A Contributing Life: the 2012 National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, is the independent National Mental Health Commission's inaugural annual report card and is a world first of its kind. Built on the personal stories of people who aren't often heard : people with a lived experience of mental health difficulty, their families and supporters : the report card views mental health as an issue affecting every aspect of the life of a person; a "whole-of-life approach". Its theme, "A Contributing Life", recognises that people with mental health difficulties need the same things as everyone else: a stable home, a decent education, a job, family, friends and healthy relationships, good treatment and access to services and rights.
Launching the report card, Prof Fels said: "It is important that the Prime Minister gave mental health a seat at the top table, making it a matter for Premiers and Chief Ministers, and putting mental health in her portfolio. The Commission has been given the independence and permission we need to 'tell it like it is'. This report uncovers some difficult truths that it will be very difficult to walk away from.
Australia leads the world in progressive mental health policy, but it falls down in delivery. The report card paints a big reform picture, makes 10 specific recommendations, and calls for change in a range of areas where the Commission believes action can and must start now. For example:
· reducing the early death of Australians with severe mental illness and improving their physical health
· minimising the use of seclusion and restraint
· increasing access to mental health services from 6-8 to 12% of Australia's population
· making the mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples a higher priority
· stopping people from being discharged from mental health services into homelessness or unstable homes
· increasing the employment rates of people with mental illness and paying greater attention to supporting them at work
· increasing access to home based visiting to support families and children
· providing effective, local interventions to prevent suicide
A series of short videos telling the real stories of real people has also been developed to help engage Australians in the theme of each chapter and bring mental health into the public spotlight as well.
Mental health services need to be improved: report (ABC)
Mental Health Commission reports 'massive' problems with services