AUSTRALIA’S health system is in crisis and people are facing bankruptcy in droves.
A survey of more than 1,000 Australians has found that the number of people seeking help for mental health issues has doubled in just three years, with more than 2,000 people in that category facing bankruptcy over the past 12 months.
In the past five years, there has also been a dramatic rise in the number in that group needing hospital treatment, with about 2,400 people requiring hospital treatment for mental illness in 2014-15, according to the National Depression and Anxiety Services Agency.
The numbers have risen further after the coronavirus pandemic, with many people feeling their lives were in crisis.
“People have been struggling for years, not only to get through this but to manage their mental health,” the chief executive of the Australian Mental Health Association, Sally Davies, said.
“It’s not just a financial challenge; it’s about the impact on their relationships and their families.”
Dr Davies said the rapid rise in mental health treatment in Australia meant many people were not getting help from the system and many were facing a financial burden that is not being addressed.
“We are seeing a surge in mental illness, it’s not a crisis, it is a rise,” she said.
“People are in financial difficulty, and they need the financial help they can get.”
This is a huge issue, and we have got to do something about it.
“The survey also found that more than one in four people surveyed experienced mental health symptoms over the last 12 months, with the number experiencing anxiety, panic attacks, depression and other mental health problems nearly doubling in the past year.”
Dr Paul Taylor, a psychiatrist and researcher who co-authored the survey, said people should not expect to be treated in a clinical setting.””
People are going through a lot, and some people need mental health care.”
Dr Paul Taylor, a psychiatrist and researcher who co-authored the survey, said people should not expect to be treated in a clinical setting.
“They are being treated as a criminal,” Dr Taylor said.
Dr Taylor said people who had been in a mental health crisis could have “suffered the consequences of their behaviour” if they did not seek treatment.
“The real issue here is that people in this group are suffering the consequences, they are hurting their families and they are going to suffer in their relationships,” Dr Taylors research found.
Dr Davies is hopeful that the government will intervene, but said it was not a given.
“I think the federal government is going to have to do a lot more,” she explained.
“My hope is that it is not only going to be a response to the crisis, but a response by the states and territories, because they are the ones who have the ability to respond to this.”
Topics:health,health-policy,depression,family-and-children,health,mental-health,diseases-and/or-disorders,psychiatry,healthcare-facilities,australiaFirst posted February 24, 2020 18:21:00Contact the ABC’s health division