COTA Victoria’s recommendations for the Mental Health Royal Commission’s Terms of Reference.
Summary of Recommendations:
1. Older Victorians and the evolving needs of Victoria’s ageing population must be included under a separate focus area within the terms of reference.
2. The Mental Health Royal Commission investigate the relationship between mental illness and elder abuse.
3. The terms of reference must extend to all specialist mental health services, including Aged Persons Assessment and Treatment Services and Aged Persons Mental Health Services.
4. The terms of reference must extend to issues relating to the criteria and age restrictions for accessing community mental health services and the models of mental health treatment available to older people.
5. The terms of reference must cover dementia as a separate focus area, in light of the unique challenges that mental illness, and misdiagnosis of mental illness can present for this target group.
6. The terms of reference must cover issues arising for people at heightened risk of vulnerability including those living in residential care and supported accommodation.
7. The terms of reference must examine the needs and experiences of families and carers of people with mental health issues.
8. The terms of reference must examine the diversity and intersectionality of populations in accessing and experiencing mental health services and responses – including gender, culture, ethnicity, disability, LGBTIQ and the impact of social isolation and living in rural and remote communities as an older person.
9. The terms of reference must cover issues arising in relation to the interfacing arrangements between different service systems, and between state and federally-funded services.
10. Any issues relating to the administration of aged care services that are uncovered throughout the Royal Commission’s investigations should be communicated to the Aged Care Sector Committee and the Department of Health at the Commonwealth level.
11. The terms of reference must extend to the exploration of innovative strategies for early intervention and prevention of mental illness that have proven effective in other jurisdictions.
12. All information and materials produced to inform the broader community on the Royal Commission process (including the website) must be written in plain English and in a range of accessible formats.
13. There must be a range of non – digital options available to enable people to submit information to inform the Royal Commission’s investigations:
14. The Victorian Government should consider providing additional funding to COTA Victoria and Seniors Rights Victoria to specifically support older Victorians, their families and carers to be actively involved in the Royal Commission process.