cohealth is one of over 7,000 individuals and groups that took the opportunity to provide input into the development of the Terms of Reference for the upcoming Royal Commission into Mental Health. This is an issue we care deeply about, given our extensive history of providing services for people experiencing mental illness, from residential accommodation to community outreach and mentoring, to interagency planning coordination.
With 45% of Victorians experiencing mental illness in their lifetime, and 3% of the population (or nearly 150,000 adults) experiencing severe mental illness each year, the key goal of the Royal Commission must be to improve outcomes for people experiencing mental health issues, particularly for groups who have disproportionately poorer outcomes.
The stories of people with lived experience of mental illness and distress, and those who care for them, must be the central focus, and foundational principle of the Royal Commission. We urge that one of the Commissioners be a person with lived experience of mental illness, and the Royal Commission actively facilitates and supports consumer participation, particularly from marginalised groups and the organisations that represent them.
cohealth’s submission highlights:
- That a wide range of culturally safe consultation methods should be used to enable as many people as possible to participate.
- That support should be provided to assist people to participate, for example, interpreters, and clinical, non-clinical and peer support before and after hearings.
- The need for participation to be evaluated as the Royal Commission progresses.
We also recommended that the Royal Commission examine a number of important issues outside the suggested themes. You can read cohealth’s full submission to Royal Commission into Mental Health Terms of Reference which includes a breakdown of all our recommendations.
The Victorian Government will announce the terms of reference and names of Commissioners in February. This will also become available on our website.
cohealth will participate in opportunities to provide further input into the Royal Commission into Mental Health to continue highlighting important issues outside the suggested themes, including:
- Addressing the causes, and the factors that contribute to, mental ill health
- Developing a mental health system that aims to support people reach their potential
- Challenging stigma and stereotypes about mental ill health.
- Examining the recovery and psychosocial rehabilitation supports for people with serious mental illness
- Improving access to, and integration of, services and continuity of care
- Providing supports and pathways for people in transinstitutional settings such as supported residential services (SRS) or prison
Fore more information about the consultation, including timelines and next steps, head to Engage Victoria.