A Decade of Reform Needed to Fix Mental Health
26 June 2014 at 10:38 am
Only a sustained and committed decade of reform can fix Australia’s fundamentally broken mental health system, a Not for Profit submission to a review of Australia’s mental health services has been told.
NPF peak body, the Mental Health Council of Australia (MHCA), has called for a decade of systemic reform of Australia’s mental health system in its third submission to the National Mental Health Commission’s Review of Mental Health Services and Programs.
“For too long Australia has had a substandard mental health ‘system’. Services and systems are poorly integrated, overseen by different parts of government, based on widely differing organising principles, and not working towards a common goal for improved outcomes,” MHCA CEO Frank Quinlan said.
“To date, we have lacked a true vision for a better mental health system and an achievable path to meaningful reform. Without this vision improvements in outcomes will inevitably be piecemeal and fortuitous rather than far-reaching and deliberate.”
The submission makes a number of recommendations it says are needed to create a high-performing mental health system:
- Government endorsement and commitment to a common set of whole-of-life targets for improved consumer and carer outcomes;
- Priority given to mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention;
- Matching consumer and carer needs with the right assistance;
- Seamless integration and coordination of policies, services and programs (both within the health system and across systems such as employment, housing and education);
- Building systems that support recovery;
- The Commonwealth provide national leadership and hold responsibility for areas of mental health in which national consistency is critical.
“Only through the careful consideration and execution of the measures submitted by the MHCA to the Review can we hope to lay the structural foundations for reform and begin to drastically improve outcomes for consumers and carers,” Quinlan said.
The MHCA is the peak non-government body representing the mental health sector in Australia. A copy of the submission can be found here.