Investment needed to turn mental health workforce plan into reality, say psychiatrists

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has welcomed the release of the National Mental Health Workforce Strategy, and called for urgent investment to attract, train, and retain the psychiatry workforce.

RANZCP President, Dr Elizabeth Moore says:

“Psychiatrists welcome and support the governments’ plan to build Australia’s mental health workforce over the next 10 years.    

“Last week, new ABS data showed one in five Australians experienced a mental health disorder in the previous twelve months, a significant number. 

“Right across Australia people are finding it too hard, too complex or too expensive to get the mental health care they need. The system is unable to keep up with the demand for mental health support services. 

“One of the biggest barriers to people getting the help they need is a critical and chronic shortage of psychiatrists and mental health workers.

“We need to immediately and sustainably invest in the foundations of the mental health system – its workforce.

“The evidence shows prevention and early intervention are the cheapest and most effective forms of mental health care at a population level. On an individual level, it’s getting enough of the right help, early enough, regardless of the issue. 

“But when you don’t have enough practitioners, or the system is too fragmented, people fall through the cracks.

“A delay in receiving care means mental health issues are more likely to become chronic, more severe, more difficult and costly to treat.

“An investment in the mental health workforce is investing to save – saving money, and ultimately saving and improving Australians’ lives.

For all other expert mental health information visit Your Health in Mind, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.

Enquiries: For more information, or to arrange an interview call Dishi Gahlowt on 0437 315 911, or email

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 and other groups on mental health care. For information about our work, our members or our history, visit

In Australia: If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or or the Suicide Callback Service on 1300 659 467 or

In New Zealand: If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline NZ on 0800 543 354 or or the Suicide Crisis Helpline on 0508 828 865 or


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