Psychiatrists seek commitment to boost mental health services

15 February 2021

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) is calling for mental health to be a top priority in the upcoming state election, especially the severe workforce shortage that Western Australia is experiencing in the mental health sector.

The RANZCP WA Branch wants all Western Australians to have access to a high-quality mental health system which can provide a seamless continuum of care but this is only possible when services are full resourced with a sustainable workforce.

‘These services should be available for all ages and stages, and with access to specialised inpatient and outpatient treatment for complex disorders such as eating disorders, forensics, and substance use disorders’, said WA Branch Chair, Professor Megan Galbally.

‘However, services in Western Australia have been struggling for a long time due to a lack of resourcing and support for a fully sustainable mental health workforce, including sufficient places for psychiatrists.

‘Action needs to be taken now to address the shortfall in the clinical and professional mental health workforce, including the predicted psychiatry workforce.’

The RANZCP WA Branch has outlined the reality of the mental health workforce’s plight in their recent 2021 Election Priorities document, calling on the state’s leaders to commit to the prevention of the imminent workforce crisis by tackling these shortages.

‘Our members tell us that demand for mental health care in WA has been increasing over time and is likely to continue increasing, However the system is struggling to fill psychiatry positions and this will only get worse as new facilities open in the next few years., added Professor Galbally.

‘WA has one of the lowest rates of employed psychiatrists in Australia, at just 12.2 psychiatrists per 100,000 population.  We could train more psychiatrists in WA, but we don’t have the training positions available to make this happen’.

‘We desperately need support and we are calling on leaders of both parties to make a commitment to deliver for the mental health community before it’s too late.’

The RANZCP WA Branch 2021 Election Priorities outlines a clear roadmap for the Western Australian government to bolster mental health services to meet the needs of the community and achieve positive outcomes for all those seeking mental health treatment and support.

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