Mental Health Reform submission on review of A Vision for Change.
Eleven years on from publication of our national mental health policy, A Vision for Change, there is agreement across the mental health community that its implementation has been incomplete and uneven.
The recommendations of the Expert Group on A Vision for Change are still of significant value today and must be realised in full. However, there are important policy areas that were not adequately addressed in 2006 that require urgent attention, including:
• a problematic policy recommendation on services for people with a dual diagnosis of mental health difficulties and addiction, leading to barriers to people with a dual diagnosis accessing integrated care
• inadequate specification of the resources needed for mental health in primary care, leading to undue pressure on specialist services, in particular child and adolescent mental health services and unnecessarily high waiting lists for specialist treatment
• the absence of any policy around gender sensitive mental health services
• underdevelopedpolicy around culturally sensitive mental health services, and
• incomplete recommendations to support integrated mental health care that reflects the developmental progression of children through to early adulthood
In addition, there are environmental changes such as the homeless crisis, as well as other emerging issues, for example, an increasingly diverse ethnic population, which were not considered in A Vision for Change.