NACCHO Aboriginal Mental Health News : Dr Mark Wenitong appointed to Federal Government mental health advisory panel

The Turnbull Government has established a new mental health advisory panel to support their commitment to improve services.On that panel (see all members below) is Dr Mark Wenitong advising on Indigenous and remote health

The Primary Health Network Advisory Panel on Mental Health will work closely with the Government on its plan to deliver more frontline mental health services.

BIO Dr Mark Wenitong – Indigenous and Remote Health

The choices for me to come back and work with communities and with my own mob up this way was kind of an easy one really,”

“I wasn’t particularly interested in a career in medicine or specialising.

“It was more getting the paper (qualifications) behind me and being able to have a voice in Aboriginal health and to be able to do something practical to help our mob.”

Dr Mark Wenitong Former Aboriginal Public Health Medical Officer, at NACCHO. Now Senior Medical Officer at Apunipima Cape York Health Council where he remains focused on his community’s health needs and inspiring the next generation of young Aboriginal students to be doctors.

See NACCHO TV interview with DR Mark for ” Aboriginal Health In Aboriginal Hands Series “

And Australian Story

Read here : Dr Mark Wenitong, reggae musician and Indigenous health leader

Primary Health Networks (PHNs) have substantial responsibilities in mental health:

  • They plan and commission primary mental health care services at the regional level;
  • They plan and coordinate the clinical service needs of people with severe and complex mental illness who are managed in primary care;
  • They implement evidence-based stepped care; and
  • They integrate services in partnership with state and territory governments, general practitioners, non-government organisations, National Disability Insurance Scheme providers and other related services, organisations and providers.

The Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, has now established a PHN advisory panel with specific Terms of Reference:

  1. To consider and provide advice regarding the guidelines for mental health commissioning issued to the 31 PHNs and oversee the development of a Framework for PHM mental health commissioning, noting that commissioning is a cyclical process of local consultation, design and solutions.
  2. To oversee an analysis of the 2016/17 Department of Health-approved needs assessment and mental health plans developed by the 31 PHNs.
  3. Following the analysis, provide advice to the Minister for Health on strategies to support the 31 PHNs to efficiently and effectively carry out their commissioning responsibilities in mental health.
  4. Provide recommendations to the Minister for Health about the optimal system architecture and arrangements for supporting the role of PHNs in ongoing mental health reform.
  5. Provide guidance for peak bodies and Colleges on how their members can engage with the PHN commissioning process.

Panel Membership:

  • Dr Peggy Brown – National Mental Health Commission
  • Vahid Saberi – NSW North Coast PHN
  • Learne Durrington – WA Primary Health Alliance
  • Abbe Anderson – Brisbane North PHN
  • Amanda Bresnan – Community Mental Health Australia
  • Professor Lyn Littlefield – Australian Psychological Society
  • Associate Prof Kim Ryan – College of Mental Health Nurses
  • Dr Kym Jenkins – RANZCP
  • Professor Pat McGorry – National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health
  • Jackie Crowe – National Mental Health Commission Advisory Board
  • Frank Quinlan – Mental Health Australia
  • Lucy Brogden – National Mental Health Commission Advisory Board
  • Dr Morten Rawlin (RACGP)
  • Dr Mark Wenitong – Indigenous and Remote Health
  • Samuel Hockey – Youth lived experience
  • a nominee from Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum

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