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Promised Royal Commission supported but action needed now, psychiatrists say

24 October 2018
 
 
 
The Victorian Branch of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP Victorian Branch) welcomes Premier Daniel Andrews’ promise to establish a Royal Commission into Mental Health if re-elected, but emphasises that action is needed now to meet the needs of people with mental illness.
 
The Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews pledged work will begin on establishing the inquiry within the first 100 days of office if his Government is re-elected in next month’s Victorian State election.
 
‘The RANZCP Victorian Branch has long been calling for a plan for mental health in Victoria, as a decade-long history of underinvestment has created a public mental health system that can’t meet the needs of the people it is meant to support,’ said RANZCP Victorian Branch Chair, Professor Richard Newton.
 
‘It is hoped that a Royal Commission will provide a thorough assessment of the state of the mental health system in Victoria, and will lead to actionable policies.
 
‘However, we know that a Royal Commission will take years to report and for recommendations to be addressed, and unfortunately people with mental illness can’t wait that long.
 
‘The Premier is right when he says that ‘thousands of Victorians are suffering with mental illness and addiction’ right now.
 
‘The conduct of the inquiry should not delay new investment and policy action. Families are desperate for help, and Victoria needs a mental health system of the best quality,’ Professor Richard Newton said.
 
‘The RANZCP Victorian Branch calls on both sides of Government to urgently commit to funding in community services, as well as:
 
  • investing in more public acute beds
  • increasing forensic services
  • establishing more child and adolescent psychiatry training positions
  • prioritising evidence-based treatment in public mental health services (including psychotherapy)
  • properly funding psychiatrists to address the high and increasing impact of addiction.
 
 
‘With the right investment in the right places, Victoria can provide quality care for people with mental illness to improve the lives of all Victorians.’
 
The Victorian Branch of the RANZCP is calling on all Members of the Victorian Parliament to prioritise mental health in the lead up to the election and pledge more funding to public mental health services.
 
For more information see the RANZCP Victorian Branch’s Mental health: targeting new investment report.
 
 
ENQUIRIES: Andy Newton at media@ranzcp.org or +61 437 315 911.
 
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is a membership organisation that prepares medical specialists in the field of psychiatry, supports and enhances clinical practice, advocates for people affected by mental illness and advises governments on mental health care. For information about our work, our members or our history, visit www.ranzcp.org.
 
If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or www.lifeline.org.au or the Suicide Callback Service on 1300 659 467 or www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au.