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Psychological conditions and mental health issues have been recognised as diagnosable conditions that can be treated with medical intervention. Despite this, almost all the health care systems across the world lack the understanding and scope to implement mental health policies that are competent enough to achieve complete mental health parity. Under the Mental Health commission act, the health care system of New South wales implemented the programme Living Well- which is a Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014-2024. It reviews and evaluates the services and programs that are available for people who have any mental health. The commission is also responsible for research, innovation and policy development in the arena of mental health.
Mental health is a major issue that communities are facing. By introducing comprehensive policies as apart of the commission with adequate funding and accountability of services, the communities of New South wales can really benefit.
This initiative by the new south wales government to improve the overall meatal health of the community while championing the causes for improved conditions for people with mental illnesses is an extremely positive step that has led to community wide awareness about mental health issues(Scanlon 1998). A comprehensive look at the commission and policies reflect the steps take in this direction.
The policy being reviewed is the Living Well programme under the Mental Health Commission Act of 2012.
In the past few years, yearly almost 4 million people have experienced a mental illness. In New South Wales, 70% of males and 65% of females have experienced low-level of psychological distress. Almost 20% of males and 21% of females have experienced moderate-level of distress, 6% of males and 9% of females have experienced high-level of distress, and 4% of males and 5% of females experienced very high-level psychological distress (White & Roche ,2006)
The need for awareness in the system and facilities for marginalised groups with mental disabilities is imminent. The government of a country needs to do it part in creating acts and policies that enable the people with mental health conditions to live a life full of dignity and opportunities. Creation of programmes to help entire communities understand the complexities and importance of mental health should be the main prerogative.
A frame work in place that helps in highlighting the main objectives in the coming years is an excellent step in ensuring that the system is held accountable. Proper analysis of a mental health policy is the need of the hour as it helps in the co-ordination of essential services and other activities that ensure that people wit metal health conditions receive adequate care and support while in overall community too the inefficiencies fragmentation are prevented.
The prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of people with mental health problems is an issue that can be addressed in a better manner with a comprehensive mental health policy that lists out the plans of the future while creating a vision that promotes the overall mental health if entire community.
The discourse around mental health conditions is gaining impetus after generations of endless stigma around the same. Increasingly, it is now being viewed as a subject that requires shared amount of responsibility that fosters more exclusive engagement of more than two parties. From workforce culture to peer policies, schools and offices- all these places need to integrate approaches that promote mental health. This kind of activity is required at the government and at local levels (Taitz et al, 2010).
Certain factors that are overlooked in this scenario is the subjective hold of numerous conditions. These are also perpetrated by class and economic propensity issues which can further lead to difficulty in recognition of the subjects of a community. The objective should be the creation of a programme that is inclusive to meet the mental health needs of New South Wales.
The frame of reference was set out for a few main activities that included review work of the commission and how it met all the requirements and functions under the act. The principles of the policy included the provision of best mental health care and support for anyone who needed it.
The primary objective of the Living Well Plan is to support people with mental health problems to lead lives that are meaningful and devoid of dignity. The commission believes that an effective mental health system requires:
(i) a co-ordinated and integrated approach across all levels of government and the non-government sector, including in the areas of health, housing, employment, education and justice.
(ii) communication and collaboration between people who have a mental illness and their families and carers, providers of mental health services and the whole community.
Change stot h mental health act under Covid and the decade long plans of Living well reflect the mental health conditions and the ways in which the government is trying to respond to the changing pattern in a constructive and developmental manner.
In the 21st generation the population living in urban areas is the most vulnerable to mental health conditions due to the high level of stress and competition they are under at all times. It also reflects our growth as society that is unable to decipher the very basic needs of its people. Understanding the scope of discourse on the issue of mental health is important in analysing the polices and acts. New south wales has taken tremendous steps in order to integrate government and broader subject into the conversation but the policies by themselves need more strength in order to ensure their success.
Implementation of plans that are in accordance with the priorities of the mental health reform policies can only be ensured if the government understands the needs of its population well. The policy is built on the premise of equity -on e that dictates that irrespective of their status, race, culture or stage of life each citizen has the right to highest level of mental health facilities and support provided by the community. The major function of the commission was to develop a strategic plan for the mental health system in New South Wales. Following extensive stakeholder consultation, a strategic plan for mental health for the next ten years was laid out in the form of “Living Well” in addition it must be noted that the mental health commission did contribute to a wide range of outcomes in its initial five years.
The stakeholders represented in this plan are Stakeholders with lived experience of mental illness, their families and carers. Clinicians, service providers, and other stakeholders from the mental health, broader health, government, nongovernment and community sectors.
