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Mental Health Assignment: Improving Mental-Healthcare Services in Australia

Question

Task: Mental HealthAssignment Task: Addressing Inequality in Australia Building on your understanding of inequality please considers how an issue of inequality could be addressed in Australia.

The issue you choose to focus on can be a local, state, national or global issue. Consider ways in which you could make a difference and assess the feasibility of your proposal in the current socio political context.

The proposal should specify the issue in need of change, the way it should be changed and the expected benefits the change will bring. Important: Please note your proposal for change can illustrate a very small change something that you could manage to do NOW.

Feasibility must be considered and the strengths and limitations of your proposal outlined. Question: Develop a change proposal to change a policy - either level of service, scope, funding etc Write a report with reference to:
1. The issue in need of change - this will require you to research the policy area 2. The way in which it should be changed - this is your change proposal 3. Feasibility of your proposal- addressing both – Macro issues such as prevailing ideologies, economic and political factors – Micro issues - such as the particular characteristics of the policy area, implementation issues

Answer

Introduction
It is evident herein mental health assignment that the mental health disorder has become a significant issue in Australia. A number of different policies have been enacted for improving healthcare system in ways that would ensure proper treatment for people suffering with mental health complications.

Mental-healthcare system in Australia has recently experienced a major reform characterised by an evidence-based approach to policy development. This has helped in ensuring an improved access to mental healthcare services in Australia. However, there are still some issues associated with inequality, which are due to ineffectiveness of mental-health policies. Aim of present report is to provide an analysis on ways changes could be brought in different areas within these policies to improve mental-healthcare services in Australia.

Inequality Issue in need of change
The “Australian Mental Health Policy Document” includes “Fourth National Mental Health Plan” focuses on developing a national framework for ensuring recovery-oriented services for people suffering from mental issues (Davies &Gray, 2015, p. i46).

Fundamental objectives of this policy include:

  • Accountability and innovation
  • Improving recovery system and social inclusion
  • Early intervention of mental-health illness and prevention
  • Coordination and improved access to Australian mental healthcare service

Equity, effectiveness and efficiency were three fundamental goals of this new policy. This has set an agenda aiming at ensuring collaborative action by government for improving mental healthcare service access and delivery in Australia.

However, there still remain inequalities in accessing mental-healthcare services especially when it comes to providing best mental-healthcare services to women as these policies are not based upon any specific gender perspective (Duggan, 2016). It is essential to focus on a specific gender perspective for providing need-based targeted services to improve equality in healthcare system. Fifth plan under Australian national-healthcare policy also does not involve any gendered perspective that further raised issues regarding inequalities. Overall, mental-health service landscape of Australia at national levels remains highly fragmented that has created barriers in accessing mental health services in an equal manner, especially, women are unable to receive proper mental-health services weather these people are in nursing homes, hospitals, community settings or in prisons.

The entire mental healthcare-system of this country remains highly gender blind and objective of ensuring equal access to healthcare services by people irrespective of their genders remains unachieved. Therefore, Federal Government should focus on working on this issue at national level for ensuring that every people irrespective of their gender will be able to receive good quality mental healthcare services for ensuring equalities in service distributions. As cited by Spartet al. (2019), “fifth national mental health plan” of this country focused on preventing suicide at national level by people suffering from mental health illness through early identification of suicidal tendencies and their mental-health complications. However, this approach also did not have primary focus on providing best quality mental health services to people based upon a gendered perspective. Besides that Federal Government of this country lacked proper funding for effective identification, prevention and recovery of mental-health services by all people suffering from mental health issues as it focused solely upon government funding for supporting mental-health programs in this country.

