TASMANIA'S revamped Mental Health Act will hopefully improve the system but more work is needed to improve the state's mental health outcomes, according to the acting chief of the Australian Mental Health Commission.
Rob Knowles spoke at the Inveresk Tramsheds yesterday, where the commission hosted a community forum with consumers of mental health services.
He said the commission was interested to see how the Mental Health Act would roll out next year, as it was the first legislation in Australia to acknowledge a person's capacity to make decisions, rather than focusing on risk. "I think that will require a great deal of reorientation and education of those who work in our system as well as those who use it and their families," Mr Knowles said.
"It will hopefully lead to improvements in the way the mental health system operates but I'm not sure it will have that broader impact around people's access to employment, access to education and housing."
Mr Knowles said the commission had learnt of significant achievements and shortcomings during its Tasmanian visit.
"We were very impressed with the diversion system and the co- operation between the police mental health service and the magistrates court," Mr Knowles said.
"But there were also significant gaps in the provision of community and home-based support, and in the range of services that are crucial to people being able to lead a contributing life.
"I think many of the issues raised here are common across the country."