S33: FEATURED SYMPOSIUM: What Has the Mental Health Workforce Got To Do With Human Rights?

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By September 28, 2023 No Comments

Authors: Geoffrey Harris, Tom Brideson, Alan Rosen & Rae Lamb

Year: 2023

Event: 2023 The MHS conference - Adelaide

Subject: What has the Mental Health Workforce got to do with Human Rights?

Type of resource: Video

Every person in Australia should have the right to evidenced based, quality mental health care. With the ever-growing numbers of people seeking access to mental health services, there exists the problem of ensuring a suitably skilled and appropriate workforce to meet the needs of the community. Workforce shortages impact upon human rights; including the right to access mental health services, the right to experience continuity of these services and the right to expert practice (whether that be expert by experience or learning). We need to be proactive in addressing retention strategies including wages, training and supervision to ensure a sustainable workforce. This includes exploring the benefits of innovation and implementation research to ensure workforce competence and sustainability. The Symposium will showcase local solutions to systemic barriers; including the Lived Experience Workforce Program.

New Zealand’s mental health and addiction workforce development centre, Te Pou. will provide an international lens, whilst we explore whether Australia can benefit from adopting a similar system with the development of an Australian Workforce Mental Health Institute (ANWIMH). It is proposed the ANWIMH could provide nationally consistent training & upskilling programs, content, and qualifications:
• for all mental health professionals (including peer workers, family peer workers and others)
• Public, NGO and private organisations
• to provide evidenced-based upskilling and training, post first qualification
• provide system platforms for supervision, pastoral mentorship & support, communities of practice and be a knowledge exchange centre

The Symposium explores the current challenges and opportunities facing the mental health workforce. Deep diving into the issues of how the workforce can be trained and supported to ensure that every person can access expert-led (by experience or learning), quality mental health care. Speakers will focus on:
• The opportunity to reflect on human rights in mental health care. How do questions of workforce and human rights inter-connect?
• An exploration of the opportunities with and conditions for effectively integrating a Lived Experience workforce. With an overview of a local South Australian initiative, the Lived Experience Workforce Project (auspiced by the Mental Health Coalition of South Australia)
• Delving into current and future workforce training opportunities that focus on upholding the highest standards of quality healthcare practice and human rights
• An exploration of how the workforce can be supported to enable voluntary care (rather than risk aversion and use of coercion and force, which infringe a person’s human rights)
• An exploration of a New Zealand based initiative that strives to address workforce challenges Te. Pou and discussion about what Australia can learn from this initiative (an Australian Workforce Mental Health Institute (ANWIMH)?

The Practice of Freedom: Human Rights and the Global Mental Health Agenda. Roberto Mezzina, Alan Rosen, Michaela Amering, and Afzal Javed. Advances in Psychiatry, 2019

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