Mental health leaders, policy makers and successive national and state governments have tried countless incremental reforms. Yet, for decades in Australia, independent inquiries and reports have concluded that our mental health ‘system of care’ is a misnomer. It is fragmented, ineffective, ineffcient and unfair. For far too long, people, families and communities have paid a heavy price for this. Reform in itself will not be the solution that we can hang all our hopes on. Disruptive innovations are now sneaking into the mental health sector and beginning to be taken up en masse. Sitting alongside this is a budding revolution – an unrest stirring in our communities that has not been seen before in the history of mental health. People are raising their expectations and communities are demanding better. With external (revolution, disruption) and internal (reform) forces colliding at a similar time, a perfect storm is being created for what could be the long-awaited and much-needed change we have longed to see. But it will not be without pain because, given a choice, most will opt for stability over change. But ignoring what is coming may not be wise.
Published by Douglas Holmes
The contribution of Douglas Holmes to mental health services in Australia started in 1992 when he was diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder. The TheMHS conference in Brisbane in 1996 inspired him to change mental health services so that other consumers could have a better recovery journey than he and his family. He became a member of the NSW Consumer Advisory Group Mental Health inc. (NSW CAG) from 1997 to 2000, and a founding member of the Australian Mental Health Consumer Network from 1997. He became the NSW CAG’s Executive Officer from 2000 till 2006. His goal was to embed consumer participation at the core of mental health services in NSW. Douglas was awarded the TheMHS Exceptional Achievement in 2014 the award states ‘The awards represents an acknowledgement of an exceptional contribution, the results of which will flow on to enhance the mental health and wellbeing of all.’ On Douglas Certificate TheMHS included the following words: ‘This award is for recognition of ‘unswerving dedication to the betterment of services to support consumer wellbeing; for extraordinary determination to ask questions and seek out answers; for outstanding expertise, freely given, with a “can do” attitude whether it be for national policy or a local art group.’ Since 2006 Douglas has worked at St Vincent’s Hospital as the Mental Health Consumer Participation Officer to put the policies he has worked on into action. In November 2016 Douglas retired from the O’Brien Centre at St Vincent’s Hospital after over 10 year service. He now heads up MH=worx. View more posts