Public Health Policy And Advocacy

Introduction to Health Policy Analysis

Health policy refers to policies, strategies, and activities taken within the same community to meet common health-care goals. A coherent health policy could do many things: it sets a vision for the future, and in turn, creates set short- to medium-term goals and targets (Blank, Burau & Kuhlmann, 2017). Healthcare policy is critical in that it sets out a detailed action plan to guide expected results and is a key tool for strategic planning. Healthcare policies and procedures are structured to deliver to citizens the best results for the country. The Australian health care system is a complex mix of state and federal government funding and accountability which makes it difficult for patients to manage (Willis et al., 2016). Despite its challenges, Australia's universal health care program produces optimistic, relatively successful results. Some of them are the Australian Government that has adopted several health programs and policies to improve the health of the citizens like the mental wellbeing policy (Clarke, Swinburn & Sacks, 2018). This essay addresses mental health policy along with its problems, goals, stakeholders, and representations. The essay also deals with the method, solutions, and implementation of policies.

The Problem and Context

Many Australians would at some stage in their lives be affected directly or indirectly by the effects of mental health issues. Mental health disorders are widespread, with 3% of people suffering serious or chronic disorders and up to 45% of people suffering from mental illness in their lives at some point in time (WHO, 2019). The effect can be significant for those impacted, their carers and families, as well as for the Australian community. This health policy supports strategies to minimize mental illness, encourages recovery, and diminishes the stereotype so often associated with mental disorder. The policy incorporates a whole country strategy to mental health, first decided by the Australian Government Council in July 2006, within the National Strategy on Mental Health (Armstrong et al., 2018).

In the strategy, changes into the future need to keep up the momentum and improve on previous achievements, but it is also important to understand that emerging problems require creativity and new ways to solve problems together during processes and industries to produce better results. Health ministers are welcoming the mental health policy leadership challenge, hence the need for greater government-wide cooperation and engagement to understand and achieve progress. Recently, the government has stepped up their attempts to improve mental health, investing substantially in psychiatric and public health support programs and also establishing new ministerial portfolio positions for mental health, indicating a greater commitment towards mental illness as a public health priority field (Collie, 2019). The further step in developing a sustainable mental health environment is the regulation. It is also the activities and results that will eventually make all the difference to stream from this program.

Frame of Reference/Dominant Discourse

Mental disorders are identified by clusters of signs, or memories of illness. If these signs, or experiences, are diagnosed with serious distress and dysfunction with one or even more human functional domains (such as studying, work or family relations), they are characterized as psychiatric disorders of clinical significance. Such debilitating diseases involve a variety of distinct conditions that affect individuals over the course of life, with varying epidemiological characteristics, disease manifestations, diagnoses, and potential strategies for treatment (Vicent-Gil et al., 2018).

There are several psychological, biological, and social determinants for mental health. Such determinants function in a dynamic way, offering mental health security or increasing the risk of developing mental illness. For example, a composite of genetic susceptibility, childhood abuse, and adverse poverty-induced living condition can predispose a woman to have a major depressive episode. Conversely, the mental state of an individual person is supported by a number of biological resilience, encouraging developmental culture, and the opportunity to learn, work, and fulfill social roles (Galassi, 2017). An individual with a mental disorder can experience episodes of mental illness, interrupting the ability of that individual to perform their roles in work, social, academic, family, and culture. During first and subsequent episodes the mental condition may follow a chronic, episodic pattern, or may cure.

Targets, Stakeholders and their Representation

The Australian governments' National Mental Health Policy is a commitment to improving the lives of individuals with a mental disability. The plan was adopted by the then Australian Conference of Health Ministers (AHMC) in April 1992 as a mechanism to direct mental health reform (Australian Government, 2014). The National Policy on Mental Health attempts to: promote Australian community mental wellbeing; impedes the creation of mental illness wherever necessary; help reduce mental illness effects on people, communities and the environment; ensure that individuals with mental disorders have rights.

Such goals provide the basis for initiatives that are States and centrally identified. They recognize a continuum of mental stability, mental illness, and behavioral health. Many individuals that experience mental problems crises that need help from community health services and treatment. Some individuals can experience behavioral and emotional difficulties that affect their ability to meet their goals in society. At this time the individual needs specific programs to assist them to get out of the problems related to mental health (Gheshlagh et al., 2017). Individuals likely to experience mental wellbeing or mental disorder issues may benefit from prevention or early interventions.

