What is Prevention First?
Prevention First is a plain language document that provides a new national framework for strategic action to prevent mental ill-health and promote mental health and wellbeing.
It builds on existing models and policies developed here in Australia and overseas to:
- Define key concepts relevant to the prevention of mental
- ill-health and the promotion of mental health and wellbeing
- Develop a new conceptual framework for prevention and promotion activity that clearly defines the differences and the full range of activity needed
- Set an agenda for coordinated action and a commitment to prevention of mental ill-health and promotion of mental health and wellbeing.
Who is it for?
Prevention First has been written for a broad audience including governments, policy makers, health and mental health workers as well as sectors that must be part of the national solution to mental health such as children’s services, education and workplaces.
Why was it developed?
Prevention First has been developed to translate policy into coordinated action across sectors and for multiple sectors to use in their planning and monitoring of prevention activities.
The Australian community is interested in and engaged with mental health more than ever before. The time is right to capitalise and set a vision for mental health in Australia that involves not only the health sector, but all sectors and communities.
In many ways, the terms promotion, prevention and early intervention have become confused when applied to mental health, and are often used interchangeably. This has led to gaps in investment and gaps in action. The terms also have little relevance to sectors outside of health that are integral partners in this work.
Making a real difference to the mental health of Australians must involve breaking down the silos and looking for economies of effort across all sectors. Prevention and promotion approaches, by their nature, involve the domains of everyday life and operate in a range of service settings. Hence, there is opportunity for meaningful partnerships and meaningful involvement from the whole of society.
Prevention First builds on state and federal policy documents developed over the past two decades by clarifying concepts and coordinating action.
What’s in it?
Prevention First takes a population health approach to promotion and prevention, focussing on the health needs and relevant interventions for whole populations or groups, such as:
- Groups at higher risk for mental ill-health;
- Groups or individuals showing early signs of mental ill-health;
- Individuals currently experiencing an episode of mental illness;
- Individuals recovering from mental illness;
- Whole communities.
Prevention First comprises focussed prevention and promotion activity across the spectrum, and intervention at both a population and individual level. It also identifies seven key ‘Action Areas’ to further clarify the range of promotion and prevention activity that can and does occur.
Prevention First provides a structure for building partnerships, setting a common agenda, setting priorities and evaluating outcomes, adapting strategies for specific communities and issues and building capacity and coordination.
Who was involved in its development?
Prevention First was developed by the Hunter Institute of Mental Health (the Institute), recognised as a leading national organisation dedicated to reducing mental illness and suicide and improving wellbeing for all Australians. For more than 20 years the Institute has been delivering successful, evidence-based mental health and suicide prevention programs from their base in Newcastle, NSW.
Initial funding was provided by the NSW Ministry of Health.
The Hunter Institute acknowledges all the individuals and organisations who contributed to the development of the framework.
Download the Prevention First framework
Prevention First framework
A print version of the Prevention First framework is also available on request.
How can I find out more?
For more information please contact us.