The Australian Greens are urging the Government to build on the National Mental Health Commission's first annual Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention released today to develop concrete targets for improving mental health services.
Spokesperson on Mental Health, Senator Penny Wright, welcomed the report and said the Government should also consider the unique challenges of rural and regional areas in implementing the recommendations.
"This report card shows we still have a long way to go in making mental health a real priority and recommends a number of initiatives the Australian Greens have been actively promoting," Senator Wright said.
"However, the Government must develop a plan of action with specific goals and provide the financial investment needed to achieve them.
"We strongly support recommendations to take a whole-of-person approach and to focus on local communities.
"The report also supports increasing access to mental health services from between 6 and 8 per cent to 12 per cent of Australians. I urge the Government to focus this expansion on services for the seven million Australians who live outside major cities in rural, regional and remote areas.
"These people experience mental ill-health at the same rate as those in the city, but do not have access to the same services.
"This year I have visited dozens of rural and regional communities to learn about the unique challenges they face and I have seen first-hand effects of this gap in services. There is a desperate need in these areas and I call on the Government to make this a national priority."