Hon Colin Barnett MEc MLA

Hon Colin Barnett MEc MLA

Former Premier; Minister for Tourism; Science

Hon Helen Morton MLC

Hon Helen Morton MLC

Former Minister for Mental Health; Disability Services; Child Protection

    Plan to tackle mental illness, alcohol and drugs

    7/12/2015 2:00 PM
    • 10-year plan to reshape mental health, alcohol and other drug services in WA
    • Developed with input from 2,300 stakeholders
    • Priority given to boosting community-based support and treatment services 

    The State Government today delivered on its commitment to provide a blueprint for the continuing transformation of Western Australia's mental health, alcohol and drug services.


    Announcing the Western Australian Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drug Services Plan 2015-2025: Better Choices. Better Lives, Premier Colin Barnett said the plan confronted the systemic changes needed to deliver connected, efficient and high-quality services in the short, medium and longer terms.


    "This plan is the realisation of the principal recommendation of the 2012 Stokes Review," Mr Barnett said.


    "It outlines a clear path from where we are now to where we need to be to provide co-ordinated and best-practice contemporary mental health care and drug and alcohol services for all West Australians."


    Mental Health Minister Helen Morton said the plan was the next step in the most complete overhaul of mental health services ever undertaken in WA.


    "Creating a ministerial portfolio for mental health, establishing the Mental Health Commission and its amalgamation with the Drug and Alcohol Office, the Suicide Prevention Strategy 2020, the new Mental Health Act 2014 and record expenditure on mental health services have all been groundwork for this plan," Mrs Morton said.


    "The plan is the blueprint.  It tells us the types of mental health and drug and alcohol services we need, the optimal mix of those services, where those services need to be located and what levels of service need to be provided."


    The Minister said the draft plan, released for consultation in December 2014, had been further informed by 19 community consultation forums involving more than 2,000 individuals and organisations, 64 written submissions and 245 online survey responses.


    "Analysis of the consultation feedback confirmed a need for community-based early intervention services to support people to stay well within their own community," she said.


    "Accordingly, the plan calls for a six-fold increase in the level of personalised community support services, double the number of community-based clinical treatment hours and a three-fold increase in the number of community-based beds over the next 10 years.


    "In our current system, we see too many people in hospital emergency departments because they cannot access the support they need, often because it's too hard to find, too hard to co-ordinate or too hard to access.


    "Priority areas include improving 24-hour emergency response services, services for Aboriginal communities and for children, expanding alcohol and other drug service hubs in regional areas and the development of subacute mental health services and residential alcohol and drug rehabilitation services.


    "The development of subacute centres is an area where the State Government has already done a considerable amount of work.


    "By the end of 2017 we plan to have an extra 38 community-based subacute beds available across the State with the addition of 10-beds in Rockingham, six beds each in Kalgoorlie, Broome and Karratha and 10 beds in Bunbury.  These additional beds will mean an extra 500 people can be admitted for subacute treatment every year.


    "Other services in development in line with the plan include the police mental health co-response trial; dedicated youth mental health programs; specialised State-wide services for eating disorders and also gender diversity; and a one-stop-shop online directory to help people easily navigate to the services they need."


    The plan also calls for the number of hospital beds for people with acute mental illness and for medically supervised alcohol and drug withdrawal to almost double by the end of 2025.  Many of these beds would be located in regional and outer metropolitan areas - such as the 56 beds recently opened in Midland and the ongoing reallocation of beds from Graylands Hospital.


    "The plan also identifies the need for a comprehensive strategy to reduce methamphetamine use - something the State Government is already working on in concert with the Federal Government - and also identifies the need to progress options for compulsory treatment for people seriously affected by alcohol and other drug addiction," Mrs Morton said.


    "All levels of government and private and not-for-profit sectors, consumers, families and carers must collaborate to achieve these much-needed changes.


    "In particular, the plan will guide decisions about the best options and leverage investment in mental health services across all State Government agencies jointly with the Commonwealth and in conjunction with the private and not-for-profit sectors."


    Fact File

    • Since its election, the current State Government has increased funding for mental health services by 77 per cent
    • For 2015-16, the State Government has allocated funding of $836.8 million for the mental health, alcohol and other drug sector
    • The Western Australian, Alcohol and Other Drug Services Plan 2015-2025 (plan) and more information, is available at http://www.mhc.wa.gov.au
    • The Stokes Review, was jointly commissioned by the Mental Health Commission and the Department of Health in November 2011, with a view to ensuring that effective services, policies and practices are in place and consistently implemented. The review revealed a number of issues and challenges for mental health care in WA and made 117 recommendations listed under nine theme areas
    • The plan outlines the investment required to achieve the optimal mix and level of mental health, alcohol and other drug services in the short (by the end of 2017), medium (by the end of 2020) and long term (by the end of 2025) to best meet the identified needs of the population
    • The plan outlines the types and levels of services required across the State but does not pre-determine who should fund or provide them. Implementation will be subject to the State's normal budgetary processes and, as is the case with current services, will require input from the private and not-for-profit sectors and the Commonwealth
    • The plan was developed by the Mental Health Commission, the former Drug and Alcohol Office, with the input from the Department of Health, stakeholders, consumers, carers and families, expert reference groups and sector organisations
    • A forensic component of the plan addressing the mental health needs of people in contact with the criminal justice system was developed in consultation with the Department of Corrective Services and the Department of Health
    • Regional forums were held in Albany, Broome, Bunbury, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Kununurra, Northam and Roebourne 

    Premier's office - 6552 5000

    Mental Health Minister's office - 6552 6900