Australia’s first National Mental Health Commission, launched Jan 23, 2012 has been welcomed by Mental Health Carers Arafmi Australia (MHCAA).MHCAA Executive Officer, Warren Jenkins, said the Commission came at a time of significant change and hoped-for improvement in mental health in Australia.
The launch coincides with the first nationwide survey to grade Australia's mental health services and the release of the draft 10-year Roadmap for Mental Health.
Mr Jenkins said Mr Butler had acknowledged that the mental health system is "characterised by bad planning and service gaps". The survey would allow carers to express their viewpoint about service delivery matters which the MHCAA welcomes. Mr Jenkins said he welcomed comments by Mental Health Minister Mark Butler that the report card from the survey would cast a spotlight on mental health through surveying people with a mental illness and their carers.
“For most people with a mental illness, carers are vital. Including carers as partners in the decision-making process at government, hospital and medical practitioner levels is crucial,” he said.
“MHCAA, representing six Arafmi mental health carer organisations across Australia, is ready to assist in gathering carer support for the national survey.
“The new $32 million Commission, with Professor Allan Fels AO at its head, provides a stronger co-ordinating focus and change-of-direction that is welcomed by the many people directly and indirectly impacted by mental health issues.”
“Professor Fels has said the Commission will provide cross-sector leadership in mental health and drive transparency and accountability in the system to deliver better outcomes for consumers and carers which we wholeheartedly support.”
Mr Jenkins noted that Professor Fels is MHCAA’s patron and is himself carer of a daughter with a mental illness.
“We also welcome the appointment of Ms Jackie Crowe, a carer, as a member of the Commission. MHCAA will work closely with her to ensure that the carer viewpoint is understood on this national body.
“With one-in-five Australians touched by mental issues, the implications are clearly profound for the rest of the nation with its two million carers,” he said.
Media contact: Mr Jenkins is available for media interview. Phone 0400 340 100