Improving quality of life for people experiencing mental health issues
Every one of us should be able to enjoy our best possible mental health. Our chances to being affected by poor mental health are high, with one in five of us affected in any given year, and 45% of us in our lifetime.
Here at Uniting we see that mental health intersects with many other causes of disadvantage, such as:
- physical illness
- cultural and language barriers
- economic disadvantage.
Royal Commission into Victoria's mental health system
The Victorian Government has established a Royal Commission to recommend reforms to the current mental health system.
We will contribute actively to the work of the Royal Commission. So far we have:
- taken part in the Government's round tables in Melbourne and Shepparton consulting on the Terms of Reference
- submitted a response to the Government's consultation on the Terms of Reference.
We will also be taking part in the Commission’s community consultation sessions during May 2019.
Productivity Commission inquiry into Mental Health
The Australian Government has tasked the Productivity Commission with conducting an inquiry into the effect of mental health on people’s ability to participate in and prosper in the community and workplace, and the effects it has more generally on our economy and productivity. It will look at how governments across Australia, employers, professional and community groups in health and non-health sectors can contribute to improving mental health for people of all ages and cultural backgrounds.
As a significant provider of services and programs for people experiencing disadvantage, Uniting is strongly aware of the impact of life experiences or circumstances on mental health. We commend the Commission for recognising the crucial role of both health and non-health sectors, including employment, housing and social services, to support people with a mental illness and improve overall population mental health. You can read our submission here.
The Commission may seek additional information and feedback following the release of a draft report (date TBC) so we will continue to look out for further opportunities to be involved. The final inquiry report is to be handed to the Australian Government by 23 May 2020.
Mental health is a priority focus for Uniting Vic.Tas in the lead-up to the Federal Election. Recent budget announcements are welcomed but we will continue to call for government action on the following:
- Increase the range and availability of services through psychosocial support programs for people not eligible for the NDIS
- Review current mental health services funding arrangements to provide longer-term investment and make it easier for services to demonstrate return on investment
- Review Medicare provisions to better recognise the need for longer term treatment and support, including the expansion of the number of sessions provided under Mental Health Plans from 10 to 20 sessions.
The mental health system
Victoria’s mental health system is made up of a patchwork of services. These include:
- primary care
- community-based services
- alcohol and other drug treatment
- specialist and clinical services,
- the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
This can mean that people who need support have difficulty finding the right service and getting the help they need.
The impact of the NDIS
The introduction of the NDIS is transforming the disability and mental health sector. We welcome increased choice and control for individuals with disability and their families/carers. But we are seeing that there are people whose mental health issues do not make them eligible for the NDIS. We want to make sure that those people can also get the support they need.