Tear up the roadmap on mental health: Mendoza
THE federal government’s former chief mental health adviser has called for its draft mental health roadmap to be torn up, branding it a failure of public policy without clear benchmarks.
Adjunct Associate Professor John Mendoza, who in 2009 quit as chair of the government’s National Advisory Council on Mental Health in protest against perceived failures of the government’s handling of the sector, said the document recently proposed as a guide for mental health policy for the next decade fails to acknowledge missteps from the past or specify how it will bring care to people with non-severe mental illness.
“What I don’t see in it is evidence that they’ve taken on board the learning from these past failures, and that we have a plan that ticks all the boxes of good public policy,” he said.
“It’s merely a jumble of reworked, overused clichés and language that we’ve become very familiar with in mental health reform – but without tying it to any specific actions or government authorities or timeframes.
“It’s not a matter of just tweaking it. In my view, we must tear it up and start again.”
It comes after AGPN last week complained the roadmap failed to adequately explain the role general practice and the primary care sector would play in mental health care.
A spokesperson for Mental Health Minister Mark Butler said the final version would incorporate expert input, adding that “it’s a bit early to call for the scrapping of the roadmap when we’re yet to consider more than 1600 submissions received from the public”.