Mental Health Reports

Medication and mental illness

Medication and Mental Illness: Perspectives


This paper tells the story of medication as a treatment for mental illness from the perspective of consumers, carers, families and people who work within the mental health system.

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View the Mental Health Commission of NSW's short film about medication and mental illness here.


Contributing lives thriving communitiesContributing Lives, Thriving Communities - Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services

November 2014 

The Commonwealth Government tasked the National Mental Health Commission with conducting a national review of mental health programmes and services.  The focus of the review was on assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of programmes and services in supporting individuals experiencing mental ill-health and their families and other support people to lead a contributing life and to engage productively in the community.

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 Australian government response to contributing livesAustralian Government Response to Contributing Lives, Thriving Communities – Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services

November, 2015

The Australian Government response to the Review aims to transform Commonwealth mental health funding and leadership over the next three years to achieve a more efficient, integrated and sustainable mental health system and to improve mental health service delivery for Australians.

Click here to read more






The mental health of children and adolescents - 2015 Report
"The mental health of children and adolescents" 2015 report

The second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Download the report.

Living Well Living Well: A Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014-2024

15 December 2014

Actions and future directions for reform of the mental health system in NSW

"This Plan sets a 10-year vision and describes the initial set of actions required to lay the groundwork for change within the mental health sector and our approach to mental health and wellbeing. It also provides a solid basis for a continuing engagement with service providers across a full spectrum of government and community activities, and the community itself." John Feneley, NSW Mental Health Commissioner, Oct 2014.


Read the full Strategic Plan


2013 National Report Card

2013 National Report Card
on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention


Health experts say too many people with mental illness are ending up in the criminal justice system and in hospital beds because they are inadequately supported in the community.

The 2nd National Report Card on Mental Health Suicide Prevention says there is a growing divide between those who are empowered to live a contributing life and those who face unemployment, homelessness and discrimination with mental health problems.  more...  

View or download - large file (PDF 7.9MB)

Obsessive Hope Disorder Synopsis 2013Obsessive Hope Disorder

30 years of mental health reform in Australia and visions for the future.

6th of August 2013 marked the launch of Obsessive Hope Disorder, a report that examines the last 30 years of mental health reform in Australia and provides visions for mental health care in Australia.

The Obsessive Hope Disorder Report is unique in many ways – it takes a long lens view of this critical area of public policy and includes in-depth and diverse analyses.

It is a must read for policy makers, politicians and mental health workers as it provides a comprehensive analysis of the last thirty years of reform, many useful insights into how an improved system might be fashioned and recommendations for the future, A Better Way.

The Obsessive Hope Disorder Report is broken into three reports: Summary, Technical and Perspectives.  All are available in hard copy or as downloadable e-versions.

2010 ADF Mental Health & Wellbeing Study Executive Report Australian Defence Force Mental Health & Wellbeing Study Executive Report

The ADF studied the prevalence rates of the most common mental disorders, optimal cut-offs for relevant mental health measures, and the impact of occupational stressors.  ADF prevalence rates were compared to an Australian sample matched for age, sex and employment.  Nearly 49% of ADF current serving members participated in the study between April 2010 and January 2011.  This study is an outcome of the ADF mental health reform program initiated in 2009 and will inform the next generation of the ADF mental health strategy.

Key findings include

  • 22% of the ADF population (11,016), one in five, experienced a mental disorder in the previous 12 months.
  • Approximately 6.8% (760) of this number experienced more than one mental disorder at the same time.
  • Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorder type in the ADF, with higher prevalence among females.
  •  Post-traumatic stress disorder is the most prevalent anxiety disorder, with highest rates among ADF males.

View or print the full report  (PDF 1.7MB)


MHSA - Mental Health Services in Australia

Mental Health Services in Australia

most recently published reports 2012 - 2013

MHSA provides a picture of the national response of the health and welfare service system to the mental health care needs of Australians.

Admitted patient mental health-related care information - released July 2013

People with mental health problems may require hospitalisation from time to time.  Patients can receive  specialised psychiatric care  in a psychiatric hospital or in a psychiatric unit within a hospital.  Patients can also be admitted to a general ward in a hospital where staff are not specifically trained to care for the mentally ill.  Under this circumstance, the admissions is classified as  without specialised psychiatric care.

This PDF presents information on these non-ambulatory admitted patient mental health-related separations (PDF 318.5KB). The data are from the National Hospital Morbidity Database (NHMD), a collation of data on admitted patient care in Australian hospitals. Please note, as it is not possible to determine how many separations an individual patient has had, the information in this PDF is presented as separation events, not patients. 

Personal Helpers and Mentors information - released June 2013

The Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs) service is an Australian Government initiative administered by the Commonwealth Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA). The program aims to increase recovery opportunities for people whose lives are severely affected by their experience of mental illness. PHaMs takes a strengths-based recovery approach to helping participants better manage their daily activities and reconnect to their community.

