An Australian Greens bid for improved mental health care in rural areas has been supported in a Senate vote today.
Australian Greens spokesperson for mental health Senator Penny Wright said a recent Monash University study recommended providing incentives for mental health professionals to practise outside major cities.
Australian Greens spokesperson for mental health Senator Penny Wright says the Abbott Government must urgently guarantee funding for vital mental health services, as organisations report losing staff due to uncertainty.
"The Abbott Government has the final report of the National Mental Health Commission's review of mental health services and they should release this without delay to end the uncertainty for the sector," Senator Wright said.
Australian Greens spokesperson for mental health Senator Penny Wright says the Government must urgently intervene to address the youth mental health crisis, outlined in a report by the National Children's Commissioner.
"Mental health has been completely off the radar under the Abbott Government, but now it needs to be put front and centre," Senator Wright said.
"When teenagers are more likely to die from suicide than car accidents, it's time to take action and make it easier for children and teens to get the help they need.
Senator WRIGHT: I, and also at the request of Senator Di Natale, move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that four out of five Victorians believe mental health must be a top priority in the upcoming state election and that almost 92 per cent say regional mental health services need to be extended;
(b) recognises that mental illness in 12 to 25-year-olds is costing Australia an estimated $10 billion each year and people do not have access to the services they need; and
Senator WRIGHT: I will now come to the issue of eating disorders. I am interested to know what data the department has in relation to the prevalence of eating disorders in Australia in 2014 or recently.
Mr Booth: Again, I do not have that information on me. We would need to take that on notice and see who the appropriate organisation is that collects that type of data. We can certainly look into it and we would be happy to make that information available.
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