The Fourth National Mental Health Plan sets an agenda for collaborative government action in mental health from 2009 to 2014. It offers a framework to develop a system of care that is able to intervene early and provide integrated services across health and social domains. It provides guidance to governments in considering future funding priorities for mental health.
In February 2011 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to reform of the mental health system as part of broader National Health Reform.
The Australian Government has committed $2.2 billion over five years in the 2011-12 Budget to National Mental Health Reform “to help Australians who have a mental illness get the care they need, when and where they need it”. (Budget 2011-12 National Mental Health Reform).
A National Mental Health Commission has been established to promote best practice and measure performance of the mental health system including through an annual national report card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.
The inaugural A Contributing Life: the 2012 National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention was released on 27 November 2012. Further information on the National Mental Health Commission and the report can be found on the Commission’s website.
On 7 December 2012 COAG released The Roadmap for National Mental Health Reform 2012-2022 which describes the vision for mental health in Australia committed to by State and Commonwealth governments. The Roadmap for National Mental Health Reform 2012-22 can be found on the Department of Health website.
The Department of Social Services works closely with other areas of government to progress National Mental Health Reform.
A significant characteristic of National Mental Health Reform is the recognition that supporting people with mental illness requires collaboration across a range of sectors beyond health services, including housing, financial support, education and employment.
The Department of Social Services’ portfolio responsibilities include delivery of the Targeted Community Care (Mental Health) Program. The Program provides community based mental health services to improve the capacity of individuals, families and carers affected by mental illness to participate socially and economically. Further information on this Program is available on the Programs and Services page.
For further information on National Mental Health Reform see the following websites:
Information about mental health
Sane Australia provides up-to-date and easy-to-read explanations of a range of mental health problems and related issues.