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By 2041, it is estimated that 1.96 million people in New South Wales will be living with a mental health condition. We need to shift the balance to dramatically expand community-based mental health supports and services.
Community mental health services are a vital part of a well equipped mental health system.
Mental Health Coordinating Council’s new report Shifting the Balance: Investment priorities for mental health in NSW identifies priorities for investment which would improve outcomes for people living with mental health conditions across NSW and utilise scarce resources more effectively through reduced emergency department presentations and hospital admissions.
What we know
- It is expected that by 2041, there will be 1.96 million people in NSW living with a mental health condition.
This is based on the high rate of mental health challenges currently experienced by Australians – 1 in 5.
- There are high rates of mental health-related emergency department presentations
NSW has the lowest per capita expenditure on community managed mental health services in Australia.
- The lack of psychosocial supports available in the community is approximately 50,000 people in NSW
This is a third of the 150,000 people nationally missing out on psychosocial supports.
- There is an increased pressure on the system due to the pandemic and natural disasters
The number of people seeking support and services has significantly increased since the pandemic.
Community-managed services play a vital role in supporting people who require mental health services and supports in the community.
Read the report’s Executive Summary and an overview of the key priorities for investment and how we can shift the balance in mental health in NSW.
Report section: Executive Summary Report section: How to shift the balance in mental health
Here are the four key recommendations.
Expand the availability of psychosocial support delivered in the community for people living with mental health conditions by providing a further 10,000 Community Living Supports and Housing and Accommodation Initiative packages, at an additional investment of $365 million over four years. This scaling up would ensure barriers to access supports are lowered, offering flexible transitions into services and supports.
Establish a network of Step Up Step Down services across NSW by adding an extra 130 places, to ensure more people have access to recovery-focused residential programs that minimise the risk of hospital admission. The additional 130 places will provide services for an extra 2,000 people a year across the state, at an annual cost of $18.2 million.
Boost dedicated community-based, face-to-face, tailored and holistic psychosocial supports that address the gap in mental health services for young people. Establish an additional 10 specialist youth services located around the state and scale up the five existing Youth Community Living Support Services for young people at an additional investment of $12 million per annum.
Strengthen workforce planning to better forecast projected demand for the mental health workforce in the community-managed sector. Increase investment in a workforce development program to address current shortages and a future sustainable workforce, including the development of a peer workforce.
Mental Health Coordinating Council will continue to advocate for the community-managed sector and people living with mental health conditions to ensure they have the supports they need to live well in the community. We will work with decision makers to consider the recommendations made in this report and work with community-managed organisations to see them implemented.
We would like to thank KPMG for their assistance in the research for this report.Report section: Conclusion
Revisit the launch of the Shifting the Balance report hosted by MHCC CEO Carmel Tebbutt with featured speakers Andrew Dempster, Health Principal Director at KPMG and a panel discussion including Peter Gianfrancesco, NSW State Manager at Neami National and Priscilla Brice, CEO at BEING Mental Health Consumers.
Hear about the findings in the report, including an outline of the gaps in services compared with unmet community need, and the data that informs the call for more investment in community-based supports.