Make the prevention of mental health conditions a priority in 2022
Despite record investment in mental healthcare services in Australia, the prevalence of mental health conditions in Australia is high and rising. As a result, services are struggling to keep up with demand, and healthcare costs are escalating.
Continued investment in high-quality mental healthcare services is of course essential but it is only one part of what’s needed to manage this crisis.
Mental health conditions are not inevitable and there is now strong scientific evidence to show that many common conditions can be prevented from occurring in the first place through concerted efforts to tackle the underlying causes of these conditions.
A focus on prevention is critical yet only 1% of the Federal mental health budget is currently spent trying to prevent mental health conditions from occurring, while 99% is spent on supporting people after they have already experienced significant mental health challenges.
This overly reactive approach is failing, and people are suffering. We need an urgent change of tack. That’s why we are calling on every political party and candidate to make the prevention of mental health conditions a policy priority as we head into this year’s Federal Election.
Our Calls to Action
You can’t prevent mental health conditions unless you prevent their biggest cause.
We call on all political parties and candidates to commit to the eradication of child abuse and neglect. Child abuse is the single biggest cause of mental ill-health in Australia. It is responsible for 25-30% of all mental health conditions, as well as a significant level of self-harm and suicide.
We all need to learn the skills to manage stress and promote and protect our mental wellbeing.
We call on all political parties and candidates to commit to funding a national public awareness campaign and accompanying psychological skills-building program that encourages people to look after their mental health like they look after their physical health and equips with them with the practical self-care skills needed to manage the inevitable stressors and challenges of life and reduce their risk of experiencing depression, anxiety and other conditions.
Leadership in wellbeing and prevention is vital but it is currently lacking.
We call on all political parties and candidates to commit to establishing a National Mental Health and Wellbeing Promotion Office in the Commonwealth Department of Health to lead a national approach to the promotion of mental wellbeing and the prevention of mental health conditions in Australia.
Good mental health policy is about promoting the mental wellbeing of the entire community not only about supporting individuals who experience mental health challenges.
We call on all political parties and candidates to commit to developing a National Framework for the Promotion of Mental Wellbeing and the Prevention of Mental Health Conditions that will support every Australian to experience good mental health, reduce their risk of experiencing a mental health condition, and enhance their recovery from mental ill-health should they experience it.
Prevention cannot happen unless it is funded to happen.
We call on all political parties and candidates to commit to ensuring that at least 5% of the Federal mental health budget is allocated to wellbeing and prevention initiatives by the year 2025.
Investing in prevention will reduce suffering, save money and save lives.
It’s time to re-think our approach to mental health and make prevention a bigger part of the solution.
Federal Pre-Budget Submission
You can view Prevention United’s Budget Submission by clicking on the link below.