Increases in Federal Budget for mental health are missing the opportunity for an integrated system
The Mental Health Community Coalition of the ACT (MHCC ACT) welcomes the positive first step made by the mental health funding announced in last week’s Federal Budget. MHCC ACT note this needs to be part of a stronger whole system approach that better supports the important work of the mental health community sector and addresses the social determinants of mental health.
Bec Cody, MHCC ACT CEO, states “We are pleased to see increases in spending for mental health supports and programs across the areas of early intervention, suicide prevention and priority populations in this year’s budget. It shows that Government are starting to listen and make real commitments.”
“But when we look at mental health, we need to really consider the factors that contribute to a loss of wellbeing – factors such as income and housing stress that impact our mental health. Ignoring the important role of social determinants of health does not support people to escape poverty and have safe, secure housing.”
“Furthermore, this budget does little to provide stability to the mental health community sector. There is a missed opportunity to move toward more integrated services in a whole system approach, as recommended by the Productivity Commissions final report on the Inquiry into Mental Health.”
“The ongoing focus on support for the clinical mental health workforce highlights the crisis-driven system being funded. While we applaud the attracting and upskilling approach to rural mental health that is so needed, we also need to make sure that early intervention and prevention is a key focus. We ask governments to invest in the community mental health workforce to address the issues of skill shortages and retention”.
“Additionally, the lack of commitment by the government to support wages in the mental health community sector, further entrenches wage discrimination against our female workforce, and undermines the financial stability of community service providers and therefore their ability to deliver person-centred quality services that meet demand.”
“MHCC ACT hopes this first step towards a better focus on mental health is further developed into system-wide reform that encapsulates an integrated system between clinical and community approaches to mental health support for all Australians.”
Media Contact: Bec Cody, Chief Executive Officer
(02) 5104 7716, Bec.Cody@mhccact.org.au
Communications Officer: Alison Hall, (02) 5104 7711
MHCC ACT is the peak body for community-managed mental health services in the ACT. Find out more about MHCC ACT at www.mhccact.org.au.