Mental Health Workforce

Over the last 5 years HCA has been incrementally accumulating a high level of expertise in mental health workforce. HCA’s expertise was especially recognised by the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC), who sought HCA’s expert advice on the workforce requirements to support the commission’s vision and service plans for the future. HCA’s report was presented to the Federal Minister for Health in the National Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services, and the report has been published and can be downloaded here.

Currently HCA, in conjunction with the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health and The University of Newcastle, is working on an exiting mental health project in the Mid North Coast. HCA is leading a project to evaluate and document the benefits of an innovative regional mental health service redesign that will actualise the state and national mental health reform agenda.

At the heart of this innovation is an engaged and committed group of stakeholders, known as IMHpact MNC (previously the Mental Health Integrated Care Collaborative). The collaborative started in 2014 on the Mid North Coast and, due to the perceived desirability of its aims, not only garners ongoing stakeholder engagement but also continues to expand. The research methods include developing a program logic to inform the development of an evaluation plan, which will direct both implementation decision making and research evaluation effort. The evaluation will assess both implementation and impact (outcomes), and will draw on primary data collection efforts and analysis of secondary administrative data sources. Some of the primary data collection will utilise innovative tools to measure inputs and outcomes of collaboration. The report can be downloaded here.

HCA’s mental health workforce expertise is demonstrated in a number of other projects including:

• Working with the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health (CRRMH) to assess the basic mental health education required by staff providing mental health services who are employed by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in rural and remote NSW.

• Scoping the Australian community managed mental health sector’s workforce development needs in relation to the delivery of psychosocial disability support/services within the new NDIS funding framework. HCA made recommendations about next steps and priorities to address workforce needs in the context of the national implementation of the NDIS.

• In partnership with the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, University of Newcastle, HCA supported the Western PHN to undertake an initial needs assessment of mental health, suicide prevention and drug and alcohol health and service needs across Western and Far West New South Wales. The exercise was undertaken within a limited time frame and was predominantly a desk top exercise that set the basis for further work on the needs assessment through extensive consultation over the next twelve months.