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    Member for Lowan Emma Kealy.

Call for mental health action

Evidence provided to a Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System has led to Member for Lowan Emma Kealy accusing the State Government of a lack of action.

Ms Kealy, also the Victorian Coalition’s shadow mental-health representative, said the evidence confirmed that Victoria’s mental-health system was ‘broken’.

“It has confirmed what multiple reports have been telling us – Victoria’s mental-health system is buckling under the pressure of high demand and no action to address the growing need,” she said.

“It’s clear the system is in crisis when services are forced to prioritise clients based on if they are deemed ‘sick enough or suicidal enough’, as the Royal Commission heard.

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“The Auditor-General also found in March that current state funding only provides mental-health services to less than half of Victorians who suffer a severe mental illness, while Victoria has the lowest per capita recurrent spend on specialised mental-health services in the nation.

“While we do need to see the cohesive, systemic change that will come from the Royal Commission, we can’t afford to wait for the final report in late 2020 to make the changes that can – and should – be made now.”

Ms Kealy’s call came after she criticised a government process to provide evidence to the Royal Commission.

She said many regional communities would miss the opportunity to provide evidence.

“We know there are significant gaps in access to support for rural and regional Victorians, with many people stuck on waitlists for months or forced to travel hundreds of kilometres to the next available service,” she said.

“But just one of 19 days of hearings will be held for regional Victorians. Mental illness does not discriminate by postcode and it certainly doesn’t stop at the tram tracks.”  

The entire July 10, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!