Australia’s peak psychology body, the Australian Psychological Society (APS), has welcomed the final report from the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Mental Health, and has urged the Government to seize the opportunity to create generational reform for the nation’s mental health services.
APS President Tamara Cavenett said as Australians approach the end of a very difficult year, access to a suite of safe, and effective mental health services and resources will be important, as never before.
“This report is a defining moment for mental health reform in Australia, particularly as Australians recover from a devastating bushfire season and the impacts of COVID-19,” said Cavenett.
“The APS is supportive of the call for a whole-of-government mental health strategy, where the Commonwealth, States and Territories are unified by a need for a compassionate and nationally consistent approach to mental health care that goes beyond the health system.”
“No one should fall through the cracks of our mental health system. By addressing the gaps in funding and services that can see consumers miss out on the right care, the Report highlights areas for much-needed reform.”
“The APS also supports the focus on prevention and early intervention in children and young people, and agrees these should be key areas of focus and investment,” she said.
Ms Cavenett said in light of COVID-19, the APS notes the need for mental health services to adapt to the changing needs of the community.
“We recognise that online treatment can be a useful tool to increase access for people seeking help remotely or during periods of social distancing. Additionally, equipping workplaces to be mentally healthy is important, particularly as many Australians have undergone significant changes during the pandemic,” said Cavenett.
“The findings from this report have been long-awaited and confirm many of the concerns held by Australia’s largest mental health workforce.”
“In very few countries around the world, can people access the expertise and support of highly trained professional psychologists, as readily as in Australia. The extensive training and high professional standards under which psychologists are regulated, sees them well-placed to contribute widely across our mental health care systems – the APS is pleased to see the Report acknowledge the important ongoing role that psychologists play in helping Australians improve their mental health and wellbeing.”
“We look forward to working with our members to further analyse the report and form a detailed response. Our focus is to ensure that Australians in every setting, at every stage, have access to safe, high quality services and resources, underpinned by the latest developments in psychological science, along with the values, compassion and skill of our psychologist workforce.”