Mental health patients in Australia are at breaking point and so are the services provided to care for them. While doctors are blaming burnout and stress, those left crying out for care report they are dismissed, feel unsafe in hospitals, and have described finding healthcare support as ‘deeply traumatic’ (The Guardian, April 2021).
The problematic system of healthcare in Australia is leaving thousands of patients without care, falling through the cracks, and unable to find affordable treatment options that make care possible. The problem has become so prevalent that the Australian government’s Department of Health ordered an investigation into how they could lower the suicide rate. The 2019 report found that early intervention was the key to success, but that the fractured healthcare system expected to provide it was struggling to keep up.
Suicide Rates are at an All Time High
It is estimated that 9 people die every day in Australia, a figure that has been contested by the arrival of the Coronavirus epidemic. Australian charity lifeline records some 1 million clients every year, who reach out for support when going through a mental health crisis. They say that 65,000 people on average try to commit suicide every year.
Although projections are all we must go by at the moment, studies indicate that at least 10,000 additional suicides have taken place in 2020 and in 2021 in Europe and North America. For Australians, the suicide rate is projected to jump 22% among unemployed men and 12% among unemployed women in this same time.
What is Being done about Australia’s Mental Health Crisis?
While there is a general feeling that the government is not doing enough, there are some places offering help to the mentally unwell. Charitable organisations are raising funds on behalf of patients to help them seek aid. While the public turns to the government for aid, it is the communities of Australia that are supporting one another through yet another crisis.
Help is coming from unexpected sources. The Australian mental health crisis is being mediated by the corporate world. Companies like Hair Folli, who give 100% of their profits to mental health charities, Qantas, who are a corporate sponsor of mental health charity Beyond Blue, and Chatime, who sponsor Headspace, are all leading the way in using commercial profits to fund health and wellbeing organisations that are doing excellent work.
The government is not sitting idly by, either. They have rolled out a National Suicide Prevention Strategy that raises national awareness of the problem, helping us to look after one another. They have an additional National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy which is aimed specifically at native peoples.
The Australian government has further created a pandemic mental health response plan and are launching initiatives and programs aimed at helping subsections of society to get the support they need.
The Australian people have already come through one global crisis and now they are facing another. If you are affected by any of the information in this article, we urge you to browse the government’s help pages and reach out for support. Mental ill health can affect any one of us. Treating it is the best way to a healthy life.