HCA has undertaken a number of research projects for the Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC) as a client over many years. MHCC is the peak representative body for community-managed organizations (CMOs) operating in NSW and providing mental health services, generally psych-social support services. One particularly positive outcome from this partnership has been HCA’s research into the CMO mental health workforce which has delivered previously unknown insights into the workforce.
The research began with a survey of CMOs in 2019 which provided MHCC with valuable workforce information that they were then able to use in their advocacy work. One of the most important findings from the 2019 survey was that the CMO workforce makes up just over one-quarter of the total mental health workforce in NSW.
In partnership with MHCC again in 2021, the survey was once more administered to CMOs. With the 2019 results to use as a baseline, the 2021 survey findings confirmed the critical role of the CMO sector in the total mental health workforce. Other key findings were:
Over the last two years, the CMO mental health workforce has grown by over 6% per annum… a fast workforce growth rate
Increased funding into mental health services has fuelled the growth in demand with the NDIS and Primary Healthcare Network commissioning key factors
The growth in demand has primarily favored skilled workforce
Almost half of the workforce is still employed on a temporary and part-time basis… this has not changed much since the 2019 Survey despite the growth in demand
This represents a higher rate of workforce casualization than other sectors of the mental health workforce.
Growth in the workforce has been reflected across most workforce categories. Proportionally though the Peer Worker workforce has grown more. Over 20% over the 2 years (compared with support worker growth of 7%)
Download the 2019 and/or the 2021 Mental Health Workforce Profile reports if you want a more detailed description of the method adopted, the assumptions made to extrapolate survey data to the population, and all the key findings.
You can also hear additional insights on the 2021 Report from a webinar organized by MHCC to launch the report. The webinar, attended by over 100 participants, featured perspectives from MHCC, a large CMO mental health service provider, a peer worker, and HCA. HCA was represented by author and HCA Director, Lee Ridoutt.