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SA must continue to ‘Step Up’ on mental health

The South Australian Government must ensure that its long-term priorities for the state’s mental health services do not slip off the radar when its five-year “Stepping Up” plan ends next month, South Australian Greens Senator Penny Wright said.

Senator Wright today supported the Mental Health Coalition of South Australia’s call for a further plan committed to addressing the many aspects of mental health including links to vital services like employment, housing and legal assistance.  

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Racing against the clock on Aboriginal suicide

Reading my newspapers on Wednesday, I was horrified to see a report about a young Aboriginal girl from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands who had hanged herself.  She was only nine years old.

I was first shocked – then deeply, deeply saddened. As a parent, I can only imagine what this loss has meant to her family and community and, like many Australians, I am struggling to comprehend that a child so young would do such a thing - in our nation.

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Revised Better Access cuts a very good thing: Greens

Australian Greens spokesperson for mental health, Senator Penny Wright, has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement that it will reduce the cuts to sessions under the Better Access program for a transitional period from 1 March 2012 to 31 December 2012.

Senator Wright said the decision meant that in exceptional circumstances patients could be referred by their GP for a further six sessions of mental health treatment after they reached their 10-session cap.

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Training Crucial for Lowering Mental Health Stigma: Greens

Agencies and organisations involved in training students for the medical profession must ensure that mental health is an integral part of any training program, the Australian Greens have said.

Greens spokesperson for Mental Health, Senator Penny Wright, said she was extremely concerned by the Mental Health Council of Australia study Consumer and Carer Experiences of Stigma from Mental Health and Other Health Professionals, which revealed that some mental health or other health professionals held similar stigmatising views about mental illness as the general public.

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Better Access Cuts Leave Patients Struggling: Greens

Greens spokesperson for Mental Health, Senator Penny Wright, has urged the Government to listen to the voices of those directly affected by cuts to the Better Access program and delay the reduction in the number of sessions.

Senator Wright continued to call on the Government to postpone the cuts, which came into effect on November 1, until other programs were ready to take up the demand.

"Correspondence I have received from consumers and psychologists clearly shows that the cuts are leaving many patients struggling to cope with serious conditions," she said.

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Penny's Blog - Why We are Moving to Disallow Better Access Cuts

I have given notice of a motion to disallow the government’s regulations which have cut the maximum number of sessions available under Better Access from 18 to 10.  I have taken this step in a bid to encourage the government to delay the implementation of the Better Access changes until the other services such as ATAPS and the youth mental health services are sufficiently geared up to take up the increased demand. 

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Action on Better Access is Necessary to Protect Patients

The Australian Greens have recommended that the Federal Government postpones changes to the Better Access program to ensure the ongoing delivery of services to patients.

Senator Rachel Siewert, Chair of the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry into Commonwealth Funding and Administration of Mental Health Services has made a series of recommendations in her additional comments to the Committee's majority report.

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