The National Rural Health Alliance (the Alliance) wishes to identify a disparity between Tasmania and the mainland of Australia in relation to the accessibility of mental health services. The state as a whole is classified under the Modified Monash Model (MMM) as MM 2-7, which means that none of the state is considered a ‘metropolitan area’. For this reason, the Alliance’s submission treats Tasmania as a whole as rural, regional and remote (hereafter, rural).
The Alliance has provided evidence in our main submission highlighting the effective collaboration between the Tasmanian Health Service and Primary Health Tasmania in the development of Rethink 20201, which is understanding and addressing Tasmania’s mental health services. An example of pooled funding between these two organisations under this mental health plan is the co-commissioning of mapping services to enable more direct information about geographic hotspots in need of mental health services. The Alliance wishes to reiterate its interest in this plan as a potential model of the State and Federal Governments pooling resourcing to improve the health system. Due to the small size of Tasmania’s hospital and primary care sectors, the State is at an advantage in being able to share and allocate resourcing efficiently to meet population needs.
In Rethink 2020, the Tasmanian Department of Health notes the completion of one of the key actions under the initial Rethink plan of 2015, which was to “extend mental health support in rural communities and neighbourhood houses”. The Alliance supports further program funding for mental health and welfare services in these communities.