Priority 5: Ensuring systems and services rise to the reform challenge

Our current mental health practices are deeply embedded in structures that have taken decades to develop – buildings, funding mechanisms, organisational hierarchies and professional boundaries. Some of these structures need to change if we are to unlock the promise of reform.

This is a 2015-18 priority because

  • Fundamental system change is necessary to allow NSW to develop modern mental health responses that meet the needs of people and support their recovery. This will take years to complete; the sooner we get started, the better.
  • People who work in the mental health system do exceptional work and they are our greatest resource. They have told us they want to know what reform will mean for them, and how they can help bring about positive change. When we listen to everyone who provides mental health services and support, and communicate clearly with them, we can honour their contribution now and into the future.

2015-2017 Projects

Peer Work Hub

In 2014-15, the Commission developed evidence-based resources to support NSW agencies to develop their mental health peer workforces. The work was to build on the National Recovery Framework and work by the former Commonwealth agency Health Workforce Australia. The result is the Peer Work Hub, a website launched in May 2016 that guides employers on how to start or grow their peer workforce. The Hub includes a business case, a toolkit, and two language guides.

Living Well Actions 4.2 and 8.2

Medications and Mental Illness

Guided by its Pharmacotherapy Advisory Group, in 2014 the Commission commenced a community consultation into the use of medication in mental illness, in order to hear people’s experiences and better understand the issues they face. The Commission received more than 200 submissions and also conducted targeted consultations with key stakeholders. The findings were captured in a paper released in December 2015 that aims to influence consumers, carers and clinicians to adopt safe, recovery-oriented use of medication. To complement the paper the Commission produced a series of videos about medication that can be used in education and advocacy settings, and a postcard-size discussion guide that consumers and carers can use when talking to their healthcare professionals. The postcards were disseminated in early 2017 to 2000 pharmacies and neighbourhood centres across NSW.

Living Well Action 6.2.2 and 6.2.8

Community Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Research Network (CMHDARN)

This collaboration between the Commission, the Mental Health Coordinating Council and the Network of Alcohol and Other Drug Agencies brings together researchers and non-government organisations in mental health and drug and alcohol. The Network provides opportunities to better integrate the community-managed drug and alcohol and mental health sectors, and build intersections between the two sectors to support strategic, long-term relationships with research institutions and academics.

Living Well Action 6.3

International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL)

IIMHL was established in 2003 and is a collaboration of eight countries (Australia, England, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, USA and Sweden). It aims to provide better outcomes for people who use mental health and addiction services and their families through international sharing of innovation, networking and problem solving. The Commission, in partnership with the NSW Ministry of Health, hosted the 2017 IIMHL Exchange which saw 300 mental health leaders from around the globe gather in Australia to attend 2 days of ‘matches’ (meetings) and two days of plenary sessions. The Commission was pleased to be able to offer matches on topics previously unexplored at IIMHL Exchanges, including how urban planning can support mental health; what wellbeing is and how can we build it; and the importance of safety and quality in mental health care. Over 5800 networking connections were made between delegates, ensuring their knowledge exchange continues from their home countries. The Commission will continue to support knowledge exchange via its dissemination of content from the conference and via its membership of IIMHL.

Living Well Action 8.5

Championing Health Justice Partnerships in NSW

Health Justice Partnerships are arrangements that see health and legal professionals partner together to assist people who are experiencing disadvantage. They embody the holistic, no-wrong-door approach the NSW Government has committed to under Living Well, and since 2015 the Commission has co-chaired the NSW Health Justice Partnership Community of Practice to support and grow HJPs in NSW. In 2016 the Commission developed a position paper that explains in depth what an HJP is, how they apply in NSW and the benefits they deliver for clients and service providers. In 2017 the Commission partnered with Legal Aid NSW to host a forum for lawyers and health professionals on how they can achieve a person-centred partnership.

Living Well Actions 4.2.3 and 4.2.4 and 4.4.1

Creating an electronic database of Mental Health Review Tribunal data

In 2016 the Commission employed a researcher to gather longitudinal data from the Mental Health Review Tribunal regarding the care, treatment, detention and release of forensic patients, that is people in NSW found not guilty of an offence by reason of mental illness or found unfit to be tried and held in a corrections or mental health facility. In partnership with the University of New South Wales, the Commission has compiled the information into an electronic database to enable researchers to develop new understandings of how people move through the forensic system, and their access to treatment and rehabilitation services. 

Living Well Actions 8.5.3

Last updated: 19 June 2017

Share this