Grants open for QLD Mental Health Week

6, July, 2018

02/07/2018

A grant pool of $85,000 is up for grabs as the Queensland Mental Health Week grant program opens for 2018.

The grants were launched today by Queensland Mental Health Commissioner Ivan Frkovic and Queensland Alliance for Mental Health (QAMH) Chief Executive Kris Trott.

Mr Frkovic said a range of community organisations across the State were eligible to apply for grants up to a maximum of $2500 each to make their mental health week event a success.

“The grants focus on events that promote good mental health and wellbeing, create understanding of mental illness and engage and include people with lived experience of mental illness,” Mr Frkovic said.

“Grassroots community events that teach us how to sustain our mental health are an important driver of mental health week.

“Just like our physical health, we all need to value and actively work at maintaining our mental health, which acts like a buffer when life gets challenging,” he said.

“We can all enjoy good mental health and wellbeing most of the time, whether or not we live with mental illness.”

Queensland Alliance for Mental Health Chief Executive Kris Trott said creating a more understanding society was another important focus of mental health week events.

“Mental illness doesn’t discriminate. It can affect any one of us at any time, regardless of age, sex, class or race, so we should all know more about it.

“Mental health week events that focus on increasing knowledge of living well with mental illness and creating a supportive environment for people living with a mental illness will be viewed favourably under the grant program.

“It’s also important to create an environment where people with experience of a mental illness are recognised as valued and contributing members of the community.”

Queensland Alliance for Mental Health is administering the grant program on behalf of the Queensland Mental Health Commission.

The grant program opens on 2 July 2018, and close at 5.00pm on Monday 6 August 2018. Guidelines and application forms are available on the QMHW website at www.qldmentalhealthweek.org.au

 

– ENDS –

 

Inquiries can be directed to the following Contacts:

QMHC: Kate Southwell (07) 3033 0340 or 0409 275 385

QAMH: Cassandra Scholl (07) 3252 9411

STATE BUDGET 2018-19: What’s in it for community mental health?

13, June, 2018

13/6/2018

Ongoing funding for community mental health services and continued investments in mental health treatment facilities were key parts of the 2018-19 Queensland Budget, released yesterday.

Queensland Alliance for Mental Health (QAMH) CEO Kris Trott said the budget included positive commitments to improve the mental health of Queenslanders and drive down suicide rates.

Ms Trott said QAMH had urged the government to provide sustained funding for community managed mental health organisations prior to the release of the budget.

“The community mental health sector plays a vital role in helping Queenslanders dealing with mental ill health before they reach crisis point and assisting recovery in a community setting,” Ms Trott said.

“It’s great to see our sector’s contribution recognised in the budget with a commitment of $106.4 million over the next four years for community mental health services.

“We know the number of community mental health contacts are increasing and there is going to be more demand for services into the future.

“We’ll be continuing to work with government to highlight the benefits of further investing in this critical part of the health system.

“This year we’ll also see construction completed at a number of Step Up, Step Down facilities across Queensland, which is another key part of the positive shift towards more flexible mental health treatment in the community.”

Ms Trott said the continued rollout of the NDIS remained a significant challenge, with up to $1.5 billion in state funding committed to the scheme in 2018-19.

“The budget also includes funding for NDIS advocacy services and a contribution to support the national worker screening database,” she said.

“We will continue to work with all levels of government to quickly respond to emerging scheme gaps and make sure assistance is made available to all individuals requiring ongoing support.”

2018-19 STATE BUDGET INVESTMENTS:

Community mental health:

  • $106.4 million over four years ($26.6 million in 2018-19)

Health:

  • Health budget for 2018-19 is $17.3 billion (increase of 4.4%)
  • Upgrades to the Caboolture, Logan and Ipswich Hospitals (including a new mental health building with an additional six beds at Ipswich)

Mental health-related capital investments:

  • $1.2 million in 2018-19 to the $70 million Cairns Hospital Mental Health Unit
  • $28.1 million in 2018-19 towards the $68.2 million South-East Queensland Adolescent Mental Health Facilities upgrades – including new Adolescent Extended Treatment Facility at The Prince Charles Hospital, two new Step Up, Step Down facilities in Brisbane and the refurbishment of two adolescent Day program spaces at Logan and the Gold Coast.
  • $1.3 million in 2018-19 towards the $4.8 million Adult Step Up, Step Down facility at Bundaberg.
  • $1.7 million in 2018-19 towards completion of the $4.7 million Adult Step Up, Step Down facility at Gladstone.
  • $4.1 million in 2018-19 towards completion of the Adult Step Up, Step Down facility in Mackay.
  • $2.8 million towards the Townsville Adult Acute Mental Health Inpatient Unit.

NDIS:

  • State-wide funding of up to $1.5 billion to the NDIS in 2018-19.
  • $9.5 million over three years for advocacy support services.
  • $1.2 million over three years to support nationally-consistent worker screening.

 

– ENDS –

 

Inquiries can be directed to the following Media Contact:

Tim Braban – Senior Advisor – Policy and Advocacy
Phone: 07 3252 9411
Mobile: 0413 022 519
tbraban@qamh.org.au

 

Local Area Coordinators announced across Queensland

1, June, 2018

01/06/2018

The Federal Government has announced the Local Area Coordinators (LACs) for the remaining Queensland regions preparing for the rollout of the NDIS.

Late yesterday, Social Services Minister Dan Tehan and his Assistant Minister Jane Prentice confirmed Carers Queensland, APM and Mission Australia will be funded to provide LAC services to people with a disability aged seven and above in regions including Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Cairns and Fraser Coast.

The Benevolent Society, BUSHKids and Mission Australia will support children with developmental delay and disability up to six years of age.

Queensland Alliance for Mental Health CEO Kris Trott welcomed the announcement, which comes just a month before the NDIS rollout commences across many Queensland regions.

“There are major regions in Queensland including Brisbane, Logan, Redlands, Gold Coast, Cairns and Fraser Coast that are all preparing for the rollout of the NDIS from 1 July, with the LACs for those regions announced just yesterday,” Ms Trott said.

“As we know, the LACs are supposed to be in place six months prior to an area starting transition.

“Clearly we’ve missed those targets. These delays have placed increasing pressure on service providers, who have had to fill the gap to ensure Queenslanders with a disability have the assistance they need to make an application and get support through the plan preparation process.

“Many providers have had to step in to this space and help their clients get ready, which has impacted them financially.”

Ms Trott said as many as 75,000 more Queenslanders with a disability could receive a NDIS plan by mid-2019.

“This is the critical time where we’re going to see a majority of Queenslanders with a disability entering into the NDIS.

“We look forward to working constructively with all levels of government to ensure the people who will benefit most from this once-in-a-generation reform get the help and assistance they deserve.”

– ENDS –

 

LOCAL AREA COORDINATORS IN REMAINING NDIS REGIONS:

  • Brisbane south (rollout starting 1 July, 2018) – Carers Queensland
  • Brisbane north (rollout starting 1 July 2018) – Carers Queensland
  • Logan and Redlands (rollout starting 1 July, 2018) – Carers Queensland
  • Gold Coast and Hinterland (rollout starting 1 July, 2018) – Carers Queensland
  • Cairns and Far North Queensland (rollout starting 1 July, 2018) – Mission Australia
  • Fraser Coast and the Burnett region (rollout starting 1 July, 2018) – APM
  • Moreton Bay (rollout starting 1 January, 2019) – Carers Queensland
  • Sunshine Coast (rollout starting from 1 January, 2019) – Carers Queensland

 

Who is the Queensland Alliance for Mental Health?

The QAMH is the peak body for the Community Mental Health Sector in Queensland. Representing more than 140 organisations and stakeholders across the State, the QAMH works with our members to build capacity, promote professionalism in the sector, facilitate innovative partnerships and advocate on behalf of people experiencing mental health issues.

Enquiries regarding this media release can be directed to the following Media Contacts:

Tim Braban – Senior Advisor – Policy and Advocacy
Phone: 07 3252 9411
Mobile: 0413 022 519
tbraban@qamh.org.au

Jenny Roberts – Communications & Marketing Officer
Phone: 07 3252 9411
jroberts@qamh.org.au

 

 

STATE BUDGET: Investment needed to improve mental health of Queenslanders

28, May, 2018

28/5/2018

Link to the full report can be found here.

Continued investment is needed to cope with the increasing number of Queenslanders seeking treatment to improve their mental health, says Queensland Alliance for Mental Health (QAMH) CEO Kris Trott.

The QAMH today released its 2018-19 State Budget submission, which highlights rising rates of suicide, mental health-related emergency department presentations and community mental health contacts.

Ms Trott said more Queenslanders were seeking treatment for mental ill health than ever before and investment in community care was needed to alleviate the pressure on government services.

“The number of emergency department presentations and overnight hospital separations related to mental health are increasing across the country,” Ms Trott said.

“The best way to address this is through community-based programs that help people before they reach crisis point.

“Community mental health service providers are uniquely placed to help facilitate recovery and social inclusion opportunities for people living with or at risk of developing mental health problems, taking pressure off the wider health system.

“There is significant evidence that shows the benefits of early intervention, community care and personalised care for people with mental ill health.”

Ms Trott said it was a challenging and uncertain time for the community mental health sector, with the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and other key policy frameworks being implemented.

“In the last few years we’ve seen the establishment of Primary Health Networks, a new Queensland Government mental health framework and a national mental health and suicide prevention plan,” she said.

“Our sector has also been managing the uncertainty of the transition to the NDIS – with many of the rollout issues still unresolved.

“If these rollout issues aren’t addressed it will leave a lot of people who have mental health problems without appropriate care and it will see many service providers exiting the system.

“That’s why it’s essential we get ongoing funding certainty from the Queensland Government regarding new state-funded community mental health contracts.

“Community mental health providers are a critical part of the mental health system.

“If we want to put Queenslanders struggling with mental ill health on the path to recovery then funding certainty and sustained investment is vital.

“Otherwise there is a very real risk of our public health system carrying the burden, which comes at a higher cost.”

– ENDS –

 

Key facts:

  • Four million Australians are affected by mental illness
  • The number of mental health-related emergency department presentations in public hospitals increased by 83 per cent across Australia over the last decade.
  • The number of community mental health care service contacts in Queensland has more than doubled.
  • The suicide rate among people with a mental illness is at least seven times higher than the general population.
  • Incidence of suicide is 30 per cent higher in regional/rural areas and twice as high in remote areas.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have higher rates of mental illness and suicide, higher rates of substance use burden, and rates of psychological distress more than twice those of the general population.

 

Who is the Queensland Alliance for Mental Health?

The QAMH is the peak body for the Community Mental Health Sector in Queensland. Representing more than 140 organisations and stakeholders across the State, the QAMH works with our members to build capacity, promote professionalism in the sector, facilitate innovative partnerships and advocate on behalf of people experiencing mental health issues.

Enquiries regarding this media release can be directed to the following Media Contact:

Tim Braban – Senior Advisor – Policy and Advocacy
Phone: 07 3252 9411
Mobile: 0413 022 519

tbraban@qamh.org.au

Report Recommends Action to Improve Mental Health Services in Regional Queensland

16, May, 2018

16/5/2018

Link to the full report can be found here.

Action must be taken to address a lack of services, higher rates of suicide and improve attitudes to positive mental health in rural and remote parts of Queensland.

Queensland Alliance for Mental Health CEO Kris Trott said a new joint report, informed by organisations providing mental health services across Queensland and the Northern Territory, revealed the extent of the problem in our most regional communities.

“Sadly, evidence shows suicide rates in remote and very remote areas occur at a much higher rate than our major cities, and particular groups like men, primary producers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are most at risk,” Ms Trott said.

“A Federal Senate inquiry is currently considering these issues and as part of that we’ve done a major submission with the Northern Territory Mental Health Coalition which highlights the biggest challenges in providing equitable mental health services in bush areas.

“These include cultural issues, particularly stigma, the extremely low rates of mental health professionals working in remote communities and the distances and costs involved in accessing services in country areas, to name just a few.

“The nature of the mental health workforce is one of the most critical issues, including a lack of bulk billing GPs, the cost of attracting and retaining staff in rural locations and the loss of experienced staff due to the lack of professional development options.”

Ms Trott said a rural and regional taskforce, totally independent from government, was needed to deliver a complete package of recommendations to transform the delivery of mental health services in rural and remote communities.

“We welcome the Federal Senate’s focus on this issue, but we need to involve grass-roots mental health providers and organisations delivering services on the ground in these communities in coming up with a proper solution,” she said.

“What is made clear in the evidence provided by a range of providers from rural locations right across Queensland and the Northern Territory is that it’s going to take significant focus and effort to address these inequalities.

“To improve attitudes towards mental health in rural and remote locations we need to improve services by making them more available and responsive.

“This will transform mental health across regional Queensland and deliver positive results for countless families and communities.”

– ENDS –

 

FACTS:

  • Despite about a third of Australians living in regional Australia, around 90 per cent of psychiatrists and two-thirds of mental health practitioners work in major cities.
  • Only three psychiatrists per 100,000 of population and 30 psychologists per 100,000 of population are employed in remote and very remote areas.
  • Evidence from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows mental health-related GP encounters in outer regional, remote and very remote communities is occurring at a far lower level than in more populated centres
  • The lack of bulk-billing GPs in rural and remote areas limits the access of low income workers to mental health plans.
  • The rate of suicide in young men aged 15-29 years who live outside major cities is almost twice as high as it is in major cities.
  • In Australia, it has been found that farmers have suicide rates around 1.5 to 2 times higher than the national average.

 

The QAMH is the peak body for the Community Mental Health Sector in Queensland. Representing more than 140 organisations and stakeholders across the State, the QAMH works with our members to build capacity, promote professionalism in the sector, facilitate innovative partnerships and advocate on behalf of people experiencing mental health issues.

Inquiries regarding this media release can be directed to the following Media Contacts:

Tim Braban – Senior Advisor – Policy and Advocacy

Mobile: 0413 022 519

Phone: 07 3252 9411

tbraban@qamh.org.au

Oi-Lai Leong – Communications & Events Officer

Phone: 07 3252 9411

oleong@qamh.org.au

Federal Budget 2018-19 – what’s in it for mental health?

9, May, 2018

Treasurer Scott Morrison last night handed down the 2018-19 Federal Budget, which many expect will be the last before the next election.

But what commitments has the Federal Government made in relation to mental health? The Queensland Alliance for Mental Health has done a quick explanation below.

 

Prioritising Mental Health Package

The following initiatives make up a Prioritising Mental Health package totalling more than $90 million. More information on this package can be found at this link – page 122-124.

Providing $37.6 million over four years from 2018-19 to improve follow-up care for people discharged from hospital following a suicide attempt. This includes $10.5 million for beyondblue to oversee the implementation of the Way Back Support Service in Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and $27.1 million for the PHNs to commission services to be accessed by Way Back Support Service Clients (contingent on co-contributions from states and territories).

Investing $500,000 over two years in The Junction Clubhouse Cairns to continue to support people with long-term mental health issues.

Providing $4.7 million over two years for Head to Health, which will provide users with access to evidence-based information and advice on mental health services through an improved telephone service and enhanced web portal.

Putting an additional $33.8 million over four years into Lifeline Australia to enhance its crisis telephone services. This will enable Lifeline to meet increasing demand for services and to be more responsive. This also includes an ongoing annual commitment of $15.5 million.

Providing $1.2 million to SANE Australia to deliver the Better Off With You suicide awareness campaign.

Investing an additional $12.4 million over four years in the National Mental Health Commission. This funding is targeted at strengthening the Commission’s oversight functions, including expanding its role under the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan (Fifth Plan).

 

Mental Health Research:

The Government is investing a total of $125 million over 10 years for the Million Minds Mental Health Research Mission. This funding should support priorities under the Fifth Plan.

 

NDIS:

There is additional funding of $92.1 million over five years to help provide continuity of support for people who are not eligible for the NDIS but are currently receiving supports under programs that are phasing out with the introduction of the scheme. There is also an additional $500,000 to undertake consultation and develop a new model for supported employment. A fact sheet on this measure can be found here.

The Federal Government is also providing $64.3 million over four years to establish a NDIS Jobs and Market Fund which will invest in initiatives to promote the development of the market for the NDIS workforce. A fact sheet on this measure can be found here.

The Budget also includes the updated budget costs of the NDIS over the forward estimates.

 

Aged care:

The Federal Government made a number of investments it believes will improve the quality of the aged care system. This includes $102.5 million to improve access to psychological services for older Australians. As highlighted in the Budget Papers, “mental health issues are under diagnosed and under treated in people over 65 with men over the age of 85 having the highest risk of suicide of all age groups”.

An investment of $82.5 million will enable commissioning of improved mental health services for Australians living in residential aged care. A further $20 million will go towards a pilot of services led by mental health nurses to target the mental health of older Australians who are still living at home and at risk of isolation.

