A new vision and implementation approach for Veteran mental health systems globally
Phoenix Australia and the Canadian Centre of Excellence – PTSD have collaborated to create a shared vision for a system of support and care services to optimise the wellbeing of Veterans and their families.
Our new Conceptual Framework to Guide the Implementation of Best and Next Practice in Services and Supports for Veterans and their Families (Conceptual Framework) provides a design and implementation approach for an effective and constantly evolving system of services and supports that will better meet the needs of Veterans and their families.
Many systems that support Veterans with their mental health needs emphasise high quality and accessible treatment as a high priority in their reform effort, and are working towards this goal. Whilst progress has been made in many areas, it remains a significant challenge for many systems globally.
The Conceptual Framework is intended to progress the conversation and drive further reform work to provide Veterans and their families with the best possible support and care. It is relevant to any system globally that provides support to Veterans and their families at a local, regional or national level. It is not intended as an analysis of current systems and their respective outcomes, nor a reflection or criticism of current approaches and policies of different countries.
We are hopeful that the Conceptual Framework will be helpful to any stakeholder with the capacity to influence outcomes for Veterans and their families – governments, insurers, regulators, service providers, support organisations, practitioners, intermediary organisations, as well as individual Veterans, their families and communities.
Guided by those with lived experience, evidence and the collective experience of both our organisations, the Conceptual Framework currently has two documents, with the intention to develop further material over time:
The technical document provides comprehensive, evidenced-based reference material in relation to the unique needs of Veterans and their families, the current system they typically face, and the burden of a sub-optimal system of care and support, as well as:
A vision for a future system that we can all aspire to
A next generation stepped / matched model of care
The building blocks for effective knowledge mobilisation and implementation
In exploring these topics the document:
- Provides an overarching design around which to build an effective system of services and supports
- Provides a structure around which current and planned initiatives in service development can be considered
- Helps determine where different systems are in relation to best and next practice services and supports
- Outlines the best approach and path to get there, recognising the differing starting points of various systems.
Sitting within the context of the technical document, the Brief Guide is a short, practical document intended to support Veteran mental health systems to commence and / or enhance their own journey towards implementing the new system design, and ensuring high quality and accessible mental health treatment for Veterans and their families. It is intended to:
- Be an actionable guide and ‘make meaning’ of the wealth of information within the technical document
- Provide a resource and practical steps on where to start or further enhance implementation work in Veteran mental health systems at the local, regional or national levels
- Provide a structure and menu for a range of future ‘how to’ guides and toolkits that could be developed
- Be able to be applied internationally (i.e., be meaningful in a number of national veteran mental health systems, each with their own unique environment and set of circumstances)
- Support providing rigour to implementation work (i.e., a framework to study and measure uptake and impact of the Conceptual Framework from now and into the future).
In particular, the Brief Guide unpacks the building blocks for effective knowledge mobilisation and implementation and provides very practical activities and next steps.
What next? Using the Conceptual Framework
The success and ongoing development of this work will depend on the active involvement of all stakeholders who have the capacity to influence the operation of the system and therefore to impact outcomes for Veterans and their families. No single organisation can deliver this new, integrated system design alone. Establishing an international network of implementing organisations and stakeholders would be a positive step in moving towards a future system outlined in the Conceptual Framework.
We hope that the material will be of value to all stakeholders. There is no doubt that the Conceptual Framework is aspirational, but it is not unattainable. With the combined effort and commitment of the broad range of stakeholders that we have identified, optimisation of the support and service system for Veterans and their families can be achieved. This would be no more than a fitting recognition of the service and sacrifice that Veterans and their families have made on our behalf.