Catholic agencies welcome PM's leadership on mental health

St Vincent de Paul Society and BoysTown's Kids Help Line have welcomed the Prime Minister's $1.8 billion commitment to mental health, saying it is good news for people with mental illness.

The new Federal Government commitment, announced yesterday, includes an increase in clinical and health services, non-clinical programs such as respite services for carers, an increase in the mental health workforce and funding for educational campaigns.

"The Federal Government's funding package is a welcome response to community concerns about the plight of people living with mental illness," said Margaret Morton (pictured), CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society.

"People with mental illness, their families and carers are in desperate need of the respite services that this package will provide. We are also pleased to see vital funding for community awareness and living skills programs."

The St Vincent de Paul Society encourage all State Governments to cooperate with the spirit of this initiative by matching the Federal Government's commitment.

"Today's announcement is a first step towards ending years of shameful neglect by successive State and Federal governments. We call on State Governments to fund a variety of needs-based accommodation services for the treatment and rehabilitation of people living with and recovering from mental illness."

Meanwhile BoysTown's Kids Help Line has also welcomed the Government's mental health funding announcement which acknowledges the importance of telephone counselling services.

This announcement coincides with BoysTown's release of the Kids Help Line National Report. The report highlights that the proportion of mental health calls from young people has more than doubled over the past three years.

BoysTown Chief Executive Officer Jack Firman said mental health is the number one issue for children and young people accessing online counselling.

"Our children are dealing with depression, anxiety, psychosis, personality disorders and ADHD on a daily basis," he said. "Providing them with appropriate counselling and support is critical.

"We are also seeing a disturbing increase in calls from young people who are deliberately injuring themselves - we are now responding to more than 150 contacts per week in relation to this issue."

Vinnies welcome PM's leadership on mental health (St Vincent de Paul Society 5/4/06)
Mental health funding applauded (Boystown 5/4/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Better mental health services for Australia (Prime Minister 5/4/06)
St Vincent de Paul Society
BoysTown Kids Help Line

Catholic agencies see way forward in mental health report (CathNews 3/4/06)
Adelaide service focuses on global mental health problems (CathNews 13/2/06)
Cardinal calls mentally ill 'faithful images of God' (CathNews 10/2/06)

Home should be where help is for mentally ill (Sydney Morning Herald 6/4/06)
Mentally ill homeless left to states (The Australian 6/4/06)
Mentally ill 'miss out on housing' (The Australian 6/4/06)

6 Apr 2006