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Jeremy Rockliff
Jeremy Rockliff

Liberals to invest in mental health system

| The Adovcate | Feb. 25, 2014, 1 a.m.

NORTH-WEST mental health patients need more access to psychiatrists and GPs who bulk bill, according to a mental health service for young people.

In the lead up to the state election next month, Headspace Devonport youth health practitioner Claire Stucas was asked where some of the gaps were in mental health in the region.

"There needs to be more access to psychiatrists and patients have issues getting to appointments. Finding GPs willing to bulk bill is a barrier," Ms Stucas said

Her comments follow the state Liberals' election plan for mental health announced yesterday.

Liberal health spokesman Jeremy Rockliff said, if elected, the Liberals would invest an additional $1.95 million into mental health and develop an integrated mental health system that delivers the right support, in the right place at the right time.

"This commitment is in addition to the $3 million we have already committed to suicide prevention," Mr Rockliff said.

"Tasmania's mental health system has become complex, disjointed and confusing to navigate.

"It's time for a new approach to provide a seamless and integrated mental health system that provides end-to-end care and delivers a range of support options, and that is what we will deliver.

"We will initiate the first intensive review of mental health services for a decade, through our Rethink Mental Health Project, identifying gaps in service provision and developing a long term plan for mental health service delivery for Tasmania."

The Liberals will:

Provide $250,000 for independent analysis of mental health services to identify limitations and recommend system reform;

invest $3 million in suicide prevention;

put an additional $1million over two years to the Rural Alive and Well Program (RAW);

put an additional $300,000 for mental health outreach services through Neighbourhood Houses;

invest an extra $555,000 for Men's Sheds; and

provide an extra $100,000 to Advocacy Tasmania.

State Health Minister Michelle O'Byrne said it was Labor that implemented Tasmania's first ever suicide prevention strategy.

"Contrary to some reports, we will have more to say on mental health before the election," she said.

Ms O'Byrne said the most recent report on government services showed her government to be the third highest spender on mental health per capita and provided the most beds per capita of any jurisdiction.

"Tasmania was involved in the development of the Roadmap for National Mental health Reform 2012-22 - we remain committed to the long term vision it sets out and a part of the COAG groups overseeing its implementation."

Courtesy of The Adovcate


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