Productivity Commission Mental Health Inquiry Report welcomed by WAAMH

Preliminary comments

The WA Association for Mental Health welcomes the release of the long-awaited Productivity Commission Mental Health Inquiry Report. The report contains 22 recommended reforms encompassing approximately 100 actions, across a wide range of mental health services and supports. Recommendations in the report focus on 5 key areas:

  • Prevention and early intervention, including early childhood and schooling, social inclusion and reducing stigma, and suicide prevention;
  • Recovery-focused healthcare, with a focus on access to mental healthcare, supported online treatment, bridging mental healthcare gaps, crisis care, and addressing comorbidities;
  • Services beyond health, including psychosocial supports, housing and justice;
  • Training and work, with a focus on young people, mentally healthy workplaces and income and employment support; and,
  • Key enablers of change, including integrated care, mental health workforce, carers and families, governance, funding and commissioning, and monitoring, evaluation and research.

 WAAMH is pleased to note a strong focus on prevention and community supports, integration of mental health services, and the social determinants of health. WAAMH’s initial reading of the first volume of the report noted that the report:

  • Takes a whole of government, cross-sectoral approach to achieve a person-centered mental health system.
  • Calls for increased investment and focus on mental health prevention and early intervention.
  • Recognises the importance of the social determinants of health (the conditions in which we live, work and play), and calls for initiatives that address housing, employment and justice.
  • Calls for expansion of the Individual Placement Support (IPS) program for all job seekers with mental health challenges (WAAMH is a proud leader in the IPS field – see more here).
  • Recognises the current over-reliance clinical services, and calls for increases in community-based psychosocial supports (non-clinical services and supports that walk alongside people in their recovery, such as respite services, assistance with transport, accommodation and finances, coordination support and social activities), with regional areas as a priority.
  • Identifies the need for alternatives to Emergency Departments – this is a key issue we hear about frequently at WAAMH.
  • Identifies and supports the valuable contribution of the peer workforce

These are some positive initial finds in the report. However. at 1617 pages, the report is extensive! WAAMH is continuing to analyse the report and will provide information as it comes to light.

To find out more about the value of community supports, visit the Prevent Support Heal campaign website.