The National Mental Health Commission has welcomed its new responsibility to monitor and report on the implementation of the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.
CEO of the Commission, Dr Peggy Brown said the responsibility given to them by the COAG Health Council aims to deliver better outcomes for people who need mental health support.
“The Commission supports the Fifth Plan’s eight key priority areas and will be keen to see progress in the implementation of actions under each area delivering results as soon as possible,” Dr Brown said.
“We welcome the opportunity to monitor and report on the implementation of the Fifth Plan, in line with our core goal of promoting accountability and the role it plays in achieving the best possible mental health and suicide prevention system for the Australian people.”
Dr Brown emphasised the importance of cross-sectoral collaboration to ensure the Fifth Plan’s mental health reforms are integrated successfully.
“The Commission eagerly anticipates the cooperation between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments, public and private sector, and community-managed organisations, along with consumers and carers in response to the Fifth Plan. We’ll provide independent and forthright advice to the Health Ministers on their performance,” she said.
Dr Brown said that key to the Fifth Plan is a call for a better integrated, person-centered service system and a collaborative approach to identifying opportunities at a regional level to better integrate services.
“You can’t deliver reform unless you understand the needs of people with a mental illness. That’s why the Commission seeks to ensure consumers and carers play a pivotal role in the co-design of policy and service provision,” she said. “We’re committed to the development of a guide to inform and enhance consumer and carer engagement and participation.”
Dr Brown said the Commission will also participate in the development of a mental health research strategy in collaboration with key stakeholders.
“As the Fifth Plan outlines, ‘a strategic approach to research is necessary to ensure better treatment options are available in the future and the best outcomes are achieved from care’,” she said.
The eight priority areas of the Fifth Plan are; Achieving integrated regional planning and service delivery; Effective suicide prevention; Coordinating treatment and supports for people with severe and complex mental illness; Improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and suicide prevention; Improving the physical health of people living with mental illness and reducing early mortality; Reducing stigma and discrimination; Making safety and quality central to mental health service delivery; Ensuring that the enablers of effective system performance and system improvement are in place.