Further information on these measures can be found at this link – page 119.

 

Rural Health:

The Government will provide $83.3 million over five years from 2017 18 for rural, regional and remote health outcomes by “aligning the distribution of the health workforce to areas of greatest need and building the capability of Australia’s medical practitioner workforce”. It also includes a focus on teaching, training, recruitment and retention.

A large focus of this is on general practice, supporting young doctors and on clinical areas. The main inclusion for mental health is through already announced funding to the Royal Flying Doctor service.

 

ANALYSIS:

This is the analysis of Community Mental Health Australia Executive Director Amanda Bresnan, who was in Canberra for last night’s Federal Budget:

In terms of Department of Health, the measures for mental health included are positive, if not unexpected. There is a focus on suicide prevention, with more money going to PHNs and the expansion of programs already in operation. The funding to Lifeline crisis support line had already been announced. Much of the funding is focused more on the crisis side of services, a pattern we are seeing in state and territory budgets as well.

The inclusion of a rural health strategy is a positive, however there is a not a strong role for the community managed mental health sector articulated and a focus on GPs and doctors. A comprehensive rural health strategy needs to include all aspects of the workforce, particularly those professions that are more likely to be the ones doing the work on the ground, which often is the community sector. CMHA have called for all parts of the sector to be included in an overall mental health workforce strategy.

The most significant inclusion for the sector is funding for Continuity of Support arrangements. The funding will go to the PHNs, however, it is unclear at this stage how this will be administered; what will be the eligibility criteria (e.g. do people have to be existing clients in PIR, PHaMs and D2DL or can they have been clients in the past); and what a continuity of support service will look like.

Department of Social Services are continuing to argue people have to test their eligibility to access the support. CMHA has stated strongly, and will continue to do so, that people should not have to test their eligibility and that the intent of the Continuity of Support policy must be applied in that people must be provided with the same level of access to services.

CMHA developed a continuity of support position statement, which predicted that PHNs would have a role in administering this funding. The statement notes that people, whether eligible for the NDIS or not, will have to access one of four pools of funding – NDIS, continuity of support, the $80 million from the 2017-18 Federal Budget, or the PHN flexible pool of mental health funding. People shouldn’t have to go through an expensive and stressful test of NDIS eligibility in order to access the services they need and are entitled to. Preventing access is against Australia’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disability.

There is also $64.3 million over four years from 2017‑18 to establish an NDIS Jobs and Market Fund, which will invest in targeted initiatives to promote the development of the market for the NDIS workforce. The Fund will develop resources to assist disability service providers to take advantage of NDIS opportunities, including provider toolkits, good practice guides and service coordination platforms. We welcome this initiative, however the key issue that remains for the community mental health sector is the loss of qualified expertise in the mental health workforce. This is an issue of safety and quality which won’t be addressed through such a measure as it is more complex than just encouraging more providers to come into the market. In fact it is about maintaining and enhancing existing expertise to be able to deliver appropriate support to complex clients.

Audit office inquiry highlights existing NDIS gaps, 3rd May 2018

3, May, 2018

3 May 2018

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Today’s release of the Queensland Audit Office (QAO) inquiry looking into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) transition shows there is much more work to be done to improve outcomes for Queenslanders with a disability, Queensland Alliance for Mental Health CEO Kris Trott said.

The QAO report highlights that Queensland is well behind its rollout targets, which is a significant risk as the 1 July NDIS rollout date for major centres including Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Logan, Redlands and Cairns draws closer.

Ms Trott said this was the latest report to highlight existing rollout issues that need to be addressed to ensure people interacting with the scheme achieved a positive outcome.

“There’s no doubt the NDIS is delivering encouraging outcomes for people, but that there are particular groups that are having less positive experiences with the scheme,” she said.

“While there is much work happening to improve pathways, individuals with psychosocial disability are continuing to highlight poor experiences dealing with the National Disability Insurance Agency.  They highlight a lack of understanding of their unique situation and difficulties in applying for a plan.

“These are all factors in the low number of people with a psychosocial disability receiving approved plans.

“There are also ongoing issues in relation to the rollout amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

“Our members also remain concerned about the gap in services that could emerge for people who have issues, but don’t receive an NDIS plan.

“For example, approximately 64,000 people with a psychosocial disability will be covered under the NDIS, but as many as 690,000 Australians experience a severe mental illness.”

Ms Trott said she welcomed the QAO report and thanked the authors for the opportunity to brief them on issues of concern to the community managed mental health sector.

“While the QAO report has made important recommendations around improving scheme governance, we believe there should be a future focus on potential scheme gaps and what can be done to address them as well,” she said.

“This is a once-in-a-generation reform and it’s vital we continue to work together to get it right.”

– ENDS –

Enquiries regarding this media release can be directed to the following Media Contacts:

Tim Braban – Senior Advisor – Policy and Advocacy
Phone: 07 3252 9411
Mobile: 0413 022 519
tbraban@qamh.org.au

Oi-Lai Leong – Communications & Events Officer
Phone: 07 3252 9411
oleong@qamh.org.au

 

Media Release: National report identified NDIS gaps for people living with mental illness, 29th January 2018

30, January, 2018

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People with psychosocial disabilities are facing being left out of NDIS support due to gaps in planning, eligibility and service support.  With 1 in 5 Queenslanders experiencing a mental illness annually, with about 3.5% of those people experiencing severe mental illness, it is essential that support systems are responsive and gaps are filled.

‘The Mind the Gap report, released today by Community Mental Health Australia (on behalf of State and Territory peak bodies) and the University of Sydney, highlights significant and important gaps in the roll-out of the NDIS,’ said Ms Kris Trott, CEO of the QAMH.  ‘We know that many people with psychosocial disabilities in Queensland are being left behind in the roll-out.  This report confirms what we are hearing from our members and the broader community mental health sector.’

Although the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIS) is developing new pathways, taking into account the experiences of people with psychosocial disabilities and other complex issues, there is a still a long way to go.

The ‘Mind the Gap’ Final Report highlights a range of gaps that will particularly affect people with psychosocial disabilities in Queensland.  The QAMH acknowledges the specific obstacles faced by Queensland community mental health services, including dealing with challenges brought by remoteness, and the increasing needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who are 44% more likely to experience mental illness than non-Indigenous people.

‘We are most concerned about the affect that these gaps, not the least of which is access to planning and supports, will have on our members.’ says Ms Trott.  ‘As community mental health organisations they already deal with limited funding, increasing and complex need, vast geographical distances, and the challenges of hiring and retaining talented and experienced staff.  This is another set of obstacles for our members and the people they serve.’

In particular, the report highlights the significant numbers of people with psychosocial disability who will not be eligible to access the NDIS.  ‘We know that these people continue to present to our service providers, putting further pressure on under-funded organisations,’ explains Ms Trott.  ‘The QAMH will continue to advocate on behalf of these services, working with them, and our political decision makers, to ensure ongoing and reliable funding for the thousands of people in Queensland who need help, but who are ineligible for the NDIS.’

Mr Craig Stanley-Jones, Chairman of the QAMH, said ‘we call upon the Federal and State Governments, including the NDIA, to seriously consider adopting the recommendations of this report.  Certainly, the QAMH will be working closely with our members, funding bodies and the CMHA to develop and deliver responses to all fourteen recommendations.’

For further information, the University of Sydney report can be found at http://bit.ly/2GvZOmz

– ENDS –

Enquiries regarding this media release can be directed to the following Media Contacts:

Simone Finch, Acting Director – Engagement & Partnerships
Phone: 07 3252 9411
Mobile: 0499 107 349
sfinch@qamh.org.au

Oi-Lai Leong – Communications & Events Officer
Phone: 07 3252 9411
oleong@qamh.org.au

 

 

Media Release: QAMH welcomes Parliamentary inquiry into mental health in the NDIS 5th December 2016

6, December, 2016

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The Queensland Alliance for Mental Health (QAMH) welcomes the announcement that the Australian Parliament Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS has established an inquiry into the provision of services under the NDIS for people with psychosocial disabilities related to a mental health condition.

QAMH Chief Executive Officer Kris Trott acknowledges that the NDIS is an excellent system with the potential to change the lives of thousands of Australians, providing them with individualised packages to support their personal circumstances, but sees the Inquiry as a positive step.

“Over the last six months, our members have been telling us of the many challenges they have been experiencing in the NDIS transition, and how mental health has not been a perfect fit into a system designed for disabilities,” Ms Trott said.

