Patrick McGorry and NSW Minister For Mental Health, Kevin Humphries.
Patrick McGorry and NSW Minister For Mental Health, Kevin Humphries. Trevor Veale

Mental ills based in community

COMMUNITY-BASED mental health care is set to be the main plank in the NSW Government's mental health policy.

This is the message NSW Mental Health Minister Kevin Humphries brought with him to the weekend's Rural Mental Health Conference at Opal Cove.

“Community-based mental health is what we used to have in NSW, however, these services have been severely diluted over the years, driving mental health care backwards,” Mr Humphries said.

“We have now set up a stand-alone ministry and next year we will be establishing a Mental Health Commission to set priorities.

“The commission will include clinicians, carers and consumers and will also help drive best-care research forwards.”

He said getting people with mental illness out of jails would also be a priority.

“Jails are being used as de facto mental care facilities, filling the role that community-based care used to provide.

“We need to fix this missing link.”

He said one in 10 homicides in NSW was committed by a person with a severe mental illness, which was “simply too high”.

Guest speaker at the conference, 2010 Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry, said shifting entrenched attitudes which did not take mental health seriously was still a problem.

The NSW Government will also be establishing a Mental Health Tribunal with the aim of assisting those people being kept in care involuntarily and also those who are unable to get access to care.

“We want to take a more holistic approach,” Mr Humphries said.


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