MEDIA RELEASE: WAAMH stands in solidarity with Health Services Union

The Western Australian Association for Mental Health (WAAMH) stands in solidarity with members of the Health Services Union of WA (HSU) at Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital, who will today walk off the job in the face of mounting pressure as they struggle to meet demand for children and young people in mental health distress.

WAAMH acting CEO Chelsea McKinney said greater investment into prevention and community mental health support would reduce the need for young people to have to reach crisis point in order to access care, and help them avoid hospitalisations, which would in turn reduce the workload of mental health workers.

“We support the HSU members in their action today because they are one part of the system that are bearing the brunt of a lack of resourcing into prevention and community support by the State Government,” Ms McKinney said.

“When the system has proper prevention, early intervention and community support resourcing, it has better outcomes for workers, for funding efficiency and most importantly for the child or young person needing support and their families.

“We call on the State Government to listen to people with lived experiences of mental health challenges in WA and increase investment into community support and prevention for children and young people, so people feel respected and their recovery is person-centred.”

WAAMH launched the Prevent Support Heal campaign last year calling on the State Government to increase investment into mental health prevention and community support in line with the WA ten-year mental health plan, ‘Better Choices, Better Lives’ and support the call from the HSU for the government to fund the Plan and commit to reaching the optimal levels of service set out in that plan.

The Prevent Support Heal campaign seeks 2021 election commitments from all political parties to increase investment in prevention and staged growth in innovative approaches to community support over five years, in line with The Plan targets:

  • An increase in prevention spend from 1 per cent to 5 per cent of total mental health spend
  • An increase in investment to increase community support by five-fold.

Read our State Election Platform to find out more: preventsupportheal.org.au/our-state-election-platform/