education forum

It has been a busy year. CMHL have facilitated seven diverse online forums for the workforce and seen 1,323 members of the workforce attending. Forums have been targeted at specific disciplines for example the Carer Lived Experience Workforce, EN, OT, Social Work and Psychology Forums or on a specific topic for example Older Adults and Physical Health forums. 

We have one more forum planned this year, the Victorian Mental Health Educator Forum, for anyone who provides education or workforce development in the public mental health sector. 


Carer Lived Experience Workforce Forum

"I personally enjoyed every aspect of the program that was so skilfully and thoughtfully put together. It was informative and contemporary to all that is happening for our workforce and additionally the singing, Zumba and laughter yoga were just fantastic experiences."  

The CLEW Forum held in Feb 2021 had the privilege of being the first of the virtual forums hosted by CMHL in 2021. Across two days 67 Family/carer lived experience workers across Victoria came together in the online space to participate in the CLEW Forum.

We reconnected, learnt about new initiatives in the family/carer lived experience workspace, unwind with a little wellbeing and self-care and generally enjoy being engaged with each other and being inspired by work being done across our discipline and workforce settings.

The program’s mix of sessions on key workforce projects such as the Family/Carer Perspective Supervision Project, along with important feedback sessions from Mental Health Reform Victoria and Tandem were very well received. There were sessions on workforce, training and education such as the NWAMH Lived Experience Engagement Framework and Peter McKenzie presented on the long awaited Single Session in Peer Work training. There were sessions “from the coal face” on practice support in both individual and systemic advocacy and plenty of discussion spaces in the breaks.

Finally, the wellbeing sessions and “break activities” were just the right mix of energy, relaxation and fun - with SingGym- “Finding Your Voice”, Laughter Yoga, Zumba and Chair yoga all being well received.


Jan Holt, Carer Consultant, Alfred Health and Laughterologist, facilitating the Laughter Yoga


The theme for the 2021 Victorian Mental Health Enrolled Nurse Forum was: Reflect, Empower, and Reform. 

ENs from across the state came together to celebrate their workforce and connect with each other. The event showcased presentations from ENs working in different areas of the mental health sector. Michelle Castro, an EN Educator from NWMH, discussed her role as an EN leader. Natasha Verspeek shared her diverse range of experiences that led to her EN career. And the cutest presentation was from Sue Bennet, Pam McIntosh, and Julie Duffy of Grutzner House who shared their resident chooks with attendees while presenting on their implementation of Safewards. In addition to EN presentations, Reece Jones provided a peer worker perspective and Jacara Egan presented on cultural safety. Nursing and Midwifery Health Program and Safer Care Victoria on clinical supervision and wellness support available to nurses.   

The wellness stream provided attendees with replenishment and connections via sensory modulation for worker wellbeing, ANMF and HACSU connections, and even Delta Therapy Dogs!  We celebrated the day with a special performance from young rapper Lily Kato! 

Enrolled Nurse Forum - Reflect, Empower, and Reform

nurse forum2

source: Delta Dogs Instagram


The CMHL held its first statewide Older Adult Mental Health Forum on 23 September 2021.

145 people from a broad range of services across the state attended the virtual event both live and on-demand. The theme ‘Everyone is Valued, Everyone is Needed’ reflected both the broad scope of the day and the efforts to make the day nourishing, educative and inspiring. The day had over 29 presenters including academics and advocates, clinicians from the medical, nursing, allied health, and lived experience workforces, researchers and well-being gurus. There was something for everyone, with 23 sessions across two streams with a focus on improving how we support others, each other, and ourselves. Topics included innovations, diversity, models of care, developing your practice and quality of life. This was a day for and by the Older Adult Mental Health workforce and a celebration of the value each of us brings.  

Older Adult Mental Health Forum - Everyone is Valued, Everyone is Needed


Focus on Physical Health Day

On the 31st August CMHL held a Focus on Physical Health Day. We had 88 people register and 73 people attend on the day. The content of the day included:

  • An update on the Equally Well in Victoria - Physical Health Framework (Anna Love)
  • Physical and mental health care through the lens of a consumer, a carer and a clinician (Henrique Van-Dunem, Ali Noura and Karen Hewitt all from CMHL)
  • Sexual Health (Chris Quinn, Forensicare)
  • Diabetes and metabolic monitoring (Lin Chen from Austin and Viviana Moutzouris from Mercy Mental Health)
  • Motivational interviewing and physical health (Jeff Weitzel, CMHL)
  • Cardiovascular and related mortality inequalities (Teresa Kelly, CMHN)
  • Physical health and psychotropic medications (Viandro Borja, PDAS)
  • Panel discussion

The day received positive feedback and people stayed for the full day. Henrique set the tone for the day talking about the consumer's priorities in health care and the need to understand what that means.

