Opposition, support groups call for Government to release full mental health report

By Stephanie Smail

Pressure is building on the Federal Government to release a long-awaited review of Australia’s mental health services.

The National Mental Health Commission report was delivered in November last year but has not been publicly released.

The ABC obtained key parts of the report, which said the current system was poorly planned and a “massive drain on people’s wellbeing”.

Opposition mental health spokeswoman Senator Jan McLucas has argued the delay is unacceptable.

“This report has been leaked, and I think leaked out of frustration, so that this conversation that we need to have as a nation can be had,” she said.

“I call on the Government to release the report in full and to conduct a formal consultation process with the community to improve people’s understanding of the current situation but also to find these solutions.”

Suicide Prevention Australia chief Sue Murray also called for the report’s immediate release.

“There has been constant calls from the sector to see the recommendations in the report,” she said.

“Primarily so we are able to work with government to deliver more effective programs and services for those who are vulnerable in our community to either mental health issues or, in our own case, suicide or suicidal behaviours.”

Ms Murray argued the delay in releasing the review had real impacts on the mental health sector.

“The lengthy delay in the release of the report has led to some organisations losing staff,” she said.

“What that means is the services that those organisations are able to provide are diminished.”

‘The time for action is now’

Sane Australia chief Jack Heath urged the Federal Government to release the commission’s full assessment to help improve services for those in need.

“People in the mental health sector have seen lots of reports – we know the system is broken,” he said.

“The time is now for action and it needs political leadership at a national and state level.

“This is the one area we should all be able to get around the table and agree on a path forward.”

Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley was not available for an interview.

She previously stated the Government was finalising its response and the full report would be released soon.

She previously said the Government was committed to working with mental health experts and other levels of government over the next 12 months to deliver better outcomes for the sector and Australians in the long-term.