Mental Health Council Tasmania has expressed concern over the pace of the government’s Rethink Mental Health plan and said there are some service areas which require immediate attention now.
MHCT chief executive Connie Digolis said progress needed to pick up speed to see the burden and demand on hospitals by people with mental health problems alleviated.
“There are immediate needs now and some short term steps that we should be taking,” she said.
“There are people landing in our emergency departments who don’t quite require acute care but that is where they are landing because they don’t know where else to go.
“We shouldn’t be seeing people sitting in ED or becoming acutely unwell when it could have been avoided.
“The policy support is where it needs to go but now it needs to be put into action.”
Ms Digolis said the organisation wanted a greater focus on community services as well as prevention and intervention but was content with the government’s pathway to a more integrated mental health service.
She said the mental health system was fractured at the moment and funded by a variety of sources.
“We need to bring all of those systems together and actually look at being able to join them up,” Ms Digolis said.
“Most importantly, we need to provide supports on either side of hospital so we are actually allowing people to recover in the community.”
Health Minister Michael Ferguson said there had been significant resistance in the past to linking up the state’s mental health system amid increasing demand.
The MHCT’s call came on World Mental Health Day and along with an announcement on a new Peer Workforce Strategy which would use people who have lived experiences with mental health.
Mr Ferguson said there was evidence this type of worker would improve mental health services and provision of care.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.