In 2018–19 the Commission delivered results against our purpose: 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.
In 2018–19 we delivered our 2018 National Report on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention which provided an overview of the progress and outcomes of key national mental health and suicide prevention reforms. It also considered the performance of the mental health system and examined the social determinants of health and their impact on mental illness. The 2018 National Report was published in October 2018 and was well received by the Australian Government and the community.
We also delivered an annual report to the Council of Australian Government’s (COAG) Health Council on the progress of the implementation of the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan Fifth Plan. This Progress Report 2018 provides specific analysis of data and qualitative accounts against the indicators specified in the Fifth Plan and establishes the direction for future reporting. The Progress Report 2018 was endorsed by COAG Health Ministers in October 2018 and published on our website.
In 2018-19 the Commission made an in-depth submission to the Productivity Commission inquiry into the social and economic benefits of improving mental health inquiry. This submission focussed on:
- 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.
In July 2018, the Commission launched the Australian Mental Health Leaders Fellowship (the Fellowship). 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 with a further cohorts commencing in October 2018 and July 2019.
The Commission continued to prepare for the launch of its 2030 Vision consultation with Australians (launched in July 2019).
Throughout the year, we engaged with a broad range of stakeholders at our community forums and Commission meetings. We heard first-hand the experiences of consumers, carers, service providers and other stakeholders about what is working and what is not working in the mental health and suicide prevention system. The information is used to inform all our work.
In 2018–19, the focus of the meetings included mental health and suicide prevention and reforms; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health; mental health and farming; mental health and suicide prevention for children and youth; and the experiences of schools and emergency responders in the mental health system.
Throughout 2018-19, we continued to strengthen our operations and target resourcing to improve performance and deliver results.