Call for more mental health funding
07:54 AEST Tue Jun 29 2004
Australia is falling behind world standards in mental health care, experts attending a mental health forum in Melbourne said.
The health experts, who will meet at the Melbourne Town Hall, are calling for reform and investment into Australia's mental health care system.
Australia spends about 8 per cent of its health budget on mental health although mental illness is thought to account for 20 per cent of economic costs of disability and premature death.
Mental Health Council of Australia spokeswoman Grace Groom said more funding and reform was needed to tackle child and adolescent mental disorders, which affect one in four young people each year.
"Child and adolescent mental disorders impact on the development of individuals throughout life - compelling reasons for improving the mental health of children as a priority for all Australians," Dr Groom said.
BeyondBlue carer and mental health reform advocate John McGrath said most young people diagnosed with a mental illness were treated in adult mental health services, which were unsuitable for young people.
"Many young people come face to face with services that aren't set up for them," he said.
"They easily get disillusioned or feel they're not achieving anything and feel out of place.
"So it's not surprising that they don't stick to their treatment program."
Tonight's forum will bring together mental health experts from around Melbourne, commencing 6.30pm (AEST).