National Disaster Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework
About the Framework
The National Mental Health Commission is leading the development of a national Framework to guide a coordinated approach in Australia to psychosocial and mental health issues in the context of national disasters. The Framework will aim to improve how governments work together to respond to and support people’s mental health before, during and after natural disasters.
The Framework will contain a vision, responsibilities, and outcome indicators to guide those working within the government, in first response agencies and the community. The focus is two-fold:
- Providing mental health services during and following disasters
- Rebuilding thriving communities to support good mental health and wellbeing
Why is the National Commission developing the Framework?
Droughts, cyclones, floods and bushfires are among many disasters Australia experiences. In 2020 the compounding impact of these was felt with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Australian Government is fine-tuning its capacity to assist in disaster situations. At the same time, disaster mental health and wellbeing impacts are becoming better understood.
Across Australia, a variety of organisations are working in this field; this Framework will help harmonise their efforts.
Who is the Commission working with to develop the Framework?
The Commission is working with individuals, communities and organisations in the development of the Framework including;
- People in areas affected by disasters
- Responsible government agencies (such as Emergency Management Australia, state and national bushfire, flood and drought agencies)
- Health agencies, Primary Health Networks, Local Health Districts
- Local government
- Non-government organisations such as Red Cross, Lifeline and Rotary
- Mental Health and disaster researchers and experts
- People with lived experience of mental health issues and people who care for them
Funding and Timeline
The Framework is funded from the Australian Government’s $76 Million Bushfire Mental Health Response Package provided for the 2019-2020 bushfires. However, its scope is preparation for, relief during and recovery from all national disasters.
The final framework will be delivered to the Australian Government by June 30 2021.
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