Funded by: National Mental Health Commission

Lead Investigator: Sandra Diminic

Project Team: Claudia Sparti, Isabelle Hull, Arabella Mundie

From 2018-2020 the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC) contracted Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research to create a mental health services dataset on the activity occurring within, and the capacity of, Australia’s mental health system in a format aligned with outputs of the National Mental Health Service Planning Framework (NMHSPF).

The NMHSPF provides resource targets for the quantum and mix of mental health services required for the Australian population. Under the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and Local Hospital Networks (LHNs) are encouraged to use the NMHSPF to inform their regional mental health plans. Application of NMHSPF resource targets requires an understanding of the capacity and activity of the current mental health system in a region to identify relative gaps and opportunities for improving services. Challenges in staff capacity, data access and understanding how to align and compare like-for-like services have historically made this comparative analysis challenging for planners.

The specific aims of this mental health services mapping project were therefore to produce:

    1. A national dataset comprising regional-level mental health services activity and capacity data that align with the outputs of the NMHSPF and can be used by regional mental health planners; and
    2. An accompanying documentation package providing detail on how to model and transform services data to align with the NMHSPF outputs, to ensure reproducibility and support future service mapping activities conducted at local and national levels.

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