Increasing and improving community mental health supports in Western Australia

The findings of a co-design process led by the Western Australian Association for Mental Health in partnership with the Centre for Social Impact, University of Western Australia
Health services planning Co-design Mental health promotion Rural health Community health Mental health Public health Western Australia

Community mental health supports can change an individual’s life trajectory by enabling them to better understand and manage their own personal recovery, and supporting them to live well in the community and stay out of hospital.

Increasingly, mental health policy and reform agendas – nationally and worldwide – are calling for the need to expand non-clinical community mental health support. This is based on the understanding that hospital stays, highly qualified clinicians, and medication is not always the answer for everyone, and not always the most cost effective approach.

This work combined co-design and research methods to better understand the mental health support needs of Western Australians. In particular, this project considered priority cohorts who are less likely to access support, due to service gaps or additional barriers to engagement. Young people (high school aged and young adults), family members and carers, and individuals with high acuity mental health issues and multiple unmet needs (including co-occurring alcohol and other drug issues), and people living in rural and remote WA engaged in a variety of methods to express their needs and wishes for how their mental health can be better supported.

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