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Community-wide reform the goal for mental health.



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MediaRelease SENATOR THE HON KAY PATTERSON Minister for Health and Ageing

Suite MG 48 • Parliament House • Canberra ACT 2600 • Tel: (02) 6277 7220 • Fax: (02) 6273 4146

COMMUNITY-WIDE REFORM THE GOAL FOR MENTAL HEALTH

18 September 2003 The Australian Government today pledged its renewed commitment to mental health reform under the National Mental Health Plan 2003-2008, announcing funding of key projects that underlie the Plan’s emphasis on prevention and early intervention.

Federal Minister for Health and Ageing Senator Kay Patterson said the Plan, signed by Australian Health Ministers at their 31 July Conference and released today, was a prime example of what could be achieved by Commonwealth, state and territory governments working together.

“For ten years, our governments have united in a national effort of reform under the National Mental Health Strategy and the achievements have been considerable,” Senator Patterson said.

“Since the first Plan in 1993, we have made major shifts in the settings and workforce that provide care for people with a mental illness and have strengthened the capacity of the mental health system to respond to their needs.

“We have also worked hard to establish a new emphasis in mental health care, from a focus on treatment to prevention, early intervention, rehabilitation and recovery,” she said.

Senator Patterson said that the National Mental Health Plan 2003-2008 presented a blueprint to build upon the policy platform that has been put in place so firmly over the past decade.

“The 34 outcomes under the National Mental Health Plan 2003-2008 are defined by four themes,” Senator Patterson said. “These are: emphasising mental health promotion and prevention; increasing responsiveness to consumers and carers across all mental health and related services; strengthening quality; and fostering research and innovation across the

sector for sustainable programs and services.

In line with these themes, Senator Patterson announced funding for three separate suicide prevention initiatives in Western Australia, South Australia, and the ACT, totalling close to $700,000, as well as extended funding of more than $3.6 million to the Australian Network for Promotion, Prevention and early Intervention for Mental Health (Auseinet).

“Our suicide prevention initiatives work in partnership with local communities to build resources to support people at risk of suicide and self-harming behaviours,” Senator Patterson said.

“Auseinet focuses on education, training and capacity building within the wider health sector and beyond, helping embed promotion, prevention and early intervention into mainstream practice.

“This funding will enable these programs to continue their inroads into mental health promotion and suicide prevention in Australia,” Senator Patterson said.

The National Mental Health Plan 2003-2008 was developed by a steering committee comprising consumers, carers, service providers, researchers and policymakers, convened by the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Committee.

For more information: Randal Markey, Media Adviser, (02) 62777220