The NSW Mental Health Commission is working with the community to update how it tracks and reports on the progress of mental health reform in NSW.
Throughout August, the Commission met with people with lived experience of mental health issues, families and carers, service providers and data experts to start developing new indicators that it will use to monitor and report on how efforts to improve mental health in NSW are progressing.
NSW Mental Health Commissioner Catherine Lourey said the new indicators will measure the impact of Living Well, the 10 year plan to improve mental health in NSW, but also other big changes to mental health care that people in NSW are experiencing. These include the roll out of Primary Health Networks, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.
“The community and the sector know what good mental health looks like and feels like, and that is why we are asking them how we can best measure if people’s mental health is getting better,” Ms Lourey said.
“While the Commission has existing indicators of reform that we have used in reports like One Year On, so much has changed in mental heath care in recent years that it is important now to refresh them.”
The new headline indicators will focus not just on people’s health outcomes, but also areas of their life that impact on mental health like education, employment, physical safety and housing.
Throughout August, the Commission travelled to Blacktown, Armidale and Griffith to hear from individuals and families affected by mental health issues on how they would like reform to be measured. Government agencies, service providers and data analysts have also provided input via the project’s Steering Committee and Technical Advisory Group.
In the coming months, the Commission will seek wider feedback from the whole community. Ms Lourey encouraged people to keep their eyes open for upcoming opportunities to take part.
“When governments make big changes to our mental health and social support systems, what they are really trying to do is improve people’s lives,” Ms Lourey said.
“Finding ways to monitor and report on whether people’s lives are actually getting better is a challenge, but it is an important step in knowing whether reform efforts are having the impact they are supposed to.”
Opportunities to take part will be shared in on the Commission’s website, email newsletter and social media channels in coming months.