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Local ideas sought for national mental health policy

Australian Greens spokesperson for Mental Health Senator Penny Wright will this week visit Orange to hear from locals about how mental health services can be improved in rural, regional and remote areas.

 The visit is part of a national tour to ensure the Australian Green's mental health policies are structured by the needs of communities.

 "Far too often, decisions affecting rural and regional communities are made by bureaucrats in cities," Senator Wright said. "We want to hear from the people in these areas about what they would like to see in terms of mental health services."

 "We know that there are big gaps and challenges in accessing mental health services in rural and regional areas and this need to be addressed urgently.

 "About a third of Australians live in country areas, yet less than 10 per cent of psychiatrists practise there.  

 "It is unacceptable that people living in country Australia can miss out vital treatment that is easily available to those in urban areas. A person should have access to support services that will enable them to live healthy and happy lives no matter where they live."

 Locals are encouraged to have their say through Senator Wright's online consultation webpage.

 "What we hear from local communities will be used to develop the Australian Greens mental health platform and to push for greater action from Federal and State governments," Senator Wright said.

 "Improving mental health and access to services needs to be a national priority and a critical part of that is addressing the inequality for those in rural and remote areas."

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