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More than two-thirds of Australia’s non-profit mental health groups have lost staff because of “funding uncertainty”, according to a survey of mental health agencies and charities conducted by Mental Health Australia.
The survey found that 40 percent of all respondents had already lost staff since taking the survey and that 46 percent had difficult attracting new staff members. Some 85 percent of survey takers noted that a loss of trust in government had occurred among management and staff. The final response was not a surprise, since the field is facing an uncertain future in the face of state and federal funding cuts. Additionally, a national agreement on mental health reform is set to end in July.
Though a loss of trust in the government wasn’t a surprise, MHA chief executive Frank Quinlan noted that the results were still worse than expected. Quinlan added that similar results led to 40 percent of non-profit mental health services reducing their efforts last year.
“We can’t have that happening again,” Quinlan said.
The new survey follows news that the National Mental Health Commission provided a report into the Review of Existing Mental Health Services and Programs.
“We understand the Government’s response to this very important Review is currently being considered,” Quinlan said. “However, we urge the Commonwealth to provide assurances on funding so that the current level of service provision can continue in the meantime.”
Quinlan said that many would like to see funding promises and arrangement that don’t follow election or budget cycles. He added that a ten-year program or reform for mental health in Australia would also be ideal.
Other data in the survey revealed that half of mental health servicers had received no communication regarding the future of their Commonwealth funding after June 2015. Additionally, 9 in 10 organizations said they would have to reduce staff and services if they received no information about future funding.
Source: Mental Health Australia / Photo Credit: Flickr
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