It continues to be a busy time here at the Commission, with the release of our second National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention coming up on 27 November and a number of other projects underway, including the Contributing Life Pilot Online Survey, National Seclusion and Restraint Project and the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance.
Last week, the Chair Prof Allan Fels welcomed the new role the Commission has been tasked with by the new Government, which is to undertake a national review of mental health services.
The new Australian Government has decided that the Commission will remain as an independent, standalone agency, separate to other Australian Government departments, reporting to the Minister for Health, the Hon Peter Dutton MP. In an official statement, the Chair reaffirmed our ongoing commitment to maintaining a whole of life and whole of government approach in our work to improve mental health and wellbeing and prevent suicide.
We look forward maintaining our independent role, because we believe it is critical to our ability to provide credible advice and reporting and to driving transparency and accountability.
Participation and Engagement Framework
We were delighted to launch our Participation and Engagement Framework at a meeting of the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum in Adelaide recently. This document is something we committed to developing very early on in the life of the Commission and sets out the principles and tangible processes, through which we make sure that we have real and meaningful engagement. The National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum played a critical role in developing and informing this Framework and we thank them for their expert advice and ongoing support.
We would also like to thank the many other organisations and individuals who provided feedback and guidance in the development of the Framework. We genuinely hope it will be a useful resource and encourage other organisations across all sectors, to commit more formally to meaningful engagement, particularly with people with lived experience of mental health difficulty, their families, friends and other support people.
Read the Framework (2MB | PDF).
Last month, the Commission met in Launceston, Tasmania on 22-23 August. It was the Commission’s first official visit to Tasmania and it was great to hear from members of the community firsthand.
The Launceston meeting was preceded by a day in Hobart on 21 August hosted by the Mental Health Council of Tasmania and representatives of the Tasmanian Government, to explore how mental health issues intersect with the justice system in Tasmania, through a range of service visits. This was a timely visit, as the justice system and mental health will be a focus area of the Commission’s second National Report Card.
The Commission would like to thank Darren Carr, CEO of the Mental Health Council of Tasmania and his staff and Board members, for their support in organising the Commission’s visit to Tasmania.
We also acknowledge the great contributions of Mr Paris Shacklock and Ms Lynette Pearce, who attended the Commission meeting to represent people with lived experience and families, as Commissioners Crowe and Meagher were overseas at the World Mental Health Congress of the World Federation for Mental Health.