We can all agree that when we have a world class mental health system we all live well. When this happens every South Australian has the help they need, when they need it and in the place they want it.

The SA Mental Health Services Plan is the current blueprint for mental health in South Australia. It was developed by our Chief Psychiatrist Dr John Brayley with wide consultation and strong input from Clinicians, SA Health staff, the wider mental health sector and people with lived experience. This Plan has been endorsed by the Government and today’s Budget contains funding for key initiatives that go some way to implementing this Plan.

When we invest in a range of supports that allow people to live well in the community they are afforded the human right every South Australian deserves.

We looked to this State Budget – in an election year – to provide additional funding to keep people out of hospitals and Emergency Departments. We know over half of people presenting at Emergency Departments with mental distress come out without receiving significant treatment for the underlying issues.

We welcome the increase of funding to allow for the Urgent Mental Health Care Centre to 24 hours a day 7 days a week. This support provides an alternative for people in distress. This will take some of the pressure off our Emergency Departments. 

The investment of $33.1 million in a 16-bed facility to be built in the northern suburbs will have the capacity for overnight stays that allow people to deal with their mental health crisis in an environment more conducive to their recovery. Both of these Emergency Departments alternatives need to come with follow up support so they can deal with the underlying issues and stay well in the community.

Supporting people with managing their mental illness in the community is what keeps people out of crisis. $8.4m to do this is a boost to the sector. 

$5million to provide additional housing for people with mental health disability is a good start to addressing one of the underlying issues that is impacting on people’s mental health.

We are glad to see this budget is taking the first steps in realising the Plan however we still have a long way to go. We need more services that address why people are becoming unwell and look at the underlying issues more comprehensively.  

 

Geoff Harris

Executive Director, Mental Health Coalition of SA