Australia’s first stand-alone Mental Health Commission will start operations on Monday, March 8, placing mental health at the forefront of the Liberal-National Government’s social reform agenda.
Mental Health Minister Graham Jacobs has appointed Neil Guard as Acting Commissioner for Mental Health, while recruitment continued for a permanent appointment.
“Improving and enhancing mental health services is a priority for the State Government and is a central element of our commitment to social responsibility,” Dr Jacobs said.
“Establishing the Mental Health Commission puts Western Australia among leading world nations in terms of the importance it places on mental health and ensures we have a structure in place which can support an ambitious reform agenda.
“Mental health is everybody’s business - no family, community or business is immune from the harmful consequences that mental distress and illness can cause.
“The mental health and wellbeing of our community can only be improved if co-ordinated, assertive action is taken across all levels of government.
“The Mental Health Commission will be responsible for commissioning mental health services which reflect the needs of the community and of the people it serves, ensuring care is individualised, co-ordinated and effective.
“It will also enable and support a State-wide, across-government approach to mental health, which targets the broader determinants that contribute to mental health and wellbeing.”
Mr Guard was formerly executive director of the Drug and Alcohol Office since 2008.
Before then, he was executive director of Healthway for more than five years and held other senior State Government roles, including Director of Accommodation Services in the Disability Services Commission.
“This is an exciting time for mental health in WA and I look forward to leading the new Mental Health Commission through its first months, building a strong base for an improved mental health system,” Mr Guard said.
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