Despite promises of funding boosts Australia’s mental health care system is groaning under the weight of demand, with those in crisis often forced to wait days for vital care, experts have warned, The New Daily reports.
The case of Melbourne woman Bridget Flack, who went missing last week, has highlighted gaps in the nation’s mental health system, and raised questions over where the extra funding announced during the pandemic has gone.
The 28-year-old social science graduate had been struggling with her mental health during the coronavirus lockdown and was waiting for an inpatient bed to become available at a mental health facility, Ms Flack’s sister told the Huffington Post this week.
Tragically, a bed only became available two days after Ms Flack went missing.
Most of the extra mental health funding promised by governments in response to the pandemic hasn’t arrived yet, University of Melbourne’s head of psychiatry Christopher Davey told The New Daily.
When it does, it won’t be enough to meet demand.
The short answer is we don’t have enough beds,” Professor Davey said.
“There isn’t a coordinated enough system to step in and provide care when people are in crisis.”
Mental health beds are just “one component of the system” that is under-resourced.
“We don’t have enough crisis care teams or access to clinicians either,” Professor Davey said.
During the pandemic, most state and territory governments announced more mental health funding.
But many Australians do not receive the treatment they need, and a recent Productivity Commission report found there is little evidence the system is getting better.