When people say ‘mental health’ what comes to mind for most people is ‘mental illness’. We don’t tend to think about how life is shaped by our experiences and that every moment of every day, our mental life is at the core of everything we do. Just as your physical health and well-being is not merely a medical matter, the same applies to mental health and well-being. Our party is focused on the bigger picture of mental health and well-being. If elected, we will shape policies around people. We believe that our experiences in society can be harnessed as a positive force, to make the world better. That process begins by looking after people when they are distressed and reaches towards bringing out the very best in every person.

We offer the following dot-point summary of just a few areas where mental health policy reform could improve our society. This list offers a small glimpse of how we might re-imagine policy across a number of portfolios from a perspective which focuses on people and improving their experiences with society. Our hope is that you can imagine how vast and far reaching this approach to policy might go beyond these few points. Like any political party, our core focus articulated here represents the central point from which our view on other issues will revolve.

Education

School Counselling and Support

  • Baseline requirement for all schools to have consistent access to qualified school psychologists
  • Development of standards for mental health care services in the community to work more closely together with schools
  • Nationally consistent integration of principles across schools about healthy relationships and management of emotions (i.e., not as a separate course item)

Employment

Mentally Health Workplaces

  • Public education and development of basic standards for mentally healthy workplace cultures
  • Improved support for high stress/trauma careers
  • Address the issues around mental health leave requirements

Centrelink

  • Review job-seeker agency processes which keep people unemployed. This includes reforms to match training and work placements to better align with the presenting individual
  • Revise inflexibility of DSP criteria, which presently serves as a disincentive for many people to recover
  • Include a broader range of suitably qualified mental health professionals eligible to make mental health assessments

Health

Hospitals

  • Better supported transition to community living
  • Ensure that funds which are directed to mental health care actually reach target
  • Better peri-natal support and mental health care when needed
  • Address issues relating to continuity of care and follow-up

Private Health Cover

  • Mandated standards for coverage of mental health care
  • Empowerment of consumer choice to select appropriate providers matching their needs and expansion to include all valid evidence-based approaches
  • Address discriminatory restrictions relating to income protection, travel insurance, life insurance, and general restrictions relating to mental health

Medicare (access to psychological care)

  • More appointments for those who need them
  • Revising diagnostic and referral limitations
  • Access to a wider range of evidence-based therapies
  • Fairer recognition of practitioner skills
  • Consistent levels of support

Substance Use

  • Recognising drug addiction as both a health issue and also a problem relating to social issues
  • Formation of better strategies to help those addicted to prescription medications
  • Allow adult smokers to use e-cigarettes without a prescription for harm-reduction and smoking cessation

Primary Healthcare Networks (PHNs)

  • Developing a better standard for apportioning funding to regional areas than the current population-based system (factoring in distance, relative disconnection, and the regional expanse covered in each zoned area)
  • Revision of programs to ensure that basic levels of access meet best standards of evidence-based care (current systems ration sessions at very low levels)
  • Address the double-handling of administration of overlapping programs, which drains funding for much needed service delivery

Men’s Mental Health

  • Tailored programs for men in high risk groups (e.g., elevated suicide risk in 40s, community health)
  • Development and promotion of positive community involvement for men experiencing disconnection
  • Expansion of programs which directly address issues relating to male depression, anxiety, anger and violence

Indigenous Mental Health

  • Implementation of ATSIPEP recommendations
  • Development of a better framework for partnerships between organisations to work together, rather than compete against one another for funding
  • Outcome based monitoring and evaluation for funding acquittal
  • Formation of better funding allocation models which are area-based or people-based
  • Establish systems for the people utilizing a mental health or support program to be the main assessor of the success of that program

Rural Mental Health

  • Remove the red tape for telepsychology MBS items
  • Establish programs to encourage local people in rural and regional Australia to train and remain or return to their communities
  • Establish incentives for mental health practitioners to deliver services in regional Australia
  • Set new targets on addressing regional inequities

Housing Support Services

  • Focus on helping displaced people find a sense of ‘place’ and connection to community
  • Dedicated contact people and tailored support to understand personal circumstances and needs (addressing efficiency issues)
  • Assisting recovery around building a sense of ‘home’ incorporating:
    • Safety, peace and quiet
    • Access to local services via partnerships with local councils (e.g., access to pool/gym/rec centre passes)
    • Peer workforce or charitable work to settle into ‘homes’
    • Basic support provided for care and/or improvement of the property
  • Placement and integration with education and training
  • Access to housing needs to be faster and less red-tape to avoid further deterioration
  • Greater care with judgements and decisions
  • Address reports from the public of mental health issues being dismissed or minimised

Veterans

  • Improve access to mental health care services
  • Broaden access to allied health providers and support services accessible via DVA contracts
  • Develop a more user-friendly re-assimilation package for ex-service personnel and their families
  • Expand access to welfare services for family members, specifically focusing on supportive care for partners following discharge
  • Develop a back-to-work package for veterans, particularly those who have been medically discharged
  • Tailored programs for social inclusion, fitness, and interaction, to assist with smoother transitions across to and from civilian life

First Responders

  • Introduce mandatory supervision training for managers to identify and respond to mental health issues faced by front-line workers
  • Support front-line workers through reflective supervision to properly identify and better manage potential trauma-related issues
  • Annual mental health check-ups and mental health first aid training across the sector
  • Introduce a whole of person awareness training package
  • Access to care and support services for partners and family members of front-line workers
  • Introduce an independent external complaints authority for workers
  • Tailored programs for social inclusion, fitness, and interaction, to assist with work-life balance

Culture and Arts

Art Therapy Roles

  • Development of programs for skilled artists to contribute to community via art therapy, social inclusion, and other recovery-oriented services
  • Supported programs aimed at better engagement and inclusion of people during late age
  • Connection and participation with other marginalised or disempowered groups

 

1 Comment

  1. Stephen Brown

    Reply

    I agree now and in the future mental health is for everyone and is about a positive sense of well-being. As a positive force it is about connectivity and support along our journey and occurs across social organs such as family, work, friends, church, sport etc. Everyone’s gift it is an investment. I support the approach of PHN’s as these invest in people from knowledge and life. Lived experience knows the pains and the joys and what they seek from life. Freedom from stigma and discrimination are key concerns.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *