“The recommendations across these reports outline important ways we can improve the provision of mental health care and support across the nation. We particularly welcome the establishment of a new intergovernmental agreement on mental health and suicide prevention. Unless we get clear agreement on how the Commonwealth and States and Territories will work to together, determine their respective responsibilities and fund appropriately, we will not make significant inroads to meeting the mental health needs of our community,” said Heath.
“We are delighted with the recommendation to develop a National Stigma Reduction Strategy led by the National Mental Health Commission. This is consistent with SANE’s recommendation for action as part of the National Stigma Report Card project and foundational to achieving social inclusion, participation and better health outcomes for people experiencing mental health issues,” he said.
“The Productivity Commission’s report acknowledged that many people are not receiving the support they need and that stigma has a considerable impact on people’s experience of seeking support. It is imperative that this strategy prioritises the needs of people affected by complex mental health issues, who experience stigma in a significant and profound way,” he said.
SANE Australia’s Anne Deveson Research Centre recently launched the National Stigma Report Card, sharing the experiences of stigma and discrimination across several life domains from almost 2,000 Australians living with complex mental health issues.
The National Stigma Report Card called for a comprehensive, national, multifaceted and centrally funded stigma-reduction program focused on changing social attitudes to complex mental health issues is needed to ensure all Australians can live long and fulfilling lives, free from stigma and discrimination.
The National Stigma Report Card also highlighted the need to ensure people with lived experience of complex mental health issues play a central role in training, service planning and ongoing oversight for health and social services, an aspiration also shared in the Commission’s Final Report.
“We have to develop a flexible, person-centred mental health system that is driven by the needs of people with a lived experience of mental health issues, as well as those who love and care for them. Providing resources for people to better design, direct and make decisions about their care is the basis of a strong mental health system,” said Anne Deveson Research Centre Director and SANE Australia Deputy CEO Dr Michelle Blanchard.
“We are optimistic about the suite of proposed reforms, but it is also critical that any reform activity is informed by the expertise of people living with mental health issues, their families and friends. It is only by having lived experience front and centre in the design, development and implementation of these reforms that we will be on the path to ensuring that everyone is treated with dignity and respect.” she said.
“We look forward to working with the Australian Government in prioritising and urgently implementing key reforms to make a real difference in the lives of people affected by complex mental health issues.” she said.