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PERFORMANCE RESULTS

1. Monitoring and Reporting

Performance criteria:

  • Monitoring and reporting, Commission Corporate Plan 2018–19 (CP), pg. 10
  • Prepare and disseminate the national report on mental health and suicide prevention, Portfolio Budget Statements 2018–19 (PBS), pg. 412
  • Undertake research, analysis and evaluation on key national mental health priorities, PBS pg.412

National Report on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

The Commission published Monitoring Mental Health and Suicide Prevention: National Report 2018 (the National Report 2018) on the 4th October 2018. The report is available on our website.

The National Report 2018 provided an overview of the progress and outcomes of key national reforms in mental health including Primary Health Networks (PHNs), the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Suicide Prevention Initiatives and the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan (the Fifth Plan).

The National Report 2018 also reported on the performance of the mental health system by looking at mental health expenditure, workforce, seclusion and restraint, consumer and carer engagement and participation, and mental health outcomes. In addition, the report examined the social determinants of health and their impact on mental illness.

In 2018-19, the Commission also commenced work on the National Report 2019 which will be published by 31 December 2019.

The Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, 2018: Progress Report

The Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan (Fifth Plan) was endorsed by the COAG Health Council in August 2017. The Fifth Plan establishes a national approach for collaborative action to improve Australia’s mental health and suicide prevention systems over the period 2017 to 2022.

The Commission monitors and reports on the progress of implementation of the Fifth Plan and delivers an annual report to the Council of Australian Government’s (COAG) Health Council. This report provides specific analysis of data and qualitative accounts against the indicators specified in the Fifth Plan.

In October 2018 the first report, the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, 2018: Progress Report (the 2018 Progress Report) was endorsed by COAG and establishes the direction for future reporting. The report is available on our website.

To measure the progress of implementation, the Commission surveyed fifty-one stakeholders (governments, PHNs, Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council committees and state mental health commissions) that are tasked with implementing the actions of the Fifth Plan. The report contains progress against each action by the responsible stakeholder/s, and includes achievements, barriers and enablers against each of the eight priority areas. The report also presents baseline data for the available performance indicators.

To improve data collection for future reports, we also established a Fifth Plan Technical Advisory Group (FPTAG) to inform methodology and survey design. The FPTAG is comprised of members from each state and territory, the Commonwealth Department of Health, the Mental Health Information Strategy Standing Committee, as well as consumer and carer representatives.

The next annual implementation progress report for the 2018-2019 period will be delivered to COAG Health Ministers in early 2020.

The Commission also undertook a national online consumer and carer survey to understand how implementation in the first year of the Fifth Plan is affecting experiences of care. Results from the survey will be published in the Fifth National Mental Health Suicide Prevention Plan, 2018: Consumer and Carer perspective; the first report of its kind. This report will establish a baseline against which the performance of the Fifth Plan reform will be measured.

The 2018 Consumer and Carer Report will be released by 31 December 2019 and made available on our website.

National Disability Insurance Scheme

The Commission continued to monitor and report on the impact of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) as it relates to people with a psychosocial disability, including what services are available for those who are not receiving services under the NDIS. The National Report 2018 considers consequences of the scheme for people with a psychosocial disability and their supporters.

To better understand the impact of the NDIS, we engaged with the National Disability Insurance Agency, the Department of Health, the Department of Social Services, the NDIS Safety and Quality Commission, states and territories and other key stakeholders.

The Commission also engaged Community Mental Health Australia to conduct the Commonwealth Mental Health Programs Monitoring Project. Two interim reports from the project were released during 2018-19: Tracking transitions of people from PIR, PHaMS and D2DL into the NDIS: Commonwealth Mental Health Programs Monitoring Project: Interim Report Phase 1; and Tracking transitions of people from PIR, PHaMS and D2DL into the NDIS: Commonwealth Mental Health Programs Monitoring Project: Interim Report Phase 2. Both interim reports are available on Community Mental Health Australia’s website.

