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Applying the World Health Organization Mental Health Action Plan to evaluate policy on addressing co-occurrence of physical and mental illnesses in Australia
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Brenda Happell, Chris Platania-Phung, S Webster, B McKenna, F Millar, Robert Stanton, C Galletly, D Castle, T Furness, D Liu
Objectives. The aim of the present study was to document Australian policies on the physical health of people with mental illness and evaluate the capacity of policy to support health needs. Methods. A search of state and federal policies on mental and physical illness was conducted, as well as detailed analysis of policy content and the relationships between policies, by applying the World Health Organization Mental Health Action Plan 2013–2020 as an evaluative framework. Results. National policy attention to the physical health of people with mental illness has grown, but there is little interconnection at the national and state levels. State policies across the country are inconsistent, and there is little evidence of consistent policy implementation. Conclusions. A coherent national health policy framework on addressing co-occurring physical and mental illnesses that includes healthcare system reforms and ensuring the interconnectedness of other relevant services should be prioritised.