We need more transparency of the mental health system

Critical failures in the Territory’s mental health system, such as assaults against staff, chronic staff shortages, suicides and attempted suicides require more transparency of the system, Shadow Health Minister Vicki Dunne said.

Mrs Dunne will call on Mental Health Minister Shane Rattenbury to be more transparent about his government’s plans and strategies to address these serious systemic issues.

“We need to start talking about the dark corners in the mental health system,” Mrs Dunne said.

“We don’t have enough mental health staff, including specialists like psychiatrists, and this is causing immense pressure for the staff who are carrying the extra load.

“More and more mental health nurses are being attacked on the job, and some have expressed fears for their lives.

“We know there have been suicides and attempted suicides of both staff and patients.

“There are many troubling incidents coming out of the mental health system and Mr Rattenbury is not being transparent about what the government is doing about it.

“Nurses working in high risk environments clearly need extra security and self-defence training.

“We need more beds for the growing number of patients, and we definitely need more trained health professionals to help care for them.

“Mr Rattenbury needs to start talking.

“I want him to tell the Canberra community, to tell mental health nurses and patients, what he is doing to make the system safer and more effective.

“Essentially, my motion is asking the government to make public the work that it should already be doing to help patients and professionals safely access the system.. I’m asking the government to publicly release its strategies

“I am very concerned about the wellbeing of mental health nurses and patients. I hope that the more we shine a light on the system, the better positioned we will be to fix it,” Mrs Dunne said.