The Commission made submissions to three NDIS related reviews in 2018-19: the Productivity Commission Review of the National Disability Agreement Review, the National Disability Strategy Review and the Thin Markets Project. These submissions can be found on our website.

Primary Health Networks

The Commission continues to provide advice to the Australian Government Department of Health on the guidance materials developed to support the Primary Health Networks (PHNs) implement mental health reform.

In 2018, the Commission completed the Peer Workforce Guidance for PHNs to guide the mental health and suicide prevention commissioning work. The guide is available on the Department of Health’s website.

In November 2018, the Commission presented the Peer Workforce Guidance to the PHN stepped care workshop, and in March 2019, we presented to PHNs our work on the consumer and carer engagement and participation project.

During 2018-19 we also met with PHN Chief Executive Officers to discuss mental health reform, local experiences and challenges, and the work of the Commission. We also invited all thirty one PHNs to respond to our survey on implementing actions under the Fifth Plan. Twenty seven PHNs provided a response to the Commission, while four cited lack of time and resources as a key barrier to participating in the survey.

The Commission monitored and reported on the PHNs in our National Report 2018 and the 2018 Progress Report.

In addition, the Commission’s submission to the Senate Inquiry into access and quality of rural and remote mental health services addressed the concerns related to rural PHNs.

Suicide Prevention

The Commission continued to work collaboratively with stakeholders to support suicide prevention efforts in Australia. The Commission participated on the Suicide Prevention Project Reference Group, a governance committee established under the Fifth Plan to develop a National Suicide Prevention Implementation Strategy that embodies a systems approach to suicide prevention. The strategy is due for release in late 2019.

The Commission monitored and reported in its National Report 2018 on suicide prevention activities, in particular the four independent suicide prevention trials across a total of 29 local trials sites. Most of the trials are being led by PHNs, who are actively engaged with communities, local governments and service providers to ensure that trial activities are focussed on local needs.

In December 2018, the Australian Government in partnership with the Commission, held a National Suicide Prevention Summit, and subsequently committed to prioritising suicide prevention to a whole-of-government issue and a COAG priority; strengthening PHNs capability to deliver appropriate suicide prevention supports in their local communities and establishing a national system for the timely collection and communication of self-harm and suicide data to help communities respond early to emerging problems.

The Commission began working closely with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and the Department of Health to progress the National Suicide and Self-harm Monitoring Project as a result of this commitment.

The Commission also continued to prioritise suicide prevention as part of our monitoring role. This includes a discussion on the current state of suicide prevention reforms in the National Report 2019 (due for release in late 2019), and raising specific issues within our submissions to inquiries, including the Productivity Commission inquiry into mental health, and the Royal Commission into Victoria’s mental health system.

Housing and homelessness

The Commission continued to monitor and report rates of people with mental illness who are homeless and advocated for policy levers to improve outcomes.

The Commission engaged the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) to conduct in-depth research on housing, homelessness and mental health. This work drew on insights from the consultations and involved an extensive review of the published evidence. Two investigative panel sessions were held in 2018 with a range of experts, including people with a lived experience of mental illness and carers of those with such experiences, as well as representatives from peak bodies, service providers, and government agencies. The AHURI report Housing, homelessness and mental health: towards systems change sets out 19 policy options, including actions that can be quickly implemented and collaboration-building activities to drive long-term change. The report is available on our website.

Seclusion and restraint

The Commission continued to promote best practice in the reduction of restrictive practices. To support cultural change by nurses, the Commission engaged the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) to progress the Safe in care, safe at work project which builds on the 2017 Supporting Mental Health Nurses towards cultural and clinical change: Facilitating ongoing reduction in seclusion and restraint in inpatient mental health settings in Australia project. The project responds to discussions between the ACMHN, the Commission and key stakeholders invested in the ongoing reduction of seclusion and restraint in Australia.

The project’s Expert Reference Group includes members of the Safety and Quality Partnership Standing Committee (SQPSC), mental health chief nurses, expert clinicians, consumer and carer representatives, and other key stakeholders. The final package is comprised of an audit toolkit for services, the Australian adaption of the Six Core Strategies checklist and a list of guiding documents to reduce seclusion and restraint. An abridged version for mental health staff and managers was developed that emphasises the use of the checklist to guide the reduction of seclusion and restraint. The package is to be released in August 2019.

