The National Mental Health Commission is pleased to see the release of the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 by Rural Health Minister Nash.
In Contributing Lives, Thriving Communities – its national review of mental health programmes and services – The Commission called for building further capacity in social and emotional wellbeing teams within Aboriginal community controlled health services. In doing so, it recommended this plan be implemented together with a dedicated Indigenous mental health plan based on the renewed National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing. “This is one step closer to implementing systemic changes needed to close mental health and suicide gaps,” said Commission CEO David Butt.
The Implementation Plan is a 10 year plan outlining the actions to be taken by the Australian Government in collaboration with the Aboriginal community controlled health sector and other key stakeholders. It is a framework to deliver the overarching vision of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023.
Health outcomes and progress will be measured against 20 specific goals, with the Implementation Plan also addressing the changes required to improve the health system to make it more compressive, culturally safe and effective for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The plan emphasises early intervention and prevention, improving the patient journey throughout the health system, as well as supporting local and regional responses to identified needs – all key principles underpinning the Review’s recommendations.
At this time, there are a number of critical indicators for which measures are not currently available, including in mental health. However, a data development plan will establish new measures to be developed and implemented during the lifetime of this Implementation Plan (with monitoring to be included in future Implementation Plans).
A total investment over four years of $3.3 billion by the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme will support the continued delivery of services, particularly through Aboriginal community controlled health services.
The Implementation Plan and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 were developed in close partnership with the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Leadership Forum and reflect the priorities that will improve the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians.