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Greens offer unwavering support for mental health services

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 2 Nov 2010

The Greens have today reaffirmed their commitment to developing effective, long term mental health strategies while responding to a GetUp campaign calling for The Greens to support a Coalition motion on mental health.
“Anyone who has read the Green's policy on mental health would know how committed we are to this issue,” Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“Last week, we were unable to support a Coalition motion on mental health which simply restated their election policy and focused on one part of our systemic mental health problems.

“We opposed the motion because while it did cover some important issues, other critical issues were overlooked.

“We know that the key to effective mental health policy is making sure it is comprehensive enough to deliver the outcomes we need.

“I am sure that by taking a collaborative approach with the Coalition on this issue we can develop a much stronger position.

“Early intervention programs (like the Headspace program and EPPIC centres in the motion) are an absolutely essential part of the solution – but early intervention programs alone will not solve the problem of ensuring there are joined up services to meet the needs of the many Australians already within (and being failed by) our mental health system.

“Delivering meaningful outcomes on mental health reform means ensuring that we have a comprehensive mental health system to help Australian's in need and to reduce the number of people who currently fall through the gaps,” said Senator Siewert.

Senator Siewert chaired the Senate Inquiry into Suicide in Australia, which addressed the missing elements within our existing mental health framework.

“We’ve indicated to the Coalition that we’re prepared to negotiate an amended motion that includes other support services. We have also tabled a comprehensive motion on mental health reform that we urge Get Up members to support,” said Senator Siewert.

“I look forward to working with the Coalition and taking some serious steps towards a truly collaborative approach to mental health.

“I am pleased Australia now has for the first time a Minister for Mental Health – this was part of the Greens policy which I think shows that we're not just playing politics with mental health, but doing our best to deliver real outcomes,” concluded Senator Siewert.

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