Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) Government has forged an alliance with local districts to lead the North Coast Mental Health Plan.

This move involves alliances with Healthy North Coast, the Mid North Coast Local Health District, and the Northern NSW Local Health District. 

The Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs and Suicide Prevention Joint Regional Plan will enable stakeholders to work collaboratively to deliver enhanced outcomes for the community. 

It is set to address critical mental health issues, substance use, and suicide rates in the coastal regions. 

In addition, the partnership has finalised a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to promote a unified health system approach, aiming to enhance health outcomes across the North Coast.  

North Coast Mental Health Plan is part of the NSW government’s broader commitment to improve cooperation within the healthcare sector and to minimise bureaucratic hurdles for individuals seeking primary care. 

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According to the government, the initiative is designed to provide effective support and recovery options for people with mental health conditions within their communities.  

NSW Mental Health Minister Rose Jackson said: “This partnership will improve access to integrated and affordable mental health, alcohol and other drugs, and suicide prevention services is an effective way to improve help-seeking behaviour in the Mid North Coast and North Coast communities. 

“This had previously been identified as a challenge across these regions due to services operating independently of each other, and multiple entry points contributing to both consumer and workforce confusion in trying to navigate the health system. 

“The North Coast Mental Health Plan is a strong step to reducing barriers for local communities.” 

The latest effort is also in line with the NSW government’s plans to deliver tailored mental health care, with a substantial A$111.8m ($75.2m) investment allocated under the 2024-2025 Budget. 

Healthy North Coast CEO Monika Wheeler said: “We’ve already seen some incredible outputs from this partnership, including the collective development of the North Coast Mental Health Plan, which is grounded in the principles of joint service planning for mental health, suicide prevention and problematic alcohol and other drugs.”