The Australian Psychological Society (APS) has congratulated Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt for his continued commitment to reforming Australia’s mental health system, following his announcement today of the Australian Government’s Long Term National Health Plan.
Australia’s peak psychology body has welcomed the announcement, saying mental health conditions should be given the same attention as physical health conditions.
“We are pleased to see that the Government will, for the first time, rate mental health equally alongside physical health.
“One in five Australians experience a mental health disorder every year, and mental illness is the third highest cause of burden of disease in Australia.
“Parity in commitment and funding between mental health and physical health issues is critical if we are to make real progress.
“With the 2030 mental health vision, including a strategy for the mental health of children and a funding commitment to research into suicide prevention, the Government has demonstrated that it understands and commits to this,” she said.
Ms Mirabelli said the APS had long called for an increased commitment to prevention, in particular through a focus on services for children.
“We have advised Government on the need for greater investment in the prevention of mental health disorders, and greater access to services for children under 12 years.
“We know that support and intervention early in life has a long-lasting impact on children as they develop into adulthood,” she said.
Ms Mirabelli also welcomed the commissioning of a survey to provide a picture of Australians’ mental and physical health.
“We have long been concerned that policy and reforms are based on out-of-date or incomplete data.
“We look forward to learning more about this comprehensive survey and seeing what it can tell us about the true state of the mental health of our nation,” she said.
“As the largest mental health workforce in the country, psychologists and the APS are perfectly placed to contribute to the development of this long term strategy.
“The APS looks forward to working with Minister Hunt and the Expert Working Group on the development of the CHILDREN’s MENTAL HEALTH STRATEGY,” said Ms Mirabelli.
The APS outlined its BLUEPRINT for the delivery of better mental health outcomes for all Australians in its June 2019 White Paper, The Future of Psychology in Australia