Today we published an open letter to South Australians in The Advertiser asking them to get their heads around mental health. With this State Election it is important to remember our key election asks and what that means for people living with mental illness.
This letter was co-signed and supported by;
Lived Experience Australia
Community Centres SA
South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS)
Uniting Country SA
Uniting Country Housing
Survivors of Torture and Trauma Assistance and Rehabilitation Service (STTARS)
Life Without Barriers
Australian Association Social Workers
Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA)
Below is a text version of the letter. You can read it as the advertisement here.
Dear South Australia,
WE HAVE TO GET OUR HEADS AROUND MENTAL HEALTH.
All South Australians deserve a well resourced mental health system now more than ever. COVID is having an impact on people needing mental health support, yet this pandemic didn’t break the system, it was already collapsing.
Media reports highlight problems in Emergency Departments and Hospitals and it is true South Australians experiencing a mental health crisis are being hospitalised too often and for longer than they need.
The Mental Health Coalition of South Australia Report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers shows that effective community mental health support programs reduce the need for hospitals during a mental health crisis by more than half.
These community support services help people to get well, deal with mental health challenges and ultimately reduce the impacts of our mental health crisis.
Did you know funding for these highly effective services is just 6.4% of the mental health budget?
These services have not had an increase since 2018, and that was after they had already been cut by a third.
Most people have never heard of these community based mental health support services because they are under funded and hard to access.
A well funded mental health system is a human right and there are many things that need fixing.
This State Election we want whoever forms Government to commit to:
1. a strategy to reduce the gap in community based mental health services by half within three years
2. eliminate avoidable Emergency Department presentations
3. prioritise access to suitable, sustainable housing for people to recover and remain well.
It’s time all South Australians impacted by mental health challenges get the support they need to get well, stay well, and avoid crises.