The targets we need to fix mental health
In less than a fortnight more than 80 representatives from the mental health sector will converge on Parliament House in Canberra for the Mental Health Australia Parliamentary Advocacy Day.
United and representing a diverse group of advocates, consumers, carers and health professionals, our aim is for a bi-partisan systematic approach to fixing mental health in this nation.
What does that mean?
We want to restore, then increase funding levels. We want to urgently address the gaps opening up in services, especially psychosocial supports. We want to address funding uncertainty, especially to programs that are working. We want to support and learn from consumer and carer engagement. And we want to adopt clear targets that we can all work towards.
On the day, speaking with some 40 senators and members, we will continue to educate, and continue to communicate areas of concern with the decisions makers. We will continue to ask tough questions and highlight problems, but also provide solutions on where best to fill the gaps and focus long term funding. And all because we are united in the push to ultimately fix mental health in Australia.
For a long time now we’ve been talking about targets and indicators, and I firmly believe that if we don’t say what we are trying to achieve and then measure it, we will never know if our strategy is effective or not. If we set some clear targets and indicators that allow us to measure our progress, and guide our investment, that will allow us the sector to line up future investment in pursuit of the broader goal. It will allow the community to understand the objectives we are pursuing, and it will allow federal and state governments to focus spending on long term and successful initiatives.
Defining targets takes courage and requires strong leadership. Leadership which the National Mental Health Commission review said has to come from the Commonwealth. Targets that can then drive the work of the mental health sector and ultimately the community.
A community where a lot of hope and expectation has built up over recent years to fix mental health, thanks to a lot of good work from within the sector, especially around awareness and reducing stigma. A community where mental health issues are still very close to people's hearts and minds, but a community where one in five Australians will experience mental illness this year…
One target we all know we need to reduce.
Chief Executive Officer
Vale Jeff Cheverton
It still seems a bit surreal that it's been almost a week since we lost our dear friend Jeff Cheverton and I'm sure many of us are still in shock...
I am pleased to be going to Jeff's funeral in Melbourne on Sunday, and will get a chance to say a few words, reflecting on Jeff's professional and personal contribution to mental health and primary health care. A tremendous honour to be able to record those memories, and thanks to all of you who have been kind enough to share your memories with me.
Jeff's partner Rod has asked us to spread the word on the events to celebrate Jeff's life and these are the details Rod has provided. I hope to see some of your there!
There will be a viewing at the Lonergan and Raven Clifton Hill Funeral home, 187 Queens Parade on Saturday 11th March 2017, 2-4pm.
The funeral service will be in Melbourne on Sunday 12th March 2017, at Footscray Community Arts Centre, 45 Moreland St, Footscray from 11-1pm with a wake to follow at our friend's house in Newport on Sunday arvo.
Then on Saturday 18th March 2017, there will be a memorial event at Orleigh Park, Orleigh Street in West End from 3pm.
Everyone is welcome to attend any or all of these events.
I am also aware that a fundraiser is underway for those who may wish to contribute to Jeff’s funeral costs. Details are available here: https://www.gofundme.com/jeffcheverton