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The first national report card into mental health and suicide prevention has been launched by Professor Allan Fels, Chair of the National Mental Health Commission. Professor Fels said that Australia can improve the lives of millions of Australians if the Prime Minister, Premiers and Chief Ministers - through COAG - reaffirm their commitment to mental health and have the courage to respond tenaciously to the first national report card into mental health and suicide prevention.
A contributing life: the 2012 national report card on mental health and suicide prevention, is the independent Commission's inaugural annual report card and is a world first of its kind. Built on the personal stories of people who aren't often heard - people with a lived experience of mental health difficulty, their families and supporters - the report card views mental health as an issue affecting every aspect of the life of a person; a whole-of-life approach.
Its theme, A contributing life, recognises that people with mental health difficulties need the same things as everyone else - a stable home, a decent education, a job, family, friends and healthy relationships, good treatment and access to services and rights.
Launching the report card, Prof Fels said: 'It is important that the Prime Minister gave mental health a seat at the top table, making it a matter for Premiers and Chief Ministers, and putting mental health in her portfolio. The Commission has been given the independence and permission we need to tell it like it is. This report uncovers some difficult truths that it will be very difficult to walk away from.'
Australia leads the world in progressive mental health policy, but it falls down in delivery. The report card paints a big reform picture, makes ten specific recommendations, and calls for change in a range of areas where the Commission believes action can and must start now.
Source: National Mental Health Commission
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