Message from Lucy Brogden - Chair of the National Mental Health Commission Advisory Board
The National Mental Health Commission Advisory Board is pleased to have contributed to the Commission’s work to respond to the challenges of 2020. In doing so, we have worked closely with our stakeholders, including consumers and carers, mental health organisations and peak bodies.
We have also welcomed Associate Professor Mathew Coleman as a new Commissioner. Mat brings a wealth of experience as a psychiatrist working in rural and regional Western Australia.
When considering the impact of the events of 2020 through the lens of the Commission’s Contributing Life Framework, we are reminded that its whole‐of‐person, whole‐of‐system, whole‐of‐life approach is necessary to ensure that our responses meet the needs of people. The year impacted us as individuals, and where we live, work and learn. We were conscious of the need to maintain close connections with family and friends. The Contributing Life Framework highlights the importance of each of us having something meaningful to do each day and to make a contribution to our communities, and this was particularly relevant in 2020.
We were particularly pleased to see the mental health and suicide prevention sectors respond rapidly and collaboratively to redesign services and support each other. Together, we created many lasting achievements. The National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan has created a blueprint for future collaborative efforts. Public mental health messages have been crucial to support Australians’ mental health and wellbeing. The Commission collaborated with mental health organisations, experts and leaders across the country to develop and launch #InThisTogether and the subsequent #GettingThroughThisTogether campaigns.
The Advisory Board is proud of the achievements of the Commission this year. The Commission has progressed Vision 2030, a long-term blueprint envisaging what people would experience in a successful, connected and wellfunctioning mental health and suicide prevention system that meets the needs of the whole community. We are in the final stages of analysing and translating feedback from the public consultation on the National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy. As well, the National Workplace Initiative is progressing well under the guidance of the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance. This project initiated a quick response to mental health and wellbeing impacts in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic, through the development and promotion of evidence-based Mentally Healthy Workplaces during COVID-19 guides, which provided ‘fit for purpose’ information for large and small organisations, as well as sole traders.
Further achievements this year include progress on actions under the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan; holding a collaborative workshop to shape the National Mental Health Research Strategy; progress with consultation and development of, the National Lived Experience (Peer) Workforce Development Guidelines; progress on the Mental Health Safety and Quality Engagement Guide and consultation with consumers and carers through our online 2020 survey on their experiences of the mental health and suicide prevention system.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the organisations, individuals, consumers and carers who have connected with the Commission in its work this year. We appreciate in these challenging times that time itself is precious. The impacts of 2020 are still being felt. By working together, we maintain the collaborative approach and partnerships that are critical to progressing the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians.
Chair of the National Mental Health Commission Advisory Board