Mind's advocacy function was formally established in 2017. 

Our approach to influencing for social change is underpinned by an explicit human rights framework, and a recognition that mental health and many common mental disorders are shaped to a great extent by the social, economic, and physical environments in which people live. In our mandate to influence for social change, we recognise that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. We recognise and seek to uphold civil and political rights, and recognise and seek to advance economic, social, and cultural rights.

The advocacy function sits within the integrated Advocacy and Research program and works to fulfill one of Mind's five strategic organisational goals, namely to ‘influence for social change’. 

We work closely with the Mind community to understand their experiences, and strive for social change on issues that matter to them. In practice, this means our work involves:

  • policy analysis and evidence-based policy development
  • applied research, and initiatives to test new policy solutions 
  • public awareness raising, campaign development and execution
  • coalition and network building 
  • private advocacy with key stakeholders 
  • designing and managing innovative programs and projects to empower the Mind community.

Mind publishes public statements and comments to advocate on key issues in mental health. Follow our social media channels to keep up to date on the issues.

System reform and inquiries

System reform and inquiries

Mind is a key stakeholder in the mental health and wellbeing and psychosocial disability sector. We are recognised as an important and respected contributor to debates on system reform in Australia.

We contribute to public inquiries and seek to ensure that our voice, and that of the community we serve, is heard by Governments and decision-makers across Australia.

Our recent contributions to system reform include submissions and reports to the following bodies and inquiries:

Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health 2018 – 2020

The Productivity Commission inquiry into mental health was a major opportunity to re-evaluate Australia’s mental health system.

In 2019, we provided a submission responding to the Issues Paper. This focused on the reforms needed to enhance productivity and participation for people with mental health needs. We also gave evidence at a public hearing in November 2019.

In 2020, we provided a follow-up submission to the draft report. We combined our experience, practice wisdom and research with Neami National, SANE Australia and Wellways to present a joint submission. The submission focused on areas we felt could be strengthened in the final report so that it best addressed the needs of all Australians.

Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System 2019 – 2021

The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System (the Commission) represented a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reset Victoria’s mental health system.

Mind contributed to the Commission’s inquiry by making submissions to the Terms of Reference for the Commission and the Commission’s general inquiry. Mind staff also gave evidence at hearings, participated in roundtables and provided follow-up advice and information at the Commission’s request.

The Commission released its Final Report in early 2021. This set a roadmap for reform in Victoria. The challenge in realising Victoria’s new mental health and wellbeing system will be in the implementation. Mind continues to be involved in implementing the reforms, contributing to consultations and inquiries.

Witness Statements

Select Committee Inquiry into Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

The House of Representatives established a Select Committee to inquiry into Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. The Committee has been tasked with examining the findings of key reports and strategic reviews of mental health and suicide, taking into account the 2019 bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic, along with the capacity of the workforce.

Mind contributed to the inquiry with a written response in March 2021, and was invited to give evidence to the public hearing in July 2021. Our submission provided recommendations for where the Committee should prioritise reform and provided suggestions for implementation. This included focusing on the need for a clear plan for the psychosocial sector, addressing workforce issues, and strengthening lived experience leadership.

Victorian Mental Health and Wellbeing Act: Update and Engagement Paper

The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System recommended repealing the current Mental Health Act and replacing it with a new one by mid-2022.

Mind made a joint submission with Neami and Wellways in response to the Update and Engagement paper released by the Department of Health. Our submission highlighted the need for the new Act to consider the views of people with lived experience, and welcomed further information about the Act’s application to the community managed mental health sector.

  • Joint submission to Mental Health and Wellbeing Act: Update and Engagement Paper (August 2021)

Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care – National Safety and Quality Mental Health Standards for Community Managed Organisations consultation paper

Mind made a joint submission with members of the Australian Psychosocial Alliance which highlighted the need for a mutual recognition scheme between different sets of standards, and strengthening terminology in the new standards to be more focused on the person and their recovery.

National Disability Insurance Scheme – Psychosocial disability

National Disability Insurance Scheme – Psychosocial disability

Mind is a strong supporter of the NDIS and the inclusion of people with psychosocial disability in the Scheme. In addition to our service delivery, we also work to improve policy settings to ensure NDIS participants with a psychosocial disability are able to have their support needs met based on their individual needs and goals. We regularly contribute to NDIS inquiries and submission processes based on consultations with people with lived experience.

Our recent contributions include submissions and reports to the following bodies and inquiries:

Submissions to the National Disability Insurance Agency

  • Home and Living Consultation – An Ordinary Life at Home (September 2021)
  • Review of Supported Independent Living Price Controls Issues Paper (October 2020)
  • Improving outcomes for participants who require Supported Independent Living (SIL): Provider and sector consultation (October 2020)
  • Support Coordination Discussion Paper (September 2020)

Review of the NDIS Act and the New NDIS Participant Service Guarantee

During the 2019 Federal Election the Australian Government promised to develop and legislate a NDIS Participant Service Guarantee to improve participant experiences with the NDIS. Mind’s submission calls for the Department of Social Services and the NDIS to take into account the unique needs of people with a psychosocial disability when implementing a Participant Service Guarantee and making amendments to the Act.

