Mental Health in Australia

The first National Report Card on mental health and suicide prevention is due to be released at the end of 2012. What will it say about Australia’s mental health services now and what is needed to do more?

robert-manneProfessor Allan Fels, head of the newly established National Mental Health Commission, will be talking about mental health in Australia now, the role of the Commission and future directions at a special discuss on Thursday 5 April through La Trobe University’s prestigious Ideas & Society Program.

He will be joined by former Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry, head of Orygen Youth Health and one of the National Mental Health Commissioners, and Barbara Hocking, Executive Director of SANE Australia. Both are visible advocates for mental health reform and have long argued for more funding and better services that put consumers and carers at the forefront of all policy making.

Professor Simon Crowe, Professor of Neuroscience and Clinical Neuropsychology at La Trobe University and President of the Australian Psychological Society, will chair the discussion.

Professor Crowe said the discussion was timely for the community and profession, which wanted action on this pressing issue.

Mental health in Australia – how is it rating' provides an excellent opportunity for the public to ask questions and hear directly from three of Australia’s leading mental health champions about their thoughts for where Australia is heading and will the Commission deliver,’ he said.

The National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing in 2007 showed that one in five Australians experienced some sort of mental illness each year. Last year SANE Australia surveyed 520 people and found most mentally ill people get no understanding from their employer and many find it hard to keep their job because of a lack of flexibility.

Professor Crowe said: ‘The statistics and facts all indicate that Governments, business and the community need to do better in managing mental health outcomes for those who are living with mental illness, their families and carers.’

The National Mental Health Commission is one of the key components of the Gillard Government’s $2.2 billion record mental health reform package. The Government has provided $32 million over five years for the establishment and operation of the Commission.

The Commission's first task is to produce a National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention in 2012 — delivering on a 2010 Government election commitment.

Mental Health in Australia – how is it rating?
Thursday 5 April 2012
12.30pm – 2pm
Union Hall, La Trobe University Melbourne campus,
Kingsbury Avenue, Bundoora Vic 3086

A webcast will be available following the panel discussion when it can be downloaded from:

Public inquiries:

Media inquiries: Penny Underwood on (03) 9818 8540 or