The aims of the National Mental Health Policy 2008 are to:
- promote the mental health and well-being of the Australian community and, where possible, prevent the development of mental health
- problems and mental illness
- reduce the impact of mental health problems and mental illness, including the effects of stigma, on individuals, families and the community
- promote recovery from mental health problems and mental illness and
- assure the rights of people with mental health problems and mental illness, and to enable them to participate meaningfully in society.
These aims provide a context for the plans developed at a state and national level. They recognise a continuum between mental health, mental health problems and mental illness. Some people may experience episodes of mental illness that require clinical treatment and community services. Others may face emotional or mental health problems which affect their ability to fulfil their social roles and require specific services to help them overcome these problems. People at risk of developing mental health problems or mental illness can benefit from preventive or early intervention activities. Community awareness from mental health promotion efforts can reduce stigma and discrimination and increase opportunities for prevention and early intervention.