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The consumer and carer perspective

Priority Area 3: Coordinating treatment and supports for people with severe and complex mental illness

The Fifth Plan states the following will be different for consumers and carers:

  • • If you have severe and complex mental illness, you will have access to the clinical and community services you require to live a more contributing life.

Access to the clinical and non-clinical community-based services required to live a contributing life has not yet been achieved for many consumers with severe and complex mental illness.


In 2020, 65% of consumers and carers indicated that they, or the person they care for, experienced a severe or complex mental illness as defined by the Fifth Plan (compared to 71% in 2019). Of these people, 71% of consumers and carers reported that they, or the person they care for had access to the clinical services they needed in the past 12 months, while only 39% had access to the non-clinical services they needed (compared to 70% and 44% respectively in 2019; Figure PA3).

Of the consumers who opted to provide additional information in this priority area, 26% said that the cost of services was a barrier to them receiving the services they need. Medication and specialised care such as psychologist and psychiatrist services were given as examples of care that was not affordable.

Of the carers who opted to provide additional information in this priority area, 20% indicated that in order to ensure the person they care for had access to the services they need to live a contributing life, they were required to source and coordinate the provision of services without support from the mental health system, or provide the service themselves. This suggests that gaps still exist in the mental health sector’s ability to provide coordinated treatment and supports for people with severe and complex mental illness.

Figure PA3: Access to required supports in the past 12 months, by type of support, 2019 and 2020

Sideways bar chart showing 2019 and 2020 data for the proportion of consumers and carers who said they or the person they care for had access to the non-clinical supports they needed in the past 12 months (44% in 2019, 39% in 2020), and access to the clinical supports they needed in they needed in the past 12 months (70% in 2019, 71% in 2020)