The much anticipated first ever National Report Card into Mental Health and Suicide Prevention was released this morning, with Prof Allan Fels, Chair of the National Mental Health Commission, describing the statistics related to physical illness and early death among people with a mental health difficulty as “appalling”.

The report card also found: people with a severe mental illness, on average, live for 25 years less than other Australian because they have an increased likelihood of heart related conditions, diabetes and obesity; and physical health and mental health are “weaved intricately together” and should be treated in relation to one another.

Upon releasing the report card, the Commission said that whilst Australia leads the world, with progressive mental health policy, it fell down in delivery.  The report card identifies 4 priorities for action and makes 10 recommendations:

    1. A Regular independent survey of people’s experiences of and access to all mental health services to drive improvement.
    2. Increase access to timely and appropriate mental health services and support from 6-8 to 12 percent of Australians.
    3. Reduce the use of involuntary practices and work to eliminate seclusion and restraint.
    4. Governments must set targets and work together to reduce early death and improve the physical health of people living with mental illness.
    5. Include the mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in ‘Closing the Gap’ targets.
    6. A national commitment to safety and quality of care for mental health services.
    7. Invest in healthy families and communities to increase resilience and reduce crisis services.
    8. Increase the levels of participation of people with mental health difficulties in employment to match best international levels.
    9. Increase access to stable and safe places so that no one is discharged from hospitals, custodial care, mental health or drug and alcohol related treatment services into homelessness.
    10. Prevent and reduce suicides and support those who attempt suicide through timely local responses and reporting.

Aftercare’s Miller Relocation Program was a Crisis Accommodation Service located in the Liverpool Area.  Today we are excited to announce that the program is no longer a Crisis Accommodation Service, but now a Long Term Accommodation Service with a new name – Marinya (meaning ‘to care for’).

During the search for a new name, Aftercare contacted Aboriginal Elders from the Casula and Ingleburn areas (in consultation with Robyn Albert, Aftercare’s Aboriginal Services Team Leader) to find a name which had Aboriginal origins and was specific to the location of our service.  Clients and staff were also consulted and ‘Marinya’ was chosen as the most suitable name.

In recognition of Mental Health Week in Western Australia, a client and support worker from Aftercare’s Individualised Community Living Strategy (ICLS) were featured in an advertisement for Lotterywest’s Grant Program (see left).

The photograph is now being used by Lotterywest to promote their Grants Program which provides funds to different Western Australian charities, community groups and local government authorities for their community service programs and activities.