June 10, 2005
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AAP General News (Australia); 6/9/2005
PERTH, June 9 AAP - The demand for mental health services in Western Australia is escalating and is the fastest-growing area of health need in the state, Democrats Senator Lyn Allison said today.
Senator Allison, the chair of the senate inquiry into Mental Health, was speaking in Perth before meeting with mental health organisations and the Australian Medical Association (WA).
A submission to the inquiry by the WA Department of Health warned that escalating demand for mental health services was not being met, she said.
"There are huge funding deficiencies across Australia, a lack of specialists, particularly in rural areas, and too many people not getting adequate treatment," Ms Allison said.
"The widespread neglect and grossly inadequate support services for the mentally ill and their families in communities, courts and prisons are some of the issues raised in submissions from WA that are replicated in the more than 400 submissions received from across Australia."
She said the AMA nationally had predicted that by 2013 more than 100,000 Australians would be affected by bipolar disorder and by 2011 there would be 41,000 schizophrenia sufferers.
"These figures are alarming and highlight the urgent need for comprehensive recommendations for a national solution," Ms Allison said.
The senate inquiry will hold public hearings in Perth during July and August, with dates to be advised.
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