The Commission supported consumer and carer participation in the 12th National Towards Eliminating Restrictive Practices (TERP) Forum on 7-8 November 2018 in Hobart, to enable diverse participation of people with lived experience of mental ill-health or experience of caring to attend, particularly people who may have a lived experience of restrictive practices.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health

The Commission continued to monitor and report on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and suicide prevention. The Commission’s submission to the Productivity Commission’s (PC) inquiry on mental health recommended that the PC explicitly addressed the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The submission also addressed the broader social determinants of health and how they impact on the mental health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Commission’s National Report 2018 and 2018 Progress Report included some of the challenges facing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce, partnership relationships with PHNs, suicide prevention trials and the implementation of actions from the Fifth Plan to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and suicide prevention.

The Commission supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led research to improve their wellbeing. The Commission supported the Lowitja Institute to identify areas of focus and action that support good mental health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on their own terms. As the next step following the completion of the final report, the Lowitja Institute organised a national round table with key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and leaders to confirm priority themes and areas of action to inform future directions for the Commission in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing.

The Commission supported the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the World Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conference and the Second National Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conference in October 2018. The Commission participated on the organising committee for the conference. The Commission’s Advisory Board and Executive participated in both conferences.

Data and data capability

The Commission continues to be an active participant in the development of mental health data and performance indicators that facilitate national reporting through participation on the Mental Health Information Strategy Standing Committee. This role includes the development and refinement of performance indicators for the reporting on outcomes from the Fifth Plan through collaborative work with the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics.

In 2019-20, the Commission will include data on eighteen of the twenty four Fifth Plan performance indicators as part of the second Fifth Plan Progress Report. The Commission continues to be engaged in the development of the remaining six performance indicators.

Productivity Commission inquiry into mental health

Following recommendations from the Commission, in November 2018, the Australian Government announced a Productivity Commission inquiry into the social and economic benefits of improving mental health.

The Commission made an in-depth submission to the inquiry, discussing:

  • the social determinants of health outcomes, recognising the importance of addressing the social conditions that contribute to poor health outcomes including social disadvantage, housing, education and employment;
  • mental health system performance, including gaps in the system for both mental health services and suicide prevention efforts;
  • funding, commissioning and service planning, including structural deficits and the need for a shift in investment from demand driven services to upstream preventative measures.

The Commission continues to meet with the Productivity Commission to assist with the inquiry, which is due to report to government in 2020.

2. Vision 2030: A blueprint for mental health services

Performance criteria:

  • Vision 2030: A blueprint for mental health services, CP pg.14
  • Undertake research, analysis and evaluation on key national mental health priorities, PBS pp. 411-412

Vision 2030

The Commission is leading the development of Vision 2030, a shared long term approach to improve the mental health of people in Australia.

In 2018, the Commission commenced preparatory work including an audit of all mental health plans across jurisdictions and other relevant stakeholder documents that interface with a national planning process, and an initial scoping to map the national population need for mental health services and current service delivery.

The Commission engaged the University of Queensland to undertake a mental health services regional mapping project to better support regional mapping and planning of mental health services across the nation. The project’s methodologies and data will assist PHNs and LHNs in identifying what services exist and what services are required in their local areas. The UQ team is currently progressing the mapping of outputs from the National Mental Health Services Planning Framework (NMHSPF) to existing service provision.

In early 2019, the Commission commenced planning its Connections project, a nation-wide conversation with all Australians on the future of mental health and suicide prevention in Australia. Launching in July 2019, the Commission is connecting with local communities to understand their experiences of mental health and wellbeing to inform a shared 2030 Vision for Mental Health. As part of the Connections project, the Commission will visit twenty three communities across Australia holding town hall meetings of which anyone with a lived experience of mental health; including consumers, carers, families and those organisations which provide support and care, are invited to attend.

