Chris Gibbs headshot
Chris Gibbs/Chief Executive Officer
2 mins read·September 22nd, 2021

In these unprecedented times where COVID-19 has managed to dominate our personal and professional lives in ways which we never imagined, it is important to reflect on what we dohow we do it, and why we do it.

Australia’s health workforce have been absorbing the ongoing pressure of COVID-19 in all parts of the system. As we approach nearly two years of living inside this new normal, it is vital that we take the opportunity to celebrate the commitment, hard work, dedication, and creativity that our colleagues across the country are demonstrating in the face of changing circumstances and the challenges this brings.

The value of community, peer support, and collaboration have never been more important – both in terms of the community of practitioners across our primary health and mental health care workforces, as well as our broader communities; our families, friends, and colleagues.

While MHPN’s overarching aim – to improve consumer outcomes by promoting interdisciplinary collaborative care across Australia’s mental health landscape – remains unchanged; both the ‘how’ and ‘through what means we continue to achieve this’, have evolved alongside the changing needs of practitioners.

Since 2009, our core purpose has been to provide a platform to promote interdisciplinary collaborative care to Australia’s general practice and mental health workforce through the provision of free, relevant, and accessible online professional development and networking activities.

Our programs have expanded beyond an initial focus on delivering in-person workshops; to a targeted establishment of the national networks program; facilitated through both in-person and online meetings; and an expanding online professional development program encompassing over a hundred webinars and three podcast series.

As of 2021, MHPN provides professional development and networking opportunities to practitioners through three discrete yet interrelated streams:

  • Interdisciplinary practitioner networks, both face-to-face and online
  • Professional development webinars, livestreams and recordings
  • Podcast program, available on our website and all major platforms

Find below the latest MHPN Statement of Purpose which updates, contextualises, and addresses the changing narrative about MHPN which was endorsed by our Board, as part of MHPN’s Strategic Directions for 2021 – 2023.

Statement of purpose

MHPN works to strengthen the existing primary health workforce to improve referral pathways and practitioner expertise through the promotion of interdisciplinary practice and collaborative care.

MHPN engages general practitioners, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses both mental health and general, social workers, occupational therapists, counsellors and a range of related health practitioners working in primary care, in public and private settings and in communities across Australia.

MHPN’s aim is to provide a platform to promote interdisciplinary professional development through three interrelated streams:

  • Interdisciplinary practitioner networks, both face-to-face and online
  • Core and partnership webinar programs (live streamed and free-to-access via our website)
  • Core and partnership podcast programs (free to access via our website and distributed on all major podcast platforms)

MHPN with its unique national workforce platform and focus on interdisciplinary practice is well positioned to play a role in the critical task of mental health workforce development.

MHPN activities purposely cross boundaries of discipline, mode of practice (private and public), location, and encourage the development of interdisciplinary collaboration.

Partnerships with key stakeholders are central to the effectiveness of MHPN in terms of engagement of practitioners and sourcing of expertise.

In addition to a general aim of promoting interdisciplinary practice, MHPN supports practitioners through active work in specific areas. These include:

  • practitioners working in regional, rural and remote communities
  • integrating mental and physical health
  • working to improve mental health care for older Australians
  • building awareness and more effective responses of practitioners to their emotional health
  • wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and with CALD communities
  • self-care for mental health practitioners

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The Mental Health Professionals’ Network (MHPN) respectfully acknowledges the Wurundjeri and the Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin nation, the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land on which our office is situated. We also acknowledge Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and pay our respects to their Elders past and present.