Delivering better mental health services through Rethink 2022-23 Implementation Plan

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing

The Tasmanian Liberal Government and Primary Health Tasmania are working together in taking a best-practice approach to building a contemporary, integrated model of mental health care so Tasmanians can get more holistic support, in the right place, at the right time.

Today, we are releasing the next annual implementation plan for Rethink 2020, Tasmania’s overarching mental health plan.

Rethink 2020 outlines a shared approach to improving mental health outcomes for all Tasmanians, and was developed by key experts including Primary Health Tasmania, the Tasmanian Department of Health and the Mental Health Council of Tasmania.

The Rethink 2022-23 Implementation Plan contains a range of actions in new and existing priority areas, and is backed by additional funding of $1.5 million over three years committed in the 2022‑23 Budget for implementation and evaluation.

Examples of key actions in the Rethink 2022-23 Implementation Plan include:

  • Release the new Tasmanian Suicide Prevention Strategy and associated implementation plan;
  • Establish a network of Head to Health services across Tasmania;
  • Complete the development and implementation of the Central Intake and Referral System (CIRS) for mental health service access in Tasmania and integrate the national Head to Health assessment and referral phone services into the CIRS;
  • Expand the Police, Ambulance and Clinician Emergency Response (PACER) service into the North West of the State as the next phase in evolving PACER to a state-wide model;
  • Develop an operational service model for the implementation of Mental Health Hospital in the Home for youth in the North West; and
  • Implement the Older Persons Mental Health Services (OPMHS) Reform Project, including recruitment of key staff for the OPMHS and establishment of working groups to design operational service models for OPMHS inpatient and community services.

Importantly, as part of Rethink 2020, the Department of Health has partnered with the University of Tasmania to consult with the Tasmanian LGBTIQ+ community to understand how best to support the community’s health needs. Through this process, we heard the need for an LGBTIQ+-specific community health service for Tasmania, providing inclusive, timely and affordable mental health care, and the need for comprehensive LGBTIQ+ inclusive practice training throughout the health and community sector.

To better address the needs of the Tasmanian LGBTIQ+ community, the Department of Health is implementing four new initiatives under the Rethink 2022-23 Implementation Plan. These are:

  • Develop a concept service model for an LGBTIQ+ specific service that provides health, community and social support to the community;
  • Embed the Department of Health LGBTIQ+ inclusive practice online training modules;
  • Develop and implement an auditing tool as part of accreditation processes for Department of Health services to assess and demonstrate how they are meeting the needs of LGBTIQ+ people; and
  • Establish LGBTIQ+ peer navigators.

The work we are doing under the Rethink 2022-23 Implementation Plan forms part of the significant mental health reform agenda underway in Tasmania, with $370 million invested since the Tasmanian Liberal Government came to office in 2014.

This also aligns with the Bilateral Agreement for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention signed by the Tasmanian and Australian Governments earlier this year. This agreement will see investment of more than $46 million by the Australian Government to deliver several initiatives in Tasmania that will improve mental health outcomes for Tasmanians.

Rethink 2020 will continue to be reviewed and updated annually, ensuring it remains flexible and responsive to the changing national mental health and suicide prevention environment, and reflects the outcomes of ongoing consultation, including people with lived experience of mental illness, people who have experienced suicidal distress, carers, families and friends, priority population groups, peak bodies, and service providers.

The Rethink 2022-23 Implementation Plan is available at https://www.health.tas.gov.au/health-topics/mental-health/mental-health-projects-and-initiatives-priorities/rethink-2020-tasmanias-strategic-plan-mental-health

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