More information about the Connections project is available on our website.

3. Consumer and carer engagement and participation

Performance criteria:

  • Consumer and carer engagement and participation, CP pg.15
  • Undertake research, analysis and evaluation on key national mental health priorities, PBS pp. 411-412
  • Promote consumer and carer engagement and participation in the mental health system, PBS pp. 411-412

Consumer and carer engagement and participation

The Commission believes it is essential that people with lived experience of mental ill-health, families and support people are included and involved in decisions that impact them to lead a contributing life.

In 2018-19 the Commission progressed some additional components to build on its Engage and Participate in Mental Health report (2018) to support people with lived experience. The report Sit Beside Me, Not Above Me examined ways to support people with lived experience to effectively and safely participate with services, organisations and systems. This work demonstrates how to better support people with lived experience to fill roles at all levels from CEO, to peer worker, committee member or board member. Drawing on findings from interviews with a range of leaders, the report describes the essential ingredients and considerations for effective and safe engagement and participation, and demonstrates positive changes. The report was released in December 2018 and is available on our website.

In 2018-19, the Commission undertook a co-design process to develop a practical guide to consumer and carer participation and engagement, including peer review.

The guide will be released on the Commission’s website later in 2019. The guide provides a clear framework with a set of principles for best practice in consumer and carer engagement and participation, as well as practical advice on how to act on principles and associated values. It is envisaged the guide will be used by mental health consumers and carers and by people working within the mental health system at all levels.

Consumer and Carer guide

In 2018-19, the Commission continued to develop, in consultation with the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum (NMHCCF) and the Safety and Quality Partnership Standing Committee (SQPSC), a guide for consumer and carer participation in mental health services to strengthen their role in ongoing safety and quality initiatives, an activity in the Fifth Plan. The Commission provides regular updates to SQPSC and the NMHCCF, and seeks advice from these partners on how the guide can be a useful tool for mental health services and consumer and carers.

The Safety and Quality Engagement Guide Advisory Committee was established, co‑chaired by the Commission and Commissioner Kerry Hawkins. Members comprise representatives from consumer and carer groups, public, private and community sectors and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. The Advisory Committee met three times – in February, April and June 2019. The first stage of the work was to define the project scope and develop project and engagement plans. Work around stakeholder engagement and drafting to develop the guide will continue throughout 2019-20. The guide is due for completion under the Fifth Plan by end-2020.

Peer Workforce Development Guidelines

In 2018-19, work commenced on the development of National Peer Workforce Development Guidelines, an activity in the Fifth Plan. The guidelines will provide formalised guidance about the support structures required to sustain and grow the workforce, delineate roles of peer workers and identify effective anti-stigma interventions with the health workforce.

Work included an environmental scan and thematic analysis of existing resources and a roundtable event with peer worker leaders in November 2018.

The Commission also established a project steering committee via an open Expression of Interest process using merit-based principles and an independent assessment panel (which included consumer and carer peer workers). Seventy-five percent of the appointed Steering Committee membership are people with lived experience – with a diverse membership from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, the LGBTIQ+ community, a number of young peer workers and people from rural and remote regions. The Steering Committee met in June 2019. Next steps for this work will include broader stakeholder engagement with consumer and carer peaks, health professional bodies, the mental health sector and governments.

The guidelines are due for completion by 2021.

Monitoring and reporting

The Commission’s National Report 2018 provided an overview of the importance of consumer and carer engagement and participation, and activities underway nationally to support this.

To inform the Commission’s work in monitoring and reporting on progress in implementing the Fifth Plan, the Commission conducted an online survey of consumers and carers in April 2019 with over 500 respondents. The survey documents feedback from respondents on consumer and carer experiences of mental health services in Australia, in relation to the eight priority areas identified in the Fifth Plan. The results of the 2019 survey will form the basis of a report and serve as a baseline from which to measure progress throughout the Fifth Plan. The Commission is conducting annual consumer and carer surveys over the life of the plan.

