Some promising outcomes but support still needed outside urban centres
The Northern Territory Mental Health Coalition welcomes Northern Territory government’s increased investment and collaboration with the Commonwealth on the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Agreement.
In the NT, mental health conditions contribute 16.3% of the burden of disease, compared to 7.4% in Australia as a whole. Mental health presentations to Emergency Departments are more than double the national average – this represents a significant cost to the Northern Territory government.
The mental health system in the NT is skewed towards high-intensity services in urban centres. The scarcity of services across the stepped-care continuum of mild to moderate intensity is a significant cause of low access rates in rural and remote communities. As the peak body for the community managed mental health sector in the Northern Territory, The Coalition is calling for more funding to ensure that every Territorian can access services where they live and when they need them.
“Access to mental health support is a fundamental human right and all Territorians should be able to access support where they live” says Geoff Radford, CEO of the Northern Territory Mental Health Coalition.
While the government’s investment in remote housing will have a positive impact, more funding must be directed to addressing the social determinants that contribute to poor mental health, such as food insecurity, unemployment, family violence, grief and trauma, disproportionately high rates of imprisonment, suicide and drug and alcohol use.
“Territorians need a long-term plan to remove mental health stigma that encourages Territorians, particularly young people, to seek help”.
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CEO Northern Territory Mental Health Coalition