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At Open Minds we value open, informative and effective communication - with clients, staff, external stakeholder and the community. To keep up-to-date with all the latest news at Open Minds, you can review the updates on this page or register to receive our quarterly e-newsletter "Better Days". 

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International mental health leaders visit Brisbane

Friday, April 21, 2017

The International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL) is a unique international collaborative that focuses on improving mental health and addiction services. IIMHL organises systems for international innovation sharing, networking and problem solving across countries and agencies. The overall aim is to provide better outcomes for people who use mental health and addiction services and their families.

This year, the conference was held in Australia. The forum draws around 450 international delegates together, every 18 months to exchange knowledge and new ideas in mental health leadership. The theme for the 2017 Exchange was, ‘Contributing lives, thriving communities'.

On Sunday 26 February, Open Minds, at the request of the Queensland Mental Health Commission, hosted an impressive group of international delegates, stakeholders and guests at the ‘Welcome to Queensland’ event for delegates attending IIMHL.

A delegation from Timor Leste attended the event in Brisbane to attend the Australian Aid Fellowship Program facilitated by QUT. This program works to support leaders from the Timor Leste mental health sector who have identified practical issues in relation to delivering care to mental health service users. Open Minds supported this Program by presenting the range of mental health supports we offer in Australia, in the hope our experience and leadership in this field will assist these professionals to improve health care delivery in their nation.

IMMHL Delegates were attending the first, of a two-phase experience with Open Minds hosting delegates at a leadership exchange workshop in Brisbane on 27 & 28 February 2017. The workshop program was designed around a topic, ‘Physical Health Outcomes – A Different Perspective’ and was delivered by Positive Social Solutions.
PwC supported our program by providing a wonderful venue for the workshop in their Brisbane CBD office. The topic focussed on how participating countries are addressing the critical issue of improving physical health outcomes for people with severe and enduring mental illness. Our workshop facilitators encouraged interactive and creative thinking to explore the question, “How might we better enable people living with severe mental illness to monitor their own physical health care indicators as a means for improving personal health/wellbeing outcomes?”

Over the two days, 31 participants engaged in an accelerated design thinking workshop underpinned by a structured five-step innovation process. Key presentations delivered by Open Minds Australia and Equally Well New Zealand provided evidence of the staggering physical health gap between people who experience mental health and/or addiction issues, and those who don’t, in both Australia and New Zealand.

The match provided a ‘hands-on’ leadership development experience for our participants, focusing on three core future leadership competencies:

  1. Enhanced communication for collaboration
  2. Design thinking
  3. Creative problem solving

Participants were coached along a simulated learning journey that enabled each individual to demonstrate and further develop their knowledge, skills and confidence in these three core competencies. The high-level objective of this approach was to develop transferable skill sets in these leaders and equip them with the tangible toolkits required to lead collaborative change efforts at the intersection between mental and physical health outcomes.

Sustaining communications to ensure innovative concepts are further developed and ensuring participant commitments are actioned is of utmost importance to the Match. A LinkedIn private group was established to connect all of the participants going forward.

Open Minds was impressed with the outcomes achieved by the Equally Well initiative, working together to improve physical health for people experiencing mental health and/or addiction issues. Open Minds have since endorsed their efforts and become a member organisation. For further information on the initiative, please visit:

The second phase of the IIMHL Conference was held in Sydney and provided an opportunity for delegates to hear from expert speakers and engage with their peers about trends, innovative practices, policy and reform. Topics included: ‘Wide brown land: Australia’s mental health and disability landscape’; ‘Leaders by experience - a call to action’; ‘Creating the perfect storm: Leadership and the journey of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Australia’; ‘Self directed support in psychosocial disability and mental health’; and ‘Zero suicide in healthcare: from international declaration to local action’.

Open Minds is delighted to be a part of such an outcome- driven initiative, working together with our Australian and International peers toward shared goals and outcomes.


Download a PDF version of the Better Days Autumn Edition here