The Western Australian Association for Mental Health (WAAMH) today congratulated the Nationals WA on its mental health election commitments as a great first step for regional community mental health.
However, while the initiatives demonstrate a strong commitment to increasing community mental health support and prevention services in WA, the overall funding commitments fall short of the targets specified in The Better Choices, Better Lives Ten Year Mental Health Plan 2015-2025, especially for prevention.
The Prevent Support Heal campaign is calling for additional funding of $334 million per year for community mental health and prevention services combined. The Nationals WA have committed an additional $140m over four years.
WAAMH CEO Taryn Harvey said the National’s mental health policy shows a commitment to increasing community support but will be phased in over time.
“It’s excellent to see the Nationals have listened to people with lived experience and their need to have access to alternatives, especially in regional and remote areas, where access to clinical and medical based environments is more difficult because of distance,” Ms Harvey said.
“However regional and remote areas have far greater gaps in community mental health support than in metropolitan areas."
"For example, the Goldfields requires 131,000 hours of community support yet the State Government has provided just 3,569 hours."
It was pleasing to see the Nationals WA policy featured a range of Prevent Support Heal community support initiatives.
These included funding for Aboriginal wellbeing and cultural programs; rural and remote neighbourhood centres; and Individual Placement and Support employment programs for adults and youth in regional WA.
“These programs will make deep and lasting inroads into building strong and resilient regional and remote communities," Ms Harvey said.
“Peer support options are also included and there is a very strong focus on rural and remote initiatives to close the existing gap in access to support."
“Unfortunately, the current policy includes only modest funding for prevention initiatives aimed at young people with prevention programs needing additional funding committed.”
Prevent Support Heal campaign
The Prevent Support Heal campaign is run by the WA Association for Mental Health to increase State Government funding into mental health prevention and community support preventsupportheal.org.au