The Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Office (MHDAO) is responsible for developing, managing and coordinating NSW Ministry of Health policy, strategy and program funding relating to mental health and the prevention and management of alcohol and drug related harm. The office also supports the maintenance of the mental health legislative framework.
The work of MHDAO is delivered mainly through the mental health program and the drug & alcohol program, in partnership with Local Health Districts, Justice and Forensic Mental Health, Sydney Children's Hospital Network, Non Government Organisations, research institutions and other partner departments.
The Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol Office (MHDAO) was formed in 2006 by the integration of the Centre for Mental Health, the Centre for Drug and Alcohol, the Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy, and Community Drug Strategies. The establishment of the Office is a response to the increased policy and funding priority given to these areas by the State Government and nationally under the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).


MHDAO is currently configured into three business units:
  • Health System Management
  • Community Services & Policy
  • Program Modelling & Reporting


There are four teams hosted within Local Health Districts:
  • InforMH
  • MH CYP
  • MHDAO Older People's Policy Unit
  • D&A populations and Community Programs



The Mental Health budget in 2013/14 is $1.445 billion.
Over $1.2 billion is allocated to Local Health Districts to provide core mental health services, including: 
  • Expansion and addition of mental health services and facilities at Shoalhaven, Wagga Wagga, Orange, St George, Blacktown, Nepean, Hornsby and Prince of Wales Hospital, Chisolm Ross Centre;
  • Establishment of the NSW Mental Health Commission
  • Improved access to specialist child and adolescent mental health services
  • Extra funding for Mental Health Research including funding for a Schizophrenia Research Chair program and Mental Health Clinical Academic Research Program,  and funding to the Brain and Mind Institute for mental health and mood disorders
  • Funding of $57.6M over five years for NSW:National Partnership Agreement on National Mental health Reform for:
    • Housing and Accomodation Support Initiative (HASI PLUS
    • Boarding House Support Initiative
    • Intensive family focused support for mothers with mental illness and their infant children
The NSW Drug and Alcohol Budget in 2013/14 is $170 million.
Over $120 million is allocated to Local Health Districts to provide frontline drug and alcohol services including:
  • Pharmacotherapy services;
  • Detoxification and withdrawal management services
  • Rehabilitation and counselling services;
  • Case management for drug and alcohol users seeking assistance; and
  • Consultation liaison services to ensure that hospital’s have timely access to specialist staff to assist in the management of patients presenting with mental health and drug and alcohol problems.
  • Drug and Alcohol Treatment Programs (NGOs)
  • Statewide Involuntary Drug and Alcohol Treatment Services
  • Enhancement to the NSW opioid Treatment program
  • National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness
In addition to those direct services provided by Local Health Districts, the NSW Government provides funding for non-government organisations and other agencies to also provide:
  • residential rehabilitation services;
  • education and prevention services; and
  • encouraging pharmacists to engage with the pharmacotherapy program;
Page Updated: Wednesday 9 October 2013