14 April 2022
The Mental Health Community Coalition ACT (MHCC ACT) welcomes the Australian Greens making mental health a priority in the upcoming Federal Election campaign, and that the Greens' mental health election platform recognises the immense demand on the mental health workforce. However, the platform does not address the community mental health sector's desperate need for guaranteed, long-term funding.
"MHCC ACT acknowledges the Greens' platform to have mental healthcare fully covered under Medicare so that those who need to see a psychologist or psychiatrist can access unlimited sessions with no out of pocket fees," said Bec Cody, CEO of MHCC ACT.
This follows a commitment from the ALP to restore the inclusion of telehealth mental health support in Medicare if it wins the upcoming election.
"Too many Canberrans cannot afford to access mental healthcare, even with a mental health treatment plan, and have gone without this essential support," Ms Cody said.
"While we also appreciate the Greens have highlighted the desperate need for more support for the mental health workforce, the methods proposed in their platform are piecemeal and lack what the community mental health sector needs most: a commitment to long-term funding."
"Across Australia and here in the ACT, community-based mental health providers are struggling not just with demand but with uncertainty."
"In Canberra, some of our members are reporting a three-fold increase in demand and waiting lists longer than 12 months, yet have had no additional funding. And the federal funding for psychosocial services is due to end in 2023, with no commitment in the latest Budget to continuing this funding, and no investment in the exhausted and over-stressed community-managed mental health workforce," Ms Cody said.
"Without a guaranteed funding allocation, the community mental health sector cannot plan for long-term programs or attract and retain staff. This will result in yet more people in our community who are in desperate need missing out on the services they deserve."
"On behalf of the ACT community mental health sector, MHCC ACT calls on all political parties to commit to real, continued funding for our essential sector, which supports Australians to live meaningful lives where they can contribute to their community."
Media contact: Angel Hellyer, Communications and Events Manager, 02 5104 7713 | Angel.Hellyer@mhccact.org.au
MHCC ACT is the peak body for community mental health services in the ACT. Find out more about MHCC ACT at www.mhccact.org.au.