“Not a matter of fund and forget”: sustainability key to mental health future

20 November 2020

Leading psychiatrist, and President of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP), Associate Professor John Allan has warned the Federal Government that the mental health system cannot survive without significant investment.

With the recently released Productivity Commission, Mental Health, Inquiry Report recommending a $4.2 billion investment in rebuilding the mental health system, now is opportunity to transform the mental health system into a long-term, sustainable, and feasible model of care.

‘The COVID-19 pandemic has been the catalyst for change in the government’s approach towards mental health in this country, but it shouldn’t have taken a global pandemic and country-wide shut down for action to finally be taken,’ said Associate Professor Allan.

‘Gone is the time for quick fixes and impressive funding announcements that lack substance.

‘Our mental health system is far beyond the point of being able to fix what is broken with a lump sum and then not have to revisit it for several years.

‘The genie is out of the bottle. Our system needs a drastic transformation, the Productivity Commission report tells us that, but the question now is, what are our federal, state and territory governments going to do about it?

‘This isn’t a case of a one-off announcement or chunk of funding and all our problems are solved.

‘The mental health system is much like our own mental health. It is not something that should be ignored, nor is it something we can fix overnight. It requires constant care, attention, and nurturing.

The RANZCP strongly believes that to fix what is broken, a significant shift in attitude and approach is required.

‘The government needs to change the way the mental health system is viewed, funded and supported to allow it to grow and evolve to follow the demands and needs of those invested in the system, for consumers, carers and practitioners,’ said Associate Professor Allan.

‘Now is the time and opportunity to build the infrastructure to support a better, more accessible and sustainable mental health system, able to grow and adapt to user needs as demand requires it.’

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 media@ranzcp.org.