The National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Agreement stems from the 2021-22 Federal Budget. This budget included a $2.3 billion investment in mental health reforms as the Australian Government’s response to the 2020 Productivity Commission’s report, which detailed the mental health emergency facing the nation and the economic rationale for widescale reform.
As many of the initiatives included in the budget involved both federal and state responsibilities a National Agreement was needed to further clarify how these reforms would be delivered and funded in the longer term.
At this stage, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory have signed their bilateral agreements.
The National Agreement details the intentions of signatories including:
- A recognition of the role of social determinants on people’s mental health and wellbeing, and the intention to facilitate a whole-of-system approach
- A commitment that lived experience should be embedded in the design, planning, delivery and evaluation of services
- An increased focus on prevention and early intervention
- Acknowledging the need to reduce system fragmentation, gaps and duplication
- Supporting and enhancing the capability of the workforce to meet current and future needs
- Ensuring the mental health needs of Australia’s rural, regional and remote communities are equitably addressed
- Facilitating local responses to address the unique needs of communities
- A commitment to joint regional planning and commissioning
- Recognising the need to work together to close the gap for vulnerable groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse and LGBTIQ+ communities