Local, Independant and Effective

Communities waiting for Government response to reform mental health system

A Beyond Blue event in Wangaratta on Friday, November 13, has highlighted community concern about the current system failing to deliver effective mental health outcomes for regional Australia.

Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, thanked the community for getting behind the event and said it was a privilege to chair the forum. More than 60 people attended the Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre to hear speakers including Albury Wodonga headspace manager Bek Nash-Webster and National Mental Health Commission member Nicole Gibson. Ms McGowan congratulated event organiser Barry Phillips on bringing the forum to Wangaratta.

Ms McGowan remains committed to pressuring Government to produce effective reform.

“Since being elected, I have represented the mental health concerns of the people of Indi in Parliament. I am delighted the Government has committed to action,” Ms McGowan said.

“I will continue to visit services and facilities to speak with people, families and facilities, and particularly young people, about the issues they are facing and how Government can improve the system.”

Ms McGowan said the Government’s announcement yesterday in Parliament that major mental health reforms would be announced before the end of 2015 was a significant breakthrough.

“I welcome Minister for Health Sussan Ley’s commitment to announcing a strategy for dealing with mental health,” Ms McGowan said.

“The Minister said the reforms will be significant and far-reaching. Regional communities across Australia will be waiting for details of the Government’s approach and how it plans to deliver a more co-ordinated and effective system.

“I was pleased to hear the Minister tell Parliament and the Australian people that any design of mental health care would be community-based and localised.”

Mr Phillips was joined by Rob Groat and Terry Scanlan on Friday evening to provide a perspective on mental health from a personal and interpersonal level, and from the point of view of a practitioner.