This PDF presents information for PHaMs service participants for 2011–12. (PDF 129.7KB)

MHSA Mental Health Services In Brief 2012

Psychiatric disability support services information - released June 2013

This section presents information on specialist disability support services, funded by the National Disability Agreement (NDA), provided to service users with psychiatric disability either as their primary disability or as an other significant disability. Note that unless explicitly stated, service users with psychiatric disability include all service users with psychiatric disability, regardless of whether it is considered a primary or other significant disability.

The information presented in this PDF has been extracted from the 2010–11 Disability Services National Minimum Data Set (PDF 188KB) (Disability Services NMDS), which comprises national administrative data on disability support services providing care to  people with disabilities, which are funded through the NDA.

Mental Health Services in Australia - in brief 2012 - released: 10 Oct 2012 author: AIHW media release

This PDF provides an overview of the national response to the mental health needs of Australians (PDF 2.1MB). It includes information on mental health service provision, available mental health resources and the changes that have occurred in these over time. The publication complements the more comprehensive data that is available online at Mental Health Services in Australia

 Exodus FoundationMacquarie University

The homeless of the inner-city: A snapshot 2013

This survey, conducted by the Sydney-based charity The Exodus Foundation, in conjunction with Macquarie University has identified crisis levels of housing, mental health and health among the homeless.

Exodus Foundation - The homeless of the inner city - A snapshot 2013


It reveals 55% of Sydney's homeless are suffering from a diagnosed mental illness.


“Mental health issues are at crisis levels among the homeless and needy of the inner-city”, said Rev Bill Crews. “If any other part of the community suffered to this extent there would be demands for government intervention. I can only hope this survey acts as a catalyst for government action.”


View or download PDF survey results "The homeless of the inner-city: A snapshot 2013"



Recognition and Respect - Mental Health Carers Report 2012

Mental Health Council of AustraliaRecognition and Respect - Mental Health Carers Report 2012

launched 28 November 2012 by the Mental Health Council of Australia

The Recognition and Respect: Mental Health Carers Report 2012 builds on the ground-breaking work of Adversity to Advocacy: the lives and hopes of mental health carers (2009) and the Mental Health Carers report 2010.  The report provides an insight into the lives of some of the most dedicated yet vulnerable members of our community: people who regularly carer for someone with a mental illness.

The report is based on a survey of 508 mental health carers focussing on the 15 key issues identified in the 2008-2009 workshops and describes carers perspectives on the services available to them and the people for whom they care.

View or download the Mental Health Carers Report


A Contributing Life: the 2012 National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

Lived Experiences Personal Stories with Video Links

Launch of the 2012 National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

27 November 2012 was a landmark day for people with a mental illness and their carers in Australia. The National Mental Health Commission launched its first annual report card.

Rightly, the Chair, Prof Allan Fels, notes in his introduction that this report may not address every request of the many people consulted by the Commission.  He notes strongly that this is a starting point which provides the base for future monitoring and reporting.  Prof Fels makes a number of critical points which underpin the report.  He says that mental health is everyone’s business.  He says that every person with a mental illness wants and should have a contributing life.  Very importantly he acknowledges the importance of the person’s story whether consumer or carer.  These themes continue throughout the report.

The report identifies four priority areas:

  • Mental health must be a high national priority for all governments and communities;
  • We need to provide “a complete picture” of what is happening and closely monitor and evaluate change;
  • We need to agree on the best ways to encourage improvements and get better results; and
  • We need to analyse where the gaps and barriers are to achieve a contributing life and agree on Australia’s direction.

It goes on to make 10 recommendations that address many critical areas that the Fellowship has advocated about for years such as employment, permanent and secure homes, increase potential for access to services when they are required, inclusive consultation and engagement with consumers and carers and the physical health of people with a mental illness.

This report acknowledges that about 7.3 million Australians aged 16 to 85 have lived experience of mental illness and that in any one year 3.2 million Australians will experience a mental health difficulty with 1.7 million receiving direct mental health services in 2009-10.  The size and potential of the problem is clearly underscored in this report.

by Rob Ramjan, AM
CEO Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW Inc

The AustralianAAP 29 Nov 2012

The NSW Ombudsman has found people are being kept in mental health facilities longer than they should because of poor planning by medical staff and a lack of support and accommodation in the community.

In his review of the files for 95 people in NSW mental health facilities, Ombudsman Bruce Barbour found over half had been admitted for between 2 and 10 years.  13 had been admitted for over 20 years, while 2 had been admitted as teenagers and had remained in hospital for 40 years.....

..... Mr Barbour said his inquiry had identified patients who should be living in the community.  "Our inquiry identified people aged 24 and 25 years who are capable of living in the community with the right support and who have already been in hospital for over five years," Mr Barbour said.  "It is unacceptable that these young people may be facing a similar future to others in our review who were admitted to hospital as teenagers and only left when they were discharged to aged care facilities over 40 years later."  ... go to full story

NSW Ombudsman 
View or download SR Denial of Rights: Mental Health Report

View or download SR Denial of Rights: Mental Health Report Recommendations