I am writing to you about Alliance For Better Access. The group is primarily comprised of mental health consumers and concerned members of the general public, however, it is joined by mental health professions including psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, general practitioners, occupational therapists and mental health nurses. They are fighting tooth and nail to have Better Access restored and extended to visits to 15-20 per year for people living with mental illness.
I would like to encourage you to join us. I am not sure you understand the gravity of the outcomes that these cuts will have on people living with mental illness. Australia’s suicide rates are ranked in the top 10 of all first world nations. This is not something we should be proud of. Last year alone there were 12 reported suicides of year 12 students. Guess how much coverage it got?? None. While our esteemed (*cough*) parliamentarians were bitching about who lied and who didn’t, young Australian’s were killing themselves. This isn’t good enough Australia. We wont be much of a nation with out our youth. What about the families who have lost their children?? Do we care about them?
I volunteer as an advocate and these cuts could be deadly. For example; one client is so anxious about the cuts that he is experiencing higher levels of suicidal ideation. This isn’t fair on him or his family. He has Bipolar 1 with OCD tendencies, auditory hallucinations, and chronic suicidal ideation. If that’s not enough, he’s SSRI resistant and can’t find a psychiatrist who is willing to manage his very complex case.
On Monday the 17th of September, The Alliance is having a national day of action/awareness. This requires very little of you Australia, all you need to do is talk about how these cuts devalue people living with a mental illness, WILL reduce help-seeking, and WILL lead to more deaths.
You may not have any direct experience with mental health but the likelihood of you or someone you know will experience mental illness at some point in your life. Don’t wait until it affects you. Start talking now!
Please see the links below for further information about the campaign and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Pinky loves questions and healthy debate.
Thanks for you time.
Links to the Alliance for Better Access
Links for current petitions
Research Article on professional and general public attitudes towards people living with mental illness
This article came to my attention through an advocate I know. I believe it supports the assertion that people who don’t have empathy for the patients should not be advising Mark Butler on what is the best outcomes for clients.