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PUBH6001 Policy Analysis of Mental Health in Australia Assessment 2 Answer

Subject Code and TitlePUBH6001: Health Policy and Advocacy
AssessmentAssessment 2: Policy Analysis Essay
Length2000 words (+/‐) 10%)

Learning Outcomes
This assessment addresses the following learning outcomes:
Analyse different theories and approaches to policy agenda setting
Apply knowledge of policy development to a public health policy issue
Analyse issues in contemporary Australian health care policy
Develop processes for the evaluation of and accountability for policy
Critique the role of networks and coalitions in the policy agenda setting process
Total Marks100 marks


In this Assessment, you will engage in policy analysis. Choose a health policy (either current or past),

either at the state or federal level, to analyse in this Assignment (eg, mental health policy, women’s health policy, preventative health policy, men’s health policy, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health policy).

The Assignment should be approximately 2,000 words (+/‐ 10%) and presented in essay form. Address the following questions in your Assessment but please do not answer the questions as a series of short answers:

Firstly, provide a short introduction to your essay. Then proceed to analyse your chosen policy, and in doing so, consider the following issues:

The Problem and Context

•Describe the current and historical policy context of the problem.

•What is the problem which the policy seeks to address? What problems are highlighted?

•What problems have been overlooked?

Frame of Reference/Dominant Discourse

•What is the common frame of reference or dominant discourse evidence within this policy?

•Are certain words and phrases commonly used?

•Are there any underlying assumptions behind these?

Targets, Stakeholders and their Representation

•Who is the target of the policy (the subject of the discourse)?

•Who are the other stakeholders identified in the policy? Describe key institutional structures, agencies and workforce capacity building.

•How are the subjects of the policy being represented?

•How are different social groups portrayed in this policy and what implications does this have?

•Are there any moral judgements expressed in this representation?

Policy process

•Who were the stakeholders involved in the development of the policy? Who was overlooked?

•Whose interests were represented in the development of the policy? Which voices were not heard?

•What were the potential competing interests and power differentials of those involved in the development of the policy?

•What was the motivation for stakeholders in creating this policy?

•Were there any particular windows of opportunity that enabled the development of this policy?

Policy Solutions

•What solutions are put forward to address the problems? What alternative solutions might have been overlooked?

•Are there any social/power/ethical implications of this policy?


•Consider the implementation of the policy. How effectively do you think the current policy has been implemented?

•What are the accountability processes for the policy?

•Consider evaluation measures (indicators) and any evaluation which has been undertaken.

•How effective has the policy proven to be?

Finally, finish your essay with a conclusion.

Assessment Criteria:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the policy issue (30%)
  • Critical analysis of the problem, frames of reference used, the policy process
  • and policy solutions (30%)
  • Application and synthesis of knowledge about policy theories (25%)
  • General Assessment Criteria (15%) Assessment fulfills general academic standards, including:
    • Provide an introduction and conclusion
    • Complies with academic standards of writing, including legibility, clarity, accurate spelling, presentation and grammar.
    • Uses appropriate APA 6 style for citing and referencing research
    • Upholds standards of academic integrity, as demonstrated by acceptable report from text‐matching software (e.g Safe Assign).


Policy Analysis


Mental health policy plays a crucial role in Australia because mental illness is considered as a common illness in Australia. The mental illness rate in Australia is higher in the case of young people rather than another age group. Due to the mental illness, the suffered people have to carry the burden of depression. There are severe reasons behind the mental illness of people- unstable employment, school failure, social functioning, other disability and economic problem. Mental health policy plays a great role to shape and regulate society values. The Australian government has committed the national mental health strategy for the improvement of people’s lives who suffers due to mental illness. In the present context, the mental health policy of Australia is clearly described to show the historical context of the policy, target group, stakeholders involved in the policy, process, solutions to the policy problems and effectiveness of the policy. All the factors are described separately in the study to provide an in-detailed description of each part. The mental health policy of Australia is known as a national mental health policy that promotes awareness about mental health for the betterment of the Australian community. The strategy mainly aims to reduce the effect of mental disorders on the community, individuals and families. 

