Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Mental Health Services 2016-17 report showing one in five Tasmanians use prescription medications to manage mental ill health is alarming.
In the last year, we had far more people accessing medication than any other Australian state - two and a half times more than the Northern Territory. Tasmanians are buying an average of 9.3 prescriptions every year to help with their mental ill health.
The AIHW’s Mental Health Services 2016-17 report paints a sobering picture, with the overwhelming burden of depression and anxiety accounting for 84% of diagnosed mental health issues.
This distressing report card underscores the critical importance of increasing funding to the community mental health sector.
While acute care is critical, community mental health services – who receive only a tiny proportion of Tasmania’s overall mental health funding – are recognised as the key to turning these dreadful figures around.
The Minister for Health, Michael Ferguson, has made a commitment to moving Tasmania to a model of community-supported mental health recovery, which the AIHW Report figures make clear is urgently needed.
The Greens urge Minister Ferguson to follow with financial support. To do this properly, the government must follow the advice of those working at the frontline and increase the funding to community mental health organisations.
Report available here: