Fourth national mental health plan: first progress report of implementation activity January - December 2010

3.8 Australian Capital Territory implementation activity

Page last updated: 2011

Summary of progress by priority area January to December 2010

Summary of progress by priority area January to December 2010

Priority Area 1: Social inclusion and recovery

ACT Government continues funding support for Mental Illness Education ACT (MIEACT), supported accommodation through services such as the Society of Saint Vincent De Paul - Samaritan House, community sector services that provide vocational training and rehabilitation services such as the Social Enterprise Hub; as well as the 2010 Mental Health Week celebrations. Enhancement of education and employment options for mental health consumers is well underway through the development of the ACT Mental Health Consumer Training and Scholarship Scheme, a new collaborative between the ACT Mental Health Consumer Network, ACT Health and the Canberra Institute of Technology; and the individual Placements and Support Program.

A recovery-oriented culture is promoted through the commencement of Recovery Training for staff of Mental Health ACT. The new specialist Mental Health Assessment Unit (MHAU) in the Emergency Department of The Canberra Hospital that commenced operation in April 2010. Recovery principles are embedded in the assessment and early intervention procedures of the MHAU.

The ACT Housing Accommodation and Support Initiative (HASI) pilot also commenced in 2010; and integrates mental health clinical services, mental health support services, and housing agencies.

Services that enhance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional well-being have been improved through the establishment of MHACT Liaison Officer and Psychiatry Registrar placements at the Winnunga Nimmitija Aboriginal Health Service. ACT Government has also funded mental health and wellbeing services for at-risk young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through Gugan Gulwan Aboriginal Youth Corporation. Further to this was the introduction of the Transcultural Mental Health Community Development and Liaison Officer to the Mental Health ACT team. Top of page

Priority area 2: Prevention and early intervention

Implementation of the ACT Government's strategic mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention framework Building a Strong Foundation: 'A Framework for Promoting Mental Health and Wellbeing 2009-2014' (the Framework), launched in 2009 provides a systematic plan for enhancement of social inclusion and recovery through improved community and service understanding across the ACT. Enhancing the social equities and reducing the inequities that influence mental health and wellbeing is one of the actions areas within the Framework. A subgroup was formed to review existing PPEI resources in the ACT, and the ACT Health Promotions Branch are collaborating to develop an integrated physical and mental wellbeing promotion campaign.

Throughout 2010, the ACT Government strengthened funding for community organisations to improve mental health literacy and enhance resilience in schools, workplaces and communities through organisations such as Mental Illness Education ACT (MIEACT),Bungee and OzHelp. Additional funding was provided for Mental Health First Aid Training for Emergency Service Workers (ambulance and police), and Teachers.

ACT Health also launched the strategy - 'Managing the Risk of Suicide: A Suicide Prevention Strategy for the ACT 2009 – 2014' (the Strategy) during 2009, and then in 2010 assisted with funding from the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing implemented the Let's Talk suicide prevention campaign leading up to World Mental Health Day September 2010. This coincided with a medical campaign in the Canberra Chronicle and The Canberra Times at World Suicide Prevention Day. Further to this, forensic and corrections health clinicians participated in the 'Real Understanding in Self-Harm' program which enabling them to deliver the program to prisoners in the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC). The AMC Chaplain received training in 'Seasons of Growth' – a bereavement support program to support bereaved prisoners, and suicide prevention training was presented to clinicians at Gugan Gulwan Aboriginal Youth Corporation. The ACT Suicide Prevention Internet page was launched; and an annual seminar series program for commencement in 2011, was developed. The program aims to provide education and support for those working with vulnerable men 'Let's Talk for Men's Health'.

ACT Health entered into a research partnership with the Australian National University Centre for Mental Health Research to review both the Framework and the Strategy. Top of page

Priority area 3: Service access, coordination and continuity of care

Mental Health ACT has improved service access through the implementation of the 'No Wrong Door Policy' that aims to ensure that regardless of the points of contact with services that clients make they are actively assisted on their journey to the most appropriate service. In addition, care coordination is embedded into the practice of Mental Health ACT clinicians, and is the responsibility of all clinicians with support and monitoring from Team Leaders. Case management is embedded into assessment, recovery planning, case review, and case closure that identify services and referral pathways. The newly developed 'Link Tool' (a services directory) has been implemented and is undergoing presentation to all sectors. The aim is for all clients to have a single Recovery Plan, and the tool outlines processes for improved access, protocols and practice standards that support and promote care coordination based on the COAG National Action Plan on Mental Health and the ACT COAG Mental Health Group endorsed Care Coordination Information Paper.

During 2010, ACT Health sponsored a consultant led review of the ACT's community sector mental health services; and outcomes are soon to be published. Top of page

Priority area 4: Quality improvement and innovation

ACT Health has implemented the intersectoral Mental Health Strategic Oversight Group (SOG) to oversee and monitor the implementation of the 'ACT Mental Health Services Plan 2009 – 2014'. The SOG membership includes participants who are consumers, carers, ACT Health and community based service providers, various ACT and Australian Government departments. The plan articulates the vision for mental health services until 2020.

In addition to undergoing accreditation by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS), a monitoring and evaluation framework and tools have been developed. This includes the enhanced capacity of Mental Health ACT's information technology package MHAGIC to manage monitoring mechanisms to assess compliance, as well as the development of a new electronic clinical audit tool.

The ACT is also undertaking a review of the 'Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act 1994'. This review is being led in partnership by ACT Health and ACT Department of Justice and Community Safety. There has also been a negotiation of the ACT – Victoria Mental Health (Civil) Interstate Agreement 2010; and the ACT – SA Mental Health (Civil) Interstate Agreement 2010 (the Agreements), and consultations for the development of the 'ACT Charter of Rights for Mental Health Consumers'.

In the community mental health sector, the Mental Health Community Coalition received enhancement funding from ACT Health to introduce external quality standards, workforce standards and development of sector-wide outcomes measures in mental health sector. Top of page

Priority area 5: Accountability – measuring and reporting progress

The ACT Mental Health Strategic Oversight Group (SOG), in its role to oversee the implementation of new reforms in mental health services across the ACT through the implementation of the ACT Mental Health Services Plan 2009 – 2014 (the Plan), has necessitated the establishment of comprehensive, timely and regular reporting. This has in turn assisted with enhancement of the reporting mechanisms and reporting structure in the ACT. The SOG works closely with the Mental Health ACT Executive Group, thus improving lines of accountability and reporting; and ACT Health will present the Minister with an Annual Report on the implementation of the Plan.

ACT Health, in partnership with The Centre for Mental Health Research Australian National University, has entered into a partnership to evaluate the strategy - Building a Strong Foundation: A Framework for Promoting Mental Health and Wellbeing in the ACT 2009–2014 annually. Reports on evaluation will be submitted to the ACT Cabinet.