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New mental health advisory panel formed

A new mental health advisory panel has been established by the Federal Government.

It will be co-chaired by National Mental Health Commission CEO Dr Peggy Brown and Mental Health Australia CEO Frank Quinlan.

To be known as the Primary Health Network Advisory Panel on Mental Health, the body will examine how the Government’s 31 Primary Health Networks (PHN) facilitate mental health services across the country.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the panel would work closely with the Government on its plan to deliver more frontline mental health services.

“I have met with many organisations active in the mental health field to discuss the progress of our significant reforms,” Mr Hunt said.

“All agree that targeting mental health support, care and funding at a regional level through the PHNs is the right approach. But like any major reform, the scale and pace of change presents challenges.

“Both Mr Quinlan and Dr Brown will ensure our significant funding of mental health services, through the 31 Primary Health Networks across Australia, delivers support where it is needed.

“They are both extremely well qualified and have played a significant role in creating awareness and understanding around mental health issues and the type of services needed to treat them.”

Four million Australians have a chronic or episodic mental health episode each year, which effectively means almost every family has been touched by mental health challenges. 

The Primary Health Network Advisory Panel on Mental Health will serve four main functions:

  • to review and provide guidance regarding the mental health plans developed by the 31 PHNs nationally;
  • to review and provide advice on the guidelines for mental health commissioning provided to the PHNs;
  • provide advice on strategies to support the PHNs to effectively carry out their commissioning responsibilities in mental health; and
  • provide recommendations on ongoing governance and coordination of PHN’s commissioning of mental health services.


Chris Johnson