The impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of people has been felt deeply across communities in Queensland. The rapid change led the Queensland Alliance for Mental Health to realise an opportunity to develop a new vision for how we respond, adapt and deliver mental health supports in the community and how we need to shift focus toward an approach that fosters wellbeing in the community rather than on illness.
The Queensland Alliance for Mental Health has undertaken the Future Visioning Project to envision the necessary transformations and adaptations to be made in the future within the community mental health and wellbeing sector.
As the ongoing effects of COVID-19 have caused significant changes to our daily lives including the ways in which we work and socialise, it is highly important that the sector develops a strong vision for the future to ensure that people requiring mental healthcare will continue to have their needs met throughout these uncertain times and that the sector is equipped to handle the impacts of the current public mental health crisis.
Change has been needed in the community mental health and wellbeing sector for many years and these impacts from COVID-19 have further highlighted the need for systemic and cultural transformation in this space.
The project has been undertaken in collaboration with futurist Jose Ramos, Director at Action Foresight, and has involved frequent consultation with other organisations and peak bodies within the community mental health sector such as the Queensland Mental Health Commission, Mental Health Australia, PHNs and Community Mental Health Service Providers.
This consultation has so far identified the potential impacts of COVID-19 on community mental health and wellbeing and has assisted QAMH in working toward developing a preferred vision for the future.
A variety of ideas for systemic and cultural transformations within the sector have been envisioned throughout this process. Some of these ideas include greater integration and collaboration between service providers and communities, developing a more bottom-up community design of services and a heightened focus on how mental health services adapt to the needs of individuals.
These ideas along with many others will be collected along with further research and consultation with members of the public to develop a report outlining the vision and direction of the future for the community mental health and wellbeing sector in Queensland.