Major Church Groups Call For Action On Mental Health
22 July 2010 at 11:25 am
Church groups across Australia have called on the major political parties to commit to immediate action and investment in community mental health issues in the lead up to the Federal Election.
In a joint statement, Anglicare Australia, Catholic Social Services Australia, The Salvation Army and UnitingCare Australia have called on the major parties to commit to an immediate and substantial investment in mental health.
Successive Federal Governments have failed to invest in adequate community based mental health services, according to Executive Director of Catholic Social Services Australia, Frank Quinlan.
Quinlan says that whilst most Australians see only a small part of the Government’s failure on mental health as they assist a loved one, social service agencies are overwhelmed each day with family breakdown, long term unemployment, homelessness and suicide.
Anglicare Australia acting Chair Ian Carter called on the political parties to build on the recommendations of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission by funding community mental health services that support participation, inclusion and recovery, and to work with consumers, services and health professionals in putting that plan in place.
If major parties are serious about dealing with homelessness and workforce participation, they need to commit to ways of implementing early mental health interventions and ongoing recovery supports, to ensure people experiencing mental illness don’t lose their job, their housing and their family, says Major Cecil Woodward, The Salvation Army Territorial Services Director.
Susan Helyar, National Director of UnitingCare Australia says that in the social service sector they see that early intervention, prevention and recovery support can also make a real difference to people living with the effects of long term mental health problems.
The four agencies have thousands of employees and volunteers across Australia, providing social services for millions of Australians each year.
The Gillard Government has already flagged that it will not single out the mental health sector for special attention at the expense of other health services.
Opposition leader, Tony Abbott announced the Coalition's $1.5 billion mental health policy on July 1st. The plan includes $440 million for the creation of 20 Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centres.