The mental health sector has united in its call on the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to renew its joint commitment to Australia’s mental health by setting real and measurable targets for national mental health reform.
The organisations fear without real and measurable targets, the promised Roadmap for Mental Health will fall well short of what the recent National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention suggests Australia needs to support what it calls “a contributing life” for those who experience mental illness.
We can’t let the publication of the country’s first National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention pass without government commitment.
Mental health reform is a long-term project, so it needs long-term targets.
COAG already agreed to act in 2011. It’s now time for governments to find unity of purpose. It’s time to set ambitious targets.
We can’t let politics get in the way of mental health. We can’t let our fear of failure prevent us from setting measurable goals. Our system is currently failing many people who experience mental illness and this will only change if governments commit to achieving real change.
The open letter to COAG outlines areas in which specific targets should be set, including: early intervention and prevention, participation in education, suicide, levels of stigma and awareness, levels of social participation and timely access to necessary and effective services.
A copy of the open letter to COAG is available at www.mhca.org.au