The Mental Health Community Coalition of the ACT (MHCC ACT) welcomes the recommendations made by the Select Committee on the COVID-19 2021 pandemic response in the report tabled on Thursday. MHCC ACT highlights the importance of longer-term investments in the community mental health sector as the impacts of the pandemic are expected to continue.
“The community sector has worked extremely hard to meet the demands of those seeking mental health support. During lockdown, the demand for mental health services has increased significantly, with some members reporting increases of over 40 per cent. Although lockdown has subsided, the long-term impact of the pandemic on people’s mental health has and will continue to be felt. It is paramount we have sufficient services and workers in the community sector for Canberrans seeking support, not just now but into the future.” said Bec Cody, CEO for MHCC ACT.
MHCC ACT welcomes the increased discussion within the report around the appropriateness and accessibility of services for mental health consumers, particularly those detained in prison or youth detention. In addition, the general increased support for the sector reflects an understanding of the crucial role these organisations play in on-the-ground support in time of crisis.
However, despite increased investment at both a territory and federal level, COVID-19 continues to have a profound impact. Government funding does not always cover the costs of providing services, let alone increased demand and case complexity as a result of the pandemic. Longer term investment in community-based mental healthcare will reduce demand on the hospital system. It is also vital that the government increases investment in services and supports that are pivotal in maintaining mental health and wellbeing, including affordable housing and adequate financial supports.
Ms Cody said: “The COVID-19 pandemic unfolded against a backdrop of chronic underinvestment in the ACT’s community mental health sector, and the pandemic only served to expose the fractures and gaps within mental health supports.”
MHCC ACT encourages longer-term investment in the sector as the impacts of the pandemic continue to be felt, as well as adequate funding for services vital to general wellbeing. The organisation looks forward to continuing to work in partnership with the ACT Government to ensure continued support to the community mental health sector well into the future.
Media Contact: Bec Cody, Chief Executive Officer
(02) 5104 7716, Bec.Cody@mhccact.org.au
Communications Officer: Kate Brien, (02) 5104 7713
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.