  • Submission (October 2019)

Joint Standing Committee into the NDIS – The provision of services under the NDIS for people with psychosocial disabilities related to a mental health condition

Our submission outlined the strengths and weaknesses of the NDIS for people with a psychosocial disability, and highlighted that implementation of the Scheme poses a significant challenge for the mental health system broadly, as It comes to terms with a newly constituted boundary between what is mental health and disability.

Submission #118 (March 2017)

Productivity Commission Inquiry into NDIS costs

Mind’s submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into NDIS costs highlighted the need for the scheme to work as well as possible for all participants, and commented measures to improve the inclusion of people with psychosocial disability in the scheme.

  • Submission to inquiry into NDIS costs (April 2017)

 

 

 

 

 

Mind has made a submission to the Review of the NDIS Act and the new NDIS Participant Service Guarantee

Mind is a strong supporter of the NDIS and the inclusion of people with psychosocial disability in the Scheme. It is clear that since the scheme came into operation six years ago it has already improved the lives of many people with a psychosocial disability, particularly those in supported independent living. 

However, as has been well-documented, accessing and using the NDIS is difficult for people with psychosocial disability, and its introduction has severely disrupted the provision of services for this group of people. 

The submission calls upon the Department of Social Services and the NDIS to take into the account the unique needs of people with a psychosocial disability when implementing a Participant Service Guarantee and making amendments to the Act.

Read Mind's response to the Review of the NDIS Act and the new NDIS Participant Service Guarantee

Productivity Commission: Inquiry into the Social and Economic Benefits of Improving Mental Health

Productivity Commission: Inquiry into the Social and Economic Benefits of Improving Mental Health

Mind has been contributing to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into Mental Health as it is a major opportunity to re-evaluate Australia’s mental health policy and service system beyond the historical framing of illness and medical interventions.
 
In 2019 we provided a submission responding to the Issues Paper, focussing on the reforms that are needed to enhance productivity and participation for people with high-medium, high and complex mental health needs.
 
In 2020, we provided a follow-up submission to the Productivity Commission’s draft report. We combined our experiences, practice wisdom and research with Neami National, SANE Australia and Wellways to present a united submission on where we believe the final report can be strengthened so that it best addresses the needs of all Australians, including consumers, their carers and the workforce who support them. Our four organisations have over 120 years combined experience in supporting people affected by severe and complex mental health issues.
 
Read both submissions below.

Read Mind’s submission - Response to the Issues Paper.

Read the joint submission - Response to the draft Productivity Commission report into mental health.

Royal Commission into mental health (Victoria)

Royal Commission into mental health (Victoria)

Mind strongly supports the establishment of a Victorian Royal Commission into mental health (the Commission), and we welcome this opportunity to contribute to the design of the Commission’s terms of reference. We wish to promote a human rights based operational framework, together with ten key recommendations on the scope and process that Mind considers to be of critical importance.

We also wish to acknowledge the complexity involved in managing a public inquiry of this scale. The architecture of the Commission, including the terms of reference (ToR) and the Commission’s governance structures must be sufficiently robust and transparent so as to manage the vast expectations of many Victorians.

Mind’s submission outlines the recommendations we believe the Commission should address:

  • Adopt a human rights framework to guide the inquiry
  • Centre the voices of people with experiences of mental ill-health
  • Treat different ways of knowing about mental ill-health and recovery equally
  • Include in scope all social determinants of mental ill-health
  • Examine the impact of State/Commonwealth arrangements on individuals
  • Ensure an equal focus on clinical and community-managed mental health services
  • Explore expanded roles for community-managed mental health services
  • Explore expanded roles for the peer workforce and peer-led services
  • Listen to people’s negative experiences of mental health services
  • Examine the intersections with other concurrent national inquiries

To read Mind's full submission to the Commission, click here.

NDIS should support people with mental health disability

NDIS should support people with mental health disability

The debate about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and its suitability for people with severe and persistent mental illness is of concern. We believe people with mental health disability should be supported through the scheme as it offers the best model for giving people control over their lives.

There are some problems with how the scheme works to accommodate the episodic nature of mental illness and fluctuating support needs. As the scheme evolves and develops, these issues can be ironed out. We are ready to work with consumers and the NDIA to develop strategies for improving the scheme. We strongly advocate for the NDIS to continue to support people with mental health disability so they can achieve a better life.

Those who miss out on support - due to the shifting of community-based mental health services dollars into the NDIS - is also a big issue. Early intervention and support for those who are recovering from episodes of mental illness is fundamental to preventing disability. We cannot allow a person to struggle without support until ongoing disability emerges.

