Good mental health is important to us all. Mental health and AOD promotion and prevention averts distress, disadvantage and disability for individuals and results in fewer people needing costly services across the health and human service sectors.
Why is this important?
Good mental health helps people to get the most out of life. It builds resilience, buffers against adversity, reduces the chances of physical illness, promotes recovery and increases life expectancy.
It contributes to Queensland’s long-term social and economic prosperity through better health education and employment outcomes, increased productivity, community participation, social capital and community cohesion.
Effective mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention and harm reduction strategies require actions at individual, community and broader societal levels.
Cross-sector policy and resources must be focused on strengthening positive mental health, recognising problems early and preventing mental illness and problematic AOD use.
Strengthening mental health and wellbeing
Our mental health and wellbeing is influenced by many factors, from our everyday experiences and settings to the broader social and economic environment.
Actions to support good mental health and wellbeing must be taken at the individual, community and broader societal levels.
Getting in early
Getting in early in life, early in vulnerability and at the early stage of mental illness, problematic AOD use and suicidality improves outcomes for individuals, families, communities and workplaces.
It can also reduce the medium to long term costs to the health, education, welfare, justice and other systems.
1. Increase mental health, AOD and suicide prevention literacy
Strengthen awareness of mental health, mental illness, problematic AOD use and suicide risk. Priority actions for consideration include:
- Expand universal and targeted programs for Queenslanders to promote and protect their own and others mental health and wellbeing, as well as identify early signs that require support and intervention
- Co-design evidence-based strategies with people with a lived experience to change attitudes and practices that entrench stigma, disadvantage and exclusion
- Increase the capacity of government agencies to identify mental health and wellbeing and AOD impacts of new and existing policies, programs and practices.
2. Promote best start in life
Develop a cross-sectoral best start approach for improving health, social, emotional and economic outcomes for infants and their families. Priority actions for consideration include:
- Ensure the social and economic conditions that support quality family environments
- Enhance quality of parenting skills and care
- Provide access to universal infant, child and family programs and services
- Support high-quality early childhood education programs
- Provide early intervention and intensive supports for families at higher risk of experiencing mental health and AOD difficulties.
3. Strengthen mentally healthy environments
Work with government, non-government and community partners to promote and protect mental health and wellbeing across the lifespan. Priority actions for consideration include:
- Strengthen whole-school approaches to prevention, early detection and intervention of emerging mental health conditions, problematic AOD use and vulnerability for suicide. This includes coordination and integration of existing Queensland strategies and implementation of the National Education Initiative
- Strengthen community wellbeing by expanding and developing community infrastructure to promote, support and coordinate mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention activities. This includes a focus on neighbourhood centres and other community and place-based non-government organisations
- Strengthen workplace mental health by increasing awareness of the important role workplaces play in enhancing mental health and wellbeing:
- guide workplaces on systematic approaches to workplace mental health and problematic AOD use
- increase the capability of Queensland employers to create inclusive and mentally healthy workplaces
- explore options for incentivising workplaces and industries to adopt mentally healthy workplace practices.
4. Increase early intervention responses
Collaboratively develop early intervention responses to address diverse needs and experiences. Priority actions for consideration include:
- Embed proactive planning and support for children and young people involved with the child protection and/or youth justice systems, with a focus on emotional, social and physical wellbeing, and pathways to participation and inclusion
- Develop a comprehensive, cross-sectoral approach to improving mental health and wellbeing for older people, including early detection and intervention. This will build on and take into account Commonwealth enhancements aimed at mental health and residential settings and keeping older people in their homes
- Expand early intervention capacity and responses to address the specific needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, rural and remote communities, people living with disability and people who identify as LBGTIQ+.