Action needed to prevent mental health patients slipping through the cracks

Mental health patients in Canberra may slip through the cracks in the absence of implementable strategies to attract more mental health professionals and simplify navigation of the mental health system, Shadow Health Minister Vicki Dunne said today.
Under the power-sharing agreement between the Labor Party and the Greens, Mental Health Minister Shane Rattenbury promised Canberrans an Office for Mental Health saying it would be a key priority for the Labor-Greens government. But well over a year later, Canberra is still waiting for Minister Rattenbury to deliver an Office for Mental Health.
“Mental health patients are not getting the services they need and this comes down to a number of issues,” Mrs Dunne said.
“There is a shortage of mental health professionals in the ACT, particularly in the field of child and adolescent mental health.
“We don’t have enough acute mental health beds and staffing levels have fallen behind growing demand.
“I have also met with patients who said the mental health system was so difficult to navigate that if not for their personal support network they would have given up.
“I have grave concerns that without actionable strategies to address these issues, mental health patients in Canberra will slip through the cracks. That’s why I am calling on the Mental Health Minister to be forthcoming with the government’s mental health strategy.
“Minister Rattenbury’s is relying on the Office for Mental Health to fix everything but we are still waiting.
“If he has confidence in his policy then he should have no problem explaining why it has taken so long to deliver and what he is doing to protect mental health patients in the interim,” Mrs Dunne concluded.