Figure 1: Increasing tendency of suicide amongst women
(Source: Aihw.au, 2020)

Ineffective treatment in Australia is also expensive in the terms of perpetuation of suffering by human-beings and money expended for providing treatment. There are three fundamental issues in current mental-health care policies such as in fourth or fifth national-mental health plans and these are intensifying challenges in providing equal access to quality healthcare services in Australia. These issues include:

  • Existing poor structure of Australian mental health delivery system
  • Conceptual incapability of integrating psychological attributed with medical model
  • Fragmentation in mental-healthcare services resulting in discontinued and segregated care services (Duggan, 2016) These issues are requiring immediate attention by Federal Government for ensuring best quality and equitable mental healthcare services in this country. Government needs to take collaborative actions for addressing these issues and provide best quality mental-healthcare services to women in different healthcare settings such as in Hospitals, nursing homes and in community healthcare centres as well.

Ways it should be changed
There should be major changes in “Fourth National Mental Health Plan” within Australian mental-health policy document for ensuring delivery of proper mental healthcare services to women. A women-centred mental-health plan needs to be integrated in Fourth-National Mental-Health Plan and fifth-national mental-health plans for providing services based upon specific needs of women suffering from mental health issues to prevent suicides. A gendered approach should be integrated in the new women-centred mental-health plan for women living in different regions of this country. Previously different policies have been launched in this country for ensuring proper access of women to healthcare services of Australia. For example, there exist policies for prevention of different chronic diseases amongst women in this country (Hosking et al. 2018, p.10). However, there does not exist any comprehensive healthcare plan for addressing mental-health issues of women at the very beginning and providing effective and inexpensive services that have made it impossible for maximum women to get access to mental healthcare-services of this country.

Especially, women living in Torres islands (Aboriginal women) regions of Australia experience a range of different issues in getting proper access to mental-healthcare services due to mental healthcare illiteracy and expensive nature of mental-healthcare services in Australia. Therefore, it is essential, for Federal Government to develop a comprehensive mental-health service for Australian women that would be based upon provision of coordinated, specialist and dedicated healthcare approaches tailored for addressing complex needs of the women in Torres Island community and others (Duggan, 2016). These services should be properly identifiable by establishing a well-integrated network that would consist of people ranging from voluntary groups, self-help groups and multi-disciplinary teams of both men and women professionals for understanding social, emotional and other needs of female sufferers in non-judgemental, culturally sensitive and clinically effective manner. For this, Government of this country needs to adopt a collaborative approach for ensuring proper support from hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare settings that would help in alleviating issues associated with poor funding, ineffectiveness of services and so on. Most importantly, the first step of Government in policy reform needs to include incorporation of a gender-transformative approach. As cited by Chintakindi (2019), a gender-transformative approach can be beneficial for removal of inequalities and hence, it would allow for adoption of a collective approach for providing best quality mental-health services to women in Australia. It will require federal government to run campaigns through collaboration with local \community health-care centres for removing stigma associated with women's mental-healthcare in Australia. Besides that, it is also essential to conduct workshops in different regions for making nursing homes and hospitals aware of importance of taking care of mental-health of women during their pregnancy or de[rfession stage. Feasibility of proposal addressing micro and macro issues Proposed changes in mental-health policy document of Australia would be beneficial for addressing different micro and macro issues in effective manner that would ensure development of a strong mental-health service infrastructure and framework in Australia.

Macro issues that could be addressed through incorporation of these changes include:

Addressing ideological issues
There exist some ideological issues in healthcare settings of Australia resulting in ineffective delivery of mental health-care service to women. For example, Isolation is a most common issue that women in Australia face in case of suffering from mental health problems. This prevents their access to mental-healthcare services in Australia. Besides that, Mental-health policymakers of Australia previously did not focus on addressing ideological issues that resulted in significant challenges in accessing proper mental-health care services in Australia by women. In some cases, countries having more female political leaders have developed mental-health policies that support well-being of women suffering from mental health complications. On other hand, countries having large number of male political leaders often develop policies based upon a gender-blind perspective that results in significant issues in ensuring equal access to mental-healthcare services by women. As cited by Mahet al. (2017), many Australian women face severe inequality issues in getting proper mental-health services even during pregnancy. Therefore, gender-transformative approach in fourth or fifth national-mental health plans of Australia would ensure effective delivery of mental health care-services to women through effective transformation of ideologies. This new policy will require implementation of awareness campaigns and workshops that would help in transformation of people’s ideologies.

Therefore, ensuring equitable access of women to mental-healthcare services of this country would be possible. This will focus specifically on making healthcare professionals aware of importance of providing proper mental-healthcare services to women during their pre and post pregnancy periods (Priddiset al. 2018, p.4)

Macro issues that would be addressed through this change include:

Implementation and funding issues
This change will require Federal Government to get into partnership with local private healthcare organisations that would reduce the financial burden on the Government as there will be provision of collaborative funding opportunities for developing a women-cantered mental-health framework in Australia for providing best quality services. As cited by Pettigrew (2019), collaborative funding can help in elimination of implementation issues that can help in implementing a healthcare framework successfully.

Conclusion
Finally, it can be concluded that it is essential for Federal Government to develop a comprehensive women-mental healthcare system by bringing structural reforms in its mental-health care policy document. It is most important to focus on adopting gendered perspective for ensuring equal access of women to all the mental health care services of this country. Most importantly, it is also crucial to change the existing ideologies of people regarding delivery of mental health care service to women in different stages. Many women living in different disadvantaged regions are facing issues in accessing proper mental-healthcare services leading to suicides. Therefore, a proper framework for healthcare needs to be developed.

Reference List
Journals

Chintakindi, M., 2019.Gender-transformative Approach to Societal Empowerment. ANTYAJAA: Indian Journal of Women and Social Change, 4(1), pp.107-112.Viewed 29 October 2021, Google Scholar DOI: 10.1177/2455632719836805

Davies, K., &Gray, M. 2015. Mental health service users' aspirations for recovery: examining the gaps between what policy promises and practice delivers. British journal of social work, 45(suppl_1), i45-i61. Viewed 29 October 2021, Google Scholar, DOI 10.1093/bjsw/bcv089

Hosking, S. M., Brennan-Olsen, S. L., Beauchamp, A., Buchbinder, R., Williams, L. J., & Pasco, J. A. 2018. Health literacy in a population-based sample of Australian women: a cross-sectional profile of the Geelong Osteoporosis Study. BMC Public Health, 18(1), 1-14. Viewed 29 October 2021, Google Scholar DOI 10.1186/s12889-018-5751-8

Mah, B., Weatherall, L., Burrows, J., Blackwell, C. C., Gwynn, J., Wadhwa, P., ...& Rae, K. M. 2017. Post?traumatic stress disorder symptoms in pregnant Australian Indigenous women residing in rural and remote New South Wales: A cross?sectional descriptive study. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 57(5), 520-525. Viewed 29 October 2021, Google ScholarDOI10.1111/ajo.12618

Pettigrew, L. M., Kumpunen, S., Rosen, R., Posaner, R., & Mays, N. 2019. Lessons for ‘large-scale’general practice provider organisations in England from other inter-organisational healthcare collaborations.Mental health assignment Health Policy, 123(1), 51-61. Viewed 29 October 2021, Google ScholarDOI10.1016/j.wombi.2017.06.007

Priddis, H. S., Keedle, H., &Dahlen, H. 2018. The Perfect Storm of Trauma: The experiences of women who have experienced birth trauma and subsequently accessed residential parenting services in Australia. Women and Birth, 31(1), 17-24. Viewed 29 October 2021, Google ScholarDOI10.1016/j.wombi.2017.06.007 Sparti, C., Santomauro, D., Cruwys, T., Burgess, P., & Harris, M. 2019. Disordered eating among Australian adolescents: Prevalence, functioning, and help received. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 52(3), 246-254.Viewed 29 October 2021, Google Scholar,DOI 10.1002/eat.23032

Website
Aihw.au, 2020.Suicide and intentional self-harm https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias- viewed on 29 October 2021 < health/suicide-and-intentional-self-harm>

Duggan M., 2016. Investing in Women’s Mental Health, viewed on 29 October 2021 < https://www.vu.edu.au/sites/default/files/AHPC/pdfs/investing-in-womens-mental-health.pdf>

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