Implementation of mental health reform

Mental health care is under the spotlight in the latest issue of Public Health Research & Practice (PHRP), which includes articles on new ways to approach suicide prevention and a consumer’s perspective on an impending revolution in mental health care services.

The Guest Editor for Issue 2 (2017) is Professor Ian Hickie, Co-Director, Health and Policy, at the Brain and Mind Centre in Sydney.

Themed articles include an ‘In practice’ paper on how system dynamics modelling ‒ a “what-if” tool to test the potential impact of different interventions ‒ can show what strategies are likely to have the biggest impact on preventing suicide as well as a description of a ‘systems’ approach to suicide prevention, which is now being trialled in New South Wales.

In a perspective article on stepped care in mental health, the authors call for new ‘transdiagnostic’ stepped-care models, arguing that the current stepped-care models of service delivery do not cater well for comorbidities or complexity in real-world clinical practice. Another article, written from a consumer’s perspective, describes how Australia’s mental health sector is nearing a tipping point for transformation.

Other articles discuss the development of an online health promotion animation aimed at reducing alcohol use among Baby Boomers; and review the evidence available on disability income support design and mental illness.

A non-themed research article in the issue investigates the use of diagnosis-based and external cause–based criteria to identify adverse drug reactions in hospital ICD-coded data. Other articles in the issue question whether tobacco and alcohol companies should be allowed to influence the Australian National Drug Strategy and explore the challenges of integrating evidence into health policy and planning and how to link multiple disciplinary approaches.

PHRP is Australia’s first online-only open access peer-reviewed public health journal, published by the Sax Institute with a strong focus on the connection between research, policy and practice.

Researchers are welcome to submit manuscripts and encourage their colleagues to submit. You can also subscribe to receive quarterly e-alerts when the journal is published, make suggestions about themes or topics for future issues, and follow us on Twitter @phrpjournal