Future of mental health services in focus at USC

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Future of mental health services in focus at USC


3 June 2013

The future of mental health care services will be in the spotlight today (Monday 3 June) when the University of the Sunshine Coast hosts a forum led by three of Australia’s leading mental health specialists.

The forum will cover a range of issues including the problems associated with the existing mental health care system and the challenges ahead for the ongoing provision of mental health services.

It will be held collaboratively with Centacare Brisbane at USC from 1-4.30pm today.

The forum will feature panel presentations from USC Adjunct Professor John Mendoza, Professor Alan Rosen who is Deputy Commissioner at the NSW Mental Health Commission and Associate Professor Roger Gurr.

Mr Mendoza, who is a director of community and workplace consulting firm ConNetica, said one of the biggest challenges facing the industry was the ongoing sweeping changes to the delivery and funding of mental health services.

“There is damning evidence that the existing system has failed to provide the continuous and flexible care required for people with complex mental health problems,” Mr Mendoza said.

“Due to the failures of bureaucracy and the financial realties facing state and federal governments, we are currently undergoing a seismic shift in how mental health services are funded, delivered and managed.

“This shift, which will occur over the next decade, will see the responsibilities for all facets of mental health services move away from bureaucracy-based organisations to community organisations.”

The forum will also focus on how the quality of existing and future mental health services will affect families and carers of people with mental illness.

Mr Mendoza said the introduction of programs such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) would have implications for many mental health care programs and organisations.

“Bureaucracy has proven it’s out of touch with the families and carers of people with mental health problems, so community groups and organisations need to prepare now for the step change ahead,” Mr Mendoza said.

“Community groups have to consider how they will embrace the change in funding models and meet the increasing demands and expectations of consumers and their families.”

The seminar will have 100 attendees from a range of professional and community organisations.

USC now offers a range of new programs focusing on mental health including a Graduate Diploma in Couples and Family Therapy, a Graduate diploma in Community Mental Health and a Graduate Certificate in Community Mental Health.

Jessica Halls

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