MHCC has released a significant new report that identifies key priorities for community mental health investment.
The report, Mental Health Matters: Future Investment Priorities for NSW, calls for greater resources for mental health services and to shift the emphasis from hospital treatment towards prevention and community support.
Compared to other states, NSW spends the lowest proportion of its mental health budget on community managed organisations. The report outlines the following three priorities for additional investment :
1) Expand supported living services and provide funding to also address the physical health needs of people with mental health conditions (HASI/CLS type supports)
2) Provide 600 Step-up, step-down places to bridge the gap between acute care and community living
3) Establish community mental health hubs with a range of co-located and peer support services
The report contributes to the debate about mental health reform and calls for the historically low funding for community mental health in NSW to be addressed.
Launched at KPMG on December 3 the report recommends targeted investment which would improve the lives of people living with mental health conditions and would be cost-effective by driving down escalating presentations to emergency departments.
Specifically, the report recommends additional funding of $180 million for HASI and CLS type supports, $88 million to establish 600 step-up, step-down places and improved community access to mental health services through community mental health hubs.
CEO of MHCC Carmel Tebbutt said “People living with mental health conditions should be able to access support services when they need them. Yet time and again we hear that people find the system hard to navigate and often don’t get assistance until a crisis occurs.
“We have worked with consumers, carers and service providers to identify the three priorities. There is strong evidence that expanding services in these three areas would improve health and social outcomes for people living with mental health conditions and reduce hospital admissions.”
KPMG have undertaken the research for the report which shows the return on investment in these initiatives will pay for itself in the short term and result in significant savings in the long term.