these events.

How to apply

Community Sector News

FindHelpTas, is now available on Facebook

FindHelpTAS is a free online directory of community services for all Tasmanians. You can find advice, counselling, support groups, food relief, local community activities and everything in between — online, over the phone or face-to-face. There are over 900 programs listed from more than 400 community service organisations.

You can also become a member organisation and list your services. FindHelpTAS is a self-funded community initiative led by a partnership of Tasmanian community service organisations, supported by TasCOSS.   

                        See for yourself at                    


SANE Forums
Whether you have a complex mental health need, or you’re a friend or family member of someone who does, the forums are for anyone seeking support from other people who ‘get it’. 

Topic Tuesday

Topic Tuesday is a live, facilitated Q&A style discussion with a special guest who is a subject matter expert. We run Topic Tuesdays every fortnight from 7:00pm-8:30pm (AEST/AEDT).

Each fortnight there is a different topic with the session facilitated by a Community Manager or Moderator and joined by a Peer Support Worker.

Upcoming dates:  7th & 21st June | 5th & 19th July | 2nd, 16th & 30th August 

Mental Health Nurse Access Program

The Mental Health Nurse Access Program (MHNAP) is a Rural Health Tasmania Inc. service that coordinates care for people with complex and severe mental illnesses across the North-west.

Mental Health Nurses ensure patients’ with severe and persistent mental illness receive appropriate case management and coordinated treatment.

To access the Mental Health Nurse Access Program, a Mental Health Care Plan and referral is required from your GP. Rural Health Tasmania can provide assistance in obtaining the Health Care Plan if required.

Read More

Counselling Services

Relationships Australia Tasmania has a specific program for free counselling and support to people living with disability, who have been affected by the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of people with disability.
If you are considering reaching out to Relationshships Australia (RA), this link offers some easy read and plain English resources to support you.

Relationships Australia also offer independent counselling and support services with a broad range of programs and approaches.  This is a fee-paying service, concessions do apply.  When you call to book an appointment, you can discuss fees and payment options.  If you have any concerns or questions regarding fees you can give us a call on 1300 364 277.


Take the hard work out of finding the right mental health support. TasConnect is available for all Tasmanians.

Anyone can call the referral phone line, including people experiencing mental health issues, and their family, friends, carers and other support people, such as community support organisations and allied health workers.  

Tasconnect helps identify a service that meets an individual’s needs and contacts this service for them (and in some cases provide a referral to the service). 

Carers Tasmania

We want your contribution to be valued and your voice to be heard. Carers Tasmania provides recognition, support and advice to make sure that you get the help that you need to fulfill your role to its best potential.
                                     email |  6144 3700 | Web

Care 2 Serve

Is the Tasmanian provider of the National Carer Gateway support services. 

To access supports all carers must first register and complete a Carer Support Plan.  This process starts with a conversation with one of our Carer Support Officers and can be over the phone, face-to-face or via video link.

                                             6144 3729 | Web

           mental health families and friends TASMANIA

acknowledges the invaluable contribution that family and friends give as they support their loved ones through their mental health diagnosis and recovery. 

MHFFTas recognises that family and friends work hard and face many challenges. Family and friends are doing the best they can with the time and resources they have. 

                         To the support person, thank you for all you do. 


Copyright © 2022 Mental Health Families and Friends Tasmania (MHFFTas), All rights reserved. ABN: 16 163 816 900
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