If there was a model around mental health treatment the same way there was with physical health treatment perhaps it would be easier to find the right mental health treatment.

There is a plan to do just this.

In mental health speak, the “missing middle” is the seven to eight percent of Australians with mental illnesses not severe enough to require hospital treatment whose needs for care are not being met in the community setting.

Professor Ian Hickie, Co-Director of Health and Policy at the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre, describes them as the “most neglected” group of people living with mental illness. He also believes that they provide the best opportunity for large returns on new national mental health spending, such as the $2.3 billion package just announced in the Federal Budget.

However, as he describes in the article below, these returns are unlikely to be realised unless the Federal Government addresses systemic problems with the mental health system, included fragmented Commonwealth and State/Territory relations and reliance on fee-for-service in the private sector.