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Make mental health a priority on World Mental Health Day

Media Release
Penny Wright 10 Oct 2012

On World Mental Health Day, Australian Greens spokesperson for Mental Health, Senator Penny Wright, has called on the Government to ensure that funding of mental health services matches the total health burden of mental ill-health in Australia.

“One in five Australians will experience a mental health condition this year alone – that means we are all touched by it in some way, whether it is ourselves, a partner, a friend, a neighbour or a colleague,” Senator Wright said.

“Mental ill-health makes up about 13 per cent of the total health burden in Australia, but funding hovers around six to seven per cent. If we are serious about improving the situation, we have to ensure the amount of funding adequately reflects this burden, especially for services in rural and remote areas, where we know people continue to miss out on crucial mental health services.

“The stigma attached to mental illness remains a huge challenge –earlier this week we heard that the stigma around hiring people with a mental illness makes mental ill-health a bigger barrier to finding work in Australia than a physical disability.

“I encourage the Australian Government to keep working towards increasing awareness of mental health issues in our community by supporting programs that reduce stigma.

“If we want Australia to be a kinder, fairer and healthier country, we must make mental health an absolute priority – and we can start by ensuring that funding is equal to need.”

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