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Inquiry into Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

In December 2020, the House of Representatives established a special Select Committee to conduct a broad inquiry into mental health and suicide prevention. The Committee received more than 200 submissions from both organisations and individuals.

Previous inquiries, at the Commonwealth and state and territory level, have highlighted the issues in the current mental healthcare system, and provided clear recommendations to address the needs of people experiencing poor mental health and wellbeing. This includes the recent Productivity Commission Mental Health Inquiry and the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

The Salvation Army believes that what is now needed is for governments to take active steps to make change, rather than conduct further inquiries. The Salvation Army’s submission to the inquiry emphasised the significant findings of recent inquiries and outlined three priorities for action:

  1. A new income support payment is needed to allow people recovering from mental illness and experiencing unemployment to focus on getting well.
  2. Governments must reduce the shortage of public housing and increase the availability of homelessness services for people with severe mental illness. These services must be equipped to link people experiencing homelessness with mental healthcare professionals and acute mental healthcare facilities.
  3. The ‘missing middle’ of mental healthcare services needs to be bridged, to provide resources and supports to address a person’s mental healthcare needs before they reach a crisis level.

An interim report of the inquiry was published in April 2021, with a final report is expected in November 2021.

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