Last year, more than 2,000 individuals and organisations made submissions to the 2014 Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services, which was undertaken by the National Mental Health Commission to terms of reference provided by the Federal Government in early 2014.
The final report, dated 30 November, makes clear the Commission expected the report to be released to the public, as it includes links to the Commission’s website for the four volumes to be downloaded.
Apart from selected leaks to the ABC this week, that hasn’t happened, with the Government claiming that its release would “inhibit the ability of Government to properly respond to the Review”.
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This is an edited extract of the covering letter to the Minister, from Commission chair Professor Allan Fels and CEO David Butt:
“The work of the Review has found there is an extraordinarily high degree of consensus as to the directions needed to create a system which promotes good mental health and wellbeing and a contributing life. Practical steps now need to be taken.
You will find in this report immediate priorities for action, a programme to start implementation now and a set of measures to guide change. Very importantly, the Commission is proposing that these changes should occur within existing resources. While there is significant expenditure on mental health it is not necessarily being spent on the right things – those services which prevent illness, keep people well, support recovery and enable people to lead contributing lives.
The recommendations of the Review have implications for a number of portfolios which go beyond health. In particular, the Commission reinforces the point that many programmes and services which enable people to live a contributing life sit in areas such as housing, employment, education, welfare and justice.
The Review includes a particularly strong focus on the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, given the very high burden of mental ill-health and suicide on this population.
We have every confidence that the adoption of the recommendations in this report will result in transformational reform of the mental health system, promote significant innovation, particularly at a local level, and enable people, their families and communities to thrive.”
Perhaps “transformational reform” is more likely if the review’s findings are freely available…
Below are grabs of the recommendations and findings: