Mental Health Royal Commission Submission

Connect Health & Community has submitted a response to the Victorian Government’s Royal Commission into the Victoria’s Mental Health System, the ‘Productivity Commission Issues Paper – The Social and Economic Benefits of Improving Mental Health, Jan 2019’. 

Connect Health & Community acknowledges our role in providing a platform for all voices to be heard and actively works to encourage wide-ranging change and improvements that will enable equitable health solutions for everyone.

As part of our input to the Royal Commission, a number of our clients, carers and community members participated in interviews and focus groups to share their invaluable insights and experiences of the current mental health system. We would like to recognise and thank everyone who contributed to this important piece of work in the pursuit of social health reform.

As a result of our interviews and investigations, our recommendations to the Commission include:

  • Creation of multidisciplinary teams (inclusive of different disciplines within the mental wellbeing field) with varied specialised expertise to wrap coordinated services around the client and provide the appropriate support to health professionals working with complex clients;
  • Investment in system design that increases the funded support of clients’ journeys through a ‘step-up/step-down’ model of care;
  • Building capacity into the mental health system for service providers to actively engage with all clients through a ‘person-centred’ approach. Allow additional time for the initial stages of service engagement and enable flexibility of delivery type, especially with young people; meet them where they want to meet, when they want to meet.
  • Construction of a model where a community service can support parents/guardians/carers when their children require a more intensive and/or specialist service. This is different to the current model where services arbitrarily end because children are no longer eligible for community service based on age or place of residence.
  • Provision of supportive and environmentally safe spaces to better help high-risk clients who present at emergency departments.
  • Research into incentive-based funding or reward schemes for both health and non-health sectors to address systemic issues, such as mandated cross-cultural training to maximise positive outcomes of intercultural collaboration and reduce potential cultural faux-pas.
  • Working with the Department of Education to introduce mental health education into school curriculum to increase understanding of mental health, normalise help-seeking behaviours and deconstruct beliefs that foster discrimination.
  • Increasing health expenditure on health promotion, prevention and early intervention. We want people to be able to identify their symptoms of mental ill-health the same way they self-diagnose a cold, then seek medical advice. Increasing the mental health literacy of the community is required.
  • Introducing diverse funding models for service delivery. Enabling mental health staff flexibility in their service delivery to support better integration and coordination between levels and organisations, initiate prevention-based actions and enable client-centred strategies to be used in line with community need. Reward outcomes rather than concentrating solely funding outputs, or include incentive-based bonuses.

You can read our response paper here.

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