Don’t forget the mental health pandemic

23 December 2021

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) Queensland Branch has welcomed the announcement of a $200 million funding boost for Queensland health services in anticipation of an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Chair of the RANZCP Queensland Branch, Professor Brett Emmerson AM, supported the strong health response while emphasising the importance of also investing in mental health services at this time.

‘Given the dramatic rise in mental ill health due to the evolving pandemic, we call on the Queensland Government to urgently increase the investment in mental health services across the state.

‘Presentations to emergency departments have skyrocketed, many private psychiatrists across Queensland have closed their books and we know that community mental health services are unable to cope with increasing demand – this is only exacerbated by pressures associated with the pandemic.

‘We’d at the very least like to see a similar pro rata commitment in this round of funding for mental health services.

‘Even if we only allow for a pro rata mental health spend of 7%, on this $200 million announcement that would mean a commitment of $14 million for these much-needed services’, said Professor Emmerson.

‘But we also need a longer-term commitment to reform by bringing mental health funding in Queensland into line with that invested by other states.

‘It is well known that Queensland is Australia’s lowest funded jurisdiction per capita for mental health care requiring an estimated injection from the state government of about $750 million a year.

Against the backdrop of an evolving pandemic, which is far from over, the RANZCP also called on the state government to appoint a Deputy Chief Health Officer for Mental Health in Queensland. 

‘Akin to the role of Dr Ruth Vine at a federal level, a similar appointment in Queensland would significantly strengthen the decision making around mental health, wellbeing and suicide prevention in this state.’  

For more information and 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 RANZCP Media on +61 437 315 911, 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