Investing in community-based psychosocial supports is key to reform
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese recently reflected on the importance of his government being driven by “…strong and simple principles – no-one held back, no-one left behind.” Unfortunately, many people living with mental health conditions, and their family, carers and supporters, are being left behind in our service system. As the Prime Minister said, we must enable all Australians to “aim high, pursue dreams and reach their potential”, and this aspiration must be inclusive, it must lift everyone up.
In 2020, the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health found that there are around 154,000 people who are not able to access the psychosocial services they need each year, and estimated the funding shortfall to provide these services would be approximately $610 million per annum.
To help fill this gap, and ensure that no-one is left behind, Mental Health Australia and the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum have worked in partnership to develop Advice to governments on evidence-informed and good practice psychosocial services, which you can read on the Mental Health Australia website.
We’ve proactively developed this advice so governments can be informed about how to address the current gap in psychosocial services.
Investing in community-based psychosocial supports is key to reform and bringing Australia’s mental health system in line with advice from the World Health Organisation and United Nations to move towards holistic approaches to mental health support firmly grounded in a human rights-based approach.
Australian, state and territory governments are currently estimating unmet need in psychosocial support outside the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and committed through the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Agreement to develop future psychosocial support arrangements.
Mental Health Australia is ready to work with the Australian Government and welcomes National Cabinet’s recent commitment to jointly design and commission additional Foundational Supports outside the NDIS, which the NDIS Review indicated should include psychosocial services. We are also pleased to see Minister Rishworth and Minister Shorten acting quickly to announce the commencement of consultation on the design of a Foundational Support Strategy. We call on the Federal Government to draw upon the expertise and advice in our paper in designing and funding future services to address psychosocial need.
The National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum says the evidence is clear: ‘We know psychosocial services work. Now, let’s make investments that result in transformational systemic change that will truly support people to thrive.’
CEO, Mental Health Australia