Politics — 04 February 2014

The outgoing Mental Health Commissioner says the state’s Indigenous population is over-represented in the suicide rate.

Last week, the Productivity Commission released a review into the nation’s health sector as part of its report on government services.

It found that WA has the third highest rate of suicide behind the Northern Territory and Tasmania.

Commissioner Eddie Bartnick says there needs to be a greater level of community involvement and cultural understanding to tackle the problem.bigstock_All_Excited_251062

“Mental illness isn’t a just a medical issue but really requiring supportive homes, supportive schools and work and a more of government and community responsibility,” he said.

Mr Bartnick also says the cost of providing mental health beds in Western Australia will often exceed the national average, because of the size of the state.

The report found the cost per bed for WA mental health patients for the 2011/2012 period was $1,104 compared to the average of $918.

Mr Bartnick says the figures are a reality of service delivery outside the metropolitan area.

“Particularly in our rural areas our costs are higher but like every state and territory we are working to the national efficiency price so we’ve got strategies to do that,” he said.

Former under treasurer Tim Marney will take on the role of Mental Health Commissioner on February 17

This article first appeared on ‘ABC’ on 3 February 2014.


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