It’s no secret that the mental health of Victorians has taken a toll in recent years.
In 2020, a Royal Commission was conducted on Victoria’s mental health system, with 65 recommendations for change. Sadly, not enough has been done to rectify the declining mental health of Victorians.
In 2020-2021, over 1.1 million Victorians received a mental health related prescription, with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reporting that seventy-three percent of mental health related prescriptions during this period were for anti-depressants.
At Reason, we believe that the mental health of Victorians, should be a top priority for the Government. That’s why we’re pushing for major investments in mental health interventions and support.
What this looks like:
A substantial, recurrent investment in early interventions for young people at risk.
Young people who are suffering from mental health concerns are at higher risk of turning to substance and are at an increased risk of criminality. Many early interventions are proven effective at reducing these outcomes. Reason believes structured and evidence-based early intervention programs are an investment for the wider community and our youth.
Significantly reduced waiting times for mental health services and admissions.
The wait times for patients accessing publicly funded mental health facilities can cause further distress to those needing support with their mental health concerns. In 2019 the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office released a report highlighting an unacceptable amount of wait times for mental health patients, with some patients reporting that they missed out on treatment entirely, or were not given an acceptable amount of time to be treated. The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System made recommendations to reduce these wait times, but not enough has been done. Reason will prioritise reducing wait times for mental health support, as we understand that patients having to wait to access help could cause their symptoms to worsen, impacting treatment, family and social relationships and increasing the risk of substance abuse and suicide.
Mental health services provided as part of the response to homelessness.
The rate of mental illness amongst homeless people in Australia is 54%, compared to 19% of the general population, and the number of mental health concerns amongst homeless persons is increasing every year. Reason understands that the Government’s response to homelessness must also include a mental health strategy that assists at-risk persons at an individual level.
Increased training for health professionals, to identify and support mental illness.
Reason understands that not everyone can identify mental health concerns within themselves, or feels comfortable seeking help. Health professionals are often the first responders when it comes to identifying mental health concerns. Reason believes that extensive training for health professionals in identifying mental health concerns, will help ensure patients who may have otherwise slipped through the cracks of the system are referred to treatment options that will best suit their needs.
An expansion and integration (via dual diagnosis) of mental health and drug treatment services.
Reason believes in science. Evidence shows that those with substance-abuse concerns are more likely to abstain from substances if they are provided with effective treatments targeting their mental health. Reason understands that when addiction is treated as a mental health concern, patients feel more empowered to prioritise their health, rebuild personal relationships and ultimately abstain from substance abuse.
Compassionate access to psychedelic-assisted therapies to treat intractable depression and PTSD.
Reason believes that mental health professionals should have all tools available to help their clients. Emerging evidence from around the world suggests that psychedelics such as psilocybin and MDMA have the potential to play an important role in treating mental illnesses such as intractable (treatment-resistant) depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While various studies are taking place in Australia, allowing a compassionate access scheme for Victorians, for whom other treatments have failed, could have enormous benefits and reduce suffering.
Reason gives a shit about Victoria’s mental health system & ensuring that the Royal Commission's recommendations are implemented in the best possible way. If you do too and want to support our campaign, click here to lend a hand.