The National Mental Health Commission’s purpose is to provide insight, advice and evidence on ways to continuously improve Australia’s mental health and suicide prevention systems and to act as a catalyst for change to achieve those improvements. This includes increasing accountability and transparency in mental health through the provision of independent reports and advice to the Australian Government and the community.
The Commission will continue to seek to ensure investment in mental health is both effective and efficient. We will work with stakeholders – particularly with people with lived experience, their families and other support people – to ensure reforms are collectively owned and actioned and to enable their participation in government process.
The Commission seeks to engage with people with a lived experience of mental health issues, including carers and other support people, in all areas of our work. We affirm the right of all people to participate in decisions that affect their care and the conditions that enable them to live contributing lives. Diverse and genuine engagement with people with lived experience, their families and other support people adds value to decision-making by providing direct knowledge about the actual needs of the community, which results in better targeted and more responsive services and initiatives.
Throughout its existence, the Commission has applied the Contributing Life framework to its work – a whole-of-person, whole-of-system, whole-of-life approach to mental health and wellbeing. This means we consider people across the lifespan – from pre‐birth to old age.
A contributing life can mean many things. It can mean a fulfilling life enriched with close connections to family and friends; good health and wellbeing to allow those connections to be enjoyed; having something to do each day that provides meaning and purpose – whether it be a job, supporting others or volunteering; and a home to live in, free from financial stress and uncertainty. In short, it means thriving, not just surviving.
The Commission will work to support individuals to live a contributing life; have equitable opportunity; have the best possible mental health and wellbeing; participate in community, education and employment; have knowledge, assurance and respect, and able to contribute to socially and economically thriving communities.
Indigenous people have significantly higher rates of mental distress, trauma, suicide and intentional self-harm, as well as exposure to risk factors such as stressful life events, family breakdown, unemployment, racism, discrimination, imprisonment, crime victimisation and alcohol and substance misuse. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and social and emotional wellbeing is a priority across all of the Commission’s key work areas.
The Commission will facilitate collaboration across all sectors to promote mental health and prevent mental illness and suicide – this includes health, housing, human services, income support, justice, education, employment, defence, veterans affairs and the broader system to maximise outcomes and integrate service provision.