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The consumer and carer perspective

Priority Area 5: Improving the physical health of people living with mental illness and reducing early mortality

The Fifth Plan states the following will be different for consumers and carers:

  • • Consumers’ physical healthcare needs will be discussed and addressed.
  • • There will be better coordination of services at the local level that will support consumers and carers to address their physical health needs and improve their quality of life.

The coordination of physical and mental health care continues to be limited.

Less than one-third (30% in 2020 and 29% in 2019) of respondents reported they or the person they care for ‘usually’ or ‘always’ experienced their mental health care provider discussing their physical health, while around a quarter of respondents (23% in 2020 and 25% in 2019) reported that this ‘rarely’ occurred (Figure PA5).

Less than half of all respondents (42% in 2020 and 38% in 2019) were aware of any arrangements between services to ensure both mental and physical health needs were addressed for consumers. Of the carers who opted to provide additional information in this priority area, 20% indicated that there was little or no coordination or integration of physical and mental health care services in their area.

Figure PA5: Frequency of experiencing mental health care providers discussing physical health in the past 12 months, 2019 and 2020

Bar chart showing 2019 and 2020 data for the proportion of consumers and carers who experienced mental health care providers discussing physical health ‘never’, ‘rarely’, ‘sometimes’, ‘usually’ or ‘always’ in the past 12 months. In 2019 13% of consumers and carers responded ‘never’, 25% ‘rarely’, 32% ‘sometimes’, 18% ‘usually’, 11% ‘always’. In 2020, 13% of consumers and carers responded ‘never’, 23% ‘rarely’, 35% ‘sometimes’, 21% ‘usually’, 8% ‘always’

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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.