View Response to the Joint Standing Committee inquiry into the provision of services under the NDIS

View Response to the Productivity Commission inquiry into NDIS costs

Marriage equality plebiscite

Marriage equality plebiscite

Mind expressed its concern that the marriage equality plebiscite could cause significant damage to the mental health of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTIQ) community.

We believe the campaigns in the lead up to a plebiscite had a negative and destructive impact on LGBTIQ Australians, especially young people and their families, some of whom are already grappling with mental health issues. 

Stigma around sexuality and gender identity and related exclusion are existing drivers for poor mental health.  

LGBTIQ people have the highest rates of suicidality of any population in Australia. An Australian survey of gender variant and sexually diverse young people found that almost two thirds had experienced homophobia or transphobia, and that more than two in five young people interviewed had had thoughts of self-harm (41%) and/or suicide (42%). (Robinson et al., 2014)

This situation had the potential to worsen dramatically in the context of the negative public campaigning that occured in the lead up to the plebiscite.

There is strong evidence from other countries that legislating for marriage equality following a public decision-making mechanism had a negative effect. 

Mind supported the immediate legalisation of marriage equality, giving the LGBTIQ community the long awaited recognition of their human rights. Funds saved as a result could have been redirected to help underrepresented communities, particularly young people with mental ill-health.

Mind continued to raise its concerns throughout the plebiscite and supported our clients, their families and our staff in the lead up to, during and after the plebiscite.    

Robinson K, Bansel P, Denson N, Ovenden G, Davies C (2014) Growing Up Queer: Issues facing young Australians who are gender variant and sexually diverse. Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, Melbourne, Australia.

Australian marriage law postal survey

Australian marriage law postal survey

Mind supports marriage equality for all Australians. 

Following the outcome of the High Court’s deliberations, we were disappointed that the Australian marriage law postal survey was to go ahead. 

The marriage law postal survey is not just a legal or administrative process. Corrosive and hateful public campaigning has been a feature of public discourse around similar processes across the world. We saw these trends here in Australia. The postal survey undermines the human dignity and fundamental human rights of LGBTIQ people across Australia, as well as impacting on their mental health and wellbeing, by exposing them to views that represent them as lesser than other human beings.

Human rights are not granted or taken away by ‘survey’ or other form of vote. Minority rights should never be subject to the whim of the majority. The premise of this process, which was a non-binding survey and did not compel parliament to do anything one way or the other, made a mockery of established international legal norms, including those which Australia has spent decades advocating abroad. 

As human beings, we all have the right to form our own opinions, and as participants in a parliamentary democracy, we have the right to elect leaders who reflect our values, aspirations, and priorities. It is those leaders who should address the issue. The argument that marriage equality should have a special status within our democracy and therefore be subject to direct democracy suggests that the value we place on LGBTIQ Australians is somehow in doubt. It is not. 

Despite our opposition to a survey process for marriage equality, we believed it was important for people to participate in the survey, particularly if you believe LGBTIQ Australians should have equal rights and status. Mind is committed to equality and human rights protection for all. Every single LGBTIQ person is entitled to the same legal protections and status as everyone else – and that includes the right to get married to the person they love.

Caring Fairly

Caring Fairly

Caring Fairly is a national campaigning coalition led by unpaid carers, and specialist organisations and peak bodies that support and advocate for their rights. Established in August 2018 and led by Mind, Caring Fairly is made up of over 25 organisations, spanning all states and territories of Australia. A full list of coalition members can be found at caringfairly.org.au.    

  • Caring Fairly has a human rights-based agenda for social and policy change. We are leading a political advocacy and public awareness raising campaign focused on improving and realising the economic, social, and cultural rights of all unpaid carers in Australia. In practical terms we are especially focused on improving workforce participation and workplace conditions for unpaid carers, improving the long-term economic security of all unpaid carers, and improving social outcomes for young carers. 
  • We have invested in leading edge new research - and produced evidence-based policies - that we believe promote fairer and more inclusive outcomes for all unpaid carers in Australia at home, in the workplace, and in society.
  • Caring Fairly is a movement that wants to lead a new public conversation about the value we attach to those who care. Please visit caringfairly.org.au for more information about our activities, evidence base, policy agenda, supporters, and impact.

For more information visit Caring Fairly.

Housing and homelessness

Housing and homelessness

Since 1977, the provision of housing and residential services has been at the core of Mind’s approach to community based mental health care. Our practice wisdom and evidence has consistently shown us that the economic and social impacts of inadequate housing has enormously destructive impacts on our consumers, their families and carers. Undesirable and sometimes unsafe accommodation not is conducive to recovery, or to an acceptable quality of life.

Since 2017, Mind’s approach to housing and mental health has been strengthened by the establishment of a new division focused on policy advocacy and social change. Since January 2018, Mind has been engaged in a major project, Trajectories, with the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute. Through Trajectories, Mind is developing an applied understanding of the housing and mental health pathways of people with lived experience of mental ill-health, the interaction of these pathways, and potential points of intervention identified through this understanding. 

Learn more about Trajectories