The PHN Mental Health Outcomes Project is a short term qualitative project funded by the National Mental Health Commission to inform their role in monitoring and reporting on mental health and suicide prevention reforms.


  • In 2014, the Australian Government tasked the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC) with conducting a national review of mental health programmes and services.
  • Contributing Lives, Thriving Communities – Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services provided 25 recommendations across nine strategic directions, underpinned by the principles of person-centred design, new system structure, and revised funding to achieve more efficient and effective ‘upstream’ services and support.
  • The Government response in 2015 outlined nine interconnected areas of reform with Primary Health Networks (PHNs) responsible for leading regional mental health planning and integration and re-focusing mental health service delivery within a stepped care model.
  • In July 2016, NMHC met with Victorian PHN CEOs to discuss a strategic approach to mental health reform, including improved measurement of PHN performance in achieving improved systems, better pathways and better outcomes for people with a lived experience of mental illness.
  • Gippsland PHN subsequently submitted a project proposal to NMHC to undertake a national PHN project to explore the concept of mental health outcomes more closely. Funding was granted late in 2016.

Project Outline

  • The aim of the project is to consider how PHNs nationally, regionally and locally have approached mental health system reform, and how this informs NMHC’s role in monitoring and reporting.
  • Specific project objectives are:
    • Review PHNs’ experiences of regional integration and reform implementation and processes concerning mental health and suicide prevention.
    • Review PHNs’ consumer and carer participation and engagement in mental health and suicide prevention policy and practice.
    • Identify options for how the NMHC can assist PHNs in relation to PHNs’ roles in mental health and suicide prevention.
  • The project commenced in February 2017 and is due to conclude by the end of September 2017.
  • The key stages of the project are:
    • Phase one – stakeholder consultation, review of experiences and preliminary analysis/recommendations, including review of developments in consumer and carer experiences and frameworks applicable to the PHN context.
    • Phase two – final report including critical analysis and project evaluation.

Fact Sheet

To find out more information PHN Mental Health Outcomes Project, please download the “project fact sheet

Project Methodology

  • Participation could involve a telephone semi-structured interview, anonymous online survey, or focus group depending on participant location, level of interest and timing.
  • For more information about the project, please contact Liz Craig, Senior Project Manager at liz.craig@gphn.org.au or 0437 396 991


Gippsland PHN gratefully acknowledges the support of the Commonwealth Government.