YOUR SAY: More support needed for mental health
AFTER hearing the Wide Bay Region has the highest rate of mental health conditions in Australia, members of the public are calling for more funding and support from politicians.
On Monday, the Chronicle reported on the most recent mental health statistics, released by the Primary Health Networks (PHN) which replaced Medicare Local in July this year, showing 1 in 6 people living in the region including the Fraser Coast had a mental health issue.
Readers of this story have left comments on the Chronicle's Facebook page and website, asking for more help from the State and Federal members in the region to tackle the issue.
Denise Foulston said she believed it was "impossible" for mental health services to help people who needed it because staff were "overworked" and the Wide Bay services were "underfunded."
"The government should stop and look at why mental health is such a big issue nowadays as well and go back to the start and spend money fixing the causes as well," Ms Foulston said.
Reader Fiona Deffiona described the Wide Bay's current situation as "shocking."
"I know of people who have Severe issues who are constantly turned away," Fiona said.
"The funding goes to wrong places. Maybe instead of stupid and pointless "hubs" in Kent St they should be putting money into areas that directly help or help curb rising mental health cases. Ie. Employment, drug education , family planning.
"I could go on and on!"
Hinkler MP Keith Pitt said major reforms to Australia's mental health system orchestrated by the Federal Government would help prevent people in need from "falling through the cracks."
He highlighted the Headspace program which is currently available in both Hervey Bay and Maryborough as a service which was already in place.
"It is our youth that have greatest prevalence of mental illness - more than any other age group - with three quarters of all mental illness presenting in people aged under 25 years," Mr Pitt said.
"Through headspace, more young people in Hinkler are receiving the help they need to fully recover or better manage their conditions and avoid serious and debilitating conditions later in life.
"The headspace program was established by the Coalition Government in 2006, resulting in the development of 85 facilities across the country, including Hervey Bay and Maryborough."
The Mental Health reform is expected to roll out across Australia from July next year.