07:48pm Monday 06 July 2020

Innovative new resource offers insights into mental health services

The Western Sydney Mental Health Atlas is the first of its kind to be developed in Australia, and will provide a region-wide view of services and support available to people living with mental distress.

The Atlas aims to give a new dimension into how the mental health system can be reviewed and will allow decision makers at all levels to access accurate data in the bid to add value to new policies and communities across the region.

The resource was released this week in the wake of the National Mental Health Commission’s report which indicated that the Australian mental health system is highly fragmented and difficult to navigate. The report emphasised the need to increase community services and focus on local contexts.

The Atlas contains demographic information and maps mental health services across western Sydney’s five local government areas including: The Hills, Holroyd, Parramatta, Blacktown and Auburn.

Lead researcher, Professor Luis Salvador-Carulla, University of Sydney said that for those living with mental distress, our health system and its supporting services can be particularly difficult to navigate.

“The Atlas is designed is to help consumers, clinicians and policy planners to understand the mental health system, what is available, where the gaps are, and what is needed for evidence informed policy planning. It does this by improving their knowledge about the services available in the area and the social, cultural, economic and health characteristics of the area.”

“Unlike previous reports which make recommendations to increase community services in general, the Atlas has identified several specific gaps in the provision of mental health care including an absence of services providing acute and non-acute day care; a lack of acute and sub-acute community residential care; low availability of targeted employment services; and a lack of comprehensive data on supported housing.

“This resource has the potential to transform evidence-based policy planning and it is exciting to see that it is now being taken up by multiple districts in Australia.”

The Atlas is funded by Western Sydney Partners in Recovery (WSPIR).

The University of Sydney.

ABN: 15 211 513 464. CRICOS Number: 00026A. Phone: +61 2 9351 2222.

Authorised by: Executive Director, External Relations

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