Mental health response slammed

MENTAL health experts are dismayed by the federal government's long-awaited response to a National Mental Health Commission report that paints a "disturbing picture" of failures of care and support for ordinary Australians living with mental illness.

Report co-author and psychiatrist Ian Hickie on Thursday called for States that cut funding to mental health to be "named and shamed" and layers of health bureaucracy to be slashed, with the government to fund local health authorities directly and bypass State and federal authorities. Instead, the government promised a revived "national approach" and new expert working group and a number of panels to deal with the report, which Health Minister Sussan Ley acknowledged painted a "disturbing picture" of mental health care across the country.

 "The review shows that fragmentation in the system is seeing far too many people still slipping through the cracks," she said. "We cannot continue to place band-aids on the mental health system and expect it to heal itself".

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