Advice to Governments on the Proposed National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Agreement

This document provides a comprehensive view from the mental health sector on the reform opportunities presented by the development of a National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Agreement (the National Agreement). It has been developed through a comprehensive consultation with consumers and carers, Mental Health Australia members and other key stakeholders. It contains structures, priorities and initiatives to improve outcomes for people with a lived experience of mental ill health and those who love and care for them.

Mental Health Australia highlights the following key points for governments to consider. These are:

  1. The foundational principle that there must be involvement of people with a lived experience of mental ill health in the development, implementation, oversight and evaluation of the agreement.
  2. The need for clear accountability, coordination of activity, and transparency of action; and the need for First Ministers to take responsibility for the outcomes of the agreement.
  3. There must be a commitment to long-term funding enhancements based on an objective reference point; and that investment is incrementally added to the system against a set of transparent priorities with transparent governance and oversight.
  4. Governance and implementation mechanisms must include representation from the sector, drawing on its expertise and to recognise the foundational principle of the involvement of individuals with a lived experience of mental ill health.
  5. Endeavour must focus on activity beyond the health system and include responses that address the social determinants and root causes of mental ill health and suicide including poverty, trauma and incarceration.
  6. The evaluation and measurement of outcomes built into the National Agreement must include whole-of-government measures that deal with long-term improved mental health and wellbeing for the whole community.

The National Agreement must be constructed as a document that enables continued reform and system evolution over time, a living document that first establishes clearly defined roles and responsibilities for governments and an agreed funding architecture.

Mental Health Australia strongly encourages governments to engage with people with a lived experience of mental ill health to develop and deliver a National Agreement that will truly improve the lives of every Australian.

Erin Stewart
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