GetUp! Campaign: Health Reform

To give a bit of a background, the WA Premier, along with the state and territory leaders around Australia, will be sitting down on Monday to discuss health reform in Australia. With the talk of health reform, mental health reform has been neglected. Professor Patrick McGorry, psychiatrist, youth mental health expert and Australian of the Year 2010, along with GetUp! , is pushing for mental health to be part of the reforms. We as the public, have been encouraged to support the GetUp! campaign in getting out voices heard about wanting better mental health services in Australia. Western Australians, such as myself, have been invited to send a fax via the GetUp! website to Premier Colin Barnett asking him not to come home without mental health reform. This is my message to him:

Dear Mr Barnett,

As an eighteen year old student who has suffered from mental illness for a number of years, I am concerned about mental health reform being excluded from discussions about health reform.

In trying to seek treatment, I have experienced how difficult it can be to access adequate and affordable mental health care. Because of the difficulty in accessing public services, I have had to go private in seeing a psychiatrist and psychologist. As a full time University student, this bears some financial burden on me. Unfortunately I am not given much option as without mental health care, my mental illness declines even further.

I am particularly concerned about the mental health care available for young people. At least three of my friends have been hospitalised at a psychiatric hospital before they have reached the age of 25. Perhaps with better outpatient care, and early intervention, my friends reaching crisis points and needing hospitalisations could have been avoided. With so many young people experiencing mental illness and youth suicide rates being so high, it is of concern that there are not many mental health services available for young people. Headspace is the only youth mental health service I am aware of, and the government is to be commended for funding these centers. However, with only 30 centers around Australia and from what I gather, only one part time psychologist at my local headspace, this is not enough and more needs to be done.

Mr Barnett, I urge you to please consider mental health reform in conjunction with health reform. Mental wellbeing is just as important as physcial wellbeing and the services available should be matched to reflect this.

Yours faithfully,

BtF

I really hope that my message gets through to him and that it doesn’t sound too stupid or like an eight year old wrote it!

I realise that many of you do not live in Australia, but if you do, I’d encourage you to visit the GetUp! website, support this campaign and if are able, write to your premier through the GetUp! website encouraging them to bring about change for mental health too. I really hope that our voices are heard by these leaders, it is about time that mental health services are improved and more attention is given to this area.

10 thoughts on “GetUp! Campaign: Health Reform

  1. Hi,

    Thanks so much for your comment! It’s funny you mentioned the font… I took so much time deciding which one to use 🙂 and finally settled on that one. I don’t mind at all you using the same one!

    Your letter sounds fantastic. I might just write one too. The mental health care system here in aus sucks and is in dire need of review. The services available are so limited and crap in comparison to the need. Here in Newcastle I only have one option in the public system (which i am so grateful for, but it’s not enough e.g. i waited 1 year on the waiting list for a dietitian!)- and it’s just an outpatient clinic where you can get therapy and see a dietitian- and it has a limit of 2 years you can go there for. So at the end of this year I wont have anything free that i can go to and will have to see a psychologist privately or whatever else i need. And working with my current therapist for 1 1/4 years, i know that i will need more than 3/4 of a year to work through all of my problems. But anyway… public mental health care sucks. Your so inspiring by showing that you’re trying to make things change for the better. I can only wish you the best of luck.

    As for the friends and family- it’s very hard on that front… my family ignores the topic of my anorexia, and have only discussed it in detail once with my mother. Any other time weight comes up, she says, “don’t be stupid, why do you say you look fat, when you know your too thin. why do you want that attention? you know your not fat, so just stop saying it”. She completely doesn’t get anorexia and doesn’t want too. and wants to believe that i am fine and always have been. So that’s a working progress, more for me to be able to live without her words and actions impacting me so much and to be able to recover knowing that she might not ever understand.

    Anyway, enough of a ramble from me.. you can tell i don’t want to do my assignments! I hope that you are alright and that you are trying to take care of yourself as best as you can. Have a great Sunday

    xxx Victoria

    • Hi Victoria,
      Thanks for your comment too 🙂
      Having to wait one year to see a dietician is appaling. Wait one year, and someone’s eating could’ve become so much worse in that timeframe. The restriction of two years is pretty terrible too, a lot of people don’t become completely better in two years.
      If you do decide to write a letter, the site for NSW is at http://www.getup.org.au/campaign/healthreform&id=1022?dc=1073,594941,3 🙂
      That sounds a lot like my family’s understanding of EDs and mental health issues in general- they just don’t understand it.
      Hope you’ve had a good day and been somewhat productive 😛

  2. I think your letter sounds fantastic, and equally fantastic is the fact that you have written it and are contributing to an important debate in Australia.

    It comforts me to know that there are people like you who care enough to take such action and are making sure that mental health doesn’t get swept under the carpet.

    Nice one!

    Sarah x

  3. That’s such a great letter, you’ve addressed such an important issue really well!

    By the way, I would love to follow your blog, but I can’t find a way for a blogger blog to follow a wordpress blog, do you know how I can?

    xxxx

  4. Thank you! 🙂
    If you go on your Blogger dashboard and click ‘Add’ under the list of blogs that you follow, you can copy and paste the URL of WordPress blogs that way and it’ll be added to the list of blogs you follow.
    Thanks for wanting to follow my blog! 🙂

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