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Message from the Chair

22 Dec 2016

Welcome to our last update for 2016. Over the year our collaborative efforts with key stakeholders has seen mental health and suicide prevention gain national attention.

In December, we held a symposium and workshop to examine the 'Economics of Mental Health in Australia' which will help us provide an evidence-based framework for invest-to-save reform.

We're also on track to deliver a comprehensive 'Review of services available to veterans and members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in relation to prevention of self-harm and suicide'. The final report will be delivered to the government in February 2017.

Our Christmas and New Year wishes

On behalf of our staff and Commissioners, I would like to sincerely thank everyone who supported and provided advice to the Commission in 2016 - particularly people with lived experience and their families and other support people - and wish you all a peaceful and safe Christmas and New Year.

Professor Allan Fels AO
Chair, National Mental Health Commission

Australian Defence Force Review

Currently we are undertaking a comprehensive review of self-harm and suicide prevention services available to current and former ADF members.

Everyone was invited to have a say. We received 100 submissions and over 3000 responses were received to surveys conducted with current and former ADF members, families and service providers.

The review includes an extensive literature review of Australian and international evidence; key informant interviews, group discussions, geo-spatial mapping to show population health indicators and profile information relevant to suicide and self-harm and service classification and mapping.  

Our review is on track and we will present the government with a final report on 28 February 2017.

Update - The Economics of Mental Health in Australia

Since its inception, the National Mental Health Commission has sought to put mental health on the economic agenda.

The cost of mental ill-health in Australia is more than $60 billion each year - that's four per cent of GDP, or about $4000 for every tax payer.

In December, drawing on the expertise of Professor Martin Knapp from the London School of Economics, the Commission brought together a wide range of stakeholders to consider areas of economic interest.

There was a lot of stimulating discussion about this important topic and a large number of economic issues were identified for consideration in mental health policy. These included:

  • How greater social and economic participation by people with mental ill-health could help to improve both national productivity and wellbeing.
  • NDIS personal budgets and choice and control on the demand side, and the development of provider markets on the supply side.
  • Consideration of choice and competition in the design, development and commissioning of public sector, private sector and not-for-profit services.
  • Current considerations around health and welfare reform, using established actuarial methods to quantify and manage long-term risks through an investment approach.

Other topics discussed included the importance of evidence to support decision-making, challenges relating to measurement and reporting, and the need to invest in mental health promotion and prevention.

For more information, visit Economics of Mental Health in Australia.