The Evolving Policy Context in Mental Health and Wellbeing

Stephen Zubrick, Rosalyn Walker, Chris Holland, Kerrie Kelly, Tom Calma

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


This chapter outlines the role of policy in setting directions for, and achieving change in, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB). Key national policies, frameworks and reports addressing mental health and SEWB up until mid 2013 are presented. Historical milestones surrounding key policies together with their
effects on individual and community health and mental health outcomes and circumstances are described. These include the specific aims of key policies or reports; why they were developed
and by whom; what they intended to achieve; and whether any programs, services, practices or processes were implemented and/or influenced. Policy development and implementation can
be a piecemeal and at times ad hoc ‘action-response-action’ process to address a perceived issue or need, lacking any coherent strategic purpose. Changes in policies tend to be underpinned by assumptions regarding the policy process and the reasons for success or failure in policy or program implementation. This chapter focuses on the policies intended to specifically address mental health and SEWB as well as the relevant reports and commissioned inquiries that influenced these policies. As policies and priorities are determined by Australian, state and territory governments of the day, those identifed in this chapter may not necessarily reflect the policy direction of current governments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorking Together
Subtitle of host publicationAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Wellbeing Principles and Practice
EditorsPat Dudgeon, Helen Milroy, Roz Walker
Place of PublicationBarton, ACT
PublisherAustralian Government Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
ISBN (Electronic)9780977597536
ISBN (Print)9780957949447
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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