Suicide rates hitting a devastating ten year high should jolt the Government into implementing a national suicide prevention target whilst addressing what else we need to be doing, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
The Greens say it is deplorable that Abbott Government's health cuts will lead to the loss of an $8 million community care program and force mentally ill patients in South Australia to spend more time in hospitals.
Australian Greens spokesperson on mental health and Senator for South Australia Penny Wright said that the government has pulled the rug out from under this program that works, has been cost-effective, and significantly improves the lives of South Australians.
Senator WRIGHT (South Australia) (17:05): I do thank the Minister Ley for her response, but in her response to the resolution the minister refers to her decision to give a 12-month funding extension to so-called front-line mental health services. While mental health organisations did welcome this funding extension, it is not by any means a long-term solution. It came far too late for many.
Senator WRIGHT (South Australia) (17:50): I rise to take note of a response given by the Minister for Health, Ms Ley, to a resolution of the Senate of 3 March 2015 relating to the mental health of those living in rural Australia and their ability to access mental health services. I move:
The Greens believe that access to quality health care, including mental health care, is a basic human right. With approximately twenty percent of Australians experiencing mental health issues in any given year, mental health policy goes to the heart of our nation’s wellbeing and touches all of us. It is therefore vital that adequate funding and attention is given to all aspects of mental health in Australia.
Responding to the unique mental health issues faced by regional, rural and remote Australia;
Increasing access to appropriate services, improving the quality of such services, and expanding community-based support programs and agencies to enable people experiencing mental illness to live in and participate more fully in their communities; and
Adequate support and improvement of preventative models and approaches to mental health care.
Authorised by D. Lawson, Australian Greens, Parliament House, Canberra 2600