Tasmanian Mental Health Reform Program Communique Issue 4

Download a printable PDF version here: Tasmanian Mental Health Reform Program Communique Issue 4


What drives the Reform Program?

The Mental Health Reform Program is a continuation of the work completed by the Mental Health Integration Taskforce (MHIT) in 2018, which was tasked with finding the best approaches to achieving integration of Mental Health Services in Southern Tasmania.

The recommendations from the MHIT were accepted by the Tasmanian Government and commitment was provided to support the implementation through eight key actions including dedicated project resources (action 8).

The Reform Program team are tasked with implementing actions 1 to 5.
The Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Directorate is responsible for key elements including capital developments for integration hubs, and actions 6 and 7.

The actions in summary are:

  1. Establish a Mental Health Hospital Avoidance Program (HAP)
  2. Establish Integration Hubs at St Johns Park and the Peacock Centre
  3. Establish an integrated post and after care suicide response as part of the HAP
  4. Review the model of care for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service
  5. Establish a dedicated state-wide response to people with complex needs
  6. Continue the key reforms of the Alcohol and Drug sector and the transition  to NDIS
  7. Use the National Mental Health Service Planning Framework (NMHSPF) to inform regional planning and service commissioning.

The Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Directorate is a small team who work alongside the Chief Psychiatrist (Program Sponsor) and have a number of functions including strategic policy and service planning.


What is our approach?

The Reform Program is focused on drawing on the experience, passion and knowledge of diverse stakeholders across the sector to inform the implementation of the actions.  We are achieving this through reference groups and working groups.

There are five working groups that are now active:  Hospital Avoidance Program, Integration Hubs, Integrated Suicide Response, People with Complex needs (mental health and intellectual disability) and People with Complex Needs (Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder).

Each working group is holding a intensive session once a month until June 2020.

In addition, the review of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and Forensic Mental Health Services lead by independent experts have commenced.

Hospital Avoidance Program (HAP) working group

The first of the Mental Health Reform Program working group sessions was held on 8th January 2020. The main focus of this working group is to develop a new Model of Care for Hospital Avoidance within the new Mental Health System.

This new model will be aimed at developing new and improved pathways to provide alternatives to attending the general hospital emergency department, including working more closely with GPs.

The working group consists of a broad stakeholder base and is made up of around 25 people, both with lived experience and those working in the Mental Health sector.

Our first group meeting included discussion of the actions from the taskforce recommendations and how we have aligned them to each of the working groups.

For more detail, refer to the Taskforce Report and Recommendations.


We are very pleased to welcome Dianne Hawkridge, who is a member of the Reform Program Reference Group, and share her profile.

To send in your profile or contact the team with any queries email the TMHRP team at tas.mhreform@ths.tas.gov.au or phone 6166 0813.

Dianne Hawkridge

Dianne is the Regional Manager - Tasmania for Wellways Australia. She is a Registered Nurse by background and has worked in the Mental Health sector for 20 years.  Dianne has experience in both government and community services in New Zealand and Australia.

Dianne brings a depth of knowledge across a range of service lines and models of care in varied contexts.  She hopes to be able to add value to conversations, planning and implementation of the Mental Health reforms based on her rich experiences.

Dianne welcomes the engagement and collegiality of all stakeholders in the sector with a common aim to optimise outcomes for people, families and communities. Dianne is passionate about the contribution community managed organisations bring to the sector alongside authentic partnerships with clinical services.