Dear Mr Rudd and Mr. Abbott – why the silence on mental health?

With less than a fortnight to election day, we are extremely concerned that neither major party, one of whom will form government, has revealed its mental health policy. In particular, we are concerned that while each party has historically expressed concern for the mental health of Australians, their current silence is only adding to our patients’ levels of anxiety and consternation.

Will the highly successful Better Access program, introduced in 2006 and allowing thousands of Australians to inexpensively access evidence-based, quality psychological assistance, be continued, expanded, denuded or abandoned?

Some of us work with rural populations, and some with young people: it’s become very clear over the last seven years that accessing psychological services has become part of a health service which has been world-leading, and life-changing – indeed, the envy of many developed nations.

So, Mr Rudd and Mr. Abbott and your respective Health advisors – why the silence? Surely, it can’t be because you are waiting to see where to make cuts to mental health services? Surely, this must be a top priority for any incoming government who has the foresight to:

* find the needed funding to expand the Better Access program,

* return it to its evidence-base of 12-18 sessions, and

* even add a telehealth component so those in rural Australia can access quality psychological services via the NBN.

Signed:

Dr. Michael Carr-Gregg MAPS

Dr. Elizabeth Celi MAPS

Andrew Fuller MAPS

Meredith Fuller MAPS

Assoc. Prof. Amanda Gordon Hon FAPS

Andrew Greenfield MAPS

Anthony Gunn MAPS

Dr. Janet Hall MAPS

Alan Hudson MAPS

Dr. Melissa Keogh MAPS

Jo Lamble MAPS

Lynne McCormack MAPS

Les Posen FAPS

Sabina Read MAPS

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