2016 Incoming Government Brief

Lachlan Searle

Overview

At the time of writing, Australia’s mental health sector is facing unprecedented change and uncertainty. After several years where mental health reform was effectively on hold, the Australian Government’s announcements in November 2015, coupled with the roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), initiated major changes to the way mental health services are funded, planned and delivered.

Successful implementation of these well-intentioned and much needed reforms will require the mobilisation and goodwill of the whole mental health sector, including: consumers and carers, clinicians and other frontline workers, community-managed organisations and jurisdictions. Unlike other areas of substantial government reform, governments have not yet invested adequately in change management to achieve these mental health reforms – to their detriment.

Unless there is adequate investment in change management, there is a real risk of unintentionally removing access to services for some consumers and carers. The mental health sector supports reform having sought it for years, but the task of adapting to change will be much harder (and in some cases impossible) if services continue to face unsustainable pressures and uncertainties relating to funding and workforce.

This Incoming Government Brief provides a snapshot of the mental health sector’s capacity to embrace reform and provides recommendations for immediate action.  Our plan is drawn from Mental Health Australia’s Blueprint for Action on Mental Health and ongoing consultations with the sector. It has been prepared to assist the incoming Australian Government to understand the current mental health landscape and the factors which will contribute to the success of mental health reform in 2016 and beyond.

See below for a full copy of the Mental Health Australia 2016 Incoming Government Brief

 

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