The Greens spokesperson for Mental Health the Hon Alison Xamon MLC is calling on the McGowan Government to take heed of the Productivity Commission’s draft report into mental health that was released for public comment today.
The Productivity Commission is calling for a generational shift in how we approach mental health in our communities across Australia.
Ms Xamon said “I am not surprised to see that many of the recommendations made by the Productivity Commission mirror those identified in the WA 10 year mental health, alcohol and other drug plan - we know that there is absolutely no excuse for the government not to be investing in this plan.
“Importantly, the report goes further and makes recommendations for investment in other services beyond health and mental health including housing, work, and reform to care coordination, governance and funding arrangements.
“Clearly the best way to prevent mental health conditions developing, or to minimise their impacts, is to address root causes and the Government should absolutely be taking on board the Commission’s findings in these broader domains, she said.
“The Productivity Commission’s report covers mental health across Australia - to add to these findings on the state level we have recently had the benefit of the Auditor General’s review of mental health services and on the back of that audit, the Mental Health Advocacy Service’s Annual Report, both of which clearly demonstrate the costs of our failure to act on the most vulnerable people in our community.
“The case for change is undeniably compelling on all fronts, yet we are just not acting quickly enough.
“We know that 75% of those who develop mental illness, first experience mental ill-health before the age of 25.
“I feel for those children and young people and their families who are experiencing emerging mental health challenges right now – we know that if these young people are identified early enough their distress can be prevented or at least lessened and treatment is much more likely to be effective
“Change will not come fast enough for them, or for the next generation if governments don’t take heed of what the experts and those who are affected are telling us.
“The Productivity Commission’s analysis of the financial cost of mental ill-health and suicide is staggering. And while it is much more difficult to quantify, we must always keep at the front and centre of these considerations the emotional and social costs to our families and communities.
“The Commission’s recommendations must absolutely be considered by the WA State Government to guide longer term whole-of-government change, but the report is also further evidence of the immediate need for greater investment in the State’s 10 year plan now.