4. Prevention and early intervention

Performance criteria:

  • Prevention and early intervention, CP pg.16
  • Undertake research, analysis and evaluation on key national mental health priorities, PBS pp. 411-412

The Economics of Mental Health

The Commission is building on the evidence base of why investing in promotion and prevention initiatives can result in benefits for the individual in terms of their mental health and also economic benefits in the form of improvements in productivity and efficiency. The Commission has completed work on assessing the cost and benefits of ten interventions focussed on mental health prevention through the lens of return on investment. The modelling was completed by Deakin Health Economics with support from an expert Steering Committee using a return on investment framework. The analysis showing that prevention interventions targeted to workplaces, schools and specific members of the community including new mothers and older persons can bring economic benefit by increasing productivity and decreasing the demand on the health budget. The results of this project provide evidence that investing in preventative interventions can deliver better mental health outcomes in a cost effective manner. The full results for each intervention and the overall summary document are being published gradually on the Commission’s website, with the final ones to be uploaded in August 2019.

The Australian Mental Health Leaders Fellowship

In July 2018, the Commission launched the Australian Mental Health Leaders Fellowship (the Fellowship).

The prestigious Fellowship was developed and led by the National Mental Health Commission and funded by the Australian Government.

The Fellowship incorporates a mix of experiential learning, reflective practice and group activity supported by expert facilitators, coaches and mentors. The educational content is designed and delivered by the University of Melbourne and includes mentors sourced from a pool of experienced health managers and leaders.

The Fellowship is the first program of its kind in Australia, designed to meet the needs of emerging leaders with a passion and commitment to mental health. The first cohort of 20 participants commenced in July 2018, and a second cohort of 20 participants in October 2018. Both the first and second cohorts graduated on 2 April 2019. The third cohort is scheduled to commence in July 2019.

Productivity Commission inquiry

The Commission recommended the Productivity Commission undertake an inquiry into the social and economic benefits of improving mental health. It was seen as an important step to ensure investment in mental health is efficient and effective, and achieves the best possible outcomes to enable people to live a contributing life. The focus of the inquiry aligns with the Commission’s Contributing Life Framework, which acknowledges the social determinants of good mental health, and the ambition that individuals can lead ‘contributing lives’.

The Productivity Commission inquiry into the role of improving mental health to support economic participation and enhancing productivity and economic growth was announced in October 2018.

The Commission provided a written submission and is working with the Productivity Commission throughout the process to ensure the inquiry results in positive change so that all Australians can lead contributing lives. The Commission’s submission is available on our website.

Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance

The Commission has continued to participate in and support the work of the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance (MHWA) in developing the National Workplace Initiative to provide a national consistent approach to workplace mental health requirements.

In August 2018, the MHWA commenced a series of stakeholder forums. The first workshop was held with the Australian Council of Trade Unions where Union representatives discussed the National Workplace Initiative, and its potential benefits to their members. Following this, the MHWA held three forums in Melbourne on 29 October and 12 November 2018 with representatives from business, the mental health sector and state and territory governments.

The MHWA launched its website in October 2019 and more information is available at:

www.mentallyhealthyworkplacealliance.org.au

5. Physical health of people living with mental illness

Performance criteria:

  • Improve the physical health of people living with mental illness, CP pg.17
  • Undertake research, analysis and evaluation on key national mental health priorities, PBS pp. 411-412.

Equally Well Implementation Committee

The Commission established the Equally Well Implementation Committee (EWIC) to oversee the strategic implementation of Equally Well National Consensus Statement.

The Commission supported a range of Equally Well activities including:

  • Building the evidence base for the Equally Well National Consensus Statement by commissioning a paper on Physical health of people living with a mental illness: A narrative literature review by Associate Professor Russell Roberts.
  • The development of a physical health assessment tool to better enable nurses to improve the physical health of people living with mental illness – a project led by the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses.
  • The Inaugural Equally Well Symposium in Melbourne. Sponsored by the Commission, this gathering of stakeholders and experts from the UK, New Zealand and Australia promoted the latest developments to enhance the health of people living with mental illness.