The policy of Mental Health programme of New South Wales is focused on the delivery of family friendly mental health services which includes supporting and training the staff to include families and carers exclusively in the service system and be responsive to their unique and subjective needs (Rosenburg, 2012)
The process is elaborate and requires the engagement of government and non-government bodies. Some of the functions include
The process also involves holding state wide consultations for people with the conditions and representing them in front of government, federal offices, agencies etc. the commission is also responsible for handing feedback information about the carers and the community to the government during development of future policies and reviews. The process involves development of a more responsive system that delivers person centred care while building the over all mental health care system.
The stakeholders responsible for the development of the policy were mental health professional, the officials involved with public health, government, broader health, no government and community sector representatives, the citizens who approved of the plans and bill and helped in passing them and most importantly carers.The commission reports directly to the minister of health and is also responsible for promoting the governing principles of the act which requires the public sector organisations to work in cooperation with various health agencies in order to provide for the citizens in terms of mental health facilities and services..
The policy provides ideal solution that have been trying to help the community in the past five years and plan to do the same in the coming years. The commission is New South Wales wishes to improve the overall well-being of families and carers of people with mental health problems through its various programmes. They do so by offering education and training packages to educate families and carers about the mental illnesses and their management. This includes coping skills integration and the development of resilience through instruction and training.
Provision of information and one on one support though training advocacy, co ordination via support groups and adequate resources have been extremely helpful policy solution that have helped the intended demographic immensely. Incorporation of preventive measures that Caring for the families of the patients as well as the carers through various incentives and additional needs via cultural diversity has been extremely beneficial in encouraging more and more health professional to understand the dire need of professional in this sphere.
Community building activities that foster growth and inclusion though the provision of nit just clinical service and health promotion activity but also through opportunities that are creative and dignified restores the lost confidence ad spirit amongst citizens struggling with mental health issues.
The government had decided that via the commission, the New South wales government will invest a staggering $1.9 billion in mental health in the 2017–18 Budget, which was an increase of $87 million from 2016.
The new south wales health care system has aligned itself with changing mental health trends by including wider governance and accountability on part of the system. Making health agencies and organisations across the cluster more involved regarding the mental health matters of the states goes a long way in ensuring its effectiveness and it emphasizes on the priorities of NSW health care system.
The mental health branch is effective as it has supported the maintenance of mental health legislative framework. It has also supported the NSW strategic priority system integration by staying true to their promise and delivering the mental health reforms across the state.
The commission has also been monumentally effective in recognising the needs of population groups like the Aboriginal people (Murphy 2012), young individuals from the LGBTQ community and their specific needs (Ussher 20009). The commission has also been effective in recognising the lack of opportunities available for young people who have had prior mental health problems.
The government of any state owes it citizens a life full of dignity and opportunities irrespective of their current conditions. The NSW mental health policies of Living well and mental health act commission go a long way in ensuring the new era of mental health efforts and increased awareness about an issue that was ignored up until now. The reforms may take some time to come into full practice, but active engagement of government and nongovernment agencies in this process while ensuring their accountability is the only way that all the objectives of the policy can be achieved while improving the overall mental health of the entire community.
Scanlon, K., Williams, M., & Raphael, B. (1998). Mental health promotion in NSW: conceptual framework for developing initiatives. New South Wales Public Health Bulletin, 9(4), 43-46
Taitz, J., Genn, K., Brooks, V., Ross, D., Ryan, K., Shumack, B., ... & Kennedy, P. (2010). System-wide learning from root cause analysis: a report from the New South Wales Root Cause Analysis Review Committee. Quality and Safety in Health Care, 19(6), e63-e63.
White, Edward, and Michael Roche. "A selective review of mental health nursing in New South Wales, Australia, in relation to clinical supervision." International Journal of Mental Health Nursing 15.3 (2006): 209-219.
Rosenberg, S. (2012). New governance, new hope: findings and results of the taskforce to establish a Mental Health Commission for NSW. Mental Health Review Journal, 17(4), 248-259.
Feneley, J. (2013). Living well in our community. Towards a Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW. Part, 1.
Alexander, C., & Fraser, J. (2008). General practitioners' management of patients with mental health conditions: The views of general practitioners working in rural north‐western New South Wales. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 16(6), 363-369.
Murphy, E., & Best, E. (2012). The Aboriginal Maternal and Infant Health Service: a decade of achievement in the health of women and babies in NSW. New South Wales Public Health Bulletin, 23(4), 68-72.
Ouliaris, C., & Kealy-Bateman, W. (2017). Psychiatric advance directives in Australian mental-health legislation. Australasian Psychiatry, 25(6), 574-577.
Ussher, J. M. (2009). Heterocentric practices in health research and health care: Implications for mental health and subjectivity of LGBTQ individuals. Feminism & Psychology, 19(4), 561-567.
Wand, T., & Chiarella, M. (2006). A conversation: Challenging the relevance and wisdom of separate mental health legislation. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 15(2), 119-127.
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