MHV's Initial Submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health

On Friday 5 April, Mental Health Victoria submitted an initial submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health. The submission makes recommendations to improve mental health by supporting economic participation and enhancing productivity to ensure economic growth.

Read the full submission here. 

An outline of the executive summary: 

Mental Health Victoria believes that improvements need to occur through changing the ways things are presently done. Several improvement areas are recommended below that are likely to generate real change:

  • Innovation Models: draw on examples of more effective programs and services and replicate these across the whole system;
  • Service Hubs: address the gap in the configuration of the mental health system regarding coordination and integration of services across disciplines and service types. Multidisciplinary service hubs are a concept that has been developed, sometimes used, and now warrants a more consistent application across Australia as a key area for reform.
  • Mental Health Promotion and Prevention: invest in population wide promotion and education on mental wellbeing to shift the overall proportion of Australian population that requires mental health services to take action and address conditions before they become serious – a new focus on preventing the onset of mental ill health.
  • Social Determinants of Mental Health: address the intersections of economic and social policy on the mental wellbeing of the Australian population; where there are risks and vulnerable sub-groups identified, such as those affected by social change or economic adjustments, initiate strategies to mitigate the potential for mental health impacts.

Mental Health Victoria urges the Productivity Commission to investigate further the following aspects of reform to the ‘system’:
1. Critically reassess the structural responsibilities across levels of government (governance: who does what and how is accountability for achieving population level outcomes ensured). 
2. Identify the data and reporting systems required for reliable and consistent planning and monitoring of the ‘mental health system’ across Australia. 
3. Establish realistic funding models and funding distribution mechanisms to achieve intended population mental health outcomes.
4. Formulate targets for workforce size, composition, capability and development. 
5. Review critically the NDIS relationship to mental health – help or hindrance?
6. Determine effective complaints and feedback mechanisms – for consumer rights.