Priority area 1. Social inclusion and recovery
Priority area 2. Prevention and early intervention
Priority area 3. Service access, coordination and continuity of care
Priority area 4. Quality improvement and innovation
Priority area 5. Accountability - measuring and reporting progress

Priority area 1. Social inclusion and recovery


The community has a better understanding of the importance and role of mental health and wellbeing, and recognises the impact of mental illness.

People with mental health problems and mental illness have improved outcomes in relation to housing, employment, income and overall health and are valued and supported by their communities.

Service delivery is organised to provide more coordinated care across health and social domains.


Improve community and service understanding and attitudes through a sustained and comprehensive national stigma reduction strategy.

Coordinate the health, education and employment sectors to expand supported education, employment and vocational programs which are linked to mental health programs.

Improve coordination between primary care and specialist mental health services in the community to enhance consumer choice and facilitate 'wrap around' service provision.

Adopt a recovery oriented culture within mental health services, underpinned by appropriate values and service models.

Develop integrated programs between mental health support services and housing agencies to provide tailored assistance to people with mental illness and mental health problems living in the community.

Develop integrated approaches between housing, justice, community and aged care sectors to facilitate access to mental health programs for people at risk of homelessness and other forms of disadvantage.

Lead the development of coordinated actions to implement a renewed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social and Emotional Well Being Framework.Top of page

Priority area 2. Prevention and early intervention


People have a better understanding and recognition of mental health problems and mental illness. They are supported to develop resilience and coping skills.

People are better prepared to seek help for themselves and to support others to prevent or intervene early in the onset or recurrence of mental illness.

There is greater recognition and response to co-occurring alcohol and other drug problems, physical health issues and suicidal behaviour. Generalist services have support and access to advice and specialist services when needed.


Work with schools, workplaces and communities to deliver programs to improve mental health literacy and enhance resilience.

Implement targeted prevention and early intervention programs for children and their families through partnerships between mental health, maternal and child health services, schools and other related organisations.

Expand community based youth mental health services which are accessible and combine primary health care, mental health and alcohol and other drug services.

Implement evidence based and cost effective models of intervention for early psychosis in young people to provide broader national coverage.

Provide education about mental health and suicide prevention to front line workers in emergency, welfare and associated sectors.

Coordinate state, territory and Commonwealth suicide prevention activities through a nationally agreed suicide prevention framework to improve efforts to identify people at risk of suicide and improve the effectiveness of services and support available to them.

Expand the level and range of support for families and carers of people with mental illness and mental health problems, including children of parents with a mental illness.

Develop tailored mental health care responses for highly vulnerable children and young people who have experienced physical, sexual or emotional abuse, or other trauma.Top of page

Priority area 3. Service access, coordination and continuity of care


There is improved access to appropriate care, continuity of care and reduced rates of relapse and re-presentation to mental health services.

There is an adequate level and mix of services through population based planning and service development across sectors.

Governments and service providers work together to establish organisational arrangements that promote the most effective and efficient use of services, minimise duplication and streamline access.


Develop a national service planning framework that establishes targets for the mix and level of the full range of mental health services, backed by innovative funding models.

Establish regional partnerships of funders, service providers, consumers and carers and other relevant stakeholders to develop local solutions to better meet the mental health needs of communities.

Improve communication and the flow of information between primary care and specialist providers, and between clinical and community support services, through the development of new systems and processes that promote continuity of care and the development of cooperative service models.

Work with emergency and community services to develop protocols to guide and support transitions between service sectors and jurisdictions.

Improve linkages and coordination between mental health, alcohol and other drug and primary care services to facilitate earlier identification of, and improved referral and treatment for, mental and physical health problems.

Develop and implement systems to ensure information about the pathways into and through care is highly visible, readily accessible and culturally relevant.

Better target services and address service gaps through cooperative and innovative service models for the delivery of primary mental health care.Top of page

Priority area 4. Quality improvement and innovation


The community has access to information on service delivery and outcomes on a regional basis. This includes reporting against agreed standards of care including consumer and carer experiences and perceptions.

Mental health legislation meets agreed principles and, in conjunction with any related legislation, is able to support appropriate transfer of civil and forensic patients between jurisdictions.

There are explicit avenues of support for emerging and current leaders to implement evidence based and innovative models of care, to foster research and dissemination of findings, and to further workforce development and reform.


Review the Mental Health Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

Review and where necessary amend mental health and related legislation to support cross border agreements and transfers of people under civil and forensic orders, and scope requirements for the development of nationally consistent mental health legislation.

Develop and commence implementation of a National Mental Health Workforce Strategy that defines standardised workforce competencies and roles in clinical, community and peer support areas.

Increase consumer and carer employment in clinical and community support settings.

Ensure accreditation and reporting systems in health and community sectors incorporate the National Standards for Mental Health Services.

Further develop and progress implementation of the National Mental Health Performance and Benchmarking Framework.

Develop a national mental health research strategy to drive collaboration and inform the research agenda.

Expand and better utilise innovative approaches to service delivery including telephone and e-mental health services.Top of page

Priority area 5. Accountability - measuring and reporting progress


The public is able to make informed judgements about the extent of mental health reform in Australia, including the progress of the fourth plan, and has confidence in the information available to make these judgements. Consumers and carers have access to information about the performance of services responsible for their care across the range of health quality domains and are able to compare these to national benchmarks.


Establish comprehensive, timely and regular national reporting on the progress of mental health reform which responds to the full range of stakeholder needs.

Build an accountable service delivery system that monitors its performance on service quality indicators and makes this information available to consumers and other stakeholders.

Further develop mental health information, including national mental health data collections, that provide the foundation for system accountability and reporting.

Conduct a rigorous evaluation of the Fourth National Mental Health Plan.