The Queensland Alliance for Mental Health is actively involved in ensuring the priorities of the political candidates in the upcoming Queensland election are firmly placed in mental health. As a peak body for the community mental health and wellbeing sector, we are invested in leading the wellbeing of communities in Queensland and of reforming, promoting and driving community mental wellbeing service delivery for all Queenslanders.
To support our efforts to achieve our vision, we collaborated with Queenslanders with Disability Network, ADA Australia, Community Services Industry Alliance, Health Consumers Queensland, National Disability Services, Queensland Advocacy Incorporated and the Queensland Collective for Inclusive Education to host a forum where candidates from political parties were invited to speak to their policy commitments on disability and mental health. The forum, ‘Make Disability Count’ was held on the 8th of October and we heard from 6 parties.
It was encouraging to hear that disability and mental health is important for all parties. However, QAMH believes that more action is needed to make the mental wellbeing of the Queensland community a priority. The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly highlighted the importance of mental health and wellbeing for all Australians and there is an urgent need to act.
We spoke with our member organisations who work daily in front line mental health service delivery and put together a list of 4 top priorities that we believe need to be part of any incoming Government’s mental health policy. We sent letters to all political representatives, including the Premier of Queensland – Annastacia Palaszczuk. Our top four priories are:
- Invest in community-based mental wellbeing responses to not only address the increase in distress in the population and the long-term impacts of the pandemic, but to reduce the pressure on hospital-based services. This should include targeted responses for vulnerable populations such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, culturally and linguistically diverse communities and people with disabilities.
- Invest in contemporary 24-hour community-based alternatives to emergency departments and inpatient units, for those presenting in mental distress.
- Support a range of initiatives to develop and maintain a skilled community mental health and wellbeing workforce, to respond to the increasing mental health needs of Queenslanders.
- Use the momentum of COVID-19, and the raised community awareness, to create mental health promotion initiatives within community settings and networks that already exist such as at workplaces, schools and community groups.
These are our 4 policy priorities for the future Queensland Government. You can support this by writing to your local members and asking that they commit to these priorities and to outline what they will do to support the mental wellbeing of the Queensland community as we look to recover from COVID-19.
If you want to get in touch to discuss ways to promote these priorities or want to know how to get involved, please contact Lourdes Gomez, Senior Advisor – Policy and Sector Development on 07 3394 8480.
To see the letter we sent to the Premier, click the link LTR_Pre-election Premier Qld_LETTER OCT2020 e-sig.