Greens' mental health policy highlights the silence of the other major parties, August 2013

RENEWED CALLS FOR LONG-TERM COMMITMENT TO REFORM

The Mental Health Council of Australia (MHCA) has today welcomed the mental health policy launch from the Australian Greens, using the occasion to ask why the other major parties have been silent on mental health during this election campaign.

“Despite there being almost three million registered voters who will experience mental illness this year, the ALP and the Coalition are yet to release any significant mental health policy,” MHCA CEO Frank Quinlan said today.

“We welcome the suite of spending commitments from the Greens, and we echo their call for a mental health research institute, the increase in funding for the mental health nurses program and the national suicide prevention campaign.

“These commitments are important, but the only way we can fix our broken mental health system is to embark on a much broader program of systemic reform over the course of the next decade – additional spending without real reform runs the risk of not achieving better outcomes on the ground.  This requires a commitment from all sides of politics.”

The MHCA has renewed its call for the two major parties to release their mental health policies, so the Australian public can decide which party will be making the biggest impact on an issue that affects each and every one of us.

“In addition, the MHCA is seeking real commitment to long-term reform of the mental health system. We want to see a commitment that lasts beyond the forward estimates, beyond the three year election cycle,” Mr Quinlan said.

“We agree with the Greens policy statement where it says: a caring society provides better access to mental health services across the country, and recognises that mental health policy cuts through politics to the very heart of our nation’s wellbeing.

“With one in five Australians experiencing a mental illness in the next 12 months, mental health is one of the most important issues facing our community.

“Only through commitment to systemic reform over the next decade, by all sides of politics, can we achieve real and meaningful change in the lives of millions of Australians.”

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