The 2008 National Mental Health Strategy offers a framework and mechanism to promote enhanced mental health and wellbeing of people at risk or having mental wellbeing or mental disorder issues. It recognizes that some demographic groups, including disadvantaged people and elderly, those subjected to traumatic events, as well as those with chronic mental health problems, are also at greater risk of getting mental disorders and mental problems. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups face specific emotional and psychological well-being challenges, and reported significantly higher levels of psychological distress and mental illness compared with the other people in Australia (Ogloff et al., 2017). The strategy also recognizes that the increased risk could be related to other stages of life such as adolescence and old age. This is not meant to replace current plans, strategies, and programs that target a particular community. The policy guidelines for the individual community have not been established under this strategy. In the policy, specific individuals are mentioned by example, and it acknowledges that perhaps the solution for each demographic should be dependent on strong data and evidence to that population and adjusted to one’s specific requirements (Povey et al., 2016).

Policy Process

There were also shifts in the lifetime of the National Mental Health Plan. This is reflected in greater access to a wider number of experiences, greater consistency in providing services, and better and more open legislation. Nevertheless, it is already widely understood that to decrease the incidence of mental illness and mental disorders, improve the mental well-being of people of Australia, and achieve health equity for all communities, a strategy that integrates a range of different field of community and clinical support for policy sectors is required (Shawyer et al. 2017). Throughout this framework, the Policy covers a range of aspects affecting people and the mental well-being of communities and their families, including healthcare, aging, and social care, housing, education, jobs, welfare, equality, and aboriginal affairs. The aim of social integration acknowledges that enhanced psychological health is vital to the welfare of people, families, and societies. Alternatively, issues of mental wellbeing and mental disorder can trigger elevated levels of impairment and lower standard of living for all who experience it, influence the family and friends, it can have significant economic and societal consequences (Pinheiro, Ivandic & Razzouk, 2017).

One out of five people in Australia may develop a mental condition or mental disorder within 12 months. Reducing this might not only deliver benefits to people but would also benefit the entire Community through improved well-being and stability. A complex interplay of psychological, biological, economic, social, and environmental influences impacts both mental health and mental disorder problems (Hruschak & Cochran, 2017). This is popular among all people of Australia but it may have special importance in the context of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who see the emotional and social well-being in a comprehensive manner.

Policy Solutions

Mental health policy and practice will be underpinned by a public health system. Such a system acknowledges the broad spectrum of factors of mental wellbeing and disease and its implications. It also acknowledges the relevance of health problems over their entire lifetime, and throughout different demographic groups. It also acknowledges the bidirectional link between mental wellbeing and physical health, understanding that both are dependent on one another (Corona, Campos & Chen, 2017). It understands that several psychiatric disorders are related to alcohol and drug issues, as well as other factors. A public health program also emphasizes the significance of comprehensive empirical research including epidemiological studies on mental disorders and mental illness conditions, and interpretative information on accessibility to and impact of treatments. The public health system is central to a range of high-quality services, efficient approaches that reach people at various forms of difficulty or with specific rates of need (Small et al., 2017).

The strategies would be wide-ranging, ranging from intervention and prevention to continuing treatment and defence against relapses during treatment. Recovery is significant only when there is the development of individual’s new intent and value after the treatment, and the individual achieves the ability to accomplish personal objectives within the community. Promoting mental well-being should touch the overall community and should increase the standard of mental health and well-being among the population. The individuals with mental illness, their carers and their families should be directly able to get the benefits of the strategy. These interventions in the health care sector are primarily the organization’s responsibility and then of professionals in the sector of mental health, or another health system of the fields.

These include professionals of mental health care, mental health providers, mental health counselors, psychologists, general practitioners, and other related health professionals who can provide a combination of community-based and hospitalization-based clinical practice support programs that can include emergency, non-acute, acute, and continuing treatment (Brusilovskiy et al., 2016). Some strategies can be provided by the fields other than mental health, depending on their particular strategy and approach to help the mental health sector. Many recovery mechanisms can be accessed by daily contact with community-based mental health helplines and team, while other important support elements can be given by a residential or work plan (World Health Organization, 2019). Integrating and integrating these areas would allow programs to 'wrap-around' the person using facilities.


The revised National Mental Health Strategy represents a continued commitment to the on-going development of Australia's mental health system by both health departments and mental-welfare departments. The policy is aimed at ensuring that Australians have a good mental health care system that recognizes and responds early in the mental disorder, promotes the recovery from the mental illness, and ensures that all the people of Australia with a mental disorder have access to effective and sufficient services and community resources to help them to fully interact with the society (Rickwood et al., 2019). Furthermore, such sectors have such a significant impact on improving the mental health-being and well-being of the people, and contributing to the treatment and prevention and recovery among those with mental health disorders and mental illness. Efforts are aimed at ensuring greater social involvement in all areas of government for all of the population – but particularly for those populations that are at greatest risk of exclusion, including those living with homelessness, Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and vulnerable children.

