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Issue #1737      June 29, 2016

Make mental health an election priority

The Australian Psychological Society (APS), the leading organisation representing psychologists, has called on the major parties to make mental health an election priority.

On its election web site – votesinmind.com.au – the APS has outlined what it sees as key priorities for the major political parties coming into the election. APS Executive Director Professor Lyn Littlefield said, “Our 22,000 members work with millions of Australians each year across the country.  Every day psychologists are in touch with Australians, who are suffering mental health disorders, people affected by trauma and abuse, as well as people marginalised socially and within the health system.

“We have looked at key issues affecting the mental health and wellbeing of Australians and outlined what we see as key priorities. We will be asking the major parties to respond to us with their policy position on all these issues.”

Key priorities include:

  • Early intervention and adequate treatment for depression and anxiety (the most common mental health disorders) via an extended Better access sessions (access to psychological services under Medicare), increasing from 10 sessions to 16.
  • Making the mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples a national priority.
  • Improving services and paid access to mental health services for survivors of child sexual abuse.
  • Ensuring funded access to mental health services for victims of family violence including children.
  • Improve psychological care for residents of Aged Care facilities as well as improving accurate and early diagnosis of dementia by increasing access to neuropsychological assessments.
  • Improving provision of mental health services in rural and remote areas.
  • Addressing the mental and physical health of asylum seekers.
  • Committing to further reductions in global warming to prevent the worst physical and mental health impacts on vulnerable communities.
  • Ensuring that natural disaster planning includes meeting the psychological needs of affected communities.

“Family violence, sexual abuse, Indigenous wellbeing and mental health issues are among key concerns in our community currently, having a huge emotional and psychological impact that can last a lifetime if not addressed,” said Professor Littlefield. “On behalf of the communities we serve, we want to ensure that Australians affected by these issues receive the care and services they need.”

Next article – Fight for TAFE

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