Abstract for: Lessons Learned from Modelling Mental Health Services in Australia

Despite record investment and advances in both psychological and pharmacological treatment, population level mental wellbeing has declined over the past three decades, a trend experienced across multiple high-income countries and shows no sign of abating. Building upon an Australian national planning framework, a system dynamics model was developed to assist decision makers in selecting the ‘best buys’ for community mental health services by comparing the impact of different initiatives across a variety of population level outcomes, including mental illness severity states, utilisation of acute and community mental health services, and economic outcomes. Through close consultation with stakeholders the model adds value by guiding policy experts and decision makers towards interventions with the greatest return on investment to improve population level mental health. This project highlights the value of using a system dynamic model to augment an existing national planning tool, key learnings from stakeholder engagement, and insights specific to the mental healthcare sector.