Increase Mental Health Funding In Australia

Increase Mental Health Funding In Australia

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Wesley Wiskar started this petition to Scott Morrison (Federal Member for Cook) and

This Petition is calling on the Prime Minister and the Federal Government to increase funding to support people struggling with their mental health. 

One in seven Australians will experience depression in the course of their lifetime. Suicide is the leading cause of death among those aged 25-44 and the second leading cause of death for those aged 15-24. Australians are more likely to die from suicide then they are skin cancer. The WHO estimates that depression will be the number one health concern in the world by 2030. It is clear that this is a horrifyingly serious issue that we face in this country. Unfortunately, access to our mental health system is severely limited to those who actually need it.

The costs of getting quality therapy and care are too high for many who need it. An unsubsidised appointment can be anywhere from $100 to $200 a session. And once your 20 medicare subsidised appointments have been used for the year, you pay full price. Many young people can't afford this expense and don't have private insurance to help cover the spending. And while Headspace is available to provide free counselling to young people, it's wait-times are extremely long  - 6 months long.

I have had mild anxiety in the past and have had the good fortune of having the money and the support structures from friends and family to be able to get the treatment I wanted and needed. For many in Australia, these supports are not afforded to them or don't exist.

While the addition of 10 extra Medicare-subsidised appointments is a good start to improving support for those struggling, more can and must be done such as:

  1. A model where psychologist's appointments are not just subsidised but are in fact bulk billed and are able to be covered entirely by our public health system, just like going to see a GP. This will make it possible for many reluctant to get care because of the cost, to come forward and receive care. 
  2. Make it easier for people to find mental health care that suits them and they don't have to go through this byzantine referral process and creating a mental health care plan. This decreases the barrier for entry and the stress in getting to the care that people need. 
  3. Increase funding for organisations like Headspace so that they can increase the number of permanent psychologists to provide counselling and therapy to young people. 

These are just a few suggestions but I believe that now more than ever, we need to seriously look at developing a mental health system that has next to no barriers for entry for citizens who need care. This is literally a matter of life and death for many people. 

Many conservative commentators have waxed poetic in recent months on the effects these COVID-19 lockdowns have had on people’s mental health and used that as a talking point to justify opening the country up prematurely. What they fail to see is that many of the people struggling with mental health were already struggling; already suffering from a mental condition, already not getting adequate care, and already not getting affordable care, before this pandemic. Many of them are young, and many of them are suffering from something that requires long-term care that cannot be solved with just 20 subsidised appointments a year.

I believe quite strongly that mental health is just as important as physical health, and the fact that our health system does not reflect that reality makes me weep for those lives lost prematurely, families who have had to say goodbye to loved ones before their appointed time, and those who must cope with these mental illnesses, untreated because they cannot afford care.

So if you're reading this, and you care about this issue, know someone who is suffering from a mental health condition, or are in fact suffering from one yourself, I implore you to please sign this petition. Do it for those who have had to mourn for loved ones that left us too soon. Do it even if you are struggling and aren't coping. Do it for those of us who aren't ok.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 100!
At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!