Leveraging implementation science with Mental Health Reform Victoria to accelerate system reform

Sad lonely girl sitting on stairs

The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System identified 65 specific recommendations for reform of the state’s mental health system, and the Victorian government is investing in finding better ways to achieve service delivery and system reform as a consequence. CEI contributed to these efforts via support of Mental Health Reform Victoria (MHRV).

MHRV was established to lead an ambitious reform agenda over a two-year period with the purpose of achieving a better mental health system for individuals, families, carers, and workers. With a mandate to deliver change quickly, whilst simultaneously remaining true to the vision and intent of the reforms, MHRV engaged CEI to provide expertise that would assist with the acceleration of the implementation process.

The partnership helped to enhance implementation science capacity amongst key leaders and implementers within an organisation that is playing a pivotal role in Victoria’s mental health system reform. This is accelerating and enhancing system transformation to improve outcomes for service users and their carers, mental health workers, and communities at large.

The field of implementation science holds great promise for those responsible for service delivery and system reform because it offers methods and approaches that can deliver breakthroughs, resulting in higher quality services and improved health outcomes. Implementation science has many success stories in the mental health field and has made a substantial and sustained impact in a range of global health contexts.

Operating as a change agent, MHRV worked to ‘find the fit’ between the reform initiatives and the contexts within which they are being implemented in order to facilitate system reform. Through observation and investigation, CEI identified key opportunities to use evidence-backed implementation strategies to enhance the work being undertaken. 

Dr Robyn Mildon, CEI's Executive Director, spoke at the Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Symposium Series 2021 about the lessons of implementation science for system reform. Watch the video of her talk. 

CEI later developed an article for The Mandarin on the role of implementation science in systems change in mental health.