Minds Matter Conference

3 – 5 April, 2014

Aanuka Resort, Coffs Harbour, NSW

The Mind Matters Conference was an outcome of the Australian Government's Collaborative Research Networks (CRN) program, administered through the Dept of Education focussing on Mental Health and Well-being in Rural and Regional Communities.

Read the conference rapporteur reports.

Network partners: La Trobe University, University of New England, University of New South Wales, University of Newcastle, University of Sydney, Hunter New England Health

Media Release 29 April 2014

Conference outcomes

  • 15 Institutions participated with 85 participants across 3 themes.
  • Participants included consumers, academics, health professionals and activists.
  • Greater understanding of the current gaps in our knowledge around mental health and well-being in rural areas and worked on approaches that are both community based, contextually appropriate and multi-disciplinary.
  • Reconfirmed that expression of sexuality in society and mental well-being are linked.
  • Recommitted ourselves to cross-institutional future cross-collaboration.
  • Addressed how resilience can be enhanced amongst populations that are recognised to be most vulnerable in rural communities.
  • Participants are now working on publications that will capture findings.
  • Major identified issues are associated with access to support and health services.

Guest speakers

  • Dinner speaker – Dr Norman Swan
  • Assoc. Prof. Jane Burns – CEO Young and Well CRC
  • Dr Tom Calma AO – Chancellor, University of Canberra; National Coordinator Tackling Indigenous Smoking
  • Prof. Matthew Janicki – Department of Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Ms Janet Meagher AM – former secretary of the World Federation for Mental Health
  • Prof. David Plummer – Health Practitioner Research, James Cook University; Adjunct Professor in Health Promotion at University of Texas, Houston
  • Prof. Perminder Sachdev – Neuropsychiatry, University of New South Wales; Clinical Director, Neuropsychiatric Institute, The Prince of Wales Hospitals
  • Prof. Anthony Shakeshaft – National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW Medicine.

Quotes from evaluations

  • "Well organised and friendly conference staff. Great networking."
  • "Ability to share innovative and cross-disciplinary ideas in a relaxed environment—rarely found in Conferences."
  • "Appreciated the chance as a consumer to network with researchers and visa versa."
  • "Streamed sessions were well categorised."
  • "Good range of research."
  • "... (it's) been an informative, interesting and well-run conference."
  • "Fantastic networking opportunities."
  • "Venue excellent. Beautiful location and great service."
  • "Well organised. Good effort to get organised beforehand. Smooth running throughout the Conference."
  • "Remarkable experience. My theme was full of kindred spirits, sharing the same interests and challenges."
  • "So good to be with people who immediately understood what my research was about."
  • "Overall very high quality of papers. Conference was well organised and ran smoothly."