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National Mental Health Commission welcomes Productivity Commission report

16 Nov 2020
The National Mental Health Commission has today welcomed the tabling of the Productivity Commission’s report for their Inquiry into Mental Health, calling it a defining moment for mental health and suicide prevention reform for all Australians.

CEO Christine Morgan noted that this report is a substantial examination of the mental health system in Australia.

“We are grateful to the Productivity Commission for this long awaited analysis of the way in which the mental health system functions and the social and economic impacts of mental health on every Australian. It confirms what many have known and experienced for a while, that our mental health system has evolved as part of our general health system, and it needs systemic reform.

“The report identifies the need for a nationally consistent, comprehensive and compassionate mental health care and suicide prevention system that goes beyond the health system – we fundamentally agree. It’s an approach that ensures everyone has access to the information, support and the help they need, where they need it, at the exact time they need it,” Ms Morgan said.

“In reality, where we live, learn and work in our communities is where we experience most of our mental health and wellbeing challenges, and this is where the system response needs to be met with the right levels of coordinated and affordable support and care, and a focus on early intervention and prevention.

“We are pleased to see that the Productivity Commission recognises there is a need to have a connected system with no gaps, to inform and care; and that the systems are functioning as they should.

“The reports contains recommendations for a holistic approach to mental health, from early childhood through every stage of life. It’s focussed on inclusion, stigma reduction and suicide prevention.

“It looks at the importance of a collective approach to housing, families, schools, workplaces, heath care providers, the justice system and beyond. It outlines the design for a truly comprehensive, coordinated and compassionate system that has positive touch points for everyone and every community.”

The Commission’s Chair, Mrs Lucy Brogden AM, was pleased that the report recognised the critical role carers, consumers and those with lived experience need to play in all decision making, as well as the stand-alone recommendations recognising the importance of having Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led mental health responses and national strategies.

“We welcome the need for a national and ongoing approach to monitoring and evaluation of the mental health system, and the need to address the intersection between Commonwealth funded PHNs and state and territory government’s area health bodies through proposed regional commissioning arrangements.

“Quality, available mental health services and supports are essential to ensuring a productive and thriving community and economy. This report provides a blue print for building the sort of system the people of this country need and deserve.

“We’re pleased to see the report call for a new whole-of-government mental health strategy agreed to by the Commonwealth and states and territories and covering both health and non-health services, as well as the long-awaited need for a National Stigma Reduction Strategy designed to reduce stigma towards people with mental illness.

The Commission is thankful for the commitment by the Commonwealth to this systemic review and their ongoing prioritisation of mental health and suicide prevention. This significant report aligns strongly with the work the Commission has done through the Vision 2030 for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention over the past 12 months, together they will shape Australia’s mental health system reform.

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