Mental Health First Issue for New PM Gillard?
24 June 2010 at 2:20 pm
An 84,000 strong petition asking the Government to commit to mental health funding was one of the first things to hit the desk of new Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.
Just hours after a party room spill and a unanimous vote electing Julia Gillard as the new Labor leader, Advocacy group GetUp and the Australian of the Year, Prof. Patrick McGorry delivered the petition to Gillard's office.
The printed petition currently stands at 2,423 pages and includes 1,293 personal messages from Australians who have first hand experience with the mental health system.
The petition comes after Prof. John Mendoza, former chair of the National Mental Health Advisory Council and the Rudd Government's head advisor on mental health, resigned last Friday due to the Government's failure to act on the issue. He wrote to GetUp members this week explaining his resignation and asking for their support.
The petition calls on the governments of Australia to act urgently and effectively to reform mental healthcare in Australia so that:
- There is no longer inequality of access to effective treatments between physical health and mental health;
- Early intervention is the norm;
- Community based treatments are the norm; and
- Quality services are the norm.
GetUp National Director Simon Sheikh says Prime Minister Gillard needs to be a bold leader on climate change, a compassionate voice on refugees, and a force for a fairer, more progressive Australia.
He says whatever she does, GetUp members will be here to keep her accountable – starting with mental health.
Sheikh says that he hopes the combined weight of the mental health experts and thousands of Australians will force the Government to act.
Professor Mendoza says Prime Minister Gillard needs to demonstrate her new Government has a vision and a plan to ensure that all Australians with mental ill-health have access to information, understanding, assessment and quality care.
GetUp is an independent, grass-roots community advocacy organisation giving Australians opportunities to get involved and hold politicians accountable on important issues.
GetUp take one of their campaigns directly to the new Prime Minister on her first day in office (SOURCE: GetUp)