Implementing national standards
National Standards for Mental Health Services were first introduced in 1996 to help develop and implement appropriate practices, inform consumers and carers about what to expect from mental health services and guide quality improvement in the acute mental health services.
Late 2010 revised National Standards were endorsed by Australian Health Ministers and officially launched in conjunction with the launch of the Multicultural Mental Health Australia National Cultural Competency Tool. This tool is linked to the Diversity Standard (Standard 4) of the Standards and the Mental Health Commission played a significant role in the development of the tool.
The inclusion of a Recovery Standard in the revised Mental Health Standards is a welcome addition.
National Standards summary
Here is a summary of the revised National Standards for Mental Health Services.
1. Rights and Responsibilities
The rights and responsibilities of people affected by mental health problems and/or mental illness are upheld by the mental health service and are documented, prominently displayed, applied and promoted throughout all phases of care.
The activities and environment of the mental health service are safe for consumers, carers, families, visitors, staff and the community.
3. Consumer and Carer Participation
Consumers and carers are actively involved in the development, planning, delivery and evaluation of services.
4. Diversity Responsiveness
The mental health service delivers services that take into account the cultural and social diversity of its consumers and meets their needs and those of their carers and community throughout all phases of care.
5. Promotion and Prevention
The mental health service works in partnership with its community to promote mental health and address prevention of mental health problems and/or mental illness.
Consumers have the right to comprehensive and integrated mental health care that meets their individual needs and achieves the best possible outcome in terms of their recovery.
The mental health service recognises, respects, values and supports the importance of carers to the wellbeing, treatment and recovery of people with mental illness.
8. Governance, Leadership and Management
The mental health service is governed, led and managed effectively and efficiently to facilitate the delivery of quality and coordinated services.
The mental health service collaborates with and develops partnerships within its own organisation and externally with other service providers to facilitate coordinated and integrated services for consumers and carers.
10. Delivery of Care
10.1 Supporting Recovery
The mental health service incorporates recovery principles into service delivery, culture and practice providing consumers with access and referral to a range of programs that will support sustainable recovery.
The mental health service is accessible to the individual and meets the needs of its community in a timely manner.
The entry process to the mental health service meets the needs of the community and facilitates timeliness of entry and on-going assessment.
10.4 Assessment and Review
Consumers receive a comprehensive, timely and accurate assessment and a regular review of progress is provided to the consumer and their carer(s).
10.5 Treatment and Support
The mental health service provides access to a range of evidence-based treatments and facilitates access to rehabilitation and support programs which address the specific needs of consumers and promote their recovery.
10.6 Exit and Re-Entry
The mental health service assists consumers to exit the services and ensures re-entry according to the consumer’s needs.
Key Principles that have informed the development of the National Standards
- Mental health services should promote an optimal quality of life for people with mental health problems and/or mental illness.
- Services are delivered with the aim of facilitating sustained recovery. • Consumers should be involved in all decisions regarding their treatment and care, and as far as possible, the opportunity to choose their treatment and setting.
- Consumers have the right to have their nominated carer(s) involved in all aspects of their care.
- The role played by carers as well as their capacity, needs and requirements as separate from those of consumers is recognised.
- Participation by consumers and carers is integral to the development, planning, delivery and evaluation of mental health services.
- Mental health treatment, care and support should be tailored to meet the specific needs of the individual consumer.
- Mental health treatment and support should impose the least personal restriction on the rights and choices of consumers taking account of their living situation, level of support within the community and the needs of their carer(s).