Improving the governance of South Australia's mental health services

02.07.2019
Better Services

The SA Mental Health Commission will be expanded to include Commissioners with lived experience as part of a plan to improve the governance of South Australia’s mental health services. 

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the expansion of the SA Mental Health Commission formed part of the State Government’s final response to an independent review into the effective governance of mental health services, which was released today.

“Today’s response demonstrates our commitment to delivering the highest quality mental health services for all South Australians,” Minister Wade said.  

“As part of that, we will reform the SA Mental Health Commission to have a stronger focus on bringing the voices of people with lived experience and the wider community to mental health strategy, policy and service improvement.

“The Commission will have a full-time Commissioner and two part-time Deputy Commissioners. There will be an open call for the positions with lived experience of mental health as either a consumer of services or carer being a key selection criteria.

“The current health promotion, preventative and administrative resources of the Commission will be transferred into Wellbeing SA.

“The Commission will be retained with an increased focus on engagement with consumers and carers. The secretariat for the Commission will be hosted by Wellbeing SA.

“Over the next year, further consultation will occur as the shape of both Wellbeing SA and the Mental Health Commission is finalised.

“I expect the Commission will take a holistic view of recovery, uphold human rights, and work to improve community attitudes.”

The Government broadly accepted all five recommendations contained in the Aspex Consulting review into mental health services, which was released for community consultation in March.

Stakeholder and consumer forums were held and a range of submissions were put forward as part of the consultation on the review’s recommendations. 

The recommendations include improved definitions of responsibility and accountability within the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist, and changes to minimise duplication and address gaps and similarities across a range of bodies, including the Commission.

Minister Wade said the consultation highlighted the Government’s commitment to working with people with lived experience and clinicians to improve mental health services in South Australia.

“We have consulted widely on the review and listened carefully to the feedback, in particular about the important role that the SA Mental Health Commission can fulfil in partnership with Wellbeing SA,” Minister Wade said.

“The reformed Commission will be available to co-design plans and projects in partnership with Wellbeing SA, the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist, Local Health Networks and Primary Health Networks.

“The Commission will also work with the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist on the implementation of the Mental Health Strategic and Services Plan. 

“We are committed to improving the state’s mental health services and look forward to the changes in this final response delivering better services to people with mental health issues.”

The State Government’s final response is available at www.sahealth.sa.gov.au.

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