Richmondpra Applauds NSW Mental Health Reforms

Mon Dec 15, 2014

RichmondPRA, one of Australia’s foremost not-for-profits providing community support for people with mental health issues, has described today’s NSW Mental Health Plan reforms as an unprecedented turning point for the community.

Significantly, the plan places an emphasis on providing cohesive services and supports for people with a personal lived experience of mental health issues in community settings It focusses on preventing rather than reacting to crises and ensuring that hospital care is only used when absolutely necessary.

The plan advocates that people from all walks of life across the state get tailor-made help at the right time. This ensures that people can access the support they need for their personal recovery journey, resulting in a reduced likelihood of people with mental health issues requiring hospitalisation or harming themselves due to lack of support.

“The delivery of this plan and the commitment of much needed funds is a massive and unprecedented step forward for mental health reform in New South Wales,” RichmondPRA CEO Pam Rutledge said.

“We acknowledged the extraordinary effort the New South Wales Mental Health Commission had put into consulting people with an interest in mental illness, particularly people with a personal lived experience and families and carers.

“The plan recognises and advocates that the key to making a mental health recovery journey lies in timely and cost-effective intervention and support at the community level.

“That includes ensuring that people with mental health issues get the help they need, be it accommodation or employment support or guidance on how to plug into community networks so they feel valued and included.

“It emphasises that mental wellbeing is a whole-of-community and whole-of-government issue. People with mental health issues have a right to safe housing, employment opportunities and to participate as full members of the community – civic and social rights that have so often been denied.

“The plan also reinforces that hospital care is often counterproductive given the costs involved and the stigmas and isolation that usually go with being institutionalised.”

Ms Rutledge said one in four people will experience mental health issues during their lives and many families, friends, colleagues and carers around those with a lived experience will also be affected.

“Mental health one of the biggest challenges we face as a community and it’s pleasing to see this plan rising to that challenge. The task ahead is to ensure the plan is rolled out in the most effective manner possible.”

Ms Rutledge acknowledged the Government’s commitment to the plan as demonstrated by the Premier’s announcement alongside the Minister for Health Jillian Skinner and the Minister for Mental Health Jai Rowell.

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