A new blueprint for mental health services

November 26, 2015
Media Releases

Today the Turnbull Government releases its response to the National Mental Health Commission’s Review of Mental Health Programme and Services.

The response sets out a bold reform package that will put the individual needs of patients at the centre of our mental health system.

Every year, around 4 million Australians suffer some form of mental health issue, making it the third largest chronic disease in the country, only behind cancer and cardiovascular disease.

However, we recognise that when it comes to mental health or illness, not everyone is the same.

Someone suffering a mental health issue related to a specific incident in their life such as sickness or job loss may require a different level of care to a person with long-term chronic depression or psychiatric conditions.

The Review noted that there is significant spending on mental health. Yet too many Australians fall through the cracks or do not receive the full support they need.

It is clear that our current “one-size-fits-all approach” is not helping Australians suffering from mental illness as best it can.

The reforms released today focus on a number of concrete actions: 

  • Contestable mental health services will be commissioned, not delivered, through the recently established Primary Health Networks (PHNs);
  • Coordinated packages of care will be created for people with severe and complex needs and flexible support for mild and moderate needs;
  • A new Digital Mental Health Gateway will optimise the use of digital mental health services
  • A new approach to suicide prevention, co-ordinated by PHNs.

The reforms will be rolled out over a three year period between 2016 and 2019 and delivered within the existing funding envelope. The Turnbull Government will work with states and territories to develop the Fifth National Mental Health Plan to ensure smooth integration of these new reforms.

The Government’s full response is available on the front page of the Department of Health website: www.health.gov.au.

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