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Mental Health Reform must be beyond budget and election cycles

The Australian Greens have warned the Government not to delay action on mental health by waiting 18 months for the Productivity Commission inquiry report.

"With suicide levels at record highs we cannot wait, we need a commitment to action and investment, Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on mental health said.

“There are wide spread calls for suicide targets yet the Government is resisting. The 2010 senate inquiry into Suicide in Australia recommended suicide targets- it’s just another example among many of reports and stakeholder recommendations that go ignored until we have ugly statistics showing that we have a mental health crisis.  

“We cannot keep raising awareness as a community without it being backed up by strategic, evidence based, targeted services. We’ve just seen too many adhoc approaches.  

“I recently initiated the senate inquiry into mental health services in rural and remote Australia. The committee has taken evidence from Albany, to the Kimberley, Alice Springs and Whyalla and many places along the way. People in remote and rural regions just don’t have the services and they can’t keep waiting.

“We clearly have a mental health crisis in our Emergency Departments - what is the Government going to do about this urgent issue now?

“With half of all mental illnesses presenting by the age of 14 we can’t keep waiting. We need early years investment.

“We really cannot ignore the link between mental ill health and poverty. People are being told that they just have to go and get a job, in a job market where the jobs just aren’t there– while living on $38 a day.

“We are not going to solve this issue overnight but we have to look beyond budget and election cycles."

Media Contact:

Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180

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