By Linda Kurti | 11 May 2017

The National Mental Health Commission has released its 2016 National Report on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, charting progress on improving mental health and suicide prevention systems.

The mental health sector is undergoing a significant period of reform. driven by efforts at the Commonwealth level. This has been led by the development of a new Fifth National Mental Health Plan, which outlines the vision for states and the Commonwealth to work together to improve outcomes for mental health consumers and carers. Urbis supported consultations on the draft plan at the end of 2016 and looks forward to its final release this year.

The role of Primary Health Networks (PHNs) in delivering primary mental health care

While the National Report highlights the major changes happening at the policy level, it emphasises that now is the time to focus on effective implementation, underpinned by monitoring and evaluation that drives improvement.

The National Report recognises there is also a changing environment at the local level, particularly the role of Primary Health Networks (PHNs) in delivering primary mental health care. PHNs are now required to map and commission effective responses to local mental health need. Urbis has been working with PHNs to develop outcomes-based approaches to commissioning, using a stepped mental health model that provides the right care, at the right time.

The Report recognises that technology will be a useful tool for PHNs, helping to provide new pathways to support people with mental ill-health. There is still unharnessed potential for digital health platforms to provide effective early intervention.

Implementation and evaluation to drive improvements

While the National Report highlights the major changes happening at the policy level, it emphasises that now is the time to focus on effective implementation, underpinned by monitoring and evaluation that drives improvement.

Urbis supports the ongoing work by the National Mental Health Commission providing a constructive, independent voice to strengthen the mental health sector, and ultimately, outcomes for people experiencing mental illness.