Mental Health in the ACT

The ACT mental health system comprises a mix of public and private, government and non-government hospital and community services. Mental health was a key focus of the 2015-16 budget with more than $16 million to be spent on improving community services next year.

This will include a new adult community health centre in Gungahlin, new self harm diversion services, and an expansion of the primary care team at the Alexander Maconochie Centre.

Almost $200,000 will be spent on creating a new early intervention program for children with mental health conditions, costing $1 million over four years. Alcohol, drug and mental health consultation service at Canberra Hospital will also be extended to seven days a week costing $433,000 in 2015-16, or $2.2 million over four years.

The Division of Mental Health, Justice Health and Alcohol & Drugs (MHJHADS) is the ACT government department which provides the government mental health services and oversights many of the community mental health services. MHJHADS have a commitment to consumer centred care. Their philosophy is that there is 'no wrong door'. This philosophy aims to ensure that information and services are available and readily accessible to all people in need.

Mental health in the ACT is underpinned by a recovery focus which aims to promote health and wellbeing for people with mental illness. The recovery focus means they work closely with consumers and their support networks in order to minimise the impact of mental illness on them, and to maximise their opportunities for recovery. The ACT has a Charter of Rights which states how people who experience mental illness or mental health problems can expect to be treated by the professionals who care for them, and those who work with them.

The ACT Government’s focus on the overhaul and expansion of the mental health system includes a range of new mental health facilities. The new Secure Mental Health Unit is set to open in 2016. The ACT Mental Health Act 2016 is to come into effect 1 March 2016, to ensure it reflects best practice in mental health, and includes the developments in ideas about mental health over the last 10 years. Also the plans for the University of Canberra Public Hospital (UCPH) are underway, expected to launch in 2018. 

A number of documents underpin the ACT’s mental health system. These include





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