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Vinnies challenges Govt on mentally ill

A damning St Vincent de Paul Society social justice statement says the mentally ill "have been virtually abandoned by the mental health system" and calls for a threefold increase in government spending.

The Catholic Leader reports that the statement, A Long Road to Success, was prepared by the Society in NSW/ACT and has been endorsed in other states. It was launched in Sydney on Monday by Brian Burdekin, a former federal human rights commissioner and now a special adviser to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The statement is the outcome of a year of extensive consultations with St Vincent de Paul members in NSW and the ACT. It shows that one in five Australians experiences some form of mental disorder and an increasingnumber of these people are turning to charities for help, often because of a lack of government assistance.

"During home visits society volunteers are finding an increasing number of people who have become socially dislocated through mental disorders going unchecked," the Society's Queensland president, Tim O'Connor, told the Leader. "We are calling on government to increase spending on mental health care."

St Vincent de Paul Society (NSW/ACT)

Catholic Leader (print edition)