Every year as part of Schizophrenia Awareness Week we invite speakers from around the world to share their knowledge and experience of tackling some of the key issues around mental illness, such as housing, policing, employment, stigma, social inclusion and treatment.
Our previous visiting mental health experts have contributed to the debate in Australia and influenced government policy on mental illness. Read about them and what they have to say.
|2009||Dr David Morris|
|2008||Mr Philip Mangano|
|2007||Various speakers by state|
|2006||Major Sam Cochran|
|2005||Professor Gary Bond|
|2004||Dr Xavier Amador
For the past five years, Dr Morris has been leading a quiet revolution in the UK, transforming the way they think about social inclusion and implementing no less than 27 changes to the way different levels of government work with people with a mental illness.
In his address, Dr Morris talked about how to work with governments of all levels, from local council to the Federal Parliament, to get them to put policies in place that allow people with a mental illness to access all avenues of life equally, from housing to employment to education - and beyond.
MIFA's guest for Schizophrenia Awareness Wekk 2008 was Mr Philip Mangano, Executive Director of of United States Interagency Council on Homelessness and one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People 2006.
During his tour, Mr Mangano visited NSW, Western Australia, South Australia and the ACT and met with a huge range of groups to talk about issues surrounding people with a mental illness and housing - which our Australians Talk Mental Illness survey revealed in 2007 as the most critical issue facing people with a mental illness.
Mr Mangano is in charge of rolling out the Housing First initiative across the United States, which promises a revolutionary look at housing for people with a mental illness.
As opposed to our current model where housing is held as a goal that people with a mental illness must work their way towards, Housing First says that people with a mental illness should be given a home as the very first step and then provided with the services that will enable them to stay in it.
In the US, this model has proven extremely effective and has the added benefit of costing less money than the current model does.
Wile in Australia, Mr Mangano met with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Federal Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson as well as Federal Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek. He was also in attendance at the Adelaide launch of the Federal Government's green paper on homesless.
Major Sam Cochran concluded a busy and most successful tour in May. Major Cochran met and spoke with senior members of Australia's state police force and the judiciary as well as presenting to the public in 6 states. Interest in the Crisis Intervention Team introduced to the Memphis Police Force by him in 1989 was evident. The Memphis model developed as first response to crises involving people with a mental illness.
Follow up visits to view the Memphis CIT program first hand have been arranged with personnel from a number of state police forces. Interest in improving Australia's police interactions with people with a mental illness was high. Despite a busy schedule Major Cochran did media interviews in each city visited, engaging significant interest from the public.
In each and every presentation Major Cochran stressed the need for a partnership approach to do this well. The key partnership groups he identified are the police, mental health services and the families. In the United States Major Cochran works closely with NAMI - the country's largest membership organisation for people affected by mental illness.
The Visiting Speaker for Schizophrenia Awareness Week in May 16 – 21 2005 was Professor Gary Bond.
At the time of his visit, Professor Bond was Chancellor’s Professor of Psychology at Indiana University, Purdue University, Indianapolis. His research has been devoted to identifying evidence-based practices in the treatment of people with severe and persistent mental illness, with a primary focus on individual placement and support in employment and communitytreatment.
Professor Bond came to Australia with a aprticular emphasis on workplace participation for people with a mental illness.
Professor Gary Bond visited Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra Sydney and Newcastle during his visit. As well as presenting to forums in those locations, Professor Bond was invited to present to the Senate Inquiry on Mental Health at Parliament House, Canberra.
Professor Bond presented to the Inquiry with Dr Geoffrey Waghorn principal author of the background paper on Employment of People with a Mental Illness prepared for MIFA.
Dr Xavier Amador concluded a very successful tour during Schizophrenia Awareness Week in May 2004 and spoke in Melbourne, Canberra, Townsville, Sydney and Brisbane. As well as numerous radio interviews Xavier appeared on Channel 10's Good Morning Australia with Bert Newton and Channel 7's Sunrise Show.
A video of Xavier's presentation can be seen by arrangement at the office of members of MIFA.
To hear a recording of Dr Amador's presentation, click here.