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National Disaster Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework 2021

2.2 Using the Framework

The National Disaster Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework is designed to provide succinct guidance and useful reference material to support recovery workers in the context of a disaster. This document (the Framework) is accompanied by three supporting documents that summarise the evidence base which, along with direct input from recovery organisations and experts, shaped the Framework.

These documents are:

  • Our Stories: Beyond the Disaster – the lived experience of people who were affected by the 2019 Queensland floods and the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires.
  • Informing the Framework: Supporting Evidence – contemporary research that informed the Framework
  • Priorities in Action: Examples from Experience – examples of good practice that demonstrate the Framework’s priorities in action.

Figure 1 The Framework Summary Overview

National Disaster Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework Overview

Implementation requires a joint and collaborative approach by all levels of government and communities. It is envisioned that:

  • • The Australian Government use the Framework in planning for and managing emergencies.
  • • State and territory governments integrate the Framework in their own policies and plans.
  • • Local governments and regional bodies such as Primary Health Networks and recovery committees adopt Framework elements into their own strategies.
  • • Community-based organisations, charities and the private sector use the Framework as guidance.

Over time, it is hoped the Framework will become a touchstone for governments and all recovery partners in preparing for and supporting mental health and wellbeing in the context of disasters. It is designed to be deployed, adapted, and built on by all.

The way services and supports are delivered is as important as the type of support delivered. Local planning and, where possible, delivery, tailored to local needs is critically important. For this reason, the Framework is not designed for standardised implementation but for all recovery partners to use to enhance their current arrangements. Its goal is greater consistency in what all Australians can expect in support of their mental health and wellbeing in the context of disasters, while recognising that how this is achieved will require collaborative, tailored solutions involving all levels of government, other recovery partners, and the community.

Aboriginal flag Torres Strait Islander flag

Acknowledgement of Country

The Commission acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands throughout Australia.
We pay our respects to their clans, and to the elders, past present and emerging, and acknowledge their continuing connection to land, sea and community.


The Commission is committed to embracing diversity and eliminating all forms of discrimination in the provision of health services. The Commission welcomes all people irrespective of ethnicity, lifestyle choice, faith, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lived Experience

We acknowledge the individual and collective contributions of those with a lived and living experience of mental ill-health and suicide, and those who love, have loved and care for them. Each person’s journey is unique and a valued contribution to Australia’s commitment to mental health suicide prevention systems reform.