Health experts have welcomed the $1.5 billion boost to mental health in this week’s Federal Budget.
But there are concerns the funds may take too long to reach those in need in Queensland.
Sophie Barrington reports.
In the aftermath of Queensland’s natural disasters the state is re-building.
But health experts agree the devastation has had a profound impact on many people.
They say mental health affects 10 per cent of Australia’s population, and despite this, it’s been an under-funded area.
Dr Jane Shakespeare-Finch, QUT School of Psychology and Counselling: “The boosts in the budget are absolutely necessary and have been for quite some time but what the natural disasters have done has been to put mental health on the map.”
She says frontline services and research focused on early intervention should be central to our mental health system.
Dr Gino Perocaro, President AMAQ: “Certainly from a whole of government point of view its very cost effective to start treatment early, nip it in the bud, before it gets to be a major problem.”
But there’s growing concern the new funds won’t reach Queenslanders soon enough.
Dr Gino Pecoraro, President AMAQ: “If you read the fine print of the budget submission or the budget that’s been released it could be within the next five years in Queensland after this really terrible summer you know of natural disasters we need help right now.”
Health experts also agree the new budget boost will help generate more understanding about these issues in our communities, breaking through the barriers long attached to mental health.
Dr Jane Shakespeare-Finch, QUT School of Psychology and Counselling: “When things are not silent anymore, when things are spoken about that promotes the access to mental health resources. You have to remember for a long time there’s been some stigma about mental health.”
Organisations such as AMAQ say they’ll be keeping a firm eye on the budget’s implementation.
Sophie Barrington, QUT News.