Tasmania has a critical need for a centralised support service to help reduce hospital pressures, according to the state’s peak mental health body.
In its 2019-20 budget submission, the Mental Health Council of Tasmania called for a phone service to help people navigate the state’s mental health system.
Chief executive Connie Digolis said the service would divert people towards earlier support and intervention, and away from emergency departments when they were at a point of crisis.
“We absolutely need a helpline,” she said.
“We need to be able to triage people who are in a crisis and ensure they are getting an emergency response as needed.
“But we also recognise that there is a whole range of people at a range of levels of need, but they still need advice and guidance in where those supports are.
“But we have no entry point for them at the moment.”
On Wednesday The Examiner shared the story of a mother, who said a man known to be on drugs was given a bed at Launceston General Hospital’s acute mental health unit, while her daughter missed out.
Ms Digolis said ending up in an emergency department should never be the only option for someone with mental illness.
“Everything points to us actually needing to do more to keep people out of hospital, rather than focusing on how to make room for them in a hospital,” she said.
“We always have to ensure that there is an acute avenue for people when they are acutely unwell.
“But it should be part of the journey, not the destination.”
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.