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ACMHN's 37th International Mental Health Nursing Conference
Swimming between the flags?


4-7 October 2011, Marriott Resort and Spa, Gold Coast


Ever wondered who decides where the flags should be positioned? Ever contemplated the safety of swimming just outside the flags? Ever decided to swim at the other end of the beach and ignore the flags altogether? Ever seen a rip swirling in close, creating havoc in seemingly safe waters?


The imagery of the beach speaks to so much of what we love about Australia. It also provides a rich metaphor for our role as mental health nurses. The theme of this conference,  "Mental Health Nurses:  Swimming between the flags?" gave participants an  opportunity to contemplate and discover how mental health nurses from around the world are interpreting and responding to changing conditions in education, practice, research and management.


Mental health nurses are increasingly pushing the boundaries of their traditional scope of practice. Regardless of your role or the context in which practice, you will be challenged to respond to changing conditions in line with a changing world. As lifesavers, sitting on the beach amidst the sandcastles and cricket matches, with the binoculars trained on choppy waters watching for trouble - how do you prepare yourself to respond to the shifting ‘flags’ in the broader field of mental health care? As a profession, how do we support people when rips and dumpers develop between the flags?


Keynote speakers

Dr Rufus May - Clinical Psychologist, Bradford District Care Trust's assertive outreach team and Honorary Research Fellow with the centre for community citizenship and mental health at University of Bradford


Sandy Jeffs - Has lived with schizophrenia and all its moods for over thirty years. She is a community educator who speaks to schools, universities and community groups and received an Australian Human Rights Commission commendation for her book Flying with Paper Wings


Debra Nizette – Mental Health Nursing Advisor, Office of the Chief Nursing Officer, Queensland Health.


Prof Dianne Wynaden - Mental Health Professor at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Curtin University of Technology


Ass/Prof Jane Burns - Executive Director, Co-operative Research Centre for Young People, Technology and Wellbeing - Orygen Youth Health Research Centre


Nick Bowles - Associate Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing at Institute of Technology, Tralee, Registered Mental Health Nurse, Academic, Clinician, Manager, Trainer and Researcher


Grant Blashki - Associate Professor at the Nossal Institute for Global Health




Click here to see the exciting program from 2011.



Mental Health Nurse of the Year

Mental Health Nurse of the Year

The Board of Directors of the ACMHN congratulates Jon Chesterson from Newcastle for winning the Mental Health Nurse of the Year Award for 2011. The award recognises Jon’s dedication to the rights and needs of people with mental illness. Jon is an experienced Mental Health Nurse who has shown commitment to professional leadership in several areas, most notably community service. He has also contributed significantly to the development of skilled MHNs.

Mental Health Nurse Achieve. Award

Mental Health Nurse Achieve. Award

The Board of Directors of the ACMHN also congratulates Timothy Wand for winning the ACMHN Mental Health Nurse Achievement Award, co-sponsored by Curtin University. Tim is a Nurse Practitioner at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Clinical Senior Lecturer with the Sydney Nursing School at the University of Sydney and was one of the first nurses in Australia to become a Nurse Practitioner.

Partnerships in Wellbeing

Partnerships in Wellbeing

The Women’s Wellbeing Group at St John of God Mental Health Service in Warrnambool were awarded the major Partnerships in Wellbeing Award for 2011, worth $6,000. The Women’s Wellbeing Group was developed in May 2011 with a goal of promoting social inclusion and encouraging a healthy lifestyle in women who have become socially isolated due to their mental illness.

Other Award Winners

Several other awards were presented at the Conference:


Research Award winners

Kim Foster, Andrea McCloughen & Cynthia Delgado

What is known about the physical health and wellbeing of emerging adults with mental illness?


Research Award runners-up

Matt Dilges

Integrating theoretical concepts to practice for intervening with systems and children impacted on by trauma


Etty Matalon & Ursula Perry

Quitting Cannabis 1-6


Stan Alchin Award winner

Margaret Sullivan

Drowning not waving! Identifying stress and trauma during pregnancy and the early years. Lifesavers in adult mental health settings


Stan Alchin Award runners-up

Derrith Harris

Working with people who kill


Shannon Asa

Learning to swim between your own flags: Assisting young people with a disability to make ethical judgements and develop healthy sexuality


Poster award winner

Briony Holdsworth

Northern Territory Mental Health Service restructure, the crisis and assessment triage team and adolescents



Click here to download a copy of Peter Santangelo's oration from the 2011 Conference.



Oration and cocktail party

Opening event

Annual Dinner

Closing ceremony


The Committee

Kim Ryan

Peta Marks

Christine Palmer

Ben McKinnon

Deb Nizette

Brenda Happell

Valerie Porter

Sue Wentworth

Russell Williamson

Helen Jones

Cecily Pollard

Shelley McGorum

Margaret McAllister

Lorna Moxham


Sponsors and Exhibitors
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