This article aims to describe the process by which the new NSW Government executed its election promise to establish a Mental Health Commission for NSW.
This case study draws on observations of the author who was expert facilitator to the Taskforce to establish the new NSW Commission. The paper synthesises the work of the Taskforce, the input of a consultation process that engaged more than 2,000 people, through six state‐wide community fora, online survey and other means. In describing the nature of the new NSW Commission, the paper will also reflect on key learnings from the Taskforce's interactions with other mental health commissions, including in New Zealand, Western Australia and Canada.
Widespread concern about the lack of access to quality mental health care was reflected in broad support for a new Mental Health Commission. Opinions varied about how such a new body could be effective. Strong bipartisan political support is key. Also critical is ensuring the new body has sufficient legislative power and reach.
This paper relies on the observations of a key participant in a reform process. This brings the limitations of potential bias as well as the strength of understanding that is difficult for outsiders to access. The actual impact of the new NSW Mental Health Commission will only become apparent following its 1 July 2012 start‐up.
Many jurisdictions are turning to specialised governance models, such as a Commission, to drive mental health reform. This paper identifies some of the key issues to consider in pursuing this strategy.
Commissions need to have strong engagement with consumers, carers, service providers and the general community. This paper highlights some key issues in building these links.
The work of the Taskforce to Establish a NSW raised a range of issues relevant to any mental health reform process. Given the level of community concern about mental health care, these are important lessons.
Rosenberg, S. (2012), "New governance, new hope: findings and results of the taskforce to establish a Mental Health Commission for NSW", Mental Health Review Journal, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 248-259. https://doi.org/10.1108/13619321211289326Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited