In brief

Mind welcomes our new CEO

Mind is delighted to announce the appointment of Gill Callister as the new Chief Executive Officer of Mind.

Gill brings a wealth of leadership experience to the role, following an exceptional career in the Victorian Public Service, most notably as Secretary of the Department of Education and Training (2015 - 2018) and Department of Human Services (2009 – 2014).

Gill began her career as a social worker and spent ten years working in child protection and family services in nongovernment organisations including OzChild.

Most recently, Gill was an Associate Dean at the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) and was a 2019 Victorian Public Service Medal recipient. Gill is also an Adjunct Professor (Practice) in Politics at Monash University and a member of the Monash University Council.

Gill has extensive experience in human services environments, managing large and complex service delivery systems that are client centric, strongly evidence based and deliver tangible outcomes.

"The Board considers Gill an excellent fit for Mind, to lead our staff and stakeholder communities in continuing to support our clients and build sustainable services to help more people gain better mental health and a better quality of life," Mind Board Director Melissa Field said.

Mind thanks Robyn Hunter who left Mind as CEO after two years of tireless leadership and she will be greatly missed.

Through a period of great change in the sector and the challenges brought on by COVID-19, Robyn's commitment to the clients, families and carers who make up the Mind community was unfaltering. Robyn worked hard to bring sector organisations together to advocate on shared issues. Her ability to raise the profile of what psychosocial rehabilitation and support is will be a lasting legacy of her time at Mind. We wish Robyn the best of success, health and happiness in her future endeavours.

We also thank our Director of Organisation Performance, Jeff Kagan, who served as Acting Chief Executive Officer in the interim. We have been delighted to have someone of his calibre within our team to be able to step into the role during the time between Robyn's departure and Gill's arrival.

Mind launches new tool to track recovery

This winter Mind is rolling out a new digital tool we have developed that will enable our residential clients to track their recovery progress with their support workers. Getting Better Together is an easy to use digital survey that clients complete at the beginning and completion of a period of care – or every six months in long-term residential support settings. By providing responses to a few key questions, clients will build periodic records over time of their mental health and wellbeing and their progress towards achieving their goals.

This will not only assist residents in following their progress and celebrating their achievements, the tool’s collective data will also provide Mind with the evidence base to identify where programs can be improved. The tool has been developed as a collaboration between Mind’s Research and Advocacy division and Mind’s Digital Transformation team.

Assessing the impact of COVID-19 on carers

The COVID-19 pandemic has created greater challenges for many of Australia's unpaid carers, a national survey has found. Conducted by the Caring Fairly campaign, which is coordinated by Mind, the survey drew on 471 responses.

Almost half of the carers surveyed reported having to take on more care responsibilities since the outbreak with 50 per cent now spending over 46 hours each week on care. Many carers also reported losing regular income due to the pandemic with a number of carers having to reduce or give up paid work due to their increasing care responsibilities, or because their employers no longer had work for them.

A large majority of carers (81%) said their mental health had deteriorated since COVID-19 and almost all carers (88%) said they were now experiencing more stress in the role as a carer.

These results are crucial for raising awareness on the impact of the outbreak on carers and will provide powerful evidence to support Caring Fairly's advocacy to government around carers' needs and rights during COVID-19 and beyond.

To read the summary survey results, learn more about or join the Caring Fairly campaign by clicking here.


New Mind funded PhD scholarship explores public health and disability

Mind is funding a PhD scholarship in partnership with the University of South Australia. Under the supervision of Professor Nicholas Procter, Dr Mark Loughhead and Dr Elise Davis, PhD candidate Heather McIntyre is exploring how emergency departments respond to consumers and carers with a psychosocial disability who are also receiving support through the NDIS. We welcome Heather on board and look forward to seeing her research progress.


Let the games continue!

When Mind peer educator Chris Blums began tailoring the fantasy game Dungeons and Dragons as a way to stimulate safe conversations about mental wellbeing with clients at the Mind Williamstown day centre, Amaroo, the Dungeons and Dragons Guild quickly became one of the most popular activities groups there.

When the centre had to temporarily close because of COVID-19 restrictions, Chris soon had the group up and running online with participants connecting from home via video and playing on a tabletop simulator. The group quickly became as active and popular as ever, playing Dungeons & Dragons and other video games together. Keeping the group together and staying connected has been more important than ever while the restrictions have been in place.