John Mendoza, a senior health advisor and Chair of the National Advisory Council on Mental Health, today voices his concern at the neglect of mental health. As GetUp says, there can be no health reform without mental health reform.
Mental ill health is the leading killer of Australians under 45 and the leading cause of disability for all Australians. Yet there are huge gaps in our services and millions of Australians still suffer each year (GetUp).
Australian of the Year Professor McGory says we’ve gone from a toe in the water to a foot in the water BUT we need to JUMP IN! (GetUP).
Youth suicide is a preventable condition and numbers could be greatly reduced if more funding was available, a Federal ParliamentaryInquiry into Youth Suicide has been told by Research Fellow, Jo Robinson of Orygen Youth Health, Australia’s largest youth-focused mental health Not-For-Profit. She says many people experience suicidal thoughts or feelings when depressed or in crisis, but these thoughts often go away quickly if there is effective help and treatment available.
It’s not enough to rely upon young people to come forward and ask for help and we need to be testing and delivering early detection programs which can identify people who need support but may not be in a position to ask.
Jo says Orygen Youth Health has tested these programs in high schools in Melbourne and identified significant numbers of students who were at risk of suicide, deliberate self harm and depression but had not previously sought help.
She says these programs are popular in the United States but are not used in Australia and this needs to change.
The House of Representatives Inquiry is part of the Federal Government’s ongoing investigation into youth suicide. The House of Representatives Health Committee convened a panel of experts, academics, medical practitioners to discuss issues surrounding the prevention of youth suicide. Other Not for Profits involved in mental health and depression issues are also taking part including Beyond Blue and Sane.
According to Orygen Youth Health, one in four young people will experience a mental health condition at any time in the next 12 months.
Committee Chair, Steve Georganas MP (Member for Hindmarsh, SA) says the Committee has decided to convene a roundtable of experts in Melbourne to better understand early intervention programs aimed at preventing youth suicide.
He says the Committee hopes that this forum will discuss what works and why, in the area of suicide prevention, so that it can take these lessons forward into future suicide prevention programs.
There are 30 Government run Headspace centres across Australia. An extra $100million a year would expand capacity in these centres and build an extra 60 across the nation. This alone would double the number of young Australians receiving treatment for mental ill health.
What does it take?