Medication and mental illness: Perspectives
2 December 2015

The development of Medication and Mental Illness: Perspectives was undertaken to explore the challenges and opportunities presented by medication as a treatment for mental illness. Specifically, the Mental Health Commission of New South Wales sought to elevate the voice of the consumers and carers and enable them to advocate for change.

The Commission published an issues paper on medication and mental illness in November 2014 and invited submissions on the topic. It also conducted focused consultations with special interest groups in February – March 2015. Over 200 submissions were received and the resulting analysis uncovered six key themes, around which the paper is structured:

  1. Medication is one treatment option: people want medication to be prescribed in conjunction with non-pharmacological therapies.
  2. Health systems, practices and recovery: prescribing takes place within a system that currently experiences challenges
  3. Taking medication: consumers and carers said that their concerns about medications were either ignored or dismissed.
  4. Medication costs: the high cost of medication can be a barrier to access
  5. Medication side effects: the unwanted effects of medication can range from mild and bearable to permanent and sometimes life threatening.
  6. Medication supported my recovery: medication can assist a return to regular routine.

The Commission’s Pharmacotherapy in Mental Health Advisory Group (PAG) was instrumental in shaping this project’s focus and methodology.

Let's talk about mental health medication

Read our medication and mental illness checklist: Let's talk about mental health medication.

See also the Medication and mental illness video playlist on the Commission YouTube channel on this topic.

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Last updated: 10 November 2020