More funding needed: the reality of our mental health system

25 August 2020

The sad stories told in last night’s Four Corners segment Please Don’t Judge are a part of a much deeper and system-wide problem says the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP).

Across Australia is a mental health system in great need of funding and resources. This lack of resource places great pressure on services and leads to individuals and families being let down and put at risk far too often.

RANZCP President, Associate Professor John Allan explained that while there are a lot of good people working hard to provide support and care to those experiencing mental ill health, they are limited by the availability of long-term resources and sustainable government funding.

‘Our mental health systems need help – these tragic stories are further examples of the heartbreak and difficulties faced by those living with mental illness, their families and communities due to our overstretched system’, said Associate Professor Allan.

‘People are suffering, with those too unwell for their normal doctor or primary health care team to support but aren’t severe enough to meet the criteria for crisis care, unable to receive the treatment they need, when they need it.

‘The health system has to change and underpinning that need for change is the desperate need for resources.’

With the Mental Health Productivity Commission report due to be tabled in Parliament in the coming weeks, the RANZCP have reiterated their call for a comprehensive and sweeping reform of Australia’s mental health system.

‘The Mental Health Productivity Commission is an opportunity for all concerned to initiate the changes needed to create a long-term, sustainable mental health system.,’ explained Associate Professor Allan.

‘Now is the time to look toward creating a mental health system capable of supporting those experiencing mental health issues, with a whole-of-community approach. This includes housing, employment, education and psychosocial support as well as clinical supports.

‘Pinpointing and addressing the gaps in our mental health systems will mean that we are able to define clearer pathways to care, provide better services and create a more responsive mental health care system.

‘The bottom line is – people need to be able to get the help they need, when they need it and for as long as they need it and for that to happen, we need more funding and resources.’

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 Sarah Carr on +61 437 315 911, or email