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Estimates: What are the government's plans for Partners in Recovery?

Partners in Recovery and Medicare Locals

Senator WRIGHT: I have been in other committee, so if I ask questions that have already been asked just let me know. I understand the department has been unable to advise what plans they have for the future of Partners in Recovery contracts where the lead agency is a Medicare Local. I am interested in whether the department can provide any information about what will happen in these instances.

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Greens call for national campaign to tackle mental health stigma

The Federal Government should establish a national anti-stigma campaign to tackle ongoing misperceptions and discrimination around mental illness, say the Australian Greens.

Australian Greens spokesperson for mental health Senator Penny Wright said Australia is one of the only English-speaking OECD countries without a national anti-stigma social inclusion campaign.

"It is time for the Federal Government to step up and get serious about tackling stigma in Australia," Senator Wright said.

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Country communities say Abbott Government failing on rural mental health

The Abbott Government's performance on rural mental health has been overwhelmingly condemned in a new survey of rural mental health workers, consumers and community activists.

The survey, conducted by Australian Greens spokesperson for mental health Senator Penny Wright, revealed widespread dissatisfaction with mental health services in rural and regional areas.

Only five per cent of respondents thought local services were enough to meet local needs and 97 per cent wanted government funding for rural and regional mental health increased.

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Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Week

Senator WRIGHT (South Australia) (15:43):  I, and also on behalf of Senator McLucas, move that the Senate-

(a) notes that:

(i) at any one point in time, between 1 and 4 per cent of the general population experiences Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD),

(ii) the disorder can be characterised by overwhelming emotions, relationship problems, impulsive and risk-taking behaviour and a fragile sense of self,

(iii) a history of trauma, abuse or deprivation is common among those with the disorder,

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Recognising Body Image and Eating Disorders Awareness Week

I give notice that, on the next day of sitting, I will move that:

The Senate:

1. recognises September 1-7 as National Body Image and Eating Disorders Awareness Week; 

2. notes that in 2012 there were more than 913,000 people in Australia living with a clinical eating disorder, and more than 1,800 people die each year because of these deadly mental illnesses;

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Statement: Australian Greens on new chaplaincy program

The Australian Greens have urged state and territory governments to think twice before signing up to reinstate the schools chaplaincy program, says Australian Greens spokesperson for schools Senator Penny Wright.

Senator Wright confirmed the Australian Greens opposed plans to put religious chaplains in Australian schools.

"The Australian Greens have consistently said that the time for amateurs is over and funding must be redirected to putting professional mental health workers in schools," Senator Wright said.

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Senate backs action on rural suicide, despite Nationals opposition

The Senate has called on the Government to fund targeted suicide prevention measures in rural and regional areas, backing a motion by Australian Greens spokesperson on mental health Senator Penny Wright.

However, the National Party voted against the motion - despite making an identical election promise last year.

Senator Wright said enthusiasm about the cross-party support for action on rural suicide, including a national awareness campaign, was tempered by the Nationals' surprising policy reversal.

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Addressing the Hidden Toll of suicide in rural Australia

I move that the Senate

1.      notes that a disproportionately high number of completed suicides and suicide attempts involve men in rural areas; and

2.      calls on the government to implement the key recommendations of The Hidden Toll: Suicide in Australia report of the Senate Community Affairs References Committee during the term of the 44th Parliament of Australia, including:

a)      funding a national suicide prevention and awareness campaign, to run for at least five years; and

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Coalition budget likely to increase suicide and mental ill-health in young people

I table the document Budget 2014 Policy Briefing Papers from ConNetica, and I move that the Senate-

(a) notes the findings of the Connetica Budget 2014 Policy Briefing Papers which outline:

(i) the disproportionate burden the 2014 15 budget cuts will place on young people,

(ii) the potential for an increase in suicides and mental ill-health among young Australians as a result of harsh budget measures, including changes to Newstart, increases to university fees, cutting the Tools for your Trade program, and ending support programs like Youth Connections, and

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The impact of the budget on youth mental health

Senator WRIGHT (South Australia) (22:09):  On 13 May this year, the coalition government handed down a budget that was really quite unprecedented. I have seen quite a few budgets come and go in my life span, but I am hard pressed to think of a budget that has attracted such universal condemnation from people right across the political spectrum in terms of its unfathomable burden—the burden it places on some of the most disadvantaged people in the community.

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