Roadmap for National Mental Health Reform

Friday, 7 December 2012

On 7 December 2012, COAG reaffirmed its commitment to mental health reform, endorsing a the Roadmap for National Mental Health Reform 2012-22.


The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) is committed to mental health reform as an ongoing national priority. We are determined to keep working toward creating real improvement in the lives of people with mental illness, their families, carers and communities.

Our long term aspiration is for a society that: values and promotes the importance of good mental health and wellbeing; maximises opportunities to prevent and reduce the impact of mental health issues and mental illness; and supports people with mental health issues and mental illness, their families and carers to live contributing lives.

All governments are committed to reducing stigma and discrimination in society; significantly reducing suicide rates; and ensuring that people affected by mental health issues and their families have access to appropriate services and supports, stable and safe homes, and are able to participate successfully in education and employment.

This Roadmap outlines the direction governments will take over the next 10 years. Over recent years many governments have significantly increased their expenditure on mental health.  Implementation of this Roadmap by jurisdictions will ensure this money is well spent and delivers better models of care and support for people with mental illness, thereby creating more cost-effective and sustainable interventions.  It is about better targeting the existing funds where they are needed and to the right models of care.

COAG notes the recent release of the National Mental Health Commission’s first annual National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, which was developed concurrently to the Roadmap, and acknowledges the strong calls for mental health to remain a key priority on the COAG agenda. COAG also recognises that its vision can only be achieved through close cooperation throughout the sector, in particular with consumers and carers, and that policy should be guided by and respond to people’s lived experience. We will build and learn from qualitative and quantitative evidence to ensure we make the best of investment and provide the right models of care.

To make this happen, COAG will establish new governance and accountability arrangements that will directly engage stakeholders and ensure that governments are held to account. These new arrangements, including the establishment of a new COAG Working Group on Mental Health Reform, supported by an Expert Reference Group, are set out in the Roadmap.  They will maintain commitment, momentum and high level, cross-portfolio involvement across all governments.

The COAG Working Group will develop, for COAG’s consideration by mid-2014, a successor to the Fourth National Mental Health Plan, which will set out how the Roadmap will be implemented. Jurisdictions’ own plans will remain the key documents for setting out the specific details of how they will work towards achieving the national vision.

The Roadmap Annex contains a preliminary set of indicators and targets to monitor progress by all governments. These provide a starting point for further work, with stakeholders, to identify specific whole-of-life and outcome-based national indicators and targets which are the right ones to show whether progress has been made towards COAG's aspirational targets and Roadmap Vision.

The journey of mental health reform in this country is an ongoing and evolving one. The purpose of this Roadmap is to set us in the right direction.