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Ambitious plan for mental health reform launched

22 Nov 2018

Queensland has a new plan for improving the mental health and wellbeing of all Queenslanders.

Shifting minds: Queensland Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Strategic Plan 2018-2023 sets the five-year direction for reforming Queensland’s mental health and alcohol and drug systems.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said the whole-of-government plan signalled a fundamental shift in approach to creating better lives for people with a lived experience of mental illness, problematic alcohol and other drug use and affected by suicide.

“Keeping Queenslanders healthy, physically and mentally, is a priority for the Palaszczuk government,” he said.

“As a Government, we have significantly increased funding to mental health, alcohol and other drugs, and to suicide prevention.

“But we know there is more to do and more to improve.

“This plan is about guiding our future investment and initiatives to deliver a mental health, alcohol and other drugs system that is comprehensive, integrated and recovery oriented.

“We want to focus on early intervention and prevention, treating people early and in the community.”

Mr Miles emphasised that improving the mental health of Queenslanders was not just a challenge for government or the health sector alone.

“Shifting minds deliberately stretches beyond the health sector to bring together the efforts of government, non-government, community and private sectors to improve outcomes for people, the community, and the mental health system,” he said.

Queensland Mental Health Commissioner Ivan Frkovic today said the plan focused on people, and what really matters to them — living a fulfilling and meaningful life of their choosing.

“This plan takes a holistic approach to wellness and wellbeing that recognises good clinical care delivered alongside psychosocial support and a range of human and social services is vital,” he said.

“Currently the system is heavily geared towards crisis responses, when earlier intervention and prevention will help avoid more intensive hospital treatment.

“We need to shift our focus to services and supports that maintain people’s health, wellness and quality of life in the community, with hospitals being one treatment option, but a last resort,” he said.

“Having a safe, secure and affordable place to live, access to education, training and work, and good social connections are key to keeping people well.”

Mr Frkovic said the strategic plan emphasised the ‘invest to save’ principle across the health and human services sectors with regards to mental health promotion and prevention.

“We don’t want to be picking up the pieces, we want to get in early in life, and early in illness by actively supporting individuals and communities to thrive and be well most of the time.

“If we shift our mindset to getting in early with the right services and supports at the right time, we can avert distress and improve outcomes for individuals, families, communities and workplaces,” he said.

“This has universal benefit and will help reduce the medium to long-term costs to the health, education, welfare, justice and other systems.”

A Strategic Leadership Group comprised of leaders from across government and non-government, peak bodies, and people with lived experience, their carers and families will oversee, review and contribute to the strategic plan’s implementation.

Shifting minds is available on the Commission's website .