Instead of Changing the World, Change your Colours!(Your Mindset)

For anyone who is aware the current system is not working, you will be heartened to hear from several different groups who are suggesting better ways forward.

At the end of this article, I pose some important questions for us as a group to consider!

Equally Well Victoria, established by the Department of Health, concerned with the poor physical health outcomes for people with MH conditions, cites the following:

Key data from Australia’s mental and physical health tracker

  • Four million Australians have a mental health condition.
  • One in two Australians has a chronic disease.
  • Mental health conditions are a leading cause of illness and disability in Australia.
  • More than 21.4 million Australians have both a mental and physical health condition.

Key data from the Equally well consensus statement

Australians living with mental illness are:

  • six times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease
  • five times more likely to smoke
  • four times more likely to die from respiratory disease
  • likely to die between 14 and 23 years earlier than the general population.

Their recommendations include:

This whole of system transformation must be underpinned by human rights principles and a coproduction methodology. At its core, it will require:

  1. acknowledgement that personal understandings of the heart and heart health matter
  2. activation of transformational qualities such as connection, autonomy and empowerment across a range of dimensions
  3. commitment to building the capacity of clinicians and peer-workers for relational holistic evidence-based heart health improvement
  4. commitment to building capacity of consumers and carers for evidence-based heart health self-care
  5. foundational reappraisal of how effective interventions should be conceived, shaped and tested.

Corresponding with this are numerous studies such as the ACEs study from USA and a new report from the UK called “Beyond Pills- Shifting the Balance” which highlights the need to shift the balance of care towards Social Interventions, calling for a radical overhaul of the UK mental health system.

This document echoes the themes in advocated by Safer Care Victoria, arguing that research should focus on better psychosocial provision rather than the old biomedical model which is not evidence based, valid or reliable, stating that:

“In applying these principles, we will be moving in the direction recommended by the World Health Organisation and the United Nations, which now call for us to move away from the biomedical model and privilege a de-medicalised, psychosocial, person-centred and human rights-based approach. “Mental health and wellbeing are strongly associated with social, economic and physical environments, as well as poverty, violence and discrimination. However, most mental health systems focus on diagnosis, medication and symptom reduction, neglecting the social determinants that affect people’s mental health.”45 As the UN Special Rapporteur continued: “The urgent need (is) to… social determinants and abandon the predominant medical model that seeks to cure individuals by targeting ‘disorders’”.46 If we can do all this, we will be improving not just people’s emotional wellbeing but every aspect of their lives, while contributing to the betterment of mental and emotional health across society.”


Many other authorities here and overseas echo this call for a new paradigm. The questions I have for all of us?

How ready are we today, or how ready to change professionally and personally, to accommodate the new directions discussed here? What new learnings or ways of supporting each other may be needed? What power balances would have to shift and who will do take responsibility for this? Where are the national leaders to endorse these long overdue and much needed changes?

I look forward to discussing this further in our next Community meeting on 16th June 2024 at 10am. Everyone is welcome, for a zoom link contact

How we can Help

Sign up for Email

Be the first to know
when we publish an Article