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Mental health: robust conversations welcome but don't be put off seeking help when you need it

15 June 2018

The National Mental Health Commission said that despite recent criticisms of the mental health system, it is important that anyone needing mental health assistance should not be deterred from seeking help.

The Commission’s CEO, Dr Peggy Brown AO, said that a wide range of services are available that deliver a high standard of care every day in Australia to people at vulnerable periods in their life.

“The Commission acknowledged in our 2014 Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services that the mental health system needs work to address the challenges that impact on the experience of those with mental illness,” Dr Brown said.

“We don’t pretend the mental health system is perfect and welcome robust discussion on the way to improve it and how the reforms that are currently being implemented are progressing.

“Debate about how to improve the system should not be confused with thinking that reasonable services are not available,” she said.

“I want to reassure the community that many excellent services are available across the public, private and community managed (non-government) sectors, ranging from primary care to specialised care and psychosocial support. There’s also a growing range of telephone and web-based services which offer access to a range of services at a time that suits the person seeking help,” Dr Brown said. 

The Commission’s Chair, Mrs Lucy Brogden, said there is significant reform being undertaken nationally and across states and territories to deliver better and more accessible services. 

“There’s a strong culture of continuing improvement in mental health services across Australia and many dedicated staff who work hard every day delivering high quality services that make a difference to people’s lives,” Mrs Brogden said. 

“One in two Australians will experience mental ill-health at some point in their lives. It’s important to know that while the academics debate how to improve the system, help is available when needed.” 

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