VPA Professional Development 2021




WEDNESDAY 22 SEPTEMBER 2021 @ 2.00 pm via ZOOM

In this interactive Workshop, Suzie Dean and Sarina Smale of Stewart Consultancies will discuss the main principles underpinning the Recommendations of the Royal Commission, the structure of the reforms and the process by which they are to be implemented. Rosemary Kelly will critically review the workforce implications of the Recommendations, and report on progress to date. Opportunities for Psychologist involvement in the reform process will be considered and discussed.

The workshop will run from 2.00 pm to 4.30 pm, with a Q&A session and open discussion scheduled at 4.00 pm.


Dr Suzie Dean is a Clinical Psychologist and Psychotherapist, and Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor in the Monash University Centre for Developmental Psychiatry and Psychology. Suzie has more than forty years’ experience in clinical service delivery, spanning public, non-government and community sectors. She established the Clinical Psychology program at Victoria University, and has been involved in many clinical research programs.

Sarina Smale is a Social Worker, with additional qualifications in Early Childhood Teaching and Economics (Industrial Relations). Sarina has over 15 years’ experience in Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Family Support and Child Protection, and Community Development and Social Work Education. She has engaged in service delivery and research across the public, community and private sectors, including program evaluation.

Dr Rosemary Kelly is the outgoing Secretary of the Victorian Psychologists Association Inc and is representing the VPA on the Mental Health and Wellbeing Workforce Technical Advisory Group.

Pre-reading and resources can be found on this page

We recommend that participants read the Workforce Fact Sheet and familiarise themselves with the other documents prior to the Workshop. Information about these resources is provided below.

Workshop Synopsis

The 65 Recommendations of the 2021 Final Report Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, together with the 9 Recommendations from the 2019 Interim Report, envisage expansion and reform of public mental health and wellbeing services across Victoria, embracing non-government services and whole of community involvement as well. The stated aim of the reforms is to enable all Victorians to more easily access beneficial mental health and wellbeing services, appropriate to their needs, within a stigma-reduced society.

Regional Boards will plan and oversee services shaped to their particular communities, people with lived experience of mental illness or psychological distress will take important roles in the system, multidisciplinary teamwork will be utilised, and the Department of Health will offer statewide services in specialist areas. All services are to be monitored and evaluated, and the whole system will be held to account by a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission.

To be implemented over 10 years, the reforms will require collaborative input from stakeholders. Psychologists have been recognised by Royal Commission as key players in service delivery, and the VPA is keen to talk with members about how to bring the discipline of psychology into the implementation process. As scientist-practitioners, psychologists offer a unique knowledge and conceptual base and skills, not only in the provision of mental health services to clients, but also in the conceptualisation of policy, the evaluation of programs and systems, and in research.

The strategic opportunities for the input of psychologists and psychology into the process and implementation of these significant reforms will be explored in this Workshop.

Resources available on this page

· Workforce Factsheet prepared by the Royal Commission – Fact-Sheet – Workforce

· Figure 1: Summary of Proposed Structures in the Reformed Victorian Mental Health and Wellbeing System (Stewart Consultancies) – Brief Summary VMHWS Structures

· Proposed Organisation of the Reformed Victorian Public Mental Health and Wellbeing System (Stewart Consultancies) – Organisational Charts Reformed MHW System

· A Strategic Analysis Of The Recommendations And Findings of the Royal Commission Into Victoria’s Mental Health System (RCVMHS) Re Implications for Psychologists and the VPA (prepared by Stewart Consultancies for VPA) – Strategic Analysis of RCVMHS Report-VPA Sept 2021

The Royal Commission’s Final Report and Factsheets can be viewed at https://finalreport.rcvmhs.vic.gov.au/

Additional Resources

Workforce implications of the Royal Commission – as presented by Dr Rosemary Kelly – RCVMH Workforce Sept 2021 Slides

Royal Commission – Recommendations, Reform and Opportunities for Psychology – as presented by Dr Suzie Dean and Sarina Smale