“The time for this reform is now”: NSW Greens-led inquiry hands down final mental health report

“The time for this reform is now”: NSW Greens-led inquiry hands down final mental health report
Image: Dr. Amanda Cohn, Greens' spokesperson for Health, including Mental Health, and former GP. Image: Facebook

A NSW inquiry into community and outpatient mental health care handed down its report earlier this week, making a suite of recommendations to address issues like unsafe workloads, inappropriate responses to mental health emergencies, and shortfalls in funding.

In its final report, the committee made 39 recommendations focused on increasing funding and resources, reforming emergency responses, supporting the mental health workforce, and enhancing system integration and navigation. The NSW Government has three months to respond to these proposals.

The Greens initiated the inquiry in July 2023 to gather insights from individuals with lived experience and frontline mental health care providers. The committee is led by Dr. Amanda Cohn, Greens’ spokesperson for Health, including Mental Health, and former GP.

Under-resourcing of mental health system 

“Months of submissions have shown that the mental health system is so under-resourced that it’s reactive and crisis-driven rather than able to provide assertive continuous care to people with complex and chronic illnesses,” said Dr Cohn.

“The strength of findings and recommendations from this Greens-led inquiry is a testament to both the scale of the change needed in the mental health system as well as the quality of evidence heard by the committee.”

“We don’t need to reinvent the wheel when we know that a health-led response can be implemented safely for workers, and with much better outcomes for patients and their families,” said Dr Cohn.

“It’s gutless for the government to water down recommendations so that they are able to say they’ve been implemented when really, all they’re committing to is ‘exploring’ them.”

“This is not the time for further investigation, exploration, or consideration. The time for this reform is now. The Greens will be holding the NSW government to account to ensure all of the report’s recommendations are implemented,” continued Dr Cohn.

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