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Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health

The Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health was established to consider how mental illness can affect all aspects of a person’s quality of life including physical health, social participation, education, employment and financial status.

Policy recommendations from ALSWH

The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health made a submission to the Inquiry in April 2019. The submission draws from the 2019 ALSWH report ‘Policy Briefs from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health’ prepared for the Australian Government Department of Health. This submission specifically contributes to the following assessment streams being undertaken by the Commission:

  • The assessment of the consequences of mental ill-health, and the effectiveness of current and alternative programs.
  • The changes that should be made in Australia’s health sector to address specific concerns related to mental health, in particular recommendations for mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention, and comorbidities.

The policy recommendations made include:

  • Routine mental health screening
  • Improvements to mental health support services for disadvantaged women and those outside major cities
  • Mental health support for smokers
  • Prevention of domestic violence and ongoing support for women with past experiences of abuse
  • Additional items for inclusion in the Perinatal National Minimum Dataset
  • Prevention, detection, and treatment of poor mental health prior to child bearing and during pregnancy to reduce the incidence of postnatal depression
  • Public health policies geared towards increasing physical activity

Productivity Commission report and recommendations

The Productivity Commission released its report on 16th November 2020. Recommended reforms focus on prevention and early intervention, particularly for new parents, children, students, and in the workplace. The report also makes recommendations for improving the health system and providing seamless care between Commonwealth, State and community supports. The report notes the need for greater utilisation of data provided by studies like ALSWH to make evidence-based decisions on mental heatlh policy and practice.

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