When it comes to mental health, we need to go beyond formal services
As we grapple with an epidemic of sadness, stress, anxiety and depression – not to mention the incredible strain of Covid-19 and recent bushfires – close to $9 billion dollars is spent each year on mental health in Australia.
The current approach to improving mental health in Australia is to pour this money and focus into professional services. Yet, the interim report of the Royal Commission into Mental Health in Victoria states that the formal service system is broken, overwhelmed, poorly integrated and inequitable (FN).
This approach also fails to see the mental health system holistically. A holistic view sees professional mental health services as part of a system that also includes community-based responses.
In a decade of work, we’ve seen time and again that recovery from mental ill health is relational. Connection and community are critical, alongside formal mental health services.