A government led committee was asked to investigate Australia's crippled mental health services and community-based care centres. It is now expected to that the funding would triple for Australia's mental health services and hundreds of community-based care centres will be set up if the Government accepts the demands of a parliamentary committee. The committee asked the governments to release mental health patients from institutions into the community.
The mentally ill were left on the streets, jobless, homeless and imprisoned. Australia has shifted care for the seriously ill from psychiatric institutions to prisons. The committee called for extra money to establish 400 community-based mental health centres, staffed by psychiatrists, psychologists, GPs, specialist nurses and social workers. Medicare funding should be expanded to allow more mentally ill people to visit these centres. People should have an easy access and be able to reach when people need them.
The committee chair and Democrats leader Lyn Allison said that more cash is needed to improve the present situation of mental care. It is expected that by 2012, money allotted to mental care would reach 9-12 % of the total health budget. The committee also suggested a 24-hour, national mental health hotline, and a doubling of research funding through the National Health and Medical Research Council to $30 million a year. The committee concluded by saying that there needs to be more money, more effort, and more care given to this neglected part of our health care system.