Politics — 08 October 2012

National Greens spokesperson on mental health Senator Penny Wright says Australia’s mental health care is becoming crisis driven and needs more investment in preventative care.

Senator Penny Wright has been meeting with volunteer groups and mental health workers in Tasmania this week, as they develop their national policy

Senator Wright says the current approach is all too often the treating of mental health issues when they reach a crisis.

“One of the most compelling concerns that we have is that to a large extent our system is crisis driven now.

And what we know is that if we have people having interventions early, when they are becoming unwell, that can actually head off serious illnesses down the track.”

Rather, she says, Australia needs to invest in a policy that leds to preventative mental health care and to address service inequalities in rural Australia.

“One really difficult statistic that we are aware of is that 90 per cent of psychiatrists live in urban areas but about a third of Australian’s live in the bush.

So there is a real problem with workforce for instance.

We need better policies to make sure that we’ve got the mental health professionals available in the rural, regional and remote areas to meet the needs of people living there.”

Senator Wright soon heads to Queensland and New South Wales.

As first appeared on ABC Online

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