MENTAL HEALTH POLICY IN AUSTRALIA
The word "Policy" is used to describe the ways that an organisation or government interprets ideas, and turns these ideas into action. Policies can help to clarify standards, explain ideas, outline the value systems and assumptions of an organisation, and provide direction for future actions and the way an organisation, company or service operates. Policy is continuous in nature, changing to reflect the way that society changes and accepts new ideas and concepts.
Most organisations have policies in place, for example, anti-discrimination policies and code of conduct policies. These outline what is expected from people, and promote certain behaviours and ideas as being acceptable. In the same way, government departments rely on policies to direct the way that services operate, to outline standards and values, and to have regulations in place which coordinate society's behaviour.
Policies may be produced as:
- Policy: A plan or course of action, adopted or proposed by an organisation or an individual, to determine decisions and actions
- Plans: Programs or schemes that have an intended outcome or action
- Strategies: Plans designed to have a long term aim
- Guidelines: General rules or principles
One of the roles of NSWCAG is to provide people who experience mental illness with information about mental health policies that are in place both nationally and at a state level. So the following section aims to inform you of the main national and state policies:
- The National Mental Health Plan 2003-2008 *
- NSW: A New Direction for Mental Health, 2006 *
Also included is information about two policies that have recently been introduced in NSW:
- NSW Community Mental Health Strategy 2007-2012 *
- NSW Multicultural Mental Health Plan 2008 -2012 *
Below is a diagram which outlines how the different policies interact and flow from one another.
*See page: Information on State and Federal Policies and Legislation
Figure 1: Various policies and legislation that relate to mental health in NSW