Australians are coughing up to support efforts to push mental health reform higher up the political agenda. You can find out here how much money has been donated to a GetUp Campaign featuring the Australian of the Year, the psychiatrist, Professor Pat McGorry.
When I last checked (just after 8pm, Monday 29th), $50,770 had been donated to fund TV advertisements backing the campaign.
GetUp says that contributions made before tomorrow afternoon will be matched – up to $10,000 – by former Australian of the Year, Dick Smith.
Meanwhile this is an email in circulation from John Mendoza, who holds adjunct appointments at the University of the Sunshine Coast and the University of Sydney and is Chair of the National Advisory Council on Mental Health. His frustration at the lack of political leadership on mental health comes across loud and clear.
“Dear friends and family
Please join the GetUp Campaign launched by Professor Pat McGorry, Australian of the Year, to get our political leaders to commit to real mental health reform. In the leaders debate between Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott last week, mental health was not mentioned at all by either leader and only mentioned by a journalist in a question. Yet today and every day thousands of Australians will not have any access to mental health services, 180 Australians will attempt suicide and at least 7 will complete suicide – many the result of poor mental health service or no service. The National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission clearly identified the need for a focus on mental health reform in its report to the Rudd Government last year.
I am in a privileged position as Chair of the National Advisory Council on Mental Health and I hold little confidence for there being real reform and real new investment in mental health services. It is five years this year since I completed (with Ian Hickie, Christina Ricci, Steve Morris, Sebastian Rosenberg and Sev Ozdowski) the 1000 page report Not for Service: experiences of injustice and despair in mental health in Australia. On the basis of all the information I am privy to, our ‘system’ is no better than when we did this work.
We continue to have a lack of political leadership to address this crisis. We continue to witness the daily accounts of system failure – in coronial reports, in independent assessments and press reports. We continue to have the same policy framework and direction for mental health that has failed generations of Australians and their families. We continue to have the same lack of accountability. We continue to have the bulk of the meagre the funding available going into failed systems of care and continuing inequities in the investment in research. The workforce continues to wait for real resources, support and recognition so they can fulfil their role.
There is little doubt that as a nation we are in breach of our international obligations on human rights.
The time for community action is now.
Please join with me in supporting the call to action by Pat McGorry. View Pat’s message on the GetUp link below.
Please ask all your friends and colleagues to join in this effort.
Director, ConNetica Consulting Pty Ltd
Creating Better Futures
Chair, National Advisory Council on Mental Health
Adjunct Professor, Health Science, University of the Sunshine Coast
Adjunct Assoc. Professor, Medicine, University of Sydney