As I write this month’s column off the back of the state election and whilst in Vietnam, I can’t help but be devastated that throughout the campaign no one said what they were going to do for our current mental health epidemic or how they would improve the future of mental health.
With mental health being the number one disease burden for 15-24 and suicide rates on the increase across all ages, why aren’t we discussing these matters and why aren’t we putting pressure on the government to do so? Have we given up? You know that 14% of all visits to GPs in Australia are mental health visits yet we only see 7% of the health budget go towards mental health.
We see this huge presence on RBT and RDT on our roads almost daily, yet we have twice as many suicides as we do road accidents. Why are we focusing so much on the roads? Oh that’s right, revenue. We’re worried about money and not people.
Australia just recently ranked 32nd of 49 countries when it came to our youth’s health, both physical and mental. That number is simply not acceptable. I don’t know about you but that sure concerns me. We will become just like America, isolated, sleep deprived and overweight, getting an early diagnosis then maintaining with medication becoming a profitable customer. Why would the government want to help when so much money is to be made from pharmaceuticals? Take a look at the recent report on Lyrica in Australia you’ll be blown away.
Whenever you get the opportunity to speak with anyone from Parliament always ask the question ‘what are you doing for mental health?’ And ‘What are you doing for the mental health of our youth?’ I can tell you as a sit here in a Vietnam the youth in this third world country don’t have anywhere near the pressure our youth do.
Australia is called the land of opportunity, but it’s time our government began exploring opportunities to protect our future leaders. We all still have a voice and we need to use it. Prevention always over cure and people always over profit. With strength in numbers we can influence what our government does.