Problem and context

Mental health illness is a common issue in Australia, and 20% of the Australians belongs to the age group of 16-85 years suffers from mental illness. There is some common mental illness shown in Australia are substance use disorder, depressive and anxiety. The mental illness types often occur separately or in combination. Among the total 20% persons in Australia who have a mental disorder, 8.5% people have combined mental disorder which means they have two or more than two disorders, whereas 11.5% people have only one disorder. The study also says that almost 45% of Australian people have faced a mental disorder at least once in their lifetime ("Mental illness in Australia", 2020). The mental illness cases are mostly seen among the youngsters who belong to the age group of 18-24 years. The data of the youth survey mission of Australia shows that 21.2% of youths who are from the age group of 15-19 years have a serious mental illness. The percentages of severe mental illness in Australia are- 9.3% cases are depressive disorders, 11.2% are anxiety disorders, and 5% are substance use disorders (Harris et al., 2018). Among the total amount of people who have mental issues and illness, 54% do not access to adequate treatment, due to which the people have to face serious problems. 

Currently, there are severe policies, forums and groups are developed by the Australian government to address the issues related to mental health illness. One of the examples of current health plan is the fifth national mental health plan, which is developed by a mental health committee and an advisory council of Australian health ministers. This plan is agreed based on the priority areas, and the plan is considered as a five-year action plan to change the mental health system in the priority areas ("Department of Health | Mental health policy", 2020). Along with mental health strategies and plans, the Australian government has conducted several programmes which will review the mental health services provided in all over Australia. The problems that are highlighted under the policy are the mental illness caused due to depression, anxiety and substance disorder. Along with that, the discriminatory factors and stigma of mental illness are also considered in the policy to minimize the problems related to it. The factor intellectual disability, which is also a part of mental health problems or illness are overlooked in the national mental health policy. 

The primary aim of the National Mental Health policy 2008 is to provide ensured to all the people in Australia who have the problem of mental illness can get the access of suitable and useful treatment ("national mental health policy 2008", 2009). The strategic vision of this policy aims to promote well-being and mental health wellness of the Australian community and to prevent the mental health illness and development of related problems. 

Frame of reference

The main importance of framing research is to understand the driving factors that enforces human to accept or follow the policy process. Farming of the policy in terms of method and theory is better for the generation of considerable insight regarding the policy nature. Framing of the policy provides in-depth knowledge about the policy process and issues addressed by the policy (Koon, Hawkins & Mayhew, 2016). 

The commonly used terms or words are mental health system, Australian community, mental illness, well-being of the target group, mental health problems, health framework, effective interventions etc. These terms are used as direct meaning for the argument that the policy wants to address. The terms mainly used to show the assumptions of services that are to be provided for treating mental illness. 

Target, stakeholders and their representation

The target group for this policy is all the residents of Australia who are suffering from mental illness and relevant things. The aim of the policy is to reduce the mental-health problem impact from the families, community and individuals. The people who have a long-term mental illness and require community services and clinical treatment are also the target group of this policy. Some people, who face mental health problems or emotional problems, are also part of the target group because these people fail to fulfil their social roles due to mental health issues. Hence, it is important to provide them with adequate services to help them overcome the problems. Along with the regular mental health services, e-mental health services are another step that is taken to address the issues regarding mental health problems of the target group (Meurk et al., 2016). 

The main stakeholders involved in the policy are decision-makers, researchers, service providers and other stakeholders. Some of the common and important stakeholders are discussed in the following:

Carer consultants: The consultants are the persons who possess the experience of caring patients suffering from mental issues or illness. The carer consultants should have good knowledge about the mental illness issues and related care for it. The entities providing public mental health services appoint the carer consultants. They provide referral advice to the patients and family members and provide information and emotional support to the patients (Kinner et al., 2017). Apart from their primary work, these consultants work with the mental health staff to develop service responsiveness. 

Mental health teams for the community: These types of teams include carer consultants, social workers, peer support workers, community psychiatric nurses, psychologists and therapists. The team provides several services to the community, such as family interventions, psycho-education, and programs for individual treatment, long and short-term support.  

Criminal justice system: Designated officials and political authorities are in charge of the formation of explicit rules regarding mental illness. The designated officials are judges, police and lawyers, who have the authority to enforce or interpret the rules as per necessary. 

Advocacy: The advocates regarding mental illness provide support to the people to represent themselves. Along with that, these professionals speak on behalf of the consumers or carers and train them to represent themselves.   

