Mental Health Reform: New Agreements to Strengthen Collaborative Planning and Commissioning in Our Region

Mental Health Reform: New Agreements to Strengthen Collaborative Planning and Commissioning in Our Region

Two key government agreements signed earlier this year will shape the Health Alliance’s work in regional planning and commissioning for mental health, alcohol and other drugs (AOD), and suicide prevention in Brisbane North.

The National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Agreement, signed in March 2022, sets out the shared intentions, objectives and responsibilities of the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments in collaborating on whole-of-government reform for a more coordinated and sustainable mental health system with people at its centre. Attached to this Agreement are individual state bilateral agreements, known as schedules, which specify joint state-level Commonwealth and State objectives, outcomes, and funding. In Queensland, this saw the Queensland Bilateral Schedule of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention signed in April 2022.

Both the National and Bilateral Agreements recognise the importance of joint regional planning and commissioning in meeting local mental health needs. As such, the Agreements will see the development of national guidelines, evaluation and reporting to provide stronger direction, consistency and performance around the country, while recognising unique local requirements and needs. The Agreements will also support evidence-based planning and practice through the use of a planning tool known as the National Mental Health Service Planning Framework (NMHSPF). Finally, the Agreements will also support the establishment of joint regional planning and commissioning governance arrangements that will allow commissioning bodies to use available funding for meeting local needs in an evidence-based, flexible and transparent manner.

The mental health system reform brought about by the Agreements will be critical in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of Brisbane North residents, particularly in light of the unprecedented strain placed on the mental health system due to the Covid-19 pandemic along with other challenges, such as the recent flooding.

In line with the above, the Health Alliance has been working on the following:

  • A Regional Resourcing Paper is in the process of review for finalisation. This Paper includes a 2020-22 funding map and initial gap analysis, which will provide the basis for the development of a Comprehensive Regional Plan using the NMHSPF. 
  • Initial discussions and planning for developing co-commissioning governance arrangements have begun between Brisbane North Primary Health Network (PHN) and Metro North Hospital and Health Service (HHS).
  • A Discussion Paper is being compiled that provides an overview of the key considerations for co-commissioning.
  • Exploring the establishment of a national NMHSPF Community of Practice for best-practice use.

For more information, please contact Chelsea Muscat, the Mental Health Development Coordinator within the Health Alliance, at 07 3490 3452 or