Page 4147 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 15 November 2005

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Another example, one of very many that I could choose from, is Mental Health Education, a not-for-profit organisation which gives those living with mental illness the opportunity to visit schools and other locations and share their stories so that the stigma of mental illness can be broken down—broken down right at the earliest point in our lives—so that people in our community can understand that mental illness is just that, an illness.

These two successful examples demonstrate how beneficial it can be to respond to the issues associated with mental illness in our community and through our community, not to concentrate exclusively on acute care. It is not just about the medical profession; it is not just about bricks and mortar; it is not just about expensive treatments. It is about the whole of the human being and about the comprehensive response to the whole person that engages the community. Mental health must be about community support and understanding as well as about government providing services. One cannot be successful without the other.

This government takes very seriously its responsibility to those who have mental illness, their families and society as a whole. Mr Corbell has been congratulated for his very real attempt, on behalf of the government, to claw back the years of neglect by the previous Liberal government. It is evident that a great deal of progress has been made in this regard. It does not stop now, however. The government has articulated a very real strategy to further improve the delivery of services related to mental health in the ACT.

The government is planning to restructure mental health service provision along developmental and life milestones rather than the traditional age-based structure. This will feature children’s mental health, youth mental health, adult mental health and older person’s mental health services, and be reflected in government and community services and reflected in inpatient treatment and care provision at all levels.

The government has started the preparatory work for the review of the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act 1994. This review will modernise our mental health legislation and be conducted in light of the Human Rights Act this government enacted last year. The government is committed to a full and open review of the act, with extensive consultation with the community and with key stakeholders.

The government also made significant investment in the non-government mental health sector, as I have said, to provide psychosocial support, vocational training and employment for people with mental illness. The government has budgeted for $5.2 million in 2005-06 for these community services, up from $3.2 million in 2000-01.

All of this adds up to a very real commitment, as Mr Corbell said, to the ACT mental health service. It is a very real commitment by the Stanhope government—a commitment that was needed because of the years of Carnell-Humphries neglect—but one that means the delivery of an efficient and effective mental health service for all Canberrans.

MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (4.30): I am very pleased that this matter is being debated today. This MPI is a matter of public importance for all of us. The guiding principle that is generally acceptable for the provision of programs and services to people who have mental illnesses is that there must be a combination of community-based services and

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