Mental health conditions are extremely common, affecting up to 50 per cent of Australians over their lifetime. Mental health conditions are distressing, potentially disabling and associated with reduced life expectancy from suicide and/or physical health problems.
- Mental health conditions impact not only an individual’s health and wellbeing, but their participation at home, the community, and school or work. People with mental health conditions often have reduced life expectancy, lower educational outcomes; are often excluded from the workforce, and if they do work, they are more likely to be in lower quality and/or insecure jobs; and are more reliant on income support. Effective support can prevent or reduce these impacts and enable people to live full and productive lives.
- While the number of people who access support has increased, people often report poor experiences of care. The National Mental Health Commission's 2014 national review of mental health programmes and services found that distressed and vulnerable people are often dealing with a difficult service system. It also revealed appropriate supports and services are not available or are provided too late; and the system does not always consider the person's education, employment, housing, and physical health care needs.
- In response to the National Mental Health Commission’s review of mental health programmes and services the Australian Government has introduced some changes to make it easier for people living in Australia to get help for depression, anxiety and suicide. Read more about what the mental health reform package includes in this news item.
Beyond Blue’s policy and advocacy focus
Beyond Blue is advocating for a mental health system that:
- delivers recovery-oriented, person-centred, and trauma-informed care, which empowers people with depression and anxiety to make decisions about their health care and take responsibility for their own recovery and wellbeing.
- adopts a comprehensive approach to mental health that includes different sectors (such as health, education and employment), working together in promotion, prevention, early intervention, active intervention and recovery and keeping people well.
- responds to a person’s ‘whole-of-health and whole-of-life’ needs, and is delivered in places that enable people to live full and productive lives – at school, work, home and in the community.
- provides flexible services to meet the different circumstances and needs of people with depression and anxiety. Beyond Blue particularly wants to see more focus on self-management options, peer support, brief intervention and low intensity interventions, including e-mental health programs for people affected by depression and anxiety.
- provides services that are integrated, which are easy to access and navigate.