Queensland is the next stop for Australian Greens Senator Penny Wright's Australia-wide consultation about the quality of, and access to, mental health services in rural, regional and remote Australia.
Senator Wright, who is the Greens spokesperson for Mental Health, will visit Cairns, Townsville and the Sunshine Coast region over the next three days to talk to individuals and stakeholders about the challenges faced by people living in country Queensland when it comes to accessing essential mental health services.
"As I have been making my way around Australia, I have been hearing again and again that there are big gaps in mental health services in rural and regional areas and that services are too often crisis-driven," Senator Wright said.
"We need to invest more money in early intervention services as well as expanding community-based services, such as community centres and neighbourhood houses, which are a great model for enhancing wellbeing within communities.
"In recent months I have visited various towns around South Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria, and I have been very impressed by some of the creative and innovative solutions communities have come up with and I am keen to see more of these tailored and locally grown approaches.
"It is important for me to get a comprehensive picture of mental health services in country Australia so we can identify the gaps in service delivery and determine what action needs to be taken to build healthier, more resilient communities.
"Regardless of where people live in Australia, they should be able to access support services that will enable them to live healthy and happy lives."
Senator Wright will be meeting mental health stakeholders and individuals in Cairns, Townsville and the Sunshine Coast over the next three days. She is available for media interviews during that time.
For more information on Senator Wright's rural mental health services consultation tour, visit http://penny-wright.greensmps.org.au/ruralMH.