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Greens commit to reducing mental health gap for country Victorians

Media Release
Janet Rice 24 May 2016

Greens commit to reducing mental health gap for country Victorians

The Greens have announced a $280 million plan to bridge the divide between mental health services in the city and in rural and regional areas.

“All Australians deserve to live a healthy life, and good mental health is such an important part of staying healthy,” said the Australian Greens mental health spokesperson Senator Janet Rice.

“It’s much harder for rural and regional Australians to find a psychiatrist, psychologist or allied health professional, meaning the system is at breaking point.

“The Greens are taking action, with a fully costed mental health plan that would attract and encourage more mental health workers in regional Australia and improve the skills of the workforce already there.”

With over 1.3 million people living in regional Victoria, the Greens plan would invest up to an additional $55 million for Victorian regional mental health services. It would include the development and implementation of a workforce plan and funding for step-up, step-down support services and accommodation.

It would also provide short term residential care and other types of ‘stepped treatment’ to provide appropriate services for those being treated for a mental illness in regional Australia.

“Funding our regional mental health services must be seen as an investment, not a cost,” said Janet Rice, who is an Australian Greens Senator for Victoria.

“This much-needed boost would take the pressure off the already overworked mental health workers in Victoria, allowing them to have more of a focus on health promotion, as well as prevention and early diagnosis of mental ill health.

“The Greens are committed to an accessible, universal mental health system, regardless of location or income,” concluded Senator Rice.

The full plan includes a significant increase in funding for Primary Health Networks’ flexible mental health funding pool, the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program, headspace and Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centres. It also commits to establishing an anti-stigma strategy, a national suicide prevention campaign and an overarching supervisory body for mental illness research in Australia.


** Policy document attached **



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