The Australian Mental Health System Needs a Rethink - New Report Released

By Petrina Smith
Tuesday, 11 March, 2014

A new report released today, Crossroads - Rethinking the Australian Mental Health System, shows an additional cost to the taxpayer of $9b if the structure and emphasis of the current system is maintained.
A collaboration between EY and by Inspire Foundation,  this latest report demonstrates that Australia needs to evolve the way the mental health system is oriented in this country to be more efficient and avoid becoming economically unsustainable.
“The National Mental Health Commission has challenged our sector to double the proportion of Australians who receive timely and appropriate mental health services,” explains Mr Jonathan Nicholas, CEO of by Inspire Foundation. “Our projections show that in combination with population growth, an additional $9b over 15 years would be needed to provide the extra 8,800 mental health professionals required to meet this objective”.
Crossroads is the second collaborative report on mental health from EY and by Inspire Foundation, following on from Counting the Cost – The Impact on young men’s mental health on the Australian economy released in June 2012.
EY worked with by Inspire Foundation to model the existing and projected workforce requirements in mental health sector across key professions using publicly available data on levels of help seeking; current resourcing; and salary costs.
“Crossroads highlights the urgent need to reform the mental health system in line with the Government’s efficiency agenda,” says EY CEO Rob McLeod. “To address the increased demand for services, a solution must be sought that enables more Australian’s to access mental health support that is effective, cost-efficient and sustainable,” he said.
In addition to modelling the problem, the Crossroads report provides practical, scalable recommendations that can fundamentally change the way mental health care services are delivered in Australia.
“The report advocates the need to evolve our mental health care system to a stepped care framework that provides a range of help options depending on people’s needs” Jonathan Nicholas says. “Whilst clinicians play a vital role in helping some people, a 21st century model of mental health care includes a strong focus on scalable options such as online service delivery and self-help. “It’s critical we reorientate the system to include promotion, prevention and early intervention of mental health disorders to free up clinicians to assist those in greatest need”.
The recommendations contained within the report for rethinking the structure of the mental health system in Australia are timely given the Federal Government’s imminent review of mental health services and programs.
“Australia urgently needs a 21st century system of mental health care” Jonathan Nicholas continues.

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