Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed has called on the Health Minister, Martin Foley, to ensure a new mental health unit for Goulburn Valley Health is funded in the upcoming State Budget.
During a sitting of parliament this week, Ms Sheed highlighted Shepparton district’s youth mental health crisis.
She spoke about how the pandemic significantly increased the level of distress and mental health issues of young people across the state.
“A significant investment in a new mental health unit at Goulburn Valley Health has been identified as a high priority for Stage 2 of the redevelopment of our regional health service and my plea to the government is to invest in this as a matter of urgency,” Ms Sheed said.
“I was recently contacted by a constituent, a 20-year-old woman, who sought my assistance to advocate on behalf of young people in our community who suffer from mental health issues and have been unable to get the supports that they need.
“She said that the people she knew of were clear in their message that there are not sufficient services available to provide the treatment they required when and where they needed them.
“She pointed out that while Shepparton has organisations like Headspace, Primary Care Connect, Wellways, and many online services available in rural areas, the waiting time for some of these is up to six months or more.”
Ms Sheed said her constituent reached out to people on social media to ask them what their experiences were like with the mental health system in Shepparton.
“The responses portrayed a tragic picture of the situation,” Ms Sheed said.
“So many talked about the wait times to see a psychiatrist or a psychologist, the difficulty in getting a mental health plan for themselves and the lack of emergency services.
“There are many dedicated health professionals in both the public and private system, but they are simply not able to meet the demand that exists in our community.
“While further infrastructure will not alone solve the problem, it goes some way to alleviating the stresses on our current system and on those seeking their services.”
Elaine Cooney 0447 820 466│firstname.lastname@example.org