The subject of the policy is represented with the help of adequate mental health framework. People who have mental illness and mental health problems need to receive high quality service to address the issues. The national mental health policy forms a clear quality framework that provides surety about services regarding mental health problems. In this framework, the process of information gathering, improvement of service performance, and accountability of services are included. The aim of the policy is mitigated with the help of aligning the outcomes with the objectives. There are severe problems faced by the people while participating in the mental well-being program such as physical capability, reflective motivation, facilitation to services, the stigma of mental health etc. (Dillon et al., 2020). 

Policy Process

The key stakeholders involved in this policy are carer consultants, mental health service managers and providers, policymakers, researchers, advocacy council and mental health authority ("Promoting Mental Health", 2020). 

The main target people who are considered in the policy are the people who have mental illness problems caused by anxiety depression and other mental problems. The development of the policy is based on the requirement of these people regarding the adequate service that is needed to address the problems. In this context, proper services are provided to the patients with the help of both government and non-government health institutions. There are some people whose interests are overlooked in the context of the policy; they are the people who have an intellectual disability are also suffers because of mental illness. These people are not included under the national mental health policy ("National Mental Health Plan", 2009)

The prime motivation for stakeholders to create this policy is to take according to action against the issue. Interest and influence also play crucial roles to motivate the stakeholders to do something better with the policy. Stakeholders involved in the policy get motivation from the impact of mental illness that works as the biggest challenge for the community. The enhancing mental health system in Australia is one of the major motivations that work as an influencer for the stakeholders to work better. There are certain opportunities related to the policy that can bring change in the mental health system in the Australian community. More strategic planning is required to increase the effectiveness of the mental health services, and proper awareness is required to allow the patients and family members to approach to the services.

Policy solutions

Under the mental health policy of Australia, the government has taken adequate measures to improve the mental health system in the Australian community. Under this policy, the government has taken several initiatives and conducted programs to aware people. Along with that, a nation-wide review is conducted to assess the effectiveness of services and programs. During the review of the services and programs, the relevant stakeholders are provided suggestions for the improvement of services. Then the government also funds in the research related to mental health issues to improve the policy setting. Apart from these, several preventative health initiatives are taken by the government under the mental health policy ("Mental health", 2020)

The policy overlooks the alternative solutions for the patients apart from the relevant services and awareness. The people who are suffering from intelligence disability are not addressed under this policy, which is a major problem of overlooking the solutions of mental health problem. 

The policy works as additional supportive system regarding social inclusion, employment support and homelessness. 


The implementation of the policy is considered with the help of promotion activities regarding mental health. The support of the policy helps the Australians to avoid the negative experiences, destigmatization from the metal illness image, support to be emotionally resilient and actively participate with the other people in the community. The promotion of mental health aims to increase the ability of youths, children and adults who fail to believe in their potential. The actions under the policy not only help people to overcome the stigma and stress of life but also enable them to lead a better life. The policy increases the awareness of mental health problems and the right way to overcome them, which is necessary to build a better mental health system. The awareness helps the target group to reduce stigma, encourages them to do better in their life, reduces discrimination caused by mental illness and encourage them for help-seeking behaviour. One of the crucial drawbacks of the policy is its accountability system as it is limited. Hence, the policy lacks in the case of real accountability. The outcome data lacks to provide adequate information, due to which a critical gap has created in the planning, practice and knowledge of mental health policy (Crosbie, 2009).  Another drawback of the policy is lack of investment due to which policy monitoring capacity and the research for the policy is weakened. 

The foundations for the accountability process of the policy depend on the national mental health data and related information. The primary action that is taken under accountability is regular and timely reporting to the health authorities for the progress of mental health reform that responds to the needs of all the stakeholders. The accountability of the policy also involves a service delivery system that is accountable to monitor the continuous performance of the service quality. The accountability of the mental health services relies on the limited data system related to mental health service. The accountability of the policy should be improved for better service delivery and to reform the mental health system of Australia. 

The evaluation measures that are undertaken in the policy are community education, policy regulation, and finance and payment system. The policy is effective for the community to recover mental illness and other mental problems, but it is limited due to inappropriate accountability, limited funding and weak monitoring process. Hence, the government should focus on such areas to enhance the efficiency of the policy. 


The mental health issue is one of the major problems in Australia as well as the other counterparts of the world. Hence, it is important to take adequate action by the government to address the issues related to mental health problems. The issues can be addressed in two ways- adequate awareness and relevant available services. These two things are very crucial to build a better mental health system. The Australian government has taken many steps under national mental health policy and other mental health plans to mitigate the problems.

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