UnitingCare Australia’s National Director, Susan Helyar, has welcomed today’s historic commitment to reform Australia’s health system.
In particular Ms Helyar welcomed the additional commitment to mental health services for young people.
Ms Helyar said at first glance mental health services for an additional 20,000 young people would help ensure that this vulnerable group would get access to diagnosis, acute care and long-term support.
“UnitingCare agencies across Australia work with people living with episodic mental illness.
“People with mental illness have historically fallen through the cracks in the health system and instead often seek the support of social services agencies.
“For example, around seventy five percent of long-term unemployed people are living with mental illness – diagnosed or undiagnosed.
“Australia’s health system has a pretty good track record providing technically challenging, acute care to patients in hospital.
“But it’s got a long way to go to provide the same level of service to people living with mental illness, disability, the impacts of ageing and chronic illness.
“Today’s COAG agreement is the first important step in the long walk that will move Australia from a hospital-focused system to a system that will prevent unnecessary admission to hospital as people get access to the often simple services when and where they need them.
“At the end of the day, the measure of the success of these reforms will be whether or not Australians get access to the prevention measures and support they need to stay out of hospital.
“We welcome the Government’s vision and we expect that community-based services will be key players as detail and implementation of the reform unfolds,” Ms Helyar said.