Every year mental illness affects 1 in 5 Australians. It’s the single largest source of disability across all demographics and the third largest health burden behind cancer and cardiovascular disease. It is the leading cause of death for all Australians under 45. More than car accidents. More than binge drinking. More than anything else.
Despite these facts, only 6 percent of the health budget is devoted to mental illness – and only a third of those suffering will get access to mental health care.
Many say this is unacceptable. 2010 Australian of the Year, Professor Patrick McGorry, says “the system’s really in deep trouble… it’s not to scale, it’s way off the pace in terms of being able to respond adequately to the large numbers of people who need help… [it’s] totally unacceptable that 2,500 Australians are dying every year through lack of investment in mental health.”
WHY?????????? and what are they going to do about it
- $1.5bn for mental health, including 800 mental health beds, 60 more headspace youth mental health centres, bulk billing for psychologists and 20 early psychosis intervention centres
Health Minister Nicola Roxon has argued that mental health will have to wait its turn; that she will not take money out of other areas for more mental healthcare. But when she and Rudd proudly announced the establishment of regional cancer treatment centres, beefed up the treatment of diabetes and funding for elective surgery, she did not say the money was coming at the expense of something else. For those big and sexy policy announcements, there was allegedly no trade-off.
Roxon, in effect, said that those services are warranted, but sees fit to further stigmatise mental ill-health by saying that there is no money for it without someone else missing out. This direct attack on mental health consumers and their families by a health minister is unprecedented. (John Mendosa)
- Labor government cut a total of $354.6 million from mental health programs
- $277 sucide prevention plan
- $182 million Better Start for Children with Disabilities. Based on the Helping CHildren with Autism Package (well meaning, good start … tokenism at best)
I find it difficult to get any real detail but this is what I could get from their website
- Dedicated minister for Mental Health
- $350 million per year for mental health
- increase funding to mental health services in collaboration with states and territories, particularly to prevention models, and hospital and community-based support, assessment and suicide prevention services.
- establish properly resourced, strategically located 24 hour community mental health services, staffed by the full range of mental health professionals.
- expand community-based support services and agencies to enable people with chronic mental and/or physical illnesses, and their carers, to live in and participate more fully in their communities.
- increase student places in medical, dental and nursing schools, and allied health courses, to address the shortage of health professionals with commensurate funding for staffing and facilities to ensure high quality training and mentorship programs.