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National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan

The Commission welcomes the National Cabinet’s commitment to support and respond to the National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan.

Australians, including those in the mental health sector, have been agile in responding to the needs exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Improvements during the first two months include the rapid expansion of digital services and a seismic shift to telehealth delivery of mental health services, innovative community based models of care, more agile coordination between primary and acute care, expanded engagement with people with lived experience, and the recognition of the importance of social and associated needs such as housing for those who are homeless. Appropriate systemic and service gains should be retained, and the lessons learned must inform and underpin the ongoing response of Governments.

It is imperative that we use this disruptive period in our mental health services as the opportunity to address these challenges to respond to the current pandemic. In Australia’s federated model, this is only possible with the commitment and action of all Australian governments.