Response to Health Department Consultation on Productivity Commission Recommendations on Mental Health

Having commissioned an Inquiry into mental health by the Productivity Commission, the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing has now undertaken a consultation on the recommendations contained in the Commission’s final report.

The Consultation was undertaken using an electronic survey, which has restricted the response to each question to a maximum of 500 words. Research Australia’s response to each of the questions posed by the survey is provided in our submission. Our responses emphasise:

    • the critical role of research in supporting the evaluation of existing programs and measures and the development and implementation of new programs;
    • the need to focus on implementation and scalability as part of translating research findings into new and effective preventive mental health programs; and
    • the essential role of data in evaluating the effectiveness of programs and the performance of the mental health system as a whole.

Research Australia acknowledges the contribution of our members to this submission, especially Black Dog Institute, Orygen, SANE Australia and Beyond Blue.

Mental Health and the role for research in improving outcomes

Research Australia has made a submission in response to the Productivity Commission’s Draft Report on Mental Health. Our submission has focused on recommendations related to the role of the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC), evaluation and mentoring of programs, and the role for research in improving mental health outcomes and the delivery of mental healthcare services.

We have highlighted the significant expertise in program evaluation that exists in the health economics research and health services research community, and the role it could play in supporting the NHMC in evaluating programs. Our recommendations include a role for the NHMC in sponsoring research into gaps in knowledge relating to service delivery and improving the adoption of evidence based care. We have also called for researchers to be given access to data collected and used by the NHMC.

Research Australia’s submission is available here.

Research to support Victorian Mental Health Royal Commission

Research Australia has responded to the Victorian Government’s consultation on the Terms of Reference for the Victorian Royal Commission into Mental Helath.

Research Australia has recommended the adoption of two specific Terms of Reference. Firstly, we recommended a Term of Reference to identify how health and medical research can be better utilised to:

• identify quality, effective mental health interventions (including for prevention and

early intervention);

• support the more rapid and comprehensive adoption of evidence-based

interventions and models of care in Victorian mental health services;

• improve the safety and effectiveness of Victorian mental health services; and

• develop effective quality care indicators and quality assurance mechanisms.

Secondly, we have recommended the adoption of a Term of Reference requiring the Commissioners to identify specific areas, where it becomes evident during the course of their Inquiry, that more research is needed. Research Australia’s submission is available here.

Research Australia is now awaiting the commencement of the Royal Commission, and the opportunity it provides to highlight the role research can play in improving the mental health of all Victorians.

Review of Mental Health Services and Programmes

Research Australia today lodged its submission in response to the National Mental Health Commission’s Review of Mental Health Services and Programmes. The focus of the review is on measures to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the sector, and the terms of reference specifically include mental health research.

Research Australia’s submission has focused on the better integration of research into the design, delivery and evaluation of mental health programmes and services, and the benefits this can bring through improved effectiveness and efficiency. Specific measures include the more effective collection and use of data across mental health services and an investment in infrastructure to facilitate clinical trials and comparative effectiveness research.

The submission was developed with the assistance of an expert working group drawn from Research Australia’s membership, and their contribution is gratefully acknowledged.

Review of Mental Health Services and Programmes