Equally Well Website

The Commission supported the maintenance of the recently re-launched Equally Well website in 2018-19.The website is designed to inform a range of stakeholder groups including consumers, carers, health professionals and service providers. In addition, Equally Well now has a presence on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The Commission re-engaged Charles Sturt University to provide project support and maintain the Equally Well website in 2018-19.

Monitoring and reporting

The Fifth Plan identifies improving the physical health of people living with mental illness and reducing early mortality as a priority area. In the Commission’s first progress report on the implementation of the Fifth Plan, the Commission reported on a number of barriers, enablers and achievements on implementation to date.

The Commission provided a presentation to the inaugural Equally Well Symposium on the findings for Priority Area 5: Improving Physical Health as documented in the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan 2018, Progress Report.

6. Workforce growth and development

Performance criteria:

  • Workforce growth and development, CP pg.18
  • Undertake research, analysis and evaluation on key national mental health priorities, PBS pp. 411-412
  • Promote consumer and carer engagement and participation in the mental health system, PBS pp. 411-412

Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Workforce

In our National Report 2018 the Commission analysed the current issues facing the mental health and suicide prevention workforce – who makes up this workforce, what are the key challenges and the way forward. Some of the workforce challenges include high staff turnover, access to suicide prevention training, challenges for those working in rural and remote areas, need for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in the workforce and growing and valuing the peer workforce. The Commission noted the strong link between safe and high-quality mental health service delivery and the size and composition of the workforce.

As part of the Fifth Plan reporting, the Commission will report on a number of actions under the Fifth Plan that relate to the mental health workforce. These actions include the development of a Workforce Development Program to guide strategies that address future workforce recruitment and retention of skilled staff.

Under KWA 3 of the Fifth Plan, the Commission reports on its activities to promote consumer and carer engagement in the mental health system. In the Commission’s reporting on the implementation of the Fifth Plan, it reports on how those responsible for the plan’s actions address consumer and carer engagement and participation.

As part of its analysis of the mental health and suicide prevention workforces, in 2018-19 the Commission made submissions to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce regarding MBS items related to mental health. Noting the role of the MBS as a source of funding for a significant portion of the mental health workforce, the Commission made two submissions – one in May 2018 and again in June 2019. As well as specific reforms (for example around MBS items for mental health services for people living in residential aged care, and ensuring more equitable distribution and uptake of mental health MBS items), these submissions encouraged consideration of the place of the MBS within the broader mental health system and options for improving prevention of and early intervention in mental illness.

In addition, the Commission’s submission (both written and at a public hearing) to the Senate Inquiry into access and quality of rural and remote mental health services addressed the issue of rural and remote mental health workforce.

National Mental Health Workforce Strategy

The Commission is collaborating with the Australian Government Department of Health in developing this strategy announced by the Australian Government in early 2019. This work will progress in 2019-2020.

A study into the feasibility of a national peer workforce organisation

In 2018-19, the Commission continued to support the growth and development of the consumer and carer peer workforce. As part of this work, the Commission engaged the Private Mental Health Consumer and Carer Network to complete a project to explore the feasibility of establishing a national member based organisation to support peer workers. The Final Report reconfirmed the important role of consumer and carer peer workers within the broader mental health workforce and identified strong community support for the establishment of an organisation to support development of the peer workforce. The project literature review was released in February 2019, and the Final Report and summary will be released by the Commission in late 2019.

7. Mental health research

Performance criteria:

  • Mental Health research, CP pg.19
  • Undertake research, analysis and evaluation on key national mental health priorities, PBS pp. 411-412

Mental Health Research

The Commission is working in collaboration with the National Health and Medical Research Council, consumers and carers, states and territories, research funding bodies and researchers to lead the development of the National Mental Health Research Strategy (NMHRS) an action under the Fifth Plan to drive better treatment outcomes across the mental health sector. This strategy will provide a long term vision for mental health research in Australia, including identifying priority areas for research and strategies to improve the alignment of research and the needs of practitioners and consumers.

