Media release: Mental health help at crisis point

Wednesday 03 Mar 2021

March 3rd, 2021

The Health Services Union WA (HSUWA) is planning protest actions and will start with holding a stop work meeting at a secure mental health unit at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital on Wednesday in objection to the lack of funding for mental health services for patients in WA.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) clinics across Perth are currently at crisis point with families unable to get their seriously unwell children into the state’s acute mental health treatment services.

Health Services Union WA Secretary Naomi McCrae said last month’s election commitment by the McGowan Government of $361 million over the next four years filled some gaps but will not come close to meeting the needs of the community.

“The Liberal party also fails to see the importance of WA’s mental health needs. These piecemeal approaches do not address the fundamental need for more mental health workers and do not commit to funding the state’s Mental Health Plan 2015-2025, especially in public sector mental health services for children.

“The situation for our members employed in mental health services is critical and ultimately putting WA’s at-risk children and adults in serious danger.”

The HSUWA is calling on political parties to commit to:

  • Urgently hiring 75 full time staff at community CAMHS clinics in WA
  • Fully funding the state’s Mental Health Plan
  • Providing the staffing and resources to put 10 new beds for 12- to 18-year-old patients at; Fiona Stanley Hospital, St John of God Hospital Midland and Joondalup Health Campus
  • Establishing a Mental Health & Behavioural Unit in the Emergency Department at Perth Children’s Hospital
  • Provide ongoing funding for the CAMHS Emergency Telehealth Service
  • Commission and fund research to establish safe and sustainable caseloads for mental health workers

“The CAMHS clinics in particular are extremely understaffed and can’t keep up with demand. They are working on a broken referrals system, a system that is moving patients away who should be being treated.

“We also have many cases where at risk children are having to wait up to 10 weeks for their first appointment, it just isn’t good enough, Ms McCrae said.


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