“We, along with peak bodies across Australia, are seeing more and more consumers, carers and service providers concerned with the NDIS’ ability to meet the needs of all consumers in the mental health sector when the NDIS is fully rolled out in 2019.

“We need clarity around how several implementation issues will be managed, such as what support will be received by individuals that will be ineligible for the Scheme.

“As we have stated before, it is critical that those ineligible for NDIS are not left without support, that funds are not withdrawn before the NDIS funding arrives and that service delivery pricing is appropriate for the workforce.

“This Inquiry will provide QAMH and service providers with the opportunity to express their concerns through the submission process.”

Community Mental Health Australia’s (CMHA) President Liz Crowther said that a focus on rehabilitation is critical for people with mental health concerns, however, for some, this may not be possible under the NDIS.

“Funding for a number of Federally funded mental health programs is being removed and placed in the NDIS and many of the people who now receive these services won’t be eligible for the NDIS,” Ms Crowther said. “The directive has also been given to Primary Health Networks (PHNs) to not commission psychosocial services.

“This means that a growing number of people will not get their community-based rehabilitation needs met. We are growing increasingly concerned about what will happen to these people.

“CMHA is strongly advocating for options to be developed for funding services for people living with a mental illness who are ineligible for the NDIS and currently access Federally funded programs, ensuring their rehabilitation and disability support needs are met whether eligible or not.

“CMHA welcomes this inquiry and looks forward to engaging with the Committee to properly investigate and examine these vital issues.”

Submissions to the inquiry close on 27 February 2017 and more information is available at the Parliament of Australia website.

#ends

Enquiries regarding this media release can be directed to Manager, Business Development and Membership, Sue Pope on 0408 438 624 or email spope@qamh.org.au.

To arrange an interview with Ms Kris Trott, CEO of QAMH or one of our member organisations, please call our office on 07 3252 9411.

Media Release: announcement of a $350 million mental health plan 10th October 2016

11, October, 2016

Queenslanders to be among the healthiest people in the world by 2026 with the announcement of a $350 million mental health plan

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The Palaszczuk Government has today unveiled a new $350 million plan to further strengthen its commitment to supporting Queenslanders living with mental health, alcohol and drug issues.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services the Hon Cameron Dick MP today celebrated Queensland Mental Health Week by announcing Connecting Care to Recovery, a five-year plan to guide the government’s investment in mental health and alcohol and other drug services.

“This new plan – funded by an additional $350 million over five years – aims to significantly increase funding to mental health after three years of LNP cuts drove Queensland’s staffing and spending on mental health to the lowest in Australia,” said Minister Dick.

“The plan focuses on providing access to mental health, and alcohol and other drug services across the continuum and in a variety of settings.

“It will also expand the capacity and range of specialised, contemporary service options available to deliver responsive and individualised care.”

The plan includes initiatives such as:

  • Investing more than $87 million of new funding into services for children and young people, including $5.2 million to expand the Ed-LinQ program over five years to support more schools to better help students experiencing mental health issues.
  • Growing investment in new areas of need, including mental health services helping indigenous Queenslanders, the LGBTIQ community and new mothers.
  • Investing $43 million over five years towards alcohol and drug services provided by non-Government agencies.

“As a government, we are dedicated to fulfilling our goal of Queenslanders being among the healthiest people in the world by 2026, and mental health is a crucial determinant of an individual’s health and wellbeing,” said Minister Dick.

Kris Trott, CEO of the Queensland Alliance for Mental Health, commends Minister Dick for his commitment to working collaboratively across the service system and investing in mental health services, particularly those for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, mothers and infants, transcultural populations, forensic referrals, people with eating disorders and rural and remote populations.

“The commitment to increase and improve in-reach to individuals admitted to bed-based services and a range of specialist alcohol and other drug treatments including assessment, psychosocial interventions and care coordination delivered in the community through Hospital and Health Services’ and non-government organisations, is an important step in providing adequate health services for Queenslanders,” Ms Trott said.

“This funding announcement comes at the beginning of National Mental Health Week, which aims to promote social and emotional well-being, encourage people to maximise their health potential, and maintain good mental health.  A move to a more person-centred and recovery-oriented service delivery is a worthy investment.”

For more information about the plan visit http://www.qldalliance.org.au.

If you or someone you know needs support you can phone 13 HEALTH, the Alcohol and Drug Information Service on 1800 177 833 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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