The strategies, policies and plans currently being implemented by the Australian Government to improve the mental health of Australians inlcude:
Fifth National Mental Health Plan
The Fifth National Mental Health Plan (Fifth Plan), being developed by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC) Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Principal Committee (MHDAPC), articulates nationally agreed priority areas and actions for the next five years to achieve an integrated mental health system.
The Fifth Plan will build on the foundation established by four previous National Mental Health Plans, existing state and territory mental health and suicide prevention plans, and national health and mental health reform efforts.
A national consultation process to support the development of the Fifth Plan commenced in November 2016. You can view the consultation draft of the Fifth Plan and VICSERV’s response here.
Blueprint for mental health services
On 26 November 2015, the Turnbull Government released its response to the Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services by the National Mental Health Commission.
The response, which is available here, outlined a framework for significant system-wide reform in mental health, aiming to put the individual needs of patients at the centre of the mental health system.
The mental health reform package includes:
- Primary Health Networks (PHNs) will plan and commission local mental health services, funded through a flexible primary mental health care funding pool
- A new easy to access digital mental health gateway
- Refocussing primary mental health care programmes and services to support a stepped model of care
- Joined up support for child mental health
- An integrated and equitable approach to youth mental health
- Integrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and social and emotional wellbeing services
- A renewed approach to suicide prevention
- Improving services and coordination of care for people with severe and complex mental illness
- National leadership in mental health reform through the Fifth National Mental Health Plan
The existing mental health programs will be incorporated under PHN management, including Access to Allied Professionals Scheme (ATAPS), Headspace, Mental Health in Rural and Remote Areas, Suicide Prevention, Early Psychosis and Mental Health Nurse Incentive Scheme (MHNIP).
To see when changes will be made, visit the Department of Health’s website here.
Mental Health Expert Reference Group
The Australian Government established a Mental Health Expert Reference Group (ERG) to provide advice to inform the response to the Review of mental health programmes and services.
Relevant documents and resources
- Mental Health: A Consensus For Action - Senate Select Committee on Health’s fourth interim report