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Publications & Submissions

Policy publications

Establishing a Vibrant Community Mental Health System in the ACT: Foundational Supports and Out of Hospital Care

At the moment, public inpatient and outpatient, public community services, private, non-government, primary health care-funded, early intervention and self-care services operate more as silos than as part of a designed system. A better, more organised and efficient response to mental illness needs more than just new services.

ACT community-managed mental health workforce profile 2023

ACT community-managed mental health workforce profile 2023 was prepared by Human Capital Alliance (International) Pty Ltd (HCA) for the Mental Health Community Coalition ACT to report on the findings from the ACT community-managed mental health workforce survey 2022.

Introducing outcome measurement for non-government mental health services in the ACT (December 2022)

This report provides the findings and recommendations of our 2022 scoping project to explore and identify the most relevant, evidence-based and appropriate tools for measuring service outcomes for mental health consumers and/or carers in the ACT.

When the NDIS came to the ACT (June 2018)

This publication looks at whether the introduction of the NDIS in the ACT has left people with mental health conditions and psychosocial disability better off.

A Real Career – A Workforce Development Strategy for the Community Mental Health Sector of the ACT (August 2012)

MHCC ACT received funding from ACT Health to support workforce development initiatives including the creation of this workforce development strategy.

Workforce Development 2009 Survey Report (April 2009)

This survey was designed to identify the training and development needs and key characteristics of the mental health community sector workforce in the ACT. Its purpose was to provide the ACT Mental Health Community Coalition (MHCC ACT) and its member agencies with information to guide future workforce development planning and the delivery of training.

Recovery in our community: 2020 Vision and Action Requirements (October 2008)

In the recovery-focussed community of 2020, “Recovery” is not just a policy word but the very foundation of a mental health system focused on supporting people on their own recovery journey, and providing the necessary resources and support to the community to promote mental health and wellbeing.

Building Capacity in the ACT Community Mental Health Sector (June 2007)

In 2006 MHCC ACT, in partnership with the ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS), embarked on a sector development project which produced this report.


March 2024

March 2024

January 2024

January 2024

August 2023

NDIS Review 2023

We make with this submission a clarion call for the need for increased focus on
prevention, on early support and on holistic approaches which recognise and respond to the underlying social determinants of mental health. All of these responses and alternative types of support/system improvements must be adequately funded. It is also imperative that there be adequate investment in mainstream and disability supports, services and systems outside the NDIS (Tier 2) such that the NDIS does not remain an “oasis in the desert”.

Read the full submission

August 2023

ACT Preventive Health Action Plan 2023-2025

The ACT Government is to be congratulated for prioritising prevention in the ‘Healthy Canberra’ Plan and the Action Plans. MHCC ACT also acknowledges the community consultation undertaken by the ACT Government to refine this Action Plan. This Action Plan moves forward and refines a number of the actions identified in the previous Action Plan. MHCC ACT acknowledges the value of moving the previous Action Plans’ ‘actions and responsibilities’ into a ‘program logic’ structure of ‘objectives, actions, responsibilities, outcomes, and indicators’.

However, there also are significant gaps in the Action Plan, which lacks detail as a plan to implement the ‘Healthy Canberra’ plan. These gaps include actions for the stated priorities of priority populations, mental health, climate change, and equitable access. It is also missing actions on other priority issues, such as loneliness and isolation, lived experience, stigma and discrimination. Any prevention plan must necessarily address structural causes, and so the determinants of health are also a critical, yet overlooked, consideration.

This submission reflects the voices of MHCC ACT members, their experiences and expertise in delivering community-based mental health services in the ACT. Whilst it focuses on mental health elements in the Action Plan, it also discusses aspects of the plan that are inter-related with mental health, such as climate change. This submission focusses on the importance of integration and collaboration with the community sector in achieving preventive health outcomes in the ACT.

Read the full submission

October 2022

ACT Drug Strategy Action Plan 2022–26

The MHCC ACT supports the principle of harm minimisation and commends the ACT Government for its demonstrated commitment to approaching drug use as primarily a health issue, adopting evidence-based policies and minimising the involvement of the justice system as much as possible.

