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The consumer and carer perspective

Message from the CEO

Australians with lived experience of mental health care are at the core of our work at the National Mental Health Commission (the Commission) and we are strongly committed to ensuring all Australians can live contributing lives within thriving communities. We acknowledge that 2020 was a challenging year for the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians, especially those with lived experience as we endured the ongoing effects of natural disasters and the pandemic.

We are proud to continue our work of monitoring the progress of the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan (Fifth Plan) for the second year and I am pleased to present the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, 2020: The consumer and carer perspective (2020 Consumer and Carer Report). The 2020 Consumer and Carer Report builds on the baseline data provided in the 2019 Consumer and Carer Report by prioritising the experiences, and measuring the changing perspectives, of consumers and carers accessing mental health care.

We acknowledge that continued genuine engagement and collaboration with people with lived experience, their families and their support people is essential in achieving transformational person-centric change. This direct knowledge results in better targeted initiatives, more responsive services and positive experiences for users and providers.

In March 2020, the Commission conducted a consumer and carer survey to better understand the experiences of mental health care in Australia and to determine whether the implementation of the Fifth Plan has affected those experiences. The results of the survey form the basis of this report and identify a number of key issues raised by those with lived experience of our mental health system.

These issues require a strong policy commitment to partnering with consumers and carers in monitoring and reviewing system and service performance. I urge stakeholders implementing the Fifth Plan to use this report to consider the impact of changes and efforts on the individuals engaging with the mental health system.

We are grateful to everyone who contributed to this important work and participated in the survey. The ongoing engagement of consumers and carers who share their personal experiences of services is critical to the success of mental health and suicide prevention reform in Australia. These contributions are key for all of us as we continue to work towards sustainable reform of the system, so that all Australians can achieve the best possible mental health and wellbeing, and thrive.

Now, more than ever, it is important for us to prioritise our mental health, and for carers to take time out to look after their own wellbeing.

Christine Morgan

Christine Morgan

Christine Morgan
Chief Executive Officer
National Mental Health Commission