Directions for South Australia – Mental Health and Disability

“I’m sick of mental health being treated as a political football.” – Kelly Vincent MLC

Introduction:

Mental health and wellbeing has the potential to impact many, if not most, South Australians.  This could be through the direct experience of mental illness, as family and friends who care for people with psychological illness or as a member of the community where loss (such as suicide) associated with mental illness is widespread.  Dignity Party recognises the additional, and sometimes multi-layered social burdens experienced by groups and individuals within the community which can increase the risk to mental health.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) refers to psychological disability as:

  • A nervous or emotional condition which causes restrictions in everyday activities that has lasted, or is expected to last for six months or more; or
  • A mental illness for which help or supervision is required that has lasted, or is expected to last for six months or more; or
  • A brain injury, including stroke, which results in a mental illness or nervous and emotional condition which causes restrictions in everyday activities.

According to the latest ABS statistics:

  • Of all people with any type of disability, 18.5% have a psychological disability with an increase of 2.8% since the last survey (2009).
  • Persons with a disability or condition that profoundly or severely limits their activity experience higher levels of psychological distress than the general South Australian population.
  • Of those with a psychological disability, just over four in ten reported profound levels of core activity limitation, and a further two in ten severe core activity limitations.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD) include those who have long-term mental impairments.   The UNCRPD asserts

their right to full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

Action:

Dignity Party believe in South Australia we must:

  • Uphold the UNCRPD for people with psychological disability
  • Ensure the findings of the 2017 community consultations (SA Mental Health Strategy) are clearly translated to recommendations which are supported by detailed strategy, timely actions and evaluation
  • Ensure the smooth transition into NDIS funding so that services are optimised not diminished and that existing services are not dismantled before new services are put in place
  • Advocate for improved planning and consistency between state and national mental health initiatives
  • Improve access to mental health care, including simplifying Medicare processes and increasing accessible primary health care intervention and support options
  • Build opportunities to de-stigmatise mental illness and promote mental health in South Australia by implementing strategies such as integrating the topic of ‘mental health’ broadly across the SA Education Framework from Kindergarten to year 12
  • Implement and maintain strategies which support and value the equal participation, and therein promote the mental health, of all South Australians
  • Ensure that the Borderline Personality Disorder Centre for Excellence and Intensive Home Based Support Service (IHBSS) are fully implemented as negotiated by Dignity Party MP Kelly Vincent.

Dignity Party OPPOSE the Government mental health funding allocation of the 2017 budget.  It is insufficient and unfair.

Dignity Party PROPOSE that adequate resources are made available for the SA Mental Health Strategy to honour the findings of the 2017 community consultations, with effective and life-changing solutions for South Australians.

Dignity Party SUPPORTS the common sense recommendations of leaders within the mental health sector such as the establishment of a national community health strategy.

“This [national community health strategy] would demonstrate how the primary and tertiary mental health sectors will join up to provide the blend of clinical, psychological and social support necessary to finally enable people with a mental illness to live well in the community.”  Sebastian Rosenberg (The Conversation May 11th 2017)