More Funds Needed for Mental Health
9 October 2014 at 8:43 am
A boost in mental health funding and an increase in services has been called for with new figures showing that 50 per cent of people with a mental illness are not receiving treatment.
The Australian Psychological Society (APS) Executive Director Professor Lyn Littlefield said Mental Health Week (5-12 October 2014) should act as a catalyst to boost funding.
“Mental health is significantly underfunded, an alarming state of affairs considering the mental health burden and the high rate of mental illness in the community,” Professor Littlefield said.
“Australians have the right to affordable, accessible mental health care that will help them deal effectively with the challenges of life.”
The APS is the largest professional organisation for psychologists in Australia, representing more than 21,000 members.
Professor Littlefield said it was especially important that accessible services for the high prevalence disorders such as anxiety and depression affecting large numbers of Australians were supported along with services that met the needs of other high-risk and vulnerable groups.
“While many people are missing out, we have improved treatment rates in recent years with programs like the Better Access to Mental Health Care initiative and other mental health programs,” she said.
“Research has shown that delivering psychological services under Medicare for the most common mental health disorders has been effective and cost efficient, and has allowed many people to access services for the first time as it is affordable.”
Professor Littlefield said continued investment in these proven services was critical while it was also necessary to address geographical and service gaps as well as to ensure there was a well-trained mental health workforce.
“In a prosperous country, we should be leading the way in mental health and be able to guarantee people optimal care,” she said.