The Commission established a Steering Committee to develop the consultation process involving the stakeholders identified in the Fifth Plan. The committee, which is co-chaired by Commissioner Maree Teesson, has met twice and finalised the Terms of Reference. Due to the potential overlap with the Million Minds Mission, it has been agreed that the Million Minds Advisory Panel and the NMHRS Steering Committee will share at least one common member, thereby ensuring the strategy is informed by the progress under the Million Minds Mission.

The Steering Committee membership includes research funding agencies, state and territory governments, the Million Minds Mission and consumer and carer representatives. The Steering Committee is working on a principles-based framework to support and guide mental health research in Australia. A Mental Health Expert Advisory Committee has been appointed to provide research advice to the Steering Committee co-chairs. The strategy is expected to be completed by December 2020.

8. Improving the Commission's operations

Performance criteria:

  • · Continuously improving the Commission’s operations, CP pg. 18

The Commission continued to improve its operations during 2018–19, during which:

  • Our staffing resources increased from an Average Staffing Level (ASL) of 20 to an ASL of 26.
  • Staff capability was enhanced through targeted training and development, in accordance with the Commission’s Performance and Development scheme.
  • Seven Commission meetings were held, including two outside of capital cities (Newcastle and Dubbo) and two that focussed on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health (Dubbo and Perth). Three Commission meetings were dedicated to engaging with stakeholders.
  • All statutory and governance reporting requirements were met.
  • The 2018–22 Corporate Plan incorporating the 2018–19 Work Plan was submitted to the Minister and Finance Minister as required under the PGPA Act.
  • We operated within budget, efficiently and judiciously.
  • All staff had performance plans in place in accordance with the Performance and Development Policy and performed well during the year.
  • We continued to implement our Mentally Healthy Workplace Policy.
  • Eleven new or revised operational policies or procedures were implemented.
  • We have re-developed the Commission’s website, due to be launched in 2019-20.
  • We commenced the development of a stakeholder engagement plan in accordance with which we:
    • Undertook proactive and strategic communication, including through timely responses to emerging issues
    • Engaged with a broad range of stakeholders including: federal, state and territory governments and agencies to progress shared priorities, private organisations, consumers and carers, community organisations, and academic and research agencies; and
    • Developed and/or undertook 11 separate online consultations of stakeholder groups.
  • We contributed to a wide variety of national committees, including the: Mental Health Information Strategy Standing Committee (MHISSC); the Suicide Prevention Project Reference Group; Equally Well Implementation Committee (EWIC); Safety and Quality Partnership Standing Committee (SQPSC); Fifth Plan Technical Advisory Group (FPTAG); Safety and Quality Engagement Guide Advisory Committee; Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance (MHWA); and the Australian Mental Health Commissions and the New Zealand Mental Health Commissioner.
  • We commenced the development of a community engagement plan, in accordance with which:
    • Our Commissioners engaged with communities in open forums in Newcastle, Dubbo and Perth;
    • Our CEO commenced the Connections Project listening tour, which will visit more than 23 communities in every state and territory of Australia, including numerous regional and remote locations.

Advisory board - meeting attendance

Advisory Board – meeting attendance

1–2
Aug 2018

12-13
Sep
2018

20–23 Nov
2018

13–14
Feb
2019

14–15 Mar
2019

22-23 May
2019

Total

Mrs Lucinda (Lucy) Brogden AM

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

6

Ms Christine Morgan

-

-

-

-

-

Y

1

Prof. Harvey Whiteford

Y

Y

N

-

-

-

2

Prof. Helen Milroy

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

Y

5

Prof. Ngaire Brown

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

N

4

Prof. Wendy Cross

N

Y

Y

Y

N

Y

4

Rabbi Mendel Kastel OAM

-

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

5

Dr Elizabeth-Ann Schroeder

-

-

-

-

-

Y

1

Prof. Maree Teesson AC

-

Y

N

N

N

Y

2

Ms Niharika Hiremath

-

-

-

-

-

Y

1

Ms Christina McGuffie

-

N

Y

N

Y

Y

3

Ms Kerry Hawkins

-

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

5