A new National Mental Health Strategy for 2022-2032 has been released

Posted 30th October 2023 in Sector news

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care has released the National Mental Health Workforce Strategy 2022-2032.

The strategy guides the development and retention of a skilled, motivated and coordinated mental health workforce that can meet the increasing mental health needs of Australians.

The mental health workforce significantly impacts Australia’s mental health system. Mental health workers are critical to providing quality care that impacts the effectiveness and sustainability of the system. Data shows that we are currently experiencing a 32% shortfall in mental health workers compared to a 2019 target, with the shortfall expected to grow to 42% by 2030 if shortages are not addressed. With recognition of current and predicated shortages in the mental health workforce, The Australian Government has released the National Mental Health Workforce Strategy 2022–2032, intending to address evolving needs of the mental health system.

The National Mental Health Workforce Strategy 2022–2032 was developed by the National Mental Health Workforce Strategy Taksforce, which was informed by five taskforce working groups, two consumer and carer roundtables, public submissions, commissioned research and the knowledge, time and expertise of the Taskforce members. The strategy was finalised through the subsequent work of the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care in consultation with state and territory governments, the National Mental Health Commission and key stakeholders.

The strategy lists four strategic pillars that will guide reform and the future direction of the mental health workforce.

Strategic pillar 1: Attract and train

This pillar acknowledges the need for growth in the capability and capacity of staff to meet future demands and the need to train the workforce to deliver quality care.

Strategic pillar 2: Maximise, distribute and connect

Pillar two explores the need for a coordinated approach to care and the ability to establish and distribute a skilled workforce across settings.

Strategic pillar 3: Support and retain

This pillar looks at the provision of supportive, safe and rewarding experiences for the workforce and what is required to attract and retain the mental health workforce.

Strategic pillar 4: Data, planning, evaluation and technology

Pillar four looks at the mental health workforce's digital technology, data, workforce planning and evaluation needs to deliver quality care.

The Australian Government will lead the strategy in collaboration with state and territory governments and key stakeholders to ensure efforts are complimentary. A National Mental Health Workforce Working Group (working group) has also been created to oversee and guide the implementation of the Strategy. The working group includes representatives from all governments and people with lived and living experience of mental health concerns and will meet periodically over the strategy period to deliver on priorities and support the implementation of the strategy. An implementation roadmap has been developed to guide the strategy in action, identifying short, medium, and long-term priorities and actions.

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