ONE of Australia’s leading experts in mental health has called on the government to commit more funding towards support services.
Professor Patrick McGorry, the 2010 Australian of the Year, visited Warrnambool on Thursday for the Western Region Alcohol & Drug Centre’s (WRAD) annual general meeting.
The founding headspace board member spoke to a crowd of about 100 people at the Warrnambool Art Gallery, sharing his views on the landscape of mental health care in Australia, especially with youth.
He described the nation’s approach to supporting mental health treatment as “reshuffling the deck chairs.”
“The problem with the government at the moment is they’re just reorganising things and not putting any more money in,” Professor McGorry said.
“headspace has been a big success around the country. The outcome data is much better and we want to see commitment from the government to put headspaces in every community and to strengthen it.
“Only 11 per cent of people with mental health illness in Australia get evidence-based care. If that happened with breast cancer… there’d be massive upheaval.”
Professor McGorry said about 200,000 young people had received support through headspace, mostly in face-to-face sessions.
“More of the centres are in regional and rural Australia than in metro,” he said.
“There’s a long way to go and a lot of young people are still not getting help. There should be partnerships with services like WRAD.”