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Sector Called to Push Mental Health Reform


12 January 2016 at 4:10 pm
Staff Reporter
Australia's mental health system is in urgent need of reform and the Not for Profit sector must take the lead in initiating change, according to peak body Civil Society Australia.

Staff Reporter | 12 January 2016 at 4:10 pm


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Sector Called to Push Mental Health Reform
12 January 2016 at 4:10 pm

Australia's mental health system is in urgent need of reform and the Not for Profit sector must take the lead in initiating change, according to peak body Civil Society Australia.

“Despite reviews and enquiries since the Burdekin Report in 1993, the mental health service system has been unable to reform itself and the Commonwealth has been unable to make comprehensive reform a priority,” director of the organisation, Vern Hughes, said.

Hughes said that last year the Federal Government commissioned an enquiry to review inadequacies in the mental health system, including a lack of integrated care, gaps in service access and a lack of appropriate forms of supported accommodation.

The review also looked at data collection issues, violations of consumer rights in crisis and inpatient services, a lack of accountability in services and institutions, inadequate community-based supports and informal networks.

“The Federal Government announced in November 2015 its intention to move towards a person-centred whole-of-care approach to mental health based on localised decision-making,” Hughes said.

“Consumers, carers, supporters and services have heard statements of intent like this before, and can no longer wait for governments to come up with an agenda for systemic mental health reform.

“We have to take the initiative ourselves. We know what the components of reform are; what we need is a plan that combines these elements in person-centred formats, adjusts funding arrangements and accountabilities, and enlists the support of state and commonwealth governments.”

Hughes said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had opened the door to some new thinking and for new ideas to be put into the mix regarding mental health, and the sector should take the opportunity to engage.

Hughes called on the sector to take part in a national reform series asking for proposals to be submitted to break what he described as the “current reform stalemate”.



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