More evidence of a mental health system in crisis: Greens

Australian Greens

The Greens spokesperson for Mental Health the Hon Alison Xamon MLC is dismayed by the failure of our mental health system to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable members of our community as documented in the Mental Health Advocacy Service’s Annual Report tabled in Parliament this morning.

The Advocacy Service represents a range of people with severe mental health conditions including patients on involuntary treatment orders. Key messages from this year’s annual report are that there are many gaps in services, demand is growing and, despite government investment in some areas it is nowhere enough and we are continuing to fall behind.

Ms Xamon said “the MHAS Annual Report is yet more evidence of a mental health system in disarray.

“This report comes hot on the heels of the Auditor General’s damning assessment of the mental health system. The Auditor General found that despite the widely acknowledged veracity of the State’s 10 year mental health, alcohol and other drug plan there has been limited progress in its implementation.

“The plan is premised on the fact that unless urgent priority is given to rebalancing the mental health system more and more people will reach crisis points and be in need of emergency level care – indeed this is exactly what the MHAS report is showing is happening” Ms Xamon said.

“Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in the lack of services for 16 and 17 years old young people.

“We know that there are currently not enough services for this cohort yet at the same time the numbers of young people needing acute care is increasing at an unsustainable rate – the number of 16 and 17 year olds being placed on involuntary orders has almost doubled over the last three years.

“But we are not only failing young people the MHAS’s report also provides a litany of other instances of how the government’s failure to act is affecting West Australians including:

  • consumers with eating disorders experiencing fragmented care
  • prisoners unable to access mental health services
  • people with intellectual or developmental disabilities inappropriately placed in mental health units
  • people left in emergency departments for days waiting for beds, while other were stuck on hospital wards due to lack of community supported accommodation
  • Aboriginal people over 50% more likely to be placed on involuntary orders than the broader population
  • wards with dirty, unsafe and dangerous conditions.

“Once again, I implore the Government to show leadership and begin properly investing in implementing the 10 year plan” Ms Xamon said.

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