Leadership key to problem solving in mental health

November 10, 2020

More than 160 members of Victoria’s mental health and health sectors gained a unique insight into New Zealand’s progress in mental health reform at the fourth Mental Health Sector Forum last week.

Robyn Shearer from New Zealand’s Ministry of Health emphasised the importance of leadership in solving problems across mental health and also reminded attendees that New Zealand was only just at the beginning of mental health reform.

The New Zealand mental healthcare leader also outlined the challenges of recruiting a mental healthcare workforce and emphasised the importance of working with the community.

Reform an opportunity for services to build their in-house complaints handling

Victoria’s Mental Health Complaints and Disability Services Commissioner Treasure Jennings told the forum that she hoped the reforms would result in services improving in-house complaints handling so the Commission becomes an intermediary, not a first point of contact.

Commissioner Jennings also outlined her vision to see the Commission play a more active role in sharing knowledge about best practices across services.

Sector leaders share insights into fundamentals of reform

The forum also provided an opportunity for leaders from the mental health and healthcare sectors to review and refine a set of principles to guide future reforms.

The key areas discussed included:

  • Planning – need a shared understanding of what reform looks like
  • Collaboration – clear goals for committees and other groups
  • Capacity building – appropriate feedback loops are critical
  • Communication – diversity of consumers must be recognised and two-way communication is needed

The feedback from the forum will inform the development of a document by the VHA and Mental Health Victoria.