The Australian Greens share the concerns of some mental health experts that mental health services first funded by the government almost two years ago have not been adequately progressed from that initial commitment to the critical phase of delivery and implementation in the community.
Responding to a story in today's Australian (Delays ‘risking patient care', p. 4), Greens spokesperson for Mental Health, Senator Penny Wright, urged the government to speed up the process of delivering the Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centres (EPPIC) and Flexible Care Packages funded in the 2010 and 2011 budgets.
"The money to fund these important programs is already on the table. It is now time for delivery. The government needs to progress these services from paper to priority action," Senator Wright said.
"Despite the government's significant investment in mental health over the past two years, gaps remain in service delivery for many patients experiencing a mental illness.
"Tailored, early-intervention services such as EPPIC aim to facilitate early access to appropriate treatment for young people experiencing symptoms of a psychotic illness.
"Living with a psychotic illness can be debilitating and socially isolating. Appropriate, tailored services for people experiencing such an illness could make such a difference in reducing the effect it has on a young person's life.
"We know that EPPIC and Flexible Care Packages are progressing, but at a very slow pace. For those people experiencing mental illness, every day without appropriate help is not good enough. We encourage the government to implement these programs as a priority."