Australian Greens spokesperson for Mental Health, Penny Wright, and Greens Leader Christine Milne today launched the Greens' Rural Mental Health Services Online Consultation website in Port Augusta to give Australians living in rural areas a chance to have their say on mental health services in their regions.
Senator Wright, who is currently touring rural, regional and remote Australia to talk to organisations and individuals about mental health services in their regions, said it was important that the people at the forefront of rural mental health services had a chance to have their voices heard.
"There is an alarming lack of mental health services in rural areas and as a result, people are missing out on crucial treatment," Senator Wright said.
"Over 30 per cent of Australians live in rural areas. Yet less than 10 per cent of psychiatrists practise there.
"It is unacceptable that these Australians experience poorer health outcomes and limited access to essential health services compared to their urban counterparts. The Greens believe that this inequity must be addressed.
"People in rural areas have a right to their fair share of health resources, including mental health resources. They also have a right to have a say in matters that directly affect them.
"It is for this reason that the Greens are asking people living in rural areas to have their say about the quality of mental health services available in their local community, and to tell us what works well, what doesn't and where the gaps are."
Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne said "When we think about the kind of country we want Australia to be, a happier, healthier, smarter country, taking care of our mental health has to become a high priority.
"People across regional Australia face extraordinary challenges and pressures, and are often reluctant to seek help. We must ensure that mental health services are adequate so that they don't get left behind."
The online consultation page can be found at http://greensmps.org.au/content/rural-mental-health-services-online-consultation.
Senator Wright will be touring regional towns in South Australia as part of her rural mental health services consultation tour from July 24 - 27.