The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) congratulates Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the re-election of the Coalition Government on the weekend.
The new RANZCP President, Associate Professor John Allan, said: ‘We look forward to working with the government to improve mental health services for all communities across the country.
‘We welcomed the government’s policy commitments made in this year’s 2019–2020 Federal Budget and during the election campaign and are pleased that these will now be implemented.
‘It is important, particularly given the inquiries into mental health currently underway, that the government moves to address the many urgent challenges in the mental health system
‘Prior to the election, we saw some attention to youth mental health and to the youth suicide rate, which is sadly going up again, so the RANZCP feels very strongly that work in this area needs to happen’, said Associate Professor Allan.
Associate Professor Allan also emphasised some of the priority areas not discussed during the campaign that require immediate action.
‘We are advocating very strongly for investment to support people with mental illness across the age ranges – this includes support for those in the community and by intensive services
‘While there is currently a Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, we are also concerned about meeting the mental health needs of all older Australians.
‘Immediately expanding the number of specialist dementia care unit beds, for example, would make a significant positive impact on the mental health of our older adults.
‘Substance use disorders, a core concern for psychiatrists, play a large part in mental health but sometimes figure more silently in how people think about mental health issues.
‘We have argued for the urgent expansion of these services to get Australians off the waiting lists and into the services they need, when they need them.
‘Many regions in Australia are simply out of reach of alcohol and other drug (AOD) services’.
The RANZCP is also advocating for a more equitable mental health spend to address the burden of disease.
‘There is a need for more mental health spending across the board – for private and public mental health, the non-governmental organisation (NGO) sector and the broader support sector as well.
‘People with mental illness are some of the most vulnerable people in the community, and we need to do much more for these people’, said Associate Professor Allan.
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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 www.ranzcp.org
In Australia: If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or www.lifeline.org.au or the Suicide Callback Service on 1300 659 467 or www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au.
In New Zealand: If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline NZ on 0800 543 354 or www.lifeline.org.nz or the Suicide Crisis Helpline on 0508 828 865 or www.lifeline.org.nz/suicide-prevention.