Expanding community managed mental health services more important than ever during COVID-19 crisis

Greens spokesperson for Mental Health Hon Alison Xamon MLC has called on the Government to ensure community managed mental health services are resourced to be able to meet expected increases in need during the COVID-19 crisis.

“This is of course a very troubling and worrying time for everyone, but particularly for people living with acute and ongoing mental health conditions,” Ms Xamon said.

“Self-isolation is clearly a risk factor for many vulnerable Western Australians.”

Ms Xamon said the potential for greater demand as a result of the coronavirus pandemic threatened to completely overwhelm the mental health care system, unless increased community supports were put in place urgently.

“That is why is absolutely critical that people have access to community-based supports, if and when they need it,” Ms Xamon said.

"Despite the 10-Year Western Australian Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drug Services Plan setting out the need to realign our mental health system towards better community care, these services continue to be underfunded" said Ms Xamon.

Ms Xamon urged the Government to view its response to the current crisis as an opportunity to take a long term approach, and to transform a mental health system that had been in crisis for too long.

“The COVID-19 crisis may well present an opportunity for the Government to lift its game – and work towards meeting the Plan’s targets.

"Now, more than ever, it is vital we keep people out of hospitals - providing better support to people in the community reduces hospital admissions." 

“I hope to see some action from the Government in the mental health space as it continues to roll out its response to the COVID-19 pandemic over the coming weeks.”