Gillard announces Labor's mental health policy with $277m plan to tackle suicide
JULIA Gillard has moved to salvage her party's mental health credentials, unveiling a plan to tackle suicide with a $277 million package to support communities, schools and services to do more to stop people taking their own lives. She said Labor would dramatically expand mental health services with more frontline services, men's services and looking after children to avoid depression. The Australian reported this morning that the Prime Minister had sought the advice of John Mendoza - the man shunned by Kevin Rudd - although he previously sparked a crisis for the government by quitting as top mental health adviser, claiming Labor had ³no vision or commitment´. Ms Gillard announced this morning she would boost services by offering 12,500 people who have attempted suicide or at risk of suicide help. A re-elected Gillard government would invest in direct suicide prevention through Lifeline to take more calls, including making mobile phone calls toll-free and identifying suicide hot spots in places like the notorious Gap in Sydney's east. It would also establish outreach teams at schools to reduce the chance of copycat suicide acts. The Prime Minister said priority would be given to men, ³who we know are at at greater risk´, and more help to depression body beyondblue. Mental health would be a second-term priority for a Gillard government, which would move towards a five- or ten-year plan being called for by the sector. ³Mental illness is a place where quality services can save lives,´ said Ms Gillard, who pointed out that her father was a psychiatric nurse. Ms Gillard launched the strongest attack on Tony Abbott's legacy on health, making the health debate front and centre of the political campaign. ³We've been making headway but there is much more to be done,´she said. Ms Gillard talked about the government's plans for electronic health records, attacking Mr Abbott's plan to cut e-health.
the four key areas the policy addresses are frontline services for those most at risk, direct prevention and crisis intervention, services targeted to men and looking after kids, both those at risk.
``In particular. and up to 20.There will be counselling services for around 12.'' he said. He said they would be taking 700.500 people each year who have attempted or are at risk of suicide. Lifeline Australia director and former NSW Liberal leader John Brogden said Labor's policy was better than the Coalition's recently announced mental health pledge because it delivered help to his frontline service and would save many lives. ``The mental health sector has been calling for a five and 10-year plan the government would like to pursue this to ensure we can deliver services for those who are suffering.000 calls in three years' time. Ms Gillard has also promised to train frontline community workers such as financial. the government recognises that better youth mental health services is an area where further investment is needed and that our existing network of services will need to be scaled up over time. ``Most suicides can actually be prevented.'' Ms Gillard said. legal and relationship counsellors so they can better identify and respond to the needs of people at risk of suicide or who have attempted to suicide.000 specialist psychiatry sessions in the community each year. There will also be support for the severely mentally ill like assistance with managing day to day activities and respite for carers of people with severe mental illness. Labor's plan will also identify and support workers with depression in 350 workplaces through Beyondblue.''