Hon Helen Morton MLC

Hon Helen Morton MLC

Former Minister for Mental Health; Disability Services; Child Protection

    Agency to tackle drug issues and mental health

    1/07/2015 7:00 AM
    • Better integration of the State's mental health, drug and alcohol services
    • Improved delivery of holistic care for people with co-occurring problems 

    The merger today of the Mental Health Commission and the Drug and Alcohol Office aims to improve services for West Australians with mental health, drug and alcohol or co-occurring problems.


    Mental Health Minister Helen Morton said the amalgamation was driven by the fact that in up to half of cases, drug and alcohol problems co-existed with mental health issues.


    "Combining the functions of both agencies will provide a more holistic approach to care for people experiencing challenges with their mental health, alcohol or drug use, or both," Mrs Morton said.


    "The new Mental Health Commission will steer transformation and growth across both sectors consistent with the directions outlined in the Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drug Services Plan 2015-2025."


    The Minister said the amalgamation would improve the State-wide delivery of prevention and treatment services and professional education, research and training activities across the drug and alcohol and mental health sectors.


    "This is a major step forward in the provision of better government services and will streamline processes," she said.


    The formation of the new agency was finalised today following the formal commencement of the Alcohol and Drug Authority Amendment Act 2015.  The Act dissolves the Drug and Alcohol Office and gives responsibility for its functions to the Mental Health Commissioner.


    Mrs Morton acknowledged outgoing Drug and Alcohol Office executive director Neil Guard. She said Mr Guard had made a significant contribution not only to Western Australia, but also on a national level, to the prevention and awareness of drug and alcohol use and its associated harm.


    The Minister said the important role of the alcohol and drug sector would be recognised by the establishment of a new statutory advisory board.


    The Alcohol and Other Drugs Advisory Board will provide expert advice to the Mental Health Commissioner and work in collaboration with the existing Mental Health Advisory Council to assist the Mental Health Commission in achieving a co-ordinated focus on alcohol and other drug use and mental illness.


    Fact File

    • Studies estimate that at least 30 to 50 per cent of people with mental health or alcohol or other drug problems, have problems with both
    • This is a change endorsed by State Cabinet in April 2013 

    Minister's office - 6552 6900