Skip to content
Everymind Logo Everymind Logo Support us

It’s time for coordinated action on the prevention of mental ill-health

National agencies leading efforts on the prevention of mental ill-health are calling on governments across Australia to take sustained preventive action to address the growing prevalence of mental health concerns and stretched mental health services across Australia.

A recent National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing shows that more Australians, particularly young people, are experiencing mental health concerns each year despite continued investment the mental health and crisis care system. The demand for services is outstripping their availability, and many people are not receiving care or get care too late. We need to start looking at how we can prevent these conditions from occurring in the first place.

The need for urgent preventive action brought governments, research institutions, community, mental health organisations, workplaces and philanthropic institutions together at two recent national events.

Mental and public health experts at the Preventive Mental Health Symposium hosted by the Public Health Association of Australia, in partnership with Beyond Blue, last week encouraged governments to increase their investments in programs that help protect and promote mental wellbeing.

This call for a prevention focused response is also supported by the release of a report today outlining an actionable roadmap based on the discussions at the Prevention in Practice Summit hosted by Everymind and its partners in December 2023.

Today’s report outlines four key priorities for collective action across governments, communities and services:

  1. Set clear national priorities to address the aspects of life that shape our mental health
  2. Increase the investment and focus on implementation of prevention programs
  3. Take a whole of government and whole of community approach
  4. Build a preventative mental health system and workforce that will drive long term impacts.

These key priorities are supported by practical actions that can be taken now including allocating longer-term funding for prevention programs, increasing the involvement of people with lived and living experience, and improving data collection and reporting.

Quotes attributable to Everymind Director, Dr Jaelea Skehan OAM:

“Prevention interventions are effective and show an excellent return on investment, but they have lacked the sustained focus and investment to implement them at scale so they reach people where they live, work, learn and connect.

“Much of our time and investments to date have focused on researching what we need to do to prevent mental ill-health, but the time is right to shift our focus to how we are going to implement that knowledge so it benefits our communities.

“Governments, communities and services must work together to set clear national priorities for joint action, but investment to implement those priorities over time is needed. We can and must do better.”

Quotes attributable to Beyond Blue CEO, Georgie Harman:

“Our focus needs to be on keeping people well. By working together to address the underlying root causes of distress we can improve the mental wellbeing of everyone in Australia.

“Mental health conditions are not inevitable. We already have the knowledge and interventions to prevent many mental health conditions occurring right now.

“The emphasis on treatment alone is not enough. Sustained investment in prevention and earlier access to the right supports will benefit individuals, families, workplaces and communities.”

Quotes attributable to Prevention United Founder and CEO, Dr Stephen Carbone:

“There is a steadily growing and robust evidence base on what works to promote and protect people's mental wellbeing across the life span.

“Given the evidence, it's surely time to create a national approach to investment in promotion and prevention in mental health, with each State and Territory tailoring their own jurisdictional plans to their context and the Commonwealth providing co-funding as it does with mental healthcare.

“We also need to create a skilled and multidisciplinary workforce who can work with individuals, organisations and communities to design and/or implement these initiatives, with workers from mental health, health promotion and public health playing a pivotal role.”

Quotes attributable to Public Health Association of Australia CEO, Adjunct Professor Terry Slevin:

“Australia has a strong track record in prevention of many physical health conditions and there is an opportunity to achieve the same results for mental health.

We have an opportunity to build on the National Preventive Health Strategy and bring together public health and mental health experts to achieve better outcomes.

If we don’t get this right, the results will echo for generations.”

Quotes attributable to Manna Institute Director, Professor Myfanwy Maple:

“We must scale up our prevention efforts, but we must also ensure they reach all people and all communities. There is a real opportunity to bring together researchers, community members, people with lived experience and mental health organisations to drive placed-based prevention programs that work for our regional and rural communities.”

- ENDS -

About the Preventive Mental Health Symposium

The Public Health Association of Australia and Beyond Blue’s inaugural Preventive Mental Health Symposium 2024 was held in Melbourne last Monday (12 March 2024).

To build on the success of the inaugural symposium a two-day preventive mental health conference will be held in March 2026.

Learn more about the Preventive Mental Health Symposium.

About the Prevention in Practice Summit

The Prevention in Practice Summit was hosted by Everymind on 6 December 2023, in partnership with members of the Wellbeing and Prevention Coalition in Mental Health, HMRI Healthy Minds Research Program and the Manna Institute.

Everymind has also released full recordings of the Summit today so that everyone can participate in the discussion of how we prevent mental ill-health together.

Media enquiries

Everymind Director, Dr Jaelea Skehan OAM and Prevention United Founder and CEO, Dr Stephen Carbone are available for interview.

Please contact:

Kate Campbell, Everymind Communications Lead

0422 255 657 | [email protected]

Published: 21 March 2024

You might also like...

View all News