Review of the Multicultural Mental Health Australia (MMHA) project

2. About the MMHA

Page last updated: November 2009

As identified in the previous chapter, MMHA is funded by the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) to provide a range of services in relation to the development and management of a comprehensive implementation plan for the Framework for Implementation of the National Mental Health Plan 2003-2008 in Multicultural Australia, addressing the Framework's priority areas for national action.

The contract to manage the MMHA project is held by the Sydney West Area Health Service. A secretariat has been established, (also referred to as the MMHA) whose reporting and organisational structure is depicted in figure 2.1.

According to information contained in the governance materials provided to the review team, the MMHA is based on a model of collaboration and partnership to address issues of transcultural mental health and suicide prevention, building strategic alliances and networks which focus on national mainstream programs, State and Territory Mental Health Services, state-wide specialist transcultural, refugee and torture and trauma services, consumers, carers and the community sector and the ethnic media.

The project represents an alliance of consumers, carers, the community, state-wide specialist services in multicultural mental health and suicide prevention, population and public health and the tertiary sector.

Underpinning this alliance are two key national governance structures which are embedded within the overall MMHA project namely the Consortium and the Joint Officers Group (JOG). The relationship between the MMHA, Consortium and JOG in terms of an organisation chart, reporting framework or lines of accountability is not represented diagrammatically in any of the available documentation.

It is worth noting at this point that the Consortium was disbanded in November 2008.

The Consortium's membership included:
Top of page
State-wide specialist service providers

This cohort represented service providers concerned specifically with advancing the mental health of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

  • NSW Transcultural Mental Health Centre (NSW TMHC)
  • Queensland Transcultural Mental Health Centre (QTMHC)
  • West Australian Transcultural Mental Health Centre (WA TMHC)
  • Victoria Transcultural Psychiatry Unit (VIC VTPU)
National Peak Consumer, carer, disability & community organisations and other national bodies

This cohort was concerned with the rights and well being of culturally and linguistically diverse individuals, their families carers and communities.
  • Australian Mental Health Consumer Network (AMHCN)
  • Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia (FECCA)
  • National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA)
  • Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention [Griffith University]
  • National Forum of Services for Survivors of Torture & Trauma (FASSTT).
The role of the Consortium as identified in the MMHA Consortium Governance 2006-2008 document was to "ensure equity and priority setting, to foster collaboration between members and to ensure equitable representation of the needs of all members. It provided the MMHA with the conduit to identify the needs of the CALD community in the area of mental health services and acted in an advisory capacity. The rationale for the disbanding of the Consortium is discussed further in chapter 4 and chapter 5.

In order to formalise MMHA's linkages with States and Territories it was agreed, in conjunction with DoHA, to create a Joint Officers Group consisting of State and Territory representatives and the Australian Government, to facilitate implementation of the Framework for Implementation of the National Mental Health Plan 2003-2008 in Multicultural Australia nation-wide.

The interdependencies between these respective groups and stakeholders and the overall impact upon the MMHA project are described in subsequent chapters.Top of page

Figure 2.1: Reporting structure for the MMHA

Refer to the following text for a text equivalent of figure 2.1. Reporting Structure for the MMHA

Text version of Figure 2.1

The figure shows the Director of Workforce SWAHAS at the top of the reporting structure.

Underneath the Director is the Network Director of Multicultural Health.

Underneath the Network Director is the National Program Manager of MMHA, who manages the following positions:
  • Administrative Officer - MMHA
  • Senior Project Officer - Communications, Information and Promotions
  • Project Officer - Consumers & Carers
  • Senior Project Officer - Policy and Community Capacity Building
  • Senior Project Officer - Workforce Development.