WA Budget: Cuts of 41% to prevention services will lead to adverse mental health outcomes and higher cost to state in long-ter

Cuts of 41% to mental health prevention services across the forward estimates will lead to increased mental health issues and a bigger cost burden to the state in the long-term, Greens spokesperson for Mental Health Hon Alison Xamon MLC has said today. 

Ms Xamon said the WA Budget failed to recognise the importance of prevention, early intervention and community support services in effectively addressing mental health in the community and in saving money in the long term.

She said she was concerned the Government remained focused on the point of crisis, rather than the bigger picture. 

"Cuts to funding for prevention will lead to increased mental health issues and end up costing the community in the longer term," Ms Xamon said. 

Ms Xamon said she welcomed the commitment of funding to continue the delivery of the State-wide Specialist Aboriginal Mental Health Service (SSAMHS) to 2020-21 and the approval of the SSAMHS as a permanent service. 

But, she said, it was vital the transition of the funding allocated for this service to the MHC’s mainstream funding allocation does not dilute or undermine the delivery of these services. 

"Specialist services in this area must remain," Ms Xamon said. 

"The SSAMHS provides vital culturally secure specialised community services to Aboriginal people with serious mental illness across Western Australia."

Ms Xamon said she also welcomed the Government’s commitment to establishing community mental health step up/step down services in regional areas over the forward estimates.

She said she was pleased this included a 10 bed facility in Geraldton to add to existing services in Joondalup and Rockingham.