WE SAY: We must act on mental health crisis

WE SAY: MENTAL health expert John Mendoza's call to arms about suicide rates in Australia uses strong wording, but it's the wake-up call we need on mental illness and our treatment of it.

We've been rightly outraged in the vaccination debate, and parents have been adamant they won't allow their children's lives to be put at risk.

But why don't we get equally outraged about the treatment of mental health issues?

It's because until we experience it, we still don't fully understand that mental illness is an illness like any other. We say the words but what we really think when someone shows symptoms is, wow, this person is crazy, or a problem child or looking for attention.

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We've surely said it ourselves or at least thought it about a friend, co-worker, family member or associate.

So if that's our attitude to mental illness, how do politicians perceive it and how do we then ensure there are ample services available to help?

GPs are not equipped to adequately deal with mental illness, all too often quick with their prescription books and no follow-up.

And Mr Mendoza is adamant the situation at hospitals is worse.

Frankly it's terrifying that someone who knew the system so well was unable to get a suffering relative help.

How then is the layman supposed to navigate the system?

Mental illness is killing our young and our old, and it's time to stop saying we understand it and actually start doing something about it.


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