Conclusion on Health Policy Analysis

Mental health policy and practice will be underpinned by a public health system. Such a system acknowledges the broad spectrum of factors of mental wellbeing and disease and its implications. It also acknowledges the relevance of health problems over their entire lifetime, and throughout different demographic groups. All governments have recently stepped up their efforts to strengthen mental health, with several investing significantly in clinical and public care services and a number creating community - based mental health strategic portfolio responsibilities, reflecting a firm response to mental wellbeing as a priority area for public health.

References for Health Policy Analysis

Armstrong, G., Ironfield, N., Kelly, C. M., Dart, K., Arabena, K., Bond, K., ... & Jorm, A. F. (2018). Re-development of mental health first aid guidelines for supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders who are experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviour. BMC Psychiatry18(1), 228.

Australian Government. (2014). National mental health strategy. Retrieved from

Blank, R., Burau, V., & Kuhlmann, E. (2017). Comparative Health Policy. Macmillan International Higher Education.

Brusilovskiy, E., Townley, G., Snethen, G., & Salzer, M. S. (2016). Social media use, community participation and psychological well-being among individuals with serious mental illnesses. Computers in Human Behavior65, 232-240.

Clarke, B., Swinburn, B., & Sacks, G. (2018). Understanding health promotion policy processes: A study of the government adoption of the Achievement Program in Victoria, Australia. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health15(11), 2393.

Collie, A. L. E. X. (2019). The mental health impacts of compensation claim assessment processes.

Corona, K., Campos, B., & Chen, C. (2017). Familism is associated with psychological well-being and physical health: Main effects and stress-buffering effects. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences39(1), 46-65.

Galassi, J. (2017). Strengths-based school counseling: Promoting Student Development And Achievement. Routledge.

Gheshlagh, R. G., Sayehmiri, K., Ebadi, A., Dalvandi, A., Dalvand, S., Maddah, S. S. B., & Tabrizi, K. N. (2017). The relationship between mental health and resilience: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal19(6).

Hruschak, V., & Cochran, G. (2017). Psychosocial and environmental factors in the prognosis of individuals with chronic pain and comorbid mental health. Social Work in Health Care56(7), 573-587.

Ogloff, J. R., Pfeifer, J. E., Shepherd, S. M., & Ciorciari, J. (2017). Assessing the mental health, substance abuse, cognitive functioning, and social/emotional well-being needs of aboriginal prisoners in Australia. Journal of Correctional Health Care23(4), 398-411.

Pinheiro, M., Ivandic, I., & Razzouk, D. (2017). The economic impact of mental disorders and mental health problems in the workplace. In Mental Health Economics (pp. 415-430). Springer, Cham.

Povey, J., Mills, P. P. J. R., Dingwall, K. M., Lowell, A., Singer, J., Rotumah, D., ... & Nagel, T. (2016). Acceptability of mental health apps for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians: a qualitative study. Journal of Medical Internet Research18(3), e65.

Rickwood, D., Paraskakis, M., Quin, D., Hobbs, N., Ryall, V., Trethowan, J., & McGorry, P. (2019). Australia's innovation in youth mental health care: The headspace centre model. Early Intervention in Psychiatry13(1), 159-166.

Shawyer, F., Enticott, J. C., Block, A. A., Cheng, I. H., & Meadows, G. N. (2017). The mental health status of refugees and asylum seekers attending a refugee health clinic including comparisons with a matched sample of Australian-born residents. Bmc Psychiatry17(1), 76.

Small, N., Brooks, H., Grundy, A., Pedley, R., Gibbons, C., Lovell, K., & Bee, P. (2017). Understanding experiences of and preferences for service user and carer involvement in physical health care discussions within mental health care planning. BMC Psychiatry17(1), 1-12.

Vicent-Gil, M., Keymer-Gausset, A., Serra-Blasco, M., Carceller-Sindreu, M., de Diego-Adeliño, J., Trujols, J., ... & Portella, M. J. (2018). Cognitive predictors of illness course at 12 months after first-episode of depression. European Neuropsychopharmacology28(4), 529-537.

WHO. (2019). Mental disorders. Retrieved from

Willis, E., Reynolds, L., & Keleher, H. (Eds.). (2016). Understanding the Australian Health Care System. Elsevier Health Sciences.

World Health Organization. (2019). Recovery practices for mental health and well-being: WHO quality rights specialized training: Course guide.

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