Call for workforce support to underpin $100 million student wellbeing pledge

20 October 2020
 
 
 

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) Queensland Branch welcomes the government’s announcement of $100 million to support the mental health of all school students if it is re-elected.

The RANZCP has long advocated that the development and implementation of early intervention and prevention strategies for mental illness, particularly for children and adolescents, are fundamental to addressing poor outcomes and to prevent or reduce mental disorders in adulthood.

‘There really needs to be a comprehensive approach to positively influencing the emotional learning of young people through the school years in the education system,’ said the Chair of the RANZCP Queensland Branch, Professor Brett Emmerson AM.

‘This is even more pressing now with the pandemic. The mental health impact of COVID-19 is certainly becoming apparent, especially in the public health system, with major increases in young people, people with eating disorders, the elderly, and those in crisis with increased substance and alcohol abuse, presenting for assessment and treatment.

‘While the details of this policy are still to come, our main concern is whether or not there would be sufficient numbers of qualified practitioners to be able to take up these roles.

‘We don’t want to see this having any perverse effects on access to mental health care by diverting practitioners away from their current roles.

‘There also needs to be adequate funding and proper resourcing of the public health sector’s Child and Youth Mental Health Service to ensure there are the psychiatrists in these positions to deal with the increased cases referred across for assessment and treatment,’ said Professor Emmerson.

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 Andy Newton on +61 437 315 911, or email media@ranzcp.org.