A survey conducted in Australia has found that most patients cannot afford medicines to cure their mental illnesses. The SANE Research Bulletin 9: Money and Mental Illness survey of 371 mental health patients found that over 17 percent of patients spent over $100 per month for medicines, but were not on the Medicare Safety Net register.
"We now have the appalling situation where people with mental illness are being forced to make really unenviable decisions," SANE executive director Barbara Hocking said. "Why should people who are trying to cope with the distressing symptoms of mental illness also have to go without food to pay for essential treatment, or remain unwell to put food on the table?"
Depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia were the most common disorders, but 42% of the patients surveyed had not filled their prescriptions as they could not afford it.
"A group of people with mental illness are now at risk of becoming an underclass," Hocking said.