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Published: 17 November 2020

The Australian Association of Social Workers, National President Vittorio Cintio has welcomed the release of the Productivity Commission’s report on the Social and Economic Benefits of Improving Mental Health that outlines a vision of a person centred system.

“The Commission’s report focuses on a vision of preventing ill health, intervening early and delivering the full spectrum of clinical services and community supports that people need to recover and lead healthy, fulfilling lives. This means that supports and services need to be available whenever and wherever people need them. They need to be easily accessible, and culturally appropriate.”

Mr Cintio said the Productivity Commission has undertaken a comprehensive review of all aspects of the mental health service system, and produced a detailed report that shows the magnitude and complexity of the task ahead.

“The AASW welcomes the report’s recognition of the damaging effects of socio-economic disadvantage, isolation and discrimination on people’s mental health.

“We appreciate the report’s direct and comprehensive nature that shows that the reforms we need are not just confined to mental health services but also need to be incorporated into the whole of our service system and re-inforced through community attitudes.”

“The report documents the touchpoints that will make a difference to individuals, their families and carers, from the support we provide to new parents, well-being programs in schools and employer responsibility in workplaces.”

Mr Cintio said the report demonstrates the need for a skilled, multidisciplinary workforce and the AASW and its member base look forward to being part of the solution.

“Accredited Mental Health Social Workers along with Accredited Clinical Social Workers are exactly the specialist, advanced practitioners that the report endorses.”

“Social workers can be found in all aspects of the health and human services, filling roles from specialist clinicians, care co-ordinators, school social workers and health service managers. They collaborate with service users, they focus on outcomes, and they prioritise accountability and governance. They improve systems and make a difference in the lives of vulnerable people.

“Wherever our members are employed, they will continue to work tirelessly for the mental health of vulnerable people and look forward to being at the forefront of the reforms that they report will usher in,” he said.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers