Priority 1: Improving the community-based mental health response

NSW has relied heavily on hospitals to support people with persistent or acute mental illness. While there will always be an essential role for hospitals to care for people when they are experiencing a crisis, research evidence clearly shows people recover better when they are supported with appropriate and adequate services in their own homes and communities.

This is a 2015-18 priority because

  • Many people with severe mental illness – some of the most vulnerable in our community – continue to experience extreme distress as a consequence of being separated from their families, friends, work and regular activities. As a matter of justice, we need urgently to do better by them.
  • By investing more strongly in community-based mental health services, we will be able to make a positive difference in the lives of more people, while taking the pressure off hospitals. This will make it more likely that people experiencing an acute episode of mental illness can find a hospital bed when they need it.

2015-2017 Projects

NSW NDIS and Mental Health Analysis Partnership Project

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) offers a unique opportunity to extend person-centred support to people with significant and permanent disability. The Commission has worked since 2013 with the Mental Health Coordinating Council at the NSW NDIS pilot site in the Hunter region, to learn how the NDIS applies to people with psychosocial disability resulting from mental illness, and to ensure their needs are prominently considered as the NSW and national rollouts take shape.

Living Well Actions 4.4.1 and 5.1.2

Community visits and sector reviews

The Commission will continue its program of visits to communities across NSW, to explore the capacity of Government and community-managed organisations to respond appropriately to people’s mental health needs in or close to their own home. These visits are intended to enhance the Commission’s understanding of any barriers to wider implementation of community-based support. They are also an opportunity to identify and highlight programs and projects that successfully embody community-based support and recovery values, which may serve as models for reform in other regions.

Living Well Action 5.1.1


NSW Synergy Pilot: an Integrated eMental Health Ecosystem

The Commission has contracted the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre to pilot an integrated system of both online and face-to-face mental health support for young people aged 12 to 25 in NSW. The project has the potential to increase access to services, reduce stigma, and reduce the demand for face-to-face support so that it can be more readily available and effective for those who most need it. The pilot will be based on a suite of services, apps and tools to improve mental health and wellbeing, aligned to a common set of standards, interfaces and technologies. It will enable young people to connect with digital data captured through different apps and interactions with services, and use this information to manage their own wellbeing and mental health.

Living Well Actions 8.4.1 and 8.4.3

Mental Health Atlas

The Commission has contracted the University of Sydney to map all services for people experiencing mental illness and their families in in the far west of NSW. The project will classify services according to their main care structure or activity, as well as their level of availability and utilisation. It will provide the state’s first inventory of available mental health services, from which it will be possible to derive benchmarks and comparisons with other regions of NSW. This will inform services planning and the allocation of resources where they are most needed.

Living Well Action 5.1.1

Last updated: 30 March 2017

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