Psychiatrists express concern at Danila Dilba situation

08 June 2021

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has expressed its concern regarding the recent news of the imminent closure of the Danila Dilba Clinic to new patients.

RANZCP Northern Territory Branch Chair, Dr David Chapman, has called on both the Northern Territory Government and Federal Government to urgently extend additional funding to the service to address the crisis. 

‘The consequences of chronic underfunding in the Northern Territory is that services such as Danila Dilba do not have the resources to meet the demand for services that has grown over time and been exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis,’ explained Dr Chapman.

‘This is occurring within a health system where mental health services are the most neglected of all medical services in the NT and will have dire impacts on those most vulnerable.

‘For example, without services like Danila Dilba those requiring mental health services will go without depot medication which will throw significant additional loads on the Tamarind Depot Clinic and on the Mental Health Access Team which neither can meet.

‘The Adult Teams and the Access Team will be expected to meet the demand – where they are already overstretched, and so clients will attend Emergency Departments, where the hospital system will be even more overwhelmed than it is.’

The RANZCP Northern Territory Branch believes that the changes will have negative consequences for patients and for hospitals.

‘We rely heavily on Danila Dilba to facilitate mental health care for Indigenous Australians in urban areas and those visiting for treatment from remote communities’, said Dr Chapman

‘Our state’s mental health system cannot afford the closure of this essential facility and by doing so, the government is putting our people and communities at great risk.’

The RANZCP Northern Territory Branch is committed to working closely with the government, mental health service providers as well as those with lived experience, their families and carers, to work towards improving the Northern Territory mental health system to meet the needs of every Territorian.

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