Catholic Health calls mental health report a "national disgrace"

Yesterday's release of the report "Not for Service" reveals the desperate underbelly of Australia's mental health system' said Francis Sullivan, CEO of Catholic Health Australia

Federal Health Minister, Tony Abbott, launched the report yesterday, calling it a "necessary and timely document".

He said the system would be more efficient if mental health was dealt with by one level of government. "We need to do better in this area and, as far as the Federal Government is concerned, we are doing better."

However, one of the report's authors, Ian Hickie, urged all governments to commit to mental health reform. "The reality of the situation is when national government sees a problem the heads of government get together and solve the problem."

Catholic Health's Francis Sullivan said that the financial bottom line has become more important than the lives of people with mental illness.

"We are facing a moral crisis before our very eyes," he said. "Basic human rights are being denied to desperate and vulnerable people."

"Despite thirteen years of national initiatives mental health services are embarrassingly inadequate, people with dual diagnoses are left abandoned, young people at risk are isolated and bureaucratic 'duck shoving' has become an art.

"We can't reasonably expect to improve the situation without national political leadership and an investment program which brings mental health funding to 12% of the health budget within five years.

"The report clearly demonstrates that governments and private health insurers restrict access to services for the mentally ill purely for financial reasons. This is discrimination writ large."

Mr Sullivan said that the Council of Australian Governments must convene a crisis summit to "stop the rot, take leadership and break through the bureaucratic vice that shackles the mental health system".

Mental health report a national disgrace (Catholic Health Australia 19/10/05)
NSW in the sin bin on mental health (Sydney Morning Herald 20/10/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Mental Health Council of Australia | lhttp://www.mhca.org.au/notforservice/index.htmlNot for Service Report
Cries from the outside looking in (excepts from report - Sydney Morning Herald 20/10/05)
Catholic Health Australia

Catholic Welfare sounds alarm on undiagnosed mental illness (CathNews 5/7/05)
Catholic Health says Costello "calls it right" on mental health (CathNews 24/9/04)

Abbott's response to mental health report a bitter disappointment (ABC Radio PM 19/10/05)
'Not For Service' report scathing on state of mental health services (ABC Radio PM 19/10/05)
Conditions surprise mental health report author (ABC Radio The World Today 19/10/05)
Aged care facility officially opened (Northern Daily Leader 12/10/05)
Holy See calls for promotion of respect for elderly (catholicireland.net 11/10/05)
Vatican official calls for better care of mentally ill (Catholic News Service 10/10/05)
Holy See Urges Attention to Causes of Mental Illness (Zenit 9/10/05)
Holy See Calls for Promotion of Respect for Elderly (Zenit 6/10/05)
Holy See's U.N. Address on the Year of Older Persons (Zenit 6/10/05)

20 Oct 2005