The role of government in supporting good mental health in communities has been highlighted in the Tasmanian Labor Party’s submission to the Productivity Commission’s draft report on mental health.
Shadow Minister for Mental Health Sarah Lovell said the Commission is examining the effect of mental health on people’s ability to participate and prosper in the community.
“Tasmania has the second highest suicide rate nationally and 20% of the population experiencing mental ill health.
“We know that half of all lifelong mental health problems begin before the age of 14. And the data tells us about one in seven children aged 4 to 17 in Australia have a mental disorder.
“That’s why the Labor Party would invest $40 million to put mental health workers in all government schools. It’s a position the Productivity Commission has backed.
“Children who are mentally healthy learn better, benefit from life experiences and have stronger relationships with family members, school staff and peers.
“Good mental health in childhood provides a solid foundation for managing the transition to adolescence and adulthood, engaging successfully in education and making a meaningful contribution to society.”
Ms Lovell said the government’s focus must be on more than crisis care.
“The new Premier must urgently recognise that when it comes to health and mental health policy, Tasmania needs a change of direction.
“Our public emergency departments and psychiatric units are stretched beyond capacity by heightened rates of demand.
“A sustainable and effective mental health system must include prevention and early intervention services embedded in communities, not just a focus on acute treatment options.”
Read Labor’s submission to the Productivity Commission on its Draft Report.
Sarah Lovell MLC
Shadow Health Minister