National Mental Health Review

By April 14, 2015 News No Comments
Prof Helen Christensen, Director of Black Dog Institute and Chair of NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention
Select contents of the National Mental Health Review have been released today.

Black Dog Institute was a principal contributor of expertise and evidence to this important document. Whilst we are disappointed in the release method, we are relieved to see that  many of our recommendations have been included.

“We are very pleased the Government has acknowledged the very powerful evidence that clearly demonstrates mental health programs need to be fully integrated into day to day life,” says Prof Helen Christensen, Director of Black Dog Institute and Chair of NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention.

“Mental health can’t be something that that we only worry about once it turns bad. We need a whole systems approach that incorporates education, prevention, early intervention, access to quality treatment and ongoing support where required. Research shows that many cases of mental illness, and nearly all cases of suicide, could be prevented with these systems in place.”

Important recommendations in the review include:

  • A shift in emphasis from crisis care to prevention and early intervention, a strategy that will save considerable lives and costs in the long term.
  • The integration of suicide prevention programs into localised initiatives that simultaneously involve schools, health care providers, hospitals and emergency services.
  • Incorporation of evidence-based eHealth services into general clinical care and acknowledgement that new technology offers an effective and immediate solution to treatment access.
  • Moving away from hospital-based care to more personalised and community-focussed services where GP’s become the primary care providers.
  • Increased investment into research and the use of evidence-based programs over community-driven initiatives.

“We strongly believe that the evidence and technology is now available to improve mental health. I hope we can now work with the appropriate government, community and health system support to significantly reduce rates of mental illness and suicide in Australia,” says Prof Christensen.