Date published: 
23 March 2017
Media type: 
Media release
General public

The Turnbull Government is establishing a new mental health advisory panel to support our commitment to improve services to those that need them.

Mental health is a deep personal passion and a significant issue of national importance. It is a key element of our Long Term National Health Plan.

The Primary Health Network Advisory Panel on Mental Health will work closely with the Turnbull Government on its plan to deliver more frontline mental health services.

I am delighted to announce Mental Health Australia CEO Frank Quinlan and National Mental Health Commission CEO Dr Peggy Brown will be the inaugural co-chairs.

The Primary Health Network Advisory Panel on Mental Health will serve four main functions:

  • To review and provide guidance regarding the mental health plans developed by the 31 PHNs nationally;
  • To review and provide advice on the guidelines for mental health commissioning provided to the PHNs;
  • Provide advice on strategies to support the PHNs to effectively carry out their commissioning responsibilities in mental health;
  • Provide recommendations on ongoing governance and coordination of PHN’s commissioning of mental health services.

I have met with many organisations active in the mental health field to discuss the progress of our significant reforms.

All agree that targeting mental health support, care and funding at a regional level through the PHNs is the right approach.

But like any major reform, the scale and pace of change presents challenges.

Both Mr Quinlan and Dr Brown will ensure our significant funding of mental health services, through the 31 Primary Health Networks across Australia, delivers support where it is needed.

They are both extremely well qualified and have played a significant role in creating awareness and understanding around mental health issues and the type of services needed to treat them.

Four million Australians have a chronic or episodic mental health episode each year which effectively means almost every family has been touched by mental health challenges.

Primary Health Networks (PHNs) have substantial responsibilities in mental health:

  • They plan and commission primary mental health care services at the regional level;
  • They plan and coordinate the clinical service needs of people with severe and complex mental illness who are managed in primary care;
  • They implement evidence-based stepped care;
  • They integrate services in partnership with state and territory governments, general practitioners, non-government organisations, National Disability Insurance Scheme providers and other related services, organisations and providers.

Since coming into the portfolio the number one topic people stop to talk to me about is mental health and I am determined to do everything I can to deliver better outcomes for those that need support.