Using accountability for mental health to drive reform summary

Sebastian P. Rosenberg, Ian B. Hickie, Patrick D. McGorry, Luis Salvador-Carulla, Jane Burns, Helen Christensen, John Mendoza, Alan Rosen, Lesley M. Russell, Sally Sinclair

Research output: Contribution to journalOther Journal Articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Greatly enhanced accountability can drive mental health reform. As extant approaches are ineffective, we propose a new approach. Australia spends around $7.6 billion on mental health services annually, but is anybody getting better? Effective accountability for mental health can reduce variation in care and increase effective service provision. Despite 20 years of rhetoric, Australia’s approach to accountability in mental health is overly focused on fulfilling governmental reporting requirements rather than using data to drive reform. The existing system is both fragmented and outcome blind. Australia has failed to develop useful local and regional approaches to benchmarking in mental health. New approaches must address this gap and better reflect the experience of care felt by consumers and carers, as well as by service providers. There are important social priorities in mental health that must be assessed. We provide a brief overview of the existing system and propose a new, modest but achievable set of indicators by which to monitor the progress of national mental health reform. These indicators should form part of a new, systemwide process of continuous quality improvement in mental health care and suicide prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-330
Number of pages3
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


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