About the Mental Health Network

Aim

The aim of the Mental Health Network is to improve outcomes for people with mental health issues by facilitating consumers, carers, health professionals, hospitals, mental health services, the Mental Health Commission and the Department of Health to engage and collaborate effectively to facilitate health policy and increase co-ordination of care across the State.

Objectives

  • Contribute to improving the mental health and wellbeing of Western Australians;
  • Draw upon a community of practice approach to share information, engage with the sector and community, foster collaboration and develop partnerships;
  • Engage with organisations and individuals to support innovation and change;
  • Develop an agreed set of strategic priorities across the mental health sector;
  • Promote system change including continued development of a person-centred and recovery orientated culture, with better integrated and connected services; and
  • Promote adoption of recognised best practice across the sector.

Mental Health Network history

The Mental Health Network was launched on Monday 6 October 2014 during
Mental Health Week, by the Hon. Helen Morton, former Minister for Mental Health.
The establishment of the Mental Health Network was instigated by Professor Bryant Stokes, the former A/Director General, Department of Health, in partnership with Mr Timothy Marney, Mental Health Commissioner. 

The Mental Health Network was one of 18 health networks established by the Department of Health over an eight year span. However, the Mental Health Network structure is unique to the existing Department of Health health network structure, with the Mental Health Network establishing Sub Networks to aid in coordinating such a large network and to support the Mental Health Network to engage with and improve outcomes for specific cohorts of mental health service users.

The aim of the Mental Health Network is to improve outcomes for people with mental health issues by facilitating consumers, families, carers, health professionals, hospitals, mental health services, the Mental Health Commission and the Department of Health to engage and collaborate effectively, to enable health policy and increase co-ordination of care across Western Australia.

Connecting these key stakeholders and peak bodies encouraged mental health services to become more responsive to people’s needs, to be better coordinated, to have increased sustainability and to make decisions informed by evidence-based best practice care, resulting in an integrated mental health care system providing better care for better value.

In particular, the Mental Health Network supports the review and implementation of the Western Australian Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drug Services Plan 2015-2025
(the Plan), and focusses on addressing the following service streams and key actions:

  • Specialised Statewide Services (key actions: 54, 55, 56)
  • Forensic Services (key actions: 58, 63)
  • Recovery-Oriented Practice (key actions: 67, 68, 69)
  • Cultural and Social Diversity (key action: 79)
  • System Integration and Navigation (key actions: 80, 83, 85)
  • Research and Evaluation (key action: 86)

Sub Network structure and function

The Mental Health Network is unique when compared with other health networks, as it includes a Sub Network structure. The Sub Networks were established to address the difficulty in coordinating such a large network and to support the Mental Health Network to engage with and improve outcomes for specific cohorts of mental health service users.

The establishment of the Sub Networks followed a thorough process that sought to be inclusive, representative and reflect the concerns and views of the sector. Each Sub Network has a broad membership that is supported by a Steering Group and is sponsored by a health service provider that provides administrative support.

Ten Sub Networks have been progressively established since November 2014, based on identified need; population, conditions, and geographic region:

  • Eating Disorders;
  • Forensic;
  • Joondalup/Wanneroo Region;
  • Multicultural;
  • Neuropsychiatry and Developmental Disability;
  • Older Adult;
  • Peel and Rockingham, Kwinana Region;
  • Perinatal and Infant;
  • Personality Disorders; and
  • Youth

The Sub Networks are comprised of clinicians, consumers, family and carers, researchers and practitioners from the community managed sector. Each Sub Network is accountable to the Mental Health Network Co-Leads.