The National Mental Health Strategy was endorsed by all Australian Health Ministers in 1992 and committed all governments to a reform process aimed at achieving major improvements in the quality and range of mental health services available to the community. Through various changes in government at the federal, state and territory levels, the National Mental Health Strategy has continued as a bipartisan reform agenda and the National Mental Health Report series has been maintained as the principal vehicle for monitoring reform progress.
This report is the eleventh in the National Mental Health Report series released by the Australian Government. It summarises the progress of mental health reform undertaken over the fifteen years of the National Mental Health Strategy, and provides a view of trends and performance at the national and state and territory levels over the period spanning the First, Second and Third Mental Health Plans from 1993 to 2008.
There has been significant change during the past fifteen years of mental health reform. All governments have increased their reform efforts in recent times with significant investments in clinical and community support services. Several governments have appointed Ministers with specific responsibility for mental health reform, highlighting their strengthened commitment to mental health as a national health priority area.
However, as stakeholders have emphasised, the system needs an overhaul to build a modern system of mental health care in Australia.