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System reforms for mental health central to the Productivity Commission’s interim report

31 Oct 2019

The National Mental Health Commission (NMHC) welcomes the release of the Productivity Commission’s interim report on Mental Health.

Since its establishment, the NMHC has sought to put mental health on the economic agenda. The 2014 National Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services and The economic case for investing in mental health prevention, identified a need for an independent economic review into mental health system reform. The NMHC believed the Productivity Commission was the appropriate body to conduct an economic review of this magnitude and importance, and has consistently advocated for an inquiry to occur.

The NMHC acknowledges the comprehensiveness of the inquiry, the substantive nature of the Productivity Commission’s recommendations, and the focus on ensuring the reforms are sustainable.

Broadly, the priority areas for mental health reform in the Productivity Commission’s interim report are consistent with recommendations in the NMHC National Report 2019  and enhance the NMHC Contributing Life approach by:

  • ensuring prevention and early intervention services are improved
  • enhancing the mental health system across the stepped care approach
  • enhancing the peer workforce role
  • improving consumer experience and carer inclusivity and support
  • investing in services beyond health, including employment, housing and justice, in support of improved mental health and wellbeing
  • improving access to services and care coordination through funding changes
  • improving accountability through stronger governance and evaluation.

The Productivity Commission’s interim report makes a number of recommendations specifically for the National Mental Health Commission. The NMHC acknowledges these recommendations which recognise our current efforts in driving system improvements and monitoring and reporting on mental health reform.

Specific recommendations support the NMHC in having an ongoing role in the future monitoring and evaluation of the mental health system. The NMHC is considering the recommendations and will make a submission to the Productivity Commission during their further consultation period.

Mental Health has an economic, social, and individual impact and everybody has a role in improving the mental health system. The NMHC encourages Australians to visit the Productivity Commission’s website to learn more about the recommendations in the interim report, in particular the requests for additional information, and contribute to the conversation during the consultation period which closes 23 January 2020.