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inBalance newsletter



inBalance newsletter

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Mental Health Association of Central Australia


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Date:2008-12; Dated: Jul.-Dec. 2008




Mental Health Services -- Australia, Central -- Periodicals; Aboriginal Australians -- Mental Health -- Periodicals

Publisher name

Mental Health Association of Central Australia

Place of publication

Alice Springs


no. 18

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39 18th Annual TheMHS Conference Kiaora!! (This means GDay in Maori lingo) AT THE beginning of September, four desert dwellers set off for the Land of the Long White Cloud (New Zealand), and the City of Sails (Auckland) which is home to about 1.4 million people. The purpose was to attend a conference The Mental Health Services (TheMS) Conference began in 1990 and is an annual event that moves around the major cities of Australia and New Zealand each year. People from all over the world are invited, and the primary purpose is to organise educational forums that bring together ALL people interested in the provision of Mental Health Services. This includes consumers, indigenous peoples, refugee/new immigrant groups, families, carers, clinicians, service managers, support workers, researchers, health promoters, primary health care workers, academics, and community agencies public and private. This year people came from as far as places like England and Hawaii to: u exchange ideas about the best ways to ensure high quality service u promote positive attitudes, leadership and advocacy u promote involvement and inclusion of ALL stakeholders u provide a forum for professional development u present current innovations, strategies and research u stimulate debate which will challenge the boundaries u award, recognise and encourage best practice Be the Change You Want The theme this year was Be The Change You WantWorkforce Ingenuity. Ghandi once said that people could start (or continue) a process of change by Being the change you want to see. At the opening of the conference we were presented with flower leis and then were welcomed (or called in) to the building by two Maori women in traditional language. We listened to passionate keynote speakers and attended workshops on a range of different topics. Each workshop lasted approximately an hour and a half and comprised of 20-minute presentations. The opening, closing and awards ceremonies were full of Maori tradition, beautiful singing and a bit of humour. There was such a positive buzz in the air. As a symbol of coming together and growing a carving was made by a local New Zealand artist, and the message stick which was sent by the traditional people of Townsville at the 2006 conference was presented to inspire continued healing. Our accommodation of two selfcontained apartments, was right in the centre of the city and only about 5 minutes walk from the conferencewhich was greatand we had a fab view of the Sky Tower from our windows. We were also right next to the Police Station, so we made sure we behaved ourselves! The food was great (never eaten so much steak in my life!), the people were friendly, the scenery was amazing and it is a trip that we will always look back on with great fondness. Next year the conference will be held in Perth, Western Australia and we highly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in mental health. We would like to say a HUGE THANKYOU to MHACA for giving us the opportunity to attend such an inspirational event. We learnt a lot, met some amazing people (some we wont forget in a while), opened our eyes to new possibilities and came away feeling that MHACA is headed in the right direction but there are still things that we could do better X Danielle Noble, Gwvynyth Cassiopeia-Roennfeldt and Glenise Alexander Gwvynyth, Danielle, Claudia & Glenise arriving in Auckland TheMHS Feature Auckland, New Zealand 2-5 September 2008

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