Office for Mental Health and Wellbeing

The Office for
Mental Health and Wellbeing

Mental health and suicide prevention continue to be key priorities for the ACT Government. The Government is committed to an integrated approach to mental wellbeing, suicide and self-harm prevention that works with the community as a whole.

On 14 June 2018 the Minister for Mental Health, Mr Shane Rattenbury MLA, launched the Office for Mental Health and Wellbeing.

The new Office for Mental Health and Wellbeing (the Office) aims to:

  • provide strategic oversight of the delivery of mental health services across the ACT, including how they intersect with other government directorates;

  • ensure our mental health services are person-centric and meet the needs of people;

  • improve access to mental health services by managing the coordination, integration and targeting of services and facilities through a mental health and wellbeing framework; and

  • focus on coordinating services along the entire continuum of mental health (from early intervention to most acute) and work to ensure that people experiencing poor mental health can access the most appropriate services and supports across ACT Government-funded agencies at the right time.

The ACT Government sought genuine and transparent engagement with stakeholders to develop the model for the Office. The model was developed following extensive consultation with the community, mental health consumers and carers, mental health organisations and peak bodies.

The consultancy company Synergia provided the ACT Government with a report recommending a potential model for the Office. Both the report and the Government’s response are now available.

The Government has agreed that the Office will sit within ACT Health. However, the Office will be guaranteed a level of independence by having access to the Minister for Mental Health, and may initiate reports and reviews, or conduct those requested by the Minister.

The Office will build relationships within the ACT Government, other agencies and the ACT community to undertake a coordinated effort to address the social circumstances that influence our mental health. The model for the Office has been approved by Cabinet to allow the Office to focus on issues across the whole of Government and collaborate closely with other agencies, including health services, primary care, housing, employment, community services, justice, police, education, and social inclusion. Over time this will see more of a shift towards a greater focus on the circumstances in which people live their lives and how these impact on mental wellbeing.

The long term goal is for this work to keep more people well for longer and to reduce avoidable use of acute and crisis care services. The Office will lead a process of co-design through a cross-directorate Stewardship Group to develop a new vision for mental health in the ACT.

This new Territory-wide vision will reflect how Canberra wishes to foster the mental health and wellbeing of its people into the 21st century. The vision will be developed with the Stewardship Group and co-designed with stakeholders alongside the development of the initial work plan, which will be the first priority of the Office. The work plan will be developed within 100 days of Coordinator-General commencing.

For further information: