Media Releases

Weatherill Labor Government Failing South Australians with Mental Illness

“Today, on World Mental Health Day, Dignity for Disability, the Greens and Liberal Opposition are joining forces to demand a better deal for South Australians with mental illness, particularly those with a Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) diagnosis,” says Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent.

“In the past two years at least eight young women have died by suicide here in Adelaide after not receiving adequate treatment for their BPD. This is a figure the government should be ashamed of – it is time for the Mental Health Minister to take action and fund a state-wide service for personality disorders. We urgently need a more holistic approach to mental illness in this state.

“It is shameful that people are on waiting lists for up to two years for treatment for BPD in this state. Families are shattered by the loss of a member through preventable suicide. The Government are not innocent bystanders in this scenario,” concluded Ms Vincent.

“BPD is referred to as the ‘Cinderella of mental illnesses’ by mental health professionals because it is a complex mental illness that is so often misdiagnosed and maligned,” Greens mental health spokesperson Tammy Franks MLC said.

“Only the Weatherill Labor Government stands in the way of these much-needed reforms. Last year every non-Labor MP in the upper house voted in support of a state-wide specialised borderline personality disorder service being established immediately in SA based on the strengths of Victoria’s BPD Spectrum service.

“People with BPD face a double dose of stigma, neglect and discrimination because the condition is not well understood. A dedicated state BPD service would alleviate this and take pressure off our hospital EDs saving both money and lives,” concluded Ms Franks.

More than 18 months ago the Labor Government made an election promise to give South Australians a Mental Health Commission (MHC). They promised that funding would be provided in the last two budgets. That promise was broken. Here we are on World Mental Health Day and still no action on a MHC,” says Stephen Wade, Liberal Shadow Minister for Health.

“We need to establish a MHC now, and ensure it is independent, strongly focussed on consumers and their family members, provides a holistic model, and that due process is undertaken for selecting the leadership of the Commission.

“The Government’s attitude towards mental health is absolutely disgraceful. Their Transforming Health plans makes no reference to specialist mental health services, showing what a low priority it remains to the Labor Government.

“SA needs a detailed plan on how to meet the needs of people with BPD both through generic and specialist BPD services,” concluded Mr Wade.

Tammy Franks MLC, Greens Mental Health Spokesperson

Stephen Wade, Liberal Shadow Minister for Health