Centre for Mental Health Learning VICTORIA

Centre for Mental Health Learning -
Director's Message

I’d like to start by saying a sincere and heartfelt thank you to every person that works in, supports, and contributes to, the mental health workforce in Victoria. No one foresaw where 2020 would take us, the challenging and also inspiring moments of our 2020 journey from March through to December this year.

The CMHL began this year with 5.4eft (seven staff), and now has 18.5eft and 20 staff (with two more to come by the end of January 2021). This has all been facilitated remotely, and to be honest, although we planned well, we really didn’t know how this would go. If I could pick one thing that surprised me (but in other ways didn’t surprise), was the way that our new team members, and indeed all of the mental health workforce, rallied early and fully to embrace this new way of working that was foisted upon us at great speed and urgency. Our new language now includes common phrases like ‘you’re on mute!’, ‘my camera is off because my internet is so slow today!’, and ‘can you hear me’, can you see me’, as people peer at screens trying to work out if they are doing things right!!! Yes, it’s a new world!

So much amazing work has been done in 2020, although there have been some really difficult times, there are also many positives in terms of what we can learn from this year as we move into, hopefully, a more gentle 2021. We saw the completed transition of the previous training Clusters’ functions to CMHL on the first April, and we’ve established our ongoing governance structures, including the soon to be announced ‘Live, Learn, Lead Collective' (our new lived experience workforce [LEW] advisory structures). We have also worked closely with our sector partners to listen, learn, and respond to the many and varied requests from the sector, this has also included facilitating the generous sharing of online resources between services. We now have our own learning management system (LMS), and are working on the development of new eLearning modules for next year. Recently, we also launched the long awaited Lived Experience Perspective Workforce Supervision Database, a complementary component of a DHHS funded ‘Access to LEW supervision’ project.

We have also been funded by Mental Health Reform Victoria to conduct two very important LEW projects that respond directly to the interim report recommendations from the Royal Commission into Mental health Services in Victoria; and I have no doubt that we all await with anticipation the Commission’s final report in February 2021. This report will play a pivotal role in what, and how, we all go about our work in 2021 and beyond.

It is with all of this in mind (and so much more that we have had the privilege to be a part of during this year), that I say, on behalf of the CMHL team, we are proud to work in mental health, we are thankful for all of your support, commitment, willingness to act, and flexibility to adapt, that has generated so much good work this year, the foundations of which we will carry with us as we move into the new year.

I wish you all a very restful and enjoyable festive season, we look forward to working with you in 2021.
Dr Rosemary Charleston

Centre for Mental Health Learning

Our vision is to be the centrepiece for mental health learning in Victoria; leading and driving innovation that strengthens and sustains a flexible, curious, knowledgeable and recovery-focused workforce.

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