"I was very impressed about the organisation and effectiveness of this via zoom for such a large group, it was my first experience of this and I would gladly join this type of workshop again."  


Occupational Therapy Education Day- Sensory Modulation Forum

“Thank you SO much for organising this. I am so excited to be where I am in my OT career with supports like this.”  

The first Victorian Public Mental Health Occupational Therapy Education Day - Sensory Modulation Forum, virtually on Wednesday 6th October 2021. 300 registrations came from the 545 Occupational Therapists working in Victorian Public Mental Health. 95% attended on the day.

The Education Day explored collaborative approaches to sensory profile assessments and recovery planning. This was an valuable opportunity to connect, learn, share and innovate. With two international keynote speakers, Dr Tina Champagne and Professor Winnie Dunn, we were thrilled to have the biggest names in sensory modulation.  



Social Work Forum - Strengths, Opportunities, and New Directions

On Thursday 21st of October we held our first statewide Social Work Forum. With over 300 registrants and 242 social workers attending on the day. The day supported connection to self, our Social Work identity and our Social Work Colleague's across the state.

The theme for the 2021 Social Work Forum was strengths, opportunities and new directions and our working group really embraced this to develop and execute a deadly program for the day. The day started with a keynote from the Department of Health discussing the reforms and how these apply to social work, followed by a panel reflecting and critiquing the Royal Commission, an update from the Public Mental Health Social Work Leadership Network and Jacara Egan, Social Work Educator, laughter yoga, four innovation sessions that include; the HOPE program, working with perpetrators, co-production and co-design and Aboriginal social & emotional wellbeing, an update from HACSU, a consumer panel, You Can Ask That and we finished with the day with a mindfulness session. 

It was wonderful to hear about the innovative work of our social work peers and to have such a strong lived experience involvement throughout the day. 


Social Workers who attended were gifted these cookies as a thank you gift to enjoy on the day.

"The most relevant forum for Social Work and Mental Health that I have ever been to."


Psychology Forum - Power Threat Meaning Framework

"Fantastic presentation. A really useful set up of the day - theory based with experience and practice. The lived experience component was so useful to learn about alongside the model. I think it added a lot to understanding the ways our work/practice/services can actually harm people and the need for working in a different way."

Power Threat Meaning Framework - Lucy Johnstone - October 23, 2018

On the 11th November, 166 psychologists attended our Psychology Forum. Due to the online format we were lucky enough to secure an international speaker. Lucy Johnstone, one of the lead authors of the Power Threat Meaning Framework (PTMF).

The PTMF is a radical alternative to diagnostic models that is attracting international interest. It was funded by the Division of Clinical Psychology of the British Psychological Society. Lucy co-presented with Indigo Daya. Indigo brings a consumer/survivor perspective to the day.  There was also a presentation from Kristen Pringle on Trauma-Informed Yoga. 


Upcoming!! Educator Forum

Working in public mental health, many of us have to step up formally and often informally to guide, teach and educate or workforce. With a rapidly increasing workforce and more entry level positions there is now even more expectation for staff to be able to deliver training and education. Very few in the sector have formal teaching qualifications. The CMHL recognises this and wants to offer support to those staff; clinical and non-clinical from all disciplines, who support staff development. 

CMHL's final forum for the year will be a one day forum for anyone who provides education in the sector.  The program for the day includes:

Keynote speakers

  • Cath Roper (CMHN) - Public Mental Health Services and coproduction: Let's talk 
  • Shirley Jennings (Barwon) - Workforce Development

Other topics include:

  • Introduction to learning principles and theories- Greg Miller (NWMH)
  • How do we really take care of stories- Claire Harcla (Discovery College)
  • Learning objectives - Kylie Boucher (CMHL)
  • Writing a session plan - Jeff Weitzel (CMHL)
  • Getting the most out of roleplays - Brendan O'Hanlon (The Bouverie Centre)
  • Co-design - Deb Carlon and Beth Dunlop (CMHL)

Register Now


Forums in 2022

Next year CMHL will again deliver all forums online. The online experience has been a positive one and has allowed better access for regional services. At this stage we plan to have four forums, these include:

  • Carer Lived Experience Workforce
  • Women's Mental Health Forum
  • Social Work 
  • TBC

Coordinating seven forums in 2021 was a huge effort and we have decided to have fewer forums next year. Having said that there will still be opportunities for discipline specific training. 


Updated on 30/11/21 03:24 pm Share this page


Jo Stubbs

Learning & Practice Development Coordinator / Senior Lead

Jeffrey Weitzel

Learning & Practice Development Coordinator

Jasmine Routley

Events & Administration Officer

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