Three peak mental health organisations have called on all Queensland political parties to commit to significantly increasing mental health funding across Queensland.
The Queensland Branch of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, the Queensland Branch of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses, and the Queensland Alliance for Mental Health, have joined together to call for a guarantee on current mental health spending commitments but urge considerable additional funding to address Queensland’s high rates of mental health issues and suicide.
The peak organisations are deeply concerned that one in five Queensland adults experiences a mental health issue in any given year and that Queensland’s suicide rate of 13.9 per 100,000 people is higher than the national rate, and has been consistently high for the past decade.
Queensland has a large population of people living in rural and remote locations, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples compared to other states, yet these vulnerable groups do not receive the same access to mental health support or treatment as those in the south east of Australia.
Over the past decade this has worsened as Queensland’s core community mental health services have seen no growth in funding, resulting in services being strained to cope with the mental health issues of Queensland’s growing population.
Untreated mental illness is a significant cost to the Queensland economy and, most importantly, deeply affects individuals, families and communities. The annual cost to the Australian economy of premature death of people with both serious mental illness and physical illness is $15 billion, and, when the burden of substance abuse is included, this figure balloons to $45.4 billion.
The peak groups are advocating that all the political parties support expediting increased funding for mental health whomever wins government.
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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.
The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses is the peak professional mental health nursing organisation and the recognised credentialing body for mental health nurses in Australia. For more information, visit http://www.acmhn.org/
The Queensland Alliance for Mental Health is the peak body representing the community mental health sector in Queensland. For more information visit www.qamh.org.au.