‘The incentives are wrong’, mental health report reveals

Australia’s mental health system is “poorly planned and badly integrated”, a damning report reveals. A greater focus on prevention would save money and improve lives.

The incentives driving mental health policy are “wrong” and should shift towards prevention, recommends the report of the National Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services, chaired by Professor Alan Fels.

The report argues “the status quo provides a poor return on investment for taxpayers, creates high social and economic costs for the community, and inequitable and unacceptable results for people with lived experience, their families and support people.”

It also noted that there was a lack of outcomes evaluation on which to judge the efficacy of many policy interventions. “In particular, there was a lack of state and territory information at the programme and regional levels, and about non-government organisation performance. Of data that was available, most focused on activity, rather than the achievement of outcomes.”

The report was provided to government in November, but was not made public until after it was leaked to Crikey yesterday and subsequently released by health minister Sussan Ley.

FREE membership to The Mandarin

Receive unlimited access, get all the latest public sector news and features, plus The Juice, our daily news update sent direct to your inbox.

The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.