Psychiatrists call for mental health priority in upcoming Budget

10 June 2021
 
 
 

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has urged the Queensland Government to commit to a clear and comprehensive strategy for reform of the Queensland mental health system in the upcoming State Budget.

Chair of the RANZCP Queensland Branch, Professor Brett Emmerson AM explained that with the mental health and wellbeing of Queenslanders having significantly deteriorated since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the time for the government to show real commitment to mental health.

‘One in five Australians experience mental ill health in any given year and with what we have been experiencing as a state and a country, it’s not surprising that people are struggling with their mental health’, said Professor Emmerson AM.

‘Whilst the government dedicated $46.5 million in funding to support Queenslanders’ mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, this unfortunately will not fix the underlying issues that our mental health system is facing.

‘Psychiatrists are facing burnout, mental health presentations to emergency departments have sky-rocketed, bed numbers are well below what’s required and that’s just the beginning.

‘To put it bluntly, our system is understaffed, underfunded and overwhelmed.

‘We’ve reached breaking point and are looking to our government wondering why it’s even had to get to this point.

‘Many of us will be holding our breath next week when the Queensland State Budget 2021-22 is announced, hoping for a serious commitment from the government to begin addressing the systemic issues that have broken our mental health system.

‘We can only hope that they’ve heard what we’ve been trying to say for a long time now, have listened and are about to act accordingly.

‘The Queensland Government needs to get serious about mental health and it needs to get serious now.’

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 (0)3 9640 0646 or +61 437 315 911, or email media@ranzcp.org.