We also commend the government for its associated commitments to eliminating stigma and discrimination against people who interact with Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs services and to recognise the invaluable contribution of lived experience and the peer workforce to this sector. The recognition in the Action Plan of the importance of the non-governmental sector and of the effective collaboration and integration supporting the provision of AOD services in the ACT is noted and reiterated.

This submission is focused on those elements of the Action Plan that relate to the interaction between the AOD sector and the wider community-managed mental health sector.

Read the full submission

September 2022

Public Exposure Draft of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2022

MHCC ACT welcomes the ACT Government’s aspiration to make “renting a secure and sustainable option for those who rely on it”, and particularly welcomes the abolition of “no cause” evictions. However, we recommend the government limit the grounds for eviction rather than introducing new grounds. This includes removing the ‘behavioural grounds’ for eviction from the Bill.

We recommend that the ACT Government introduce a standalone ‘reasonable and proportionate’ test that requires the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal to consider whether an eviction order would be reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances of each case.

Read the full submission

August 2022

Inquiry into the Legislative, Workplace Governance and Clinical Frameworks of DHULWA

The MHCC ACT understands the serious safety concerns of staff that led to this Inquiry being initiated and acknowledges the importance of a safe and respectful environment for staff, consumers and carers within the Dhulwa Mental Health Unit.

We believe there needs to be dedicated and supported consultation with consumers and carers to ensure that their input is considered alongside the vital input from Dhulwa staff.

Along with greater inclusivity in decision-making, more transparency around policies, processes and procedures should assist in promoting constructive relationships between all stakeholders.

Read the full submission

September 2021

Feedback to the draft National Mental Health Workforce paper

The MHCC ACT welcomes this draft mental health workforce strategy and sees it as a significant initial step in addressing the misalignment and shortages in the mental health workforce. However, if the draft Strategy does not include the community mental health sector, it will hamper any attempt to improve the mental health workforce in Australia.

Read the full submission

June 2021

ACT Budget Submission – June 2021

This submission focuses on the key issues that our member organisations have identified as crucial to their ability to deliver best practice and fit for purpose psychosocial support services to Canberrans who need them.

Read the full submission

June 2021

Feedback on the NDIS proposed legislative changes to the NDIS Act

MHCC ACT is inclined to support the proposed changes as a whole. We recognise the need to adjust the NDIS Act and Rules to improve the operation of the NDIS. However, we hold concerns with the ambiguity in terminology, which may provide for a negative interpretation of the intended changes.

In addition, there is still a high level of lack of trust across the sector with bad experiences regarding seemingly ad hoc and inconsistent decisions by the NDIA, causing anxiety and suspicion. A better approach would be to have a higher level of clarification and transparency, a longer timeframe in which to provide feedback and a positive and inclusive consultation with the sector.

Read the full submission

March 2021

House Inquiry around Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

The MHCC ACT thanks the Commonwealth Government for the opportunity to respond to its recent inquiry into mental health and suicide prevention. We refer to the previous and recent inquiries and reports around mental health and suicide prevention as reference tools for the Government to develop a comprehensive and well-designed mental health system that will support all Australians’ mental health and wellbeing.

Read the full submission

March 2021

Senate Inquiry around Jobseeker Scheme

The MHCC ACT joins the chorus of organisations shocked by the Federal Government’s new measures around JobSeeker. As a mental health peak body, we are dumbfounded by the Government’s decision to push people $145 weekly under the poverty line, condemning vulnerable people to hardship and mental distress. This during a time when COVID is still playing havoc on the job markets.

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February 2021

Response to the NDIA on Independent Assessment

The MHCC ACT is concerned is that the structure of Independent Assessments and the mandatory nature will negatively impact people with psychosocial disabilities. The needs and capacity of people with psychosocial disability can fluctuate depending on the cyclical nature of mental illness and where they are in their recovery journey. The proposed design of IA does not seem to reflect an understanding of this which leaves people with psychosocial disability in danger of not receiving the support they need to reach their goals and live a meaningful life.

Read the full submission

September 2020

National preventative health strategy

The MHCC strongly endorses the need for a national preventative health strategy with attached funding to achieve the changes needed. This will improve outcomes for Australian’s quality of life and government budget bottom lines.

Unfortunately, the importance of mental health is missing from the current strategy. We recommend a goal be added to the strategy to make it a whole-of-government responsibility: “All government policies and decision making will account for the impact on peoples’ health and wellbeing”.

We also recommend an additional enabler: “Systems enable equitable access”, and ask for deeper engagement and broader consultation in the development and implementation of this strategy.

Read the full submission

August 2020

National Building Code Consultation

MHCC ACT’s submission focuses on why and how people with psychosocial disabilities should be included when discussing housing accessibility. The submission also addresses the benefits of well-designed and -constructed housing on the wellbeing and mental health of the general population.

Read the full submission

October 2020

NDIS Supported Independent Living

The MHCC ACT welcomes this consultation paper and hopes it will lead to a better framework that will benefit participants. MHCC ACT looks forward to contributing to the second phase of consultation around SIL in 2021.

Read the full submission

October 2020

Position paper on the National Disability Strategy

The MHCC ACT welcomes the opportunity to provide feedback on the consultation paper on new the National Disability Strategy (NDS). As a peak body for mental health service providers, we approach the consultation paper with a lens on the inclusion of people with psychosocial disabilities and mental health issues in the Australian community. For that reason, MHCC ACT wants to encourage DSS to incorporate the relevant findings of the report of the Productivity Commission on mental health (once released) into the new NDS. The report addresses accessibility and inclusion of people with psychosocial disabilities in various domains of their lives.

Read the full submission

September 2020

NDIS support coordination discussion paper

The MHCC ACT welcomes the discussion paper on support coordination and hopes it will lead to a better understanding and recognition of support coordination and what it can mean for participants. As a peak body for mental health service providers, we approach the discussion paper with an aim of support coordination meeting the needs of people with psychosocial disability within the NDIS framework.

Read the full submission

June 2020

Inquiry into NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission

The MHCC ACT would like to thank the Standing Committee for the opportunity to make a submission on the performance of the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. This submission is based on feedback from our members regarding their dealings with the Commission. We will be limiting this submission to points from the terms of reference in relation to the input received from our member organisations. We also note that our member organisations primarily provide services to people with psychosocial disability (PSD) and consequently our comments are from that perspective.

Read the full submission

November 2019

MHCC ACT 2020-21 ACT budget priorities

Canberra’s population is growing and so is the call on mental health and wellbeing services. In the 2019/20 ACT budget significant investment was made in the range of government acute clinical mental health services. In the 2020/21 ACT budget this needs to be matched by a substantial investment in the community managed mental health sector.

Investment to ensure a strong vibrant community mental health sector offering best practice services by a highly qualified workforce is consistent with ACT government policy. It would facilitate more people being supported in their community and contributing actively to society. The range of services offered by this sector – recovery, early intervention, prevention, health promotion and community support – also reduces the likelihood of people with mental health challenges reaching crisis point, which in turn reduces pressure on the more expensive acute government mental health services, the justice system and housing.

Read the full submission

April 2019

Productivity Commission inquiry into the social and economic benefits of improving mental health – MHCC ACT submission

MHCC ACT would like to thank the Productivity Commission for the opportunity to contribute to this important inquiry. As well as comments and suggestions in response to the Commissions Issues Paper, MHCC ACT has included a number of ‘resource suggestions’ in our submission. These are people, websites and articles which may further inform the Commission in its work, and are placed according to the relevant subject matter.

We also support the recommendations in the submission of Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA), of which we are a member.

Read the full submission

March 2019

Moving Canberra Integrated Transport Draft Strategy Submission

MHCC ACT’s submission will focus on the needs of people living with mental illness and their carers, referred to as ‘lived experience’ who use public transport. People with lived experience of mental health issues are often socially isolated. Access to safe public transport is one method of reducing such isolation yet the evidence shows that as a cohort they travel less. Various factors contribute to this such as anxiety, experiences of trauma, lack of confidence,
crowding in public transport, inadequate and inaccessible information about times and destinations/routes, and the costs of travel.

Reducing barriers to public transport for people with lived experience of mental health issues is also useful in increasing community cohesion and increases people’s potential for economic activity.

Read the full submission

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