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Raising Our Voices Bridging the Divide to Culturally Appropriate Mental Health Care ACT Multicultural Mental Health & Well-being Conference 2014

Friday, November 7, 2014
Pilgrim House, Conference Centre, 69 Northbourne Avenue, Canberra City
8.30am – 5pm

Welcome Event

Thursday 6 November 2014 at the Riley Hall, Pilgrim House Conference Centre from 6 – 7.30pm (Cost included in the conference registration).

Register now on Eventbrite

About Raising Our Voices – ROV

The one-day conference is the first multicultural mental health and wellbeing conference to be held in the ACT and the inaugural conference for the ACT Multicultural Mental Health Network (ACTMMHN).  The conference offers an exciting opportunity for multicultural mental health consumers and carers, multicultural and migrant communities, bi-lingual, community and mental health professionals to join together in raising their voices about a range of issues that affect health, mental health and well-being.

The conference aims to:

  • Create a space in which people of multicultural backgrounds can feel safe to talk about issues that impact them when accessing mental health services;
  • Break down the barriers that prevent access to services for people of diverse cultural background through providing information and awareness and sharing stories of lived experience;
  • Build capacity and increase knowledge within culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD), multicultural, migrant and refugee communities around mental illness and well-being; and,
  • To raise awareness within mainstream community and government, health and mental health services of needs of people of CaLD, migrant and refugee backgrounds from the ACT and surrounding regions

The conference is brought to you by the ACT Multicultural Mental Health Network in partnership with MI Fellowship ACT and Carers ACT, and is supported by a conference funding grant from Mental Health Australia.

ROV Conference Planning Group:

The ROV Conference Planning Group is comprised of dedicated members who are volunteers from the ACTMMHN Network, mental health consumers and carers, and representatives of community health and mental health organisations in the ACT.  Members include:

Gavin Bussenschutt - MI Fellowship ACT

Ãine Tierney - Group Convener and Chair, ACTMMHN

Roberto Corrielli - MI Fellowship ACT

Juan De La Torres - Canberra Multicultural Community Forum (CMCF)

Yelin Hung - Health Care Consumers Association (HCCA)

Nasreen Hafesjee - ACT Mental Health Consumer Network (ACTMHCN)

Anndey Ho - Carers ACT

Sonia Di Mezza - ADACAS

Kat Bhathena - Mental Health Community Coalition ACT (MHCCACT)

Sally Bradford - PhD Clinical Psychology Student, University of Canberra

Conference Themes

Conference themes include advocacy, migration, language needs, disability and mental health, youth and refugees, aged care, domestic and family violence, gender-specific issues, arts and well-being, suicide prevention, recovery perspectives, the ‘lived experience’ and participation.

Conference presentations will focus on key subject areas relevant to the health and well-being of ACT multicultural, migrant and refugee communities and the priorities of national multicultural mental health policy, strategies and frameworks. 

Announcing the Confirmed ROV 2014 Keynote Speakers and Presenters

We are pleased to announce the following speakers who will be participating at the 2014 ROV Conference.


Rita Prasad-Ildes Diverse voices – where are they? Lessons from the field
Emiliano Zucchi Diversity in the Health Context: Bridging the Divide to Culturally Appropriate Care
Associate Professor Jeffrey Looi Reforming Mental Health Care for Older Australians: what, where and when
Dr Tony Schumacher Jones Person Centred Care – Hearing the Voice of the Person

Morning Plenary Session

Rita Prasad-Ildes Diverse voices – where are they? Lessons from the field
Emiliano Zucchi Diversity in the Health Context: Bridging the Divide to Culturally Appropriate Care

Morning Panel Q&A - Perspectives from National and Local Health, Mental Health and Community Leaders

How Do We Bridge the Divide to Culturally Appropriate Mental Health Care?

Rita Prasad-Ildes Keynote
Emiliano Zucchi Keynote
Frank Quinlan CEO MHA
Hamza Vayani National Project Manager MHiMA
Diana Abdul-Rahman Chair CMCF

National and ACT Mental Health Consumer and Carer Presenters

Conference Session - Perspectives from the Lived Experience

Evan Bichara Healing Starts with All of Us - The Community
Angela Rao Cultural Change for a Better Mental Health
Mariana Oppermann Raising my accented voice; five lessons learnt the hard way
Lehoa Lam tba

Afternoon Plenary Session - Aged Care, Mental Health & Well-being

This afternoon plenary is a highlight of the ROV conference with keynotes Associate Professor Jeffrey Looi, Dr Tony Schumacher Jones and Sylvie Stern presenting.  This session will feature individual presentations, followed by a speakers panel and Q&A with conference delegates.

Associate Professor Jeffrey Looi Reforming Mental Health Care for Older Australians: what, where and when
Dr Tony Schumacher Jones Person Centred Care – Hearing the Voice of the Person
Sylvie Stern Carer’s perspective of being a carer for a multicultural mum who lived with dementia in mostly a white Australian system

Community and Guest Presenters

Conference Stream - Advocacy, Support and Culturally Appropriate Models of Care

This afternoon session will feature presenters Anndey Ho and Donna Maritz, Yonas Mihtsuntu, Ivette Gonzales, Dr Pegah Ghassemi and Hamza Vayani.

Anndey Ho, Donna Maritz Breaking Down Their Barriers
Ivette Gonzalez Advocacy and Support – Culturally Appropriate Models of Support
Dr Pegah Ghasemi Iranian mental health cultural profile
Yonas Mihtsunutu Reaching ‘Hidden’ Carers through Integrated and Collaborative Service Delivery Model
Hamza Vayani Towards Culturally Inclusive Service Delivery - The Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia

Conference Stream: Real Stories – Migration, Integration and Belonging

This afternoon session will feature presenters Danilo Sidari and Deborah Nelson.

Danilo Sidari The Schizophrenia of Migration
Deborah Nelson Addressing the personal and the socio-political: Trauma therapy with young refugees arriving by boat

Conference Stream: Sexual Assault & Gender-Based Violence – Overcoming the Barriers to Help-Seeking

This afternoon session will feature presenter Chrystina Standford.

Chrystina Standford Trauma and Mental Health

Conference Stream: Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Participation in Services

This afternoon session will feature presenter Sue Farnam.

Sue Farnam Accepting the responsibility of making mental health services appropriate for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds: A story of how this was done from Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria

Special Guest Presenters

Frank Quinlan CEO Mental Health Australia (MHA)
Joy Burch MLA Minister for Multicultural Affairs
Aunty Jeanette Phillips Canberra Indigenous Elder
Diana Abdel-Rahman Chair, Canberra Multicultural Community Forum
Hamza Vayani National Project Manager MHiMA

Contact Us

We are happy to discuss any aspect of the conference so please do not hesitate to contact the ROV Planning Committee through our Contact Us or via email

Alternatively you may contact the Conference Convener Ãine on 0403 497 959, or Gavin via email or phone 0428 359 706. 

Registration and Costs

Early Bird $55 (no booking fee) Must Register by 15th October 2014

Community Sector

Any person employed or working in the community sector

$75 + booking fee


Persons/staff attending on behalf of corporate or government agencies

$175 + booking fee


For students and concession card holders

$25 (no booking fee)

Register now on Eventbrite

Accommodation and Transport


There are a range of accommodation options available for conference delegates.  For details please see attached information.

Download accommodation details


Interstate Travellers

Air Travel - Canberra Airport is located a short 20 minute taxi ride from the centre of Canberra and the conference venue.  There is also a range of accommodation available in Canberra.  

Bus Travel - The conference is also located within easy walking distance of the Jolimont Centre for interstate travellers who would like to travel with Greyhound or Murrays from interstate and Transborder bus providers from Queanbeyan and Yass.

ACT Travellers

The ACTION Bus Interchange in East Row, Mort Street Civic is within an easy 2 minute stroll for local travellers who wish to use the Action bus services for their travel to the conference.  Bus timetable information is available at or call 13 17 10 for information for ACT residents and 02 6207 7611 for those living outside of the ACT.

Bicycle Travellers

For those who prefer eco-friendly travel options the ACT has many bikeways and easy access to the city centre.  There is a bike rack where you can park your bike right outside the conference venue on Northbourne Avenue and other bike racks located nearby in the plaza and streets close to the conference venue.

If you require assistance or would like more information on travel and accommodation options please contact Sally at 

We hope you will join us by participating at our conference and helping us to Raise Our Voices around issues related to multicultural mental health care and well-being.