Mental health funding to go up
By MICHAEL LOWE , Monday, 31 May 2004
Mental health services look set for a major funding boost this week, which advocates say is a victory for "people power".
Health Minister David Llewellyn is expected to use the Budget estimates hearings to detail a boost for mental health funding.
The week of hearings is a forum for several all-party committees to question ministers about the financial management of their portfolios.
A Government spokesman said at the weekend that Mr Llewellyn would say something in the "short- term future".
The Government has been under pressure to increase mental health funding after this month's Budget allocated only an extra $1.9 million, plus $5 million for a secure mental health unit.
But the Budget had a $15.2 million surplus and $22 million to improve racetracks in Launceston and Hobart.
Anglicare this month released a report called Thin Ice, which recommended a $13.7 million boost to recurrent mental health funding.
The report also recommended that mental health services be maintained at no less than 7 per cent of health expenditure and that $9.7 million be directed to non-government organisations.
Anglicare chief executive Chris Jones said he had no knowledge of increased funding, but if there was a boost, community pressure would have helped.
He said Anglicare had told the Government in its pre-Budget submission in October about the dire need for increased funding, so there was no reason it could not have been in the Budget.
"The overwhelming conclusion from this research is the urgent need for an increased range and supply of support services to assist people with serious mental illness and their families to live successfully in the community," the Thin Ice report said.
"The existing services are overwhelmed by the heavy demand they currently face and they are not able to provide the level of care and support required to assist recovery."
Tasmanian Community Advisory Group on Mental Health chairwoman Lynette Pearce said she welcomed any funding increase, but the money had to be spent carefully.
Funding had to be more carefully coordinated between the different groups dealing with mentally ill people and had be be spent as part of a long-term plan.
"At the moment people tend to fall through the cracks," she said.
"It's important that people do not think that just because a big heap of money is thrown at something that it will automatically fix things."
She also said she was concerned that politicians and the media were painting a very negative picture of mental health services.
She said some people had good experiences with mental health services but could be discouraged from looking for help or stigmatised because of perceptions.
Jul 4, '04
It will be great, when and if this happens in some of the more remote nursing homes that now have some of the psych. patients - that were moved out of the main psych. hospitals a few years ago. (Not a good move?!) But how would the money be spent? on Nurses? on homes/hostels? on research?
Or will the situation stay -- when a psych. patient gets to 60/65 or over they no longer have a psych. diagnosis? So it would then not apply!
"Mental health funding to go up"
By MICHAEL LOWE , ---- Come on Psychiatric (Mental) Nurses - have your say.
Last edit by Mister Chris on Jul 4, '04