As we welcome in 2022, we look forward to a new and exciting year of collaboration. Through all the challenges of the pandemic, the ability to continue to work together and learn from each other has been a strong constant. It is one positive upon which we can – and must – continue to build.
At eMHIC we maintain our focus on accelerating the development and implementation of e-mental health across and into our health, mental health, addiction, social and other services. Sharing our knowledge and expertise is critical to ensure the digital mental health ecosystems we are building are inclusive, equitable, embrace global and international opportunities as well as national ones and, above all, are trusted to deliver quality mental health and wellbeing services safely. We are grateful to eMHIC’s passionate CEO, Professor Anil Thapliyal, who inspires and leads us to achieve this.
COVID-19 continues to create many challenges for people in terms of the impact on their mental health and wellbeing. Every challenge can be a hurdle or an opportunity, depending on the lens through which we assess and respond to it. The untapped potential of e-mental health is an essential component of each and perhaps every such response.
Whole-Of-Governments: A United Approach
Australian governments are coming together to progress the mental health reform agenda to strengthen our mental health system to provide accessible, timely, evidence based and person centred care for all people. As we reform the mental health system, we cannot ignore the increasing role and import of e-mental health. Such reform must therefore incorporate – and perhaps even be led by – what is needed to create and maintain an e-mental health ecosystem. From an Australian perspective, the work we are doing with eMHIC needs to align with the significant mental health system reforms we are undertaking.
Our National Mental Health Commission is working to bring together an Australian collaborative of all those involved in this exciting work around e-mental health – our researchers, system and service designers, policy developers and mental health workforce. In doing so we are excited by the opportunities of international collaboration.
A core pillar of our Australian mental health reform agenda is a whole-of-governments approach. It was the establishment of National Cabinet in March 2020 as a multi-jurisdictional government COVID response that inspires the use of a ‘whole-of-governments’ approach to system and service design.
A whole-of-governments approach is one where diverse ministries, public administrations and public agencies across all levels of government and all jurisdictions, work together to provide a solution to problems or issues affecting everyone. It unlocks and enables a complete and holistic response across all levels of government, in a coordinated, consistent and complementary approach.
The qualities for this approach are similar to those that are needed as we build our national and international e-mental health ecosystems – courage, consistency of commitment, and rigorous discipline. A culture of innovation, agility, excellence, and collaboration need to be developed and maintained.
A Call For Global Reform
We are at a critical stage of digital mental health reform across the globe, where we find ourselves on the precipice of reform in system design and service delivery. Efficient and consistent international engagement with the e-mental health community will not only positively impact Australia’s progress, but global reform as well.
It is the implementation of our learnings that will make the differences we are all seeking. All of us at eMHIC look forward to working with each of you as we unlock potential, share expertise, learn from each other and share in this exciting vision of a world of mental health and wellbeing within national and international e-mental health ecosystems.