Executive Summary and Recommendations
On June 28 2004 the Standing Committee on Environment and Public Affairs (Committee) resolved to inquire into and report on the actual level of need; and the adequacy of the funding, for mental health services in Western Australia.
The Committee has resolved to prepare and table an interim report to inform the House of the progress of its inquiry. The report draws to the attention of the House some of the many issues raised in the submissions received from members of the public and the mental health community in Western Australia.
A number of issues have been raised in evidence to the inquiry that cover a range of areas being confronted by mental health service providers and those with mental health conditions, their carers and families. These include issues relating to staffing levels and training, shortage of hospital beds, step down facilities, accommodation, programs to help mental health consumers integrate back into society, services and facilities for children and adolescents, services for the elderly, resources for regional areas and services for the Aboriginal community.
The interim report does not reflect any concluded view of the Committee and was prepared for information purposes. The submissions received by the Committee should be read to appreciate the range and depth of the concerns raised.
The Committee notes that some of these issues have been addressed in the recently announced Government Mental Health Strategy 2004-2007 to which the government has allocated $173.4 million for the implementation of the initiatives identified in the strategy. The Committee welcomes these new commitments.
However, the Committee is of the view that more needs to be done. The Committee urges the State and Federal Governments to give priority to mental health services in future budgets.
Recommendation 1: The Committee recommends that the Government ensure that there are adequate and appropriate mental health services to meet the needs of the people of Western Australia.
Recommendation 2: The Committee recommends that an inquiry into the matters raised be taken further in the next Parliament by this Committee. If the Legislative Council of the next Parliament revises the committee system with the result that this Committee does not continue in its present form then the Committee strongly urges that its inquiry be continued by any new committee provided with a mandate reflective of this Committee’s terms of reference.