In Australia, the collaborative involvement of stakeholders, especially those with lived experience in mental health and suicide prevention, has become important to government policy and practice at Federal and State levels. However, little is known about how governments translate this intention into frameworks of co-creation for policy, funding programs, service improvement, and research and evaluation. We investigated the extent to which publicly available government policies refer to collaborative practice using an established translation model.
An exploratory directed and summative content analysis approach was used to analyse the contents of Federal (also known as Commonwealth), State and Territories policy documents on mental health and suicide prevention published in Australia between 2010 and 2021. The data was extracted, compared to an existing translation model, and summated to demonstrate the evidence of co-creation-related concepts between government and stakeholders.
40 policy documents (nine at the Federal and 31 at the State and Territory level) were identified and included in the analysis. Only 63% of policy documents contained references to the concept of co-design. Six of the State policies contained references to the concept of co-production. Across all policy documents, there were no references to other concepts in the model adopted for this study, such as co-creation, co-ideation, co-implementation, and co-evaluation.
Although the government at Federal, State and Territory levels appear to support collaborative practice through partnership and co-design, this study suggests a narrow approach to the theoretical model for co-creation at a